Now What?

*A note before you read this. After doing an audit of my blog in 2022, I have decided to leave content that speaks to the Christian I was at the time this was written. I no longer identify as Christian (and haven’t for a very long time.) I chose to leave these posts because it is who I was then and it is important to me to be honest and true with every iteration and evolution of self that I experience. I may decide to add comments to the end of posts like this as well

It was very hard for me to hit “publish” on this one.

* * *

In October of 1999, Zane was born. Phil was driving our semi over the road and he was home one day out of every thirty. That year, Jill and I spent New Year’s Eve together afraid for Y2K. We survived.

In 2000, we filed bankruptcy on that semi and moved back to Indiana and lived with my parents for a short time. Phil found a driving in job in Chicago and he was home two days out of every seven.

In 2001, 9/11 happened and I was scared for our lives. I’d never, ever heard it so quiet outside as when all planes were grounded. That month, we found a duplex to rent, Zane turned 2, potty-trained and I was still trying to decide if I was a good mom or not.

In 2002…Phil got a local job hauling fuel and was home EVERY night.

In 2003, Phil and I bought the Knox house. I started attending a church for the first time since I was let down by a different church back in 1992.

In 2004, doctors thought Phil had cancer. He didn’t. He did, however, punch a wall and break his hand and have to have pins put in.

In 2005, I was reading my Bible daily, active in Women’s ministry (and Phil in men’s ministry) and I was really getting to know God. Jill told me she had breast cancer and had already been battling it for a year. She’d already had a mastectomy and chemo and radiation. She made me get a breast exam. And I think they thought I had cancer. I then had an ultra sound. Then a mammogram (and platypus poop.) Then I had to see a surgeon. He told me I didn’t have breast cancer.

In 2006, I was called to write. “Write.” (I noticed I posted that on 12/02/06. Wonder if that has anything to do with 12:26?) That year, I also lost my Uncle Ed. I’m not sure there’s ever been a time when I felt as close to God. And that’s also the year my church gave me a wake up call–lying about me, accusing me of ridiculous things, and leaving me alone during a time of huge, monumental need. Phil thought he was having a heart attack. Our fridge broke. Phil lost his job. Phil had double hernia surgery. We almost lost our house. 2006 was probably the hardest year of my life. I felt so alone that year. And God taught me more about His love than I could’ve ever expected.

In 2007, my thyroid completely shut down and I’ve been trying to get my brain (and my body and my life) back ever since. It’s also the year I was asked to be on the editing team at The Midnight Diner.

In 2008, I lost my best friend, Jill in January. She might have survived Y2K, but she did not survive breast cancer. And then my grandma passed away in September. I was asked to be Editor-in-chief of The Midnight Diner.

In 2009, We were taken on a trip of a lifetime to Key West and Marco Island, Florida in March. Phil quit truck driving altogether! He started working as property manager for a local retreat center. We were blessed with a grandson in April. Around May, I finally started feeling like myself again with the help of some replacement thyroid hormone. We moved in June and I’ve been trying to figure out what life is now that Phil’s home all day, every day and now that everything has changed.

* * *

I started this post with the intention of talking about how I feel separated from God right now. I mean, I know He’s there, He just feels distant to me and I remember hearing people talk about feeling this way and I distinctly remember thinking, “I will NEVER feel that way. I will always feel as close to God as I do at this very moment.”

I was going to talk about this new Bible I got, –with no verse references–and how I was going to start reading that for the New Year.

But I got caught up in looking at the way things got so ugly during the time I was closest to God. I remember what I went through and the lessons I learned after I did Beth Moore’s Believing God study. Things I haven’t found the courage to write about.

And though God says, “Do not be afraid.”

I am afraid.

I’m afraid that if I get close to Him again, something worse will happen. And I don’t know how to let go of that fear.

I know I’m the one keeping the distance from God.

I said it.

Now what?

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12 thoughts on “Now What?”

  1. But isn't it always us that keeps the distance? I mean, if we were all willing, all the time, to be close to Him, we'd still be living in Eden! You just had the courage to admit it, and not put it on Him.

    I know I felt the closest to God when I was going through cancer treatment. I actually think of those days when I need reassurance of His presence. I certainly don't wish for bad things to happen to me, but there are times when I wonder why I can't have that feeling again.

    I think it's that at those times everything is stripped away, and He is all we see, all we have to cling to. When things are going well, it's easy to get sidetracked and to just hold on to what's in front of us.

