I am going to post something a little different today. The Lord is really doing a work inside me that begs me to be transparent. Believe me…this is the last thing I want to do right now, but my spirit won’t rest (let me make it clear that my flesh would like to continue as usual). Every post I have made since I started this blog has been about fun events or random, superficial thoughts which are all real, but give off an impression that Joel and I aren’t suffering or hurting. But the truth is, although we do still have fun and enjoy life, there is some major struggling going on.

What’s really crazy is…..authenticity is probably #1 on the list of reasons I am attracted to certain personalities. I find it sobering that one of my favorite traits in people is one that I am truly lacking right now. Yes. Joel and I have unique circumstances that make it pretty painful to just “lay it all out there”, but the beauty of true authenticity is being consistently authentic…even when it hurts.

For those of you who are unaware, Joel has been out of ministry in the local church for almost 3 years now. Our exodus from our last church was ugly and hurtful for many, not just us. Maybe you have experienced something similar….something that left you with all the ingredients you need stir up a batch of bitterness. I don’t think Joel and I were ever brave enough to put ours in the oven (thank you, Jesus), but we’ve definitely licked the spoon.

After countless résumés, laborious 2nd round questionnaires, and lots of tears, the Lord has seen fit for us to continue to wait.

So here’s what I am battling/have battled (I am speaking for myself b/c Joel’s list would probably be different):

Are we in the wrong?

We weren’t the bad guys that led to our resignation. Why are we the ones being punished while they are making toasts and clinging glasses to their guilt-free existences(that’s how I pictured it in my head…I know I’m crazy)? That question led to a frantic search to find out answers to questions like: What’s wrong with me? What should I remove from my life? What should I add? My tormented thoughts would go round and round...Kari, it’s you. Joel is ready to move onward, but until you become a better Christian, the Lord can’t give him a church position. I kept thinking If I could just line up all the teeth on the key just right, it will certainly unlock the door to our waiting room.

Everyone is moving forward. (warning: this one comes from my inner whiney-baby)

Friends are getting married, having babies, buying furniture, owning homes, looking cute in new clothes (ugh…I know…what a whiner!) Some of our friends have come in and walked out of the waiting room and we are still here. WE GOT HERE FIRST!*stomping feet* Lord, the waiting room could really use some of those flashing pagers at Outback Steakhouse? Just so you don’t think I’m a demon, I am ridiculously happy for all my friends and their forward-stepping journeys. It’s just that when my heart celebrates for them, another part of me cries out “When, Lord?”. (not when can I have babies?, but when can we move forward? 🙂 )

How much information do people want to know when they ask how we are doing?

The waiting room (a.k.a. Refiner’s fire, at least in our situation) is not a daisies and sunflowers conversation. I usually discern what answer to give based on where we are when people ask us. If I am at a friend’s house and they ask me what’s going on, I usually spill all. But if you ask me in the middle of a crowded room, I am probably just going to say, “ Doing well, thank you.” It’s too weighty a conversation for some places.  And I cry enough in public without having this conversation. Really. It’s crazy how little it takes for me to cry.

I cry all the stinkin’ time!

For real. I have always been a hyper-sensitive person. BUT, my goodness! I am on the verge of dehydration! It’s always been bad, but not THIS bad.

Did He forget us?

Whew!….this one’s a toughy. There are lots of Bible verses that were written as swords for this very dragon-of-a-question, but sometimes you’re so weak you just let the dragon open wide, show his pointed teeth, and breathe fire right on your head…..especially after 3 years. To feel you have been forgotten also leads to a certain spiritual numbness. Maybe you’ve felt numb before, too. Wondering if you can feel “it” again.

So why am I telling you all these things?

When I hear transparency in people it makes me feel like less of a weirdo. I hope any other weirdos reading this will not feel so alone. Alone is hard….and painful. And trying to be something you’re not leaves you A-L-O-N-E.  Also, I am hoping this will be a starting point for me to be more up front with the world instead of wearing this mask all the time. I don’t pretend to think I’ve outwitted all my friends into thinking everything is rosy. They are sharper than that. It’s sort of like when someone shows up with a mysterious beauty mark. Everyone knows they are just hiding a mountainous zit that Clearasil just couldn’t handle and Ms. Mole just ends up looking foolish. I currently feel like Ms. Mole. (sorry for the weird metaphor)

Here’s what I am learning.

  • Putting my trust in myself will only get me so far. (like an inch, maybe.) Psalm 28:7
  • Refinement brings you to your knees. It leaves you with no other option but to cry out to the Lord. Psalm 66:10-12
  • The Lord’s discipline, other than reminding you you’re His child, strips you of feeling entitlement. I don’t need (or deserve) new clothes or a new house to be happy, even if my flesh groans against this. Jesus is enough. His grace is sufficient. 2 Cor. 12:9
  • My soul is still alive! Sometimes I’ll read a Piper sermon and my heart is leaping. We are studying Esther with Beth Moore on Wednesdays and I am treasuring it so! Joel has texted me encouraging verses throughout the day and I am on a cloud. Signs of life in the desert! Hallelujah!
  • My God has not forgotten me. The fact that my dross is burning as i speak type is evidence. Psalm 13

Please pray for us.  If you already are, THANK YOU.  If you are struggling similarly, please let me know so I can be praying for you.  I want to do this together!  Being something we are not just makes people think we don’t need them, BUT WE DO!  We we’re not wired to go it alone.  Amen?  Amen.

Song: I’m Looking Through You, covered by the Wallflowers.  Surely you know it was originally a Beatles tune…..right?