It's been a hard year...
There is not much I like more than someone who's not afraid to say how they really feel, no matter how beautiful or ugly that may be. There are a few songs that I just cannot stop listening to because of this.
Listen to this Will Smith song...
It's the whole song that I LOVE. And I don't know if it's the rap genre that's doing if for me or what, but it's the following part that really makes me want to shout in celebration that someone is saying what many are thinking but don't want to say.
"Mmmmm, souls are captured
Dreams are stolen, hearts are broken
Evil blatantly rewarded
Hate surrenders, Love exalted
Hope elated, negativity is shorted
Why is the bomb always getting the last word
& why did her uncle have to molest her
& why did all them cops have to be shootin' to kill
& why did all them priests have to act so ill
Tell me why did James Byrd Jr. have to be touched
Tell me why did Malcolm & Martin depart from us
Tell me why did that sniper make the little boy shoot
& why does human life always denied for loot
Tell me why did Mandela have to live in a cage
Why did my brother Sterling have to die at that age
Tell me why did Reginald Denny deserve his fate
& why the f*@k can't love seem to defeat hate
Tell me why is it so hard for all the children to eat
Why did Pac & Biggie Smalls have to fall in the street
Tell me why did Jam Master Jay have to go that way
Please what am I supposed to say to my kids when they say 'Why?' "
And I'm sure you could come up with a theologically sound argument for why this shouldn't be my focus, or why I should think this way or do this or that. And quite honestly, there are times when I am simply not interested in being told that truth. Sometimes, I just need to feel. Sometimes I just need to be angry, to be questioning, to be pissed and frustrated that it seems things don't make any sense or that God isn't doing his part.
Another of my favorites...The Fray's "You Found Me."
I can relate. "I found God on the corner of 1st and Amastad. All alone, smoking his last cigarette. I said where have you been? He said ask anything...All I needed was a call. It never came...Where were You? Where were YOU?...Just a little late...I've been calling for years and years and years and years and you never left me no messages. You never sent me no letters. You've got some kind of nerve, taking all I want."
Time in prayer and bible study or really any independent time with God has been scarce the past 6 months. There was a desire down in my gut to partake in all of that, but it rarely manifested itself in reality.
It's been 7 months (?) since Matt has passed away. He was, I want to say, in his thirties. He had cancer. His wife and church body was a haven of hope and prayer and belief and faith. I never even began to believe in that kind of healing faith until I met this group. And amidst such a faith-filled body, I couldn't wrap my mind around his passing.
I'd read facebook status updates from his wife. She was taking it how any wife I'd imagine would take it. It was tough. It IS tough. My heart ached for her. My heart was heavy for her. I'd cry out my feelings of sadness and distress hoping that somehow she'd feel lighter in the process. It's not like him and I were super close, I supposed my pain was more me picking up on her pain, wanting to somehow ease a grieving wife's load.
Anytime I did spent with my Father those months was either me lifting his wife up in prayer or me being angered. Me not understanding this event and other similar events. Me feeling abandoned and unloved. Me not knowing how I could trust a God who "let this happen." I began building a wall. And it's not as if I didn't know this was happening, I was fully aware. I even said to God sometimes, "I know I'm building a wall. I'm sorry. I'm not ready to trust you yet. And that's just going to have to be okay." Yet all along something felt okay about my decision, something felt okay about my stubbornness. It's as if God was like, "Ashley, it's okay for you to feel this way. I understand this is hard. Take all the time you need. You go right ahead and feel, and I'll be here. I'll be here soaking in this time we are spending together. I just want to be with you even if all you have for me right now is negative thoughts." I didn't feel I could trust God, yet at the same time, I was fully able to trust that He'd be there waiting on the other side of that wall as soon as I was ready to tear it down.
I think God delights in this. Does he want us to stay down and upset and discouraged? No, absolutely not. His intention for the Israelites was never for them to be in the state they were in the desert for that long. At the same time, I think he delights in the relationship that is cultivated even through the hard conversations...and even if they are one-sided. He doesn't have to speak words to us to reveal his character.
And sometimes we need a revelation of character more than we do a reminder of what we're doing wrong or how we need to shape up.
God can tell me he loves me as much as he wants, in words. But until I can feel it, and know it with my heart, it really means nothing to me. My plea with God was that he'd quit telling me. Because I'd hear him say it. And my response, "I hear you. But honestly, I just don't feel it. And I know that's not everything, but it's something."
I can't really describe to you what happened the other Sunday when Randy and Steve came to WHO, but I know my heart was softened somehow. I feel like they got my message from God, that I wasn't feeling loved. And they relayed it to me. Not with words, but some other way. Their words later only confirmed what God showed me. I am free to feel. There is no condemnation, only love. God doesn't have expectations for me, but he is expectant and excited and joyed at where I'm going.
I want to feel. I don't want to stay there, but I want to have a revelation of God's character from my time there.