Two articles I am reading have helped put both words and understanding to my current spiritual struggles.
Over at Suffering World, silence was discussed:
I had always assumed that silence was about tuning out of the noise etc of daily life, but it is the opposite, it is about opening receptivity to God. I have realised that even when there is apparently complete silence in my life, i.e no radio, tv, people talking etc., there is still an awful lot of noise inside my head. And I become desperate to increase that noise, with the effect of drowning out that ‘still, small voice’, God. Consider for example Eucharistic adoration. I have had the practice of making a regular holy hour for some time, but I nearly always find that it is only in the last few minutes that I start to appreciate the communion with Our Lord. I used to be horrified at this, and wonder what was up with me, but now I have come to understand that actually this is because it takes this long to ‘tune in’.
I have been craving alone time and silence in a very desperate way. Being a the sole caregiver for nine kids leaves me with very few moments to myself. The time it takes me to “tune in” is not there and I think perhaps it maybe part of the other difficulty I am facing…dryness.
Feeling separated or abandoned by God is never a pleasant experience. Whenever I am in the midst of this crisis, I often wonder what it was that I did (or didn’t do) to push God away. Did the spiritual dryness come because I didn’t have enough faith? Will God bring me back into His fold again or will I have to endure the fire of refinement forever?
The inability to see what is happening on the other side of the mountain and the constant struggle with God’s ever so slow “perfect timing” is fueling the fire that is drying me out.
Silence and the time needed to “tune in” isn’t only being consumed with the logistics of being a “single” (for lack of a better term) parent of nine kids. Truth is my Ephesians helmet must not be sized right because my thoughts are not cooperating at all. I am plagued with insecurities from being abandoned and replaced and the thoughts about what is going on the other side of the mountain torment me 24/7 . I can not even escape in my dreams.
Confidence in God’s mercy and saving grace, in His ability and desire to heal and restore my family, in knowing what will be doesn’t diminish the pain of what is.
Right now I ache, my heart is being torn apart. For whatever reason God has become very silent in this area of my life. The parent in me knows that sometimes even though we love our children and often because we love our children we have to let them experience trials in order for them to mature and grow.
I hear God asking, “Do you still believe, do you really trust, do you still love Me without the benefit of consolations?” Through my tears and clenched teeth of anguish my “Yes” is being proclaimed, even if my voice is so weak only He can hear me.
Earlier this year while hiking in Georgia some of the kids and I decided to take a short cut back to the cabin on the top of a rather steep incline. My eldest daughter and I took turns climbing ahead of each other and once our footing was secure we would pass the baby back and forth as well as hoist or shove the smaller kids. The younger kids began to get nervous but we encouraged them to keep on going. I was the last one to the top, struggling with the mud and few flimsy branches near the top to support myself. I could hear my five year old at the top repeatedly saying, “Mama, Mama, Mama!” As I tried to inhale enough air to lift myself over the last hurdle I manged to ask her what she wanted. With all the excitement and sweetness only a five year old can express my baby girl shouted, “I persevered!”
It was a forever remember moment of pure joy for this mama’s heart.
In this silence, in this dryness, in this consuming pain I hear her voice and I know I too will persevere. I’ll keep moving despite the fears and slips when I lose my footing. I will be grateful for the times there are helping hands from those I love during the climb. When I get to the top I will stand and shout too. 😉