Earlier today, I had an email conversation with a young man I’ve had the privilege of getting to know over the last year or so. J. loves God and is on a journey with Him. He sent me an update that I thought was so poignant, real and authentic that I tentatively asked him if he would consider allowing me to share it more widely – with some identifying details blurred.
I said, “Part of the reason I ask is that sometimes when we’re in pain with God it is actually helpful to feel like what we are experiencing has meaning – and sometimes knowing that our authenticity will speak to others is a way of making meaning of where we are at ….”
J. replied and said, “With regards to the blog you can absolutely use that e-mail. Actually after I sent the e-mail I went back to read through it again which I often do if I write poetry or send e-mails to get a real sense of my feelings and when I read it back to myself I thought how nice it would be for someone else to read that if they were going through it to know that they are not alone. Also I thought how good it would be for some of the church to hear the pain and understand that this struggle is not about sex it’s about emotion. So yes you can!”
Without further ado and with thanks, here is a glimpse into the heart and journey of J.
“Well just thought I would send a little update. [My ex-boyfriend] moves away on the 27th of this month and to be honest I am so raw emotionally and I didn’t expect it. We broke up almost a year ago and have had separate rooms for probably 10 months now….and he’s moved on and has a new boyfriend and I have been doing the occasional date with a cute little girl from the church…but it feels like breaking up all over again when I realize that this house that we bought together is going to be empty.
The house has not sold so I am trying to rent it out for the first of October because I just can’t do it on my own…if not I will have to let it go back to the bank…all by myself on this one Wendy…this is the single hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.
Every now and then I just get this flood of emotion and it feels like I am just going to fall to the ground under the weight of grief….and I wonder why…why I am doing all of this. I mean I KNOW why but I feel like I am putting myself through so much…and sometimes I don’t even feel like God notices how much I am having to go through just to follow him. Maybe it’s a consequence of sin I guess. But I just feel some days like God is saying “well you got yourself into this mess”….it just hurts so much some days.
I feel like I have been beaten to a bloody pulp…spiritually and emotionally like I can barely stand BUT no desire to give up or turn back at all…I will drag this beaten body wherever God leads even if God has to drag me there because I just can’t do it. I have never felt that way before. All my life it was thinking “God I can’t do this it’s too hard” now it’s thinking “God….this is REALLY hard but you’re going to get me through it somehow”.
I am scared though of what might be next Wendy. I really believed that the house would sell quickly and that financial problems would be resolved….but it didn’t and they aren’t and although that causes me undue stress I am going to continue to fight the good fight. I think maybe financial stresses might even be a bit of the enemy….I mean that has always been my weakest point…fear of financial decay but God has really equipped me for this spiritual battle with a great peace that no matter what happens in this I WILL get through it and I WILL have God with me on the other side of this dark valley.
My heart aches and I feel strong…..it’s the most mixed up feeling in the world to be exhausted and NOT ready to give up. But that is where I am…
Anyway I will cut myself off now before I go on too long…but keep me in prayer over the next couple weeks as it’s going to be tough. Love and Blessings, J.
Dear J. Thank you so much for letting me know where you are at…. that allows me to pray more intelligently for you. I so appreciate your honesty and authenticity. Given the journey, as an outsider peeking in, it is not unexpected that you would be riding the emotional rollercoaster that you are. I am so very grateful to hear of the real ways that you are taking God in with you to these places ….. and your emerging perspective on the strength in weakness that is the upside down economy of God. Your experience puts you in good company with folks like the Apostle Paul and many other Christian leaders throughout the ages.
I think sometimes that what we often need is simply to know that people see (I often say witness) what it is we are navigating. We don’t need people to fix it (like they could anyway….), we don’t need people to offer advise or guidance (we’re in the place where we are standing with Christ and really all we can do is put one foot in front of the other and wait for God to deliver us in his time), we don’t need sympathy or judgment or sugar-coated encouragement …. we simply need people to see and experience that we are known and in the knowing that we are loved, that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who are saying in the Spirit, “Keep going! We know that in Christ you can totally do this!!” And so hear that from me – I see you. I get it. As a sister in Christ I am so proud of you for standing, for waiting on God, for staying real in the process, for being honest about the pain, for reaching deep for the will to do this with God ….. Keep going – I know you can do this!!!
Know that you are treasured – simply for who you are. In the midst of this, you are loved not because you are fighting to be faithful to God – you are loved because you are you. That you are fighting to be faithful to God is a joy and a ‘bonus’ …. and we join you in the fight. every blessing, wendy
Hey Wendy, It’s so true what you said about someone just seeing you. Sometimes it’s such a lonely fight and all the advice in the world doesn’t make it easier but knowing that someone is there saying “I know it’s hard” makes all the difference so thank you.”
I know this blog is read by diverse voices. And there might be some who read J’s email and have an opinion or advice for him …. Maybe you disagree with the choices he is making …. Allow me to make this observation before you jump into the comments section: This is where J. is at. This is his heart. The real deal. He is allowed to be where he is at. He doesn’t need to be pushed or prodded or enlightened. He has the right to simply stand where he is at with God. Without trying to be a mother-hen, I do feel a bit protective of him, given that I have asked him to share his vulnerability with our readers. Please honour him. Honour where he’s at. And wherever it is that you are at, please focus your comments on building up, not tearing down, on blessing, not hindering. Grace to all of us.