Putting it in Words

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Re:write Contest

In case you haven’t heard yet (if you’re friends with my husband, Jonathan, on Facebook there’s no way you haven’t!) we had some exciting news a little over a week ago.  I’m on the list (#7)!

At the beginning of December I submitted a book proposal for a writing contest associated with the Re:write conference I’ll be attending in February.  The book is about my struggle with doubt as a missionary in India and the way it has reshaped my faith. And incredibly, I made it into the top 10.  They’ll announce the winner at the conference (February 27th, to be exact).  But I wanted to thank everyone who has prayed for and encouraged me along the way, and ask you to continue to pray that God would place the message of this book into the hands of those who need it–however he chooses to do it.

I feel a little like I did on Christmas when I was 7-years-old, holding my breath, hoping, as I ripped off the wrapping paper from the box that held the white fringed cowboy boots that I’d been asking for forever.  I remember walking around the house in an almost dream-like state, heels clicking on the tile floor.  I’m pretty sure my mom had to pry them off my feet that night when I went to bed.  I’ve had to pinch myself almost every day since the contest announcement and I still don’t think it’s sunk in.  It’s almost too much to comprehend. That God would allow a girl who’s believed most of her life that she didn’t have anything valuable to say, to write a book proposal that is being looked at by Tyndale publishing is humbling to say the least.  I guess we’ll see what God has in store.  But thanks for being on the journey with me!

The “Hound of Heaven” nips

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I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

 

Francis Thompson described God, in his relentless pursuit of us, as the “hound of heaven.”  Little did I know, as I was busy doubting everything I had ever believed about God, that he was hot on my heels…

My husband knew I was struggling, I think that much was pretty obvious, but he had no idea that I was contemplating suicide.  I’ll never forget the look on his face, or the way his eyes filled with tears, when I told him.  Swallowing our pride, we made a phone call to our Area Director to tell him that we (or more specifically, I) were falling apart.  Having no idea what to expect, or how our boss would respond, we dialed his number because, at that point, we didn’t have anything left to lose.  I don’t think either of us were prepared for his reaction; overwhelming care and concern was all that our Area Director communicated to us.  He began to weep over the phone, and, together, we formulated a plan for me to get some help.  I think somewhere deep down my husband and I both expected to be berated for not being able to keep it together.  In that moment, when we made that call, we felt like failures, but our boss didn’t treat us like failures at all.  It was one of the first times in our lives where we felt valued for who we were, instead of for what we did or how we performed.

The first step that we came up with was to remove ourselves from the environment that had sent me on this downward spiral.  So we began the long descent from our mountaintop home down to Delhi, where we would take a plane to Thailand to rest and figure out what came next.  That Sunday, while we were in Delhi awaiting our flight, we went to the international church.  I don’t think I heard anything the pastor said that day.  I was sitting in the metal folding chair stewing in my anger, hurt, and frustration.  When he called everyone forward for communion I stayed in my seat.  I wasn’t interested in fellowshipping in the Lord’s suffering, because all I could think about was my own.  At the end of the service the pastor announced that he had seven copies of Disappointment with God, by Philip Yancey, to give away.  He said he would leave them on the step and anyone who wanted one could come take it.  I didn’t take one–but my husband did.  I didn’t know it at the time, but God was going to use that book to break through the hard shell I was crafting around my heart…

(to be continued)

Holy Doubt

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I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

Note:  Before I begin, I want to say that I know that everyone’s experiences are different and I’m not speaking for every missionary–I’m just sharing my story in the hopes that it helps someone else.  I write this to remember all that the Lord has done, and is doing, for me.  I don’t ever want to forget.  The Missions/India portion of the blog will be posted in a serial format, come back to read more.  Trust me, you would be completely overwhelmed if I tried to post it all at once!

With that out of the way…

Holy doubt–I know this is probably a controversial title, but it aptly encapsulates the way that I feel about the subject.  I don’t feel that doubt itself is holy, nor does the Bible support that theology, but when God works through something as painful as doubt and uses it to create something beautiful in my heart I have a tendency to view it as holy.

So, I would like to bring you along on the journey and share how God took me from doubt to holy doubt, and India (and a little bit of Thailand, but we’ll get to that) is the scene where it all played out.  Without India I would have had a much cheaper experience with God, and I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to learn the wonderful, painful, life-changing things that God taught me there.

We arrived in India in late July, along with the monsoon rains, and by the end of October I was unraveling.  In the short span of three months, the small thread of sanity that had been relentlessly pulled at by a constant barrage of spiders, snakes, sleeplessness, monkeys, lack of running water, and the final straw–rats, was slowly being yanked from my hands and I didn’t know how to get it back.  Before sending us overseas, our missions organization had put us through a battery of tests that would put the FBI to shame, all designed to certify that we were mentally and physically fit to be on the field (we always joked that they were checking to make sure we were crazy).  But by the end of our first three months in country, I was sure they had made a mistake when they approved me.

A few days before my son’s fourth birthday I found myself wandering along a deserted mountaintop road, the damp air clinging to me like an unwelcome spirit.  Staring down the steep cliffs, punctuated by towering, ancient evergreens, I wondered if anyone would ever find my body if I decided to jump, and questioning if, maybe, my family would be better off if I did.  At that point I had ceased to be the independent, fully-functioning woman that I had been accustomed to being, and that was where I found my value as a wife and mother….(more to come tomorrow–to follow this thread go to the “Holy Doubt” tab and scroll to the bottom and work your way up)