Sitting together singing praise songs I had to face it. The doubt. The feeling that just maybe I really don't believe these words. I can recite the Apostles Creed. The Lord's Prayer is fine with me. I can take the Eucharist without doubt. I read Psalms of Lament and sorrow. To be honest the stories of my faith often intrigue me in a cultural sense more than a spiritual one, but the reality of God in human flesh showing us how to be human inspires me. Yet, somehow when I attempt to sing of God's love forever the words choke me and I sit in silence, tears blurring my mascara and making my foundation smudge.
I am not sure what is happening. I have not lost all hope, but on most days I can't see past today. Today, I enjoyed coffee on my friends couch and told the truth. Today, I taught Sunday school, took an afternoon nap, drank good wine at the harvest festival, and met with Christians to sing songs and pray, and up until the last activity of the day I was doing well. Today I was happy. Today was a normal day, parts of it were almost mundane, but it was good.
Than somehow when invited to sing and pray I fell silent in my doubt. Am I ever going to have the role in the church that I felt God calling me to years ago? Am I ever going to be truly loved? Will it ever be any different than this? Will these wounds ever heal? How long till I can't do this anymore? Is God even listening? Does God even care? Does God see my faithfulness and my longing? Would it be better if I just quit now? Do I still believe that God loves me?
I thought of Hannah at one point. She begged God for a son and she was given one; but God has not answered my pleas and I have been begging for years.
For years I begged the church to be a safe place for other people who doubted. Now I am begging her to be a safe place for me. I am an ordained minister, that does not work for a church. I teach Sunday School. It is my greatest desire to walk with people as they seek after God and become the people they were created to be. But somehow tonight brought me to tears as I faced the reality that there are very few words I can sing right now and very few words I can pray.
I sometimes fear I am going through the motions of being a Christian. Hoping if I fake it long enough it will work itself out and I will be the Christian I once was. I will find joy in Christ again. Nonetheless, it seems these days I am more likely to find God in a piece of art and standing on the shore of the ocean. I don't go to church out of compulsion. I have experimented with not going to church once before and to be honest Sunday mornings feel safer than living room prayer gatherings. I can blend there, sneak in the back, listen, smile, and have a polite encounter with God, and that is about all I can handle right now.
I guess what I am saying is this is harder than I want it to be, but I am not done yet.