    The only advice I have, really, is to tell Him how you're feeling. I have a journal where I "write to God" and just let out all the things that are bothering me, even things that are bothering me about Him. It seems like when I let Him know in all honesty that I'm scared or angry, He lets me know in some way or other that He is there.

  2. Wow! I don't really know what to say except this – don't be afraid! When you draw close to God, he may ask a lot of you, but he will be THERE with you and he will help you through it.

    I've been on the other side, too, where God used hard times to get my attention, draw me to his side and bring me to my knees in prayer. I'd much rather go through hard times closer to Him than not.

  3. Okay…lets look at it this way:

    Something bad may or may not happen whether you are close to GOD or not. If you are keeping a distance it may be a much harder journey than if you are clinging with ever fiber (fear and all) to your Heavenly Father. The separation you are experiencing is a LIE from satan. You think if you stay distant bad things will not happen….what a lie! Bad things happen in all sorts of peoples lives! Grab hold of HIM with all you have got and kick the devil in the butt. Tell him, you will NO longer fall for his tricks.

    Much love, hugs, and prayers,

  4. Michelle;
    I kept away from God for many years, always afraid because when I trusted Him the most and with my son, my son passed away at 18 months old. I was bitter, broken and on a path of destruction for many years. One day, a friend came by and asked me to go to church…no, told me she would carry me pj's and all. I was angry, I sat there with my arms crossed, so bitter and then, the Holy Spirit began to move inside me and I wept and cried out and told God how angry I was for Him taking my son…He replied very clearly, but I gave you MINE! Since then, I have never been afraid even during my dark trials with my physical body right now, I pray things get better and you can let go of your fear!
    [email protected]

  5. Oh Michelle…you are so strong. I know how hard it was for you to open your heart and write/publish this. And He is faithful. He's shown you his love and peace before and He'll do it now. He's just waiting…what a gentleman, huh? I'm so, so proud of you for being tranparent and honest. That's so rare to find. I'll be praying for you and sending you {HUGS} from Missouri…

  6. I know what you're talking about. I've been there many times. When I actively try to seek God, I feel more attacked. But as someone else said, that's our enemy trying to keep us from God. And when I think about what's holding me back, I sense God telling me "What are you so afraid of? Don't I want what's best for you?" Still, I'm not very consistent with prayer and Bible study. But I'm resolving to take baby steps at least this year and try to develop some discipline. God is so much bigger than my fears. Tell you what — maybe we can encourage each other. 🙂

  7. I know the bible tells us NOT to be afraid, but you know what…? We are human, and yes, we get afraid. I think we will always battle against fear as long as we live in these imperfect bodies, walking in this sin-filled earth.

    So yeah. Be afraid. The question is: what are you going to do about it?

    Run from God or cling to Him with whatever strength and faith you have?? I'll bet you go with the clinging.

  8. You know I'm going to be the one who doesn't agree with everyone else.
    It isn't always us who pushes God away. I'm not saying that isn't the story here. Fear has a way of crowbarring that relationship. But that little bumper sticker, "If you're far from God, guess who moved" ain't right. Not always.
    Sometimes God pulls back to test us. Will we still worship him despite the fears and the confusion and the lack of understanding? I have two book recommendations for you:
    Justifications by Jeanne Guyon – this book was loaned to me (by someone I'd never met and who didn't know what I was going through at the time–a story in itself I'll have to share with you someday) when I was going through the first time in my life that I felt distant from God. This book forced me to look at that question of worship. Will I worship God no matter what, no matter how I feel?
    Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross. This one is hard to get through, and sometimes things may be a bit wonky. But the gist is good. Sometimes God leads us through this.
    Again, I don't know what's going on and who's causing it, you or God. But I know that it's not always the same answer. Feeling distant from God doesn't mean we are distant from God. He will never leave us or forsake us.

  9. Sometimes I wonder – is there really any distance at all? I mean, it's not that we are "closer" or "further" away from God at different times. Sometimes we just need him in different ways. During the "smooth" times – we are thankful for his blessings; those are the times when we celebrate His grace. During the "rough" times, we reach for His love and assistance. It's sort of like a life preserver. When you go on a boat, you put one on even though you don't need it. But, if the boat tipped over, you would really rely on it and hope it wouldn't give out on you. This "distance" is just something (I believe) that humans create. It's faith that you have to rely on.

    Does that make any sense at all? LOL

  10. I'm going to email you now but I just have to say that I agree with Heather totally. Standing (finally) on the other side of a very long, dark night things have come into focus like never before. But I'll email you. I just had to say that I'm so with Heather on this.

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