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Pain in My Heart

Carrie, 

I just finished reading your book and wanted to respond to it. I can’t tell you how many people I want to share this with. Who first? My mom, I suppose, since she asked to read it when I was finished, yet I can think of so many God has brought into my life who would benefit from such a read. I am in touch with a group of women who have each lost a child. None of them deal with the kind of mental illness that *John and *Michael exhibit but they understand depression and anxiety as it expresses itself so often as personality disorder and can sometimes end in suicide. If only Christian people were more kind. I have often thought that is why I have been brought along the path that I now follow. Close-mindedness, rigidness, and judgmental views had become a part of who I was. Many circumstances have brought me to where I am now. Mostly my stubborn pride. I for one believe God will allow a lot of pain into our lives to bring us to a closer walk with Him. I was so blinded by my own sense of false identity as a proclaimed follower of Christ, that I couldn’t allow the grace of God to penetrate the prideful barrier I had built for myself. I believe the Word of God, the people he brings into our lives, the circumstances we face, all come together to lead us to a place where God resides. Thank you for writing this book and sharing your journey of faith. I loved the examples of the disciples in their journey, kind of makes them more human and Christ more tolerant than I’ve always thought about and the relationship we have in Christ more comparable. Just wanted you to know I finished and enjoyed your book. It was wonderful!

In Him,

*Lisa

*Names have been changed

I discovered this unexpected email about the book, Lost & Found: A Journey of Faith in my inbox yesterday. An encouraging gesture, for sure! Yet this woman’s kindness actually made me feel sad.

I’ve never met her, and I suppose this was the very reason her words only intensified my feelings of loneliness–that a stranger would react and respond to this story about my faith journey so candidly.

Over the past decade, my family has been in a war. In that time, I’ve

  • seen son Joe through a frightening adolescence and into a precarious adulthood,
  • dug deeply in my exhausted state to watch daughter Georgia blossom into a beautiful, capable, and kindhearted young lady,
  • spent about what an average new home costs on out-of-pocket expenses related to Joe’s illness (yes, at least that much) and with limited resources,
  • endured stress-related health ailments of my own, and
  • remained married in spite of the complications of Joe’s illness, and other challenges my marriage has seen.

And you know what? I endured each of those things, along with all of the “normal” difficulties life brings–mostly alone on this earth.

The church and community I invested myself in? Unresponsive to my family’s need.

Our extended family? Many were detached and unavailable.

It wasn’t that I expected everyone in my life to drop everything to be at my beck and call. But over the years, the sparseness of gestures of love and concern that came my family’s way was hard not to notice.

Out of this isolated and heart-wrenching journey, a passion was birthed. A grasp of what the lives of many in the faith have been reduced to–yet a vision for what we’ve been created for.

The sad truth is, our communities of faith are failing to become what we can be; I’ve seen this first hand and have experienced some of the isolating consequences that can result from this undone state.

I realize this post might easily sound like I’m venting, or that I’m trying to heap a load of guilt or shame onto anyone who fails to meet my personal expectations and demands. It may seem as though I don’t appreciate the kindnesses I’ve received from family and friends.  I’m praying my intentions will be understood for what they are. Concern. And sadness so real, there’s a growing pain in my heart at the depth of our brokenness.

I’ve watched God sustain me and my family through an illness that brings its fair share of discrimination; I’m confident He’ll open doors for me to tell what I’ve learned:

  • that God redeems and heals,
  • that He calls us out of lives we’ve worked to make comfortable so we can become truly Christ-like, and
  • that we are called to live and to walk out of a spirit-infused faith.

There are those who seem moved by this  news, related in my humble words as the above email suggests. Yet my heart aches as many that I hold dear remain unavailable to walk with me. I remind myself that this pain is fleeting, as I continue to pray that God will move us all to draw nearer to Him.

More than anything, I’m sadly mindful at the unimaginably difficult life my son continues to live.

One day all will be well with him. That day could come as he toils on this earth; it will most definitely be when he takes his honored place in glory. For now, his life–and the life I’ve found in this place–remain as a looking glass for all who are willing and able to look for God’s presence and the truth He brings in this, our journey.

 


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