I've thought about it since I wrote my last post, and decided not to go into detail of what I saw and encountered in the ministry that affected me so deeply. I know that the chances of it affecting the people involved is slim to none, but I don't want to take the chance.
It was a time in my life that was very dark. I was lonely and confused by what I was seeing and experiencing. I had a lot of responsibility on me and felt torn in several directions. In the process of it all, I lost footing in who I was, questioning many things I never thought I would question. For the first time in my Christian life, I felt lost and wanted to run away. I didn't run away... but I did become jaded, and ultimately, a different person.
I have looked back on that time many times in the last 6 years, and almost daily for about a year. The struggles were complicated and involved many relationships, that I handled poorly.
I wonder if I had to do it again now if it would have the same outcome? I wonder if I have grown enough in myself, that I could have with-stood some of the trials sent my way?
I recognize we are brought through trials and often don't know the reason for them, but I do strive to interpret meaning from that time, if for nothing else then to justify the years I lost a result of it all.
Perhaps this vagueness on my behalf is too confusing to understand at all what I am trying to get out, but that confusion shrouds the experience for me as well. Looking in at it, I know there was a spiritual element involved. The darkness I experienced and oppression I was under, was beyond 'normal'.
I slowly made my way out of the darkness of that time, and continued on with my life, finally making it to Nursing School. I held on the my trust in God, yet I stayed away from the organized body of Christ. I lost my ability to enter a church and not judge the people saw, as I held them in comparison to those in the NH ministry. I could not worship without doubting the next person's intentions, or wonder of the integrity of the Pastor. So I just avoided it.
Even when I returned on my regular trips to Guatemala, I felt the excitement and the love of service, dimmed somehow. My adversity spilled over into my time with the Lord, and my time in prayer and in his word became a distant past. It happened so slowly that I never really noticed, and in fact, much I am only recognizing now in retrospect.
The last year and a half since I graduated Nursing I feel like I have only been living a piece of my life. Not having the structure and business of school, I felt suddenly exposed to see what my life had become and who I was as a result. I have avoided friends and stayed distant from those who love me... spending more time alone and 'safe' from fellowship that may require me to face my fears and struggles.
But my loving, heavenly Father has never forsaken me and in the last few weeks I have found myself slowly being stirred up inside. Things that I had lost passion for, are exciting me again. I stopped journaling and writing in general after NH, and now wake up and think of writing. I have had some incredible encounters with friends and have seen his hand working in me again.
There is nothing more exciting then to see prayers answered, to see your life used to bless someone else's life, and to be a vessel used for his glory.
Just this morning, I was totally blessed with an answer to prayer...
As I have been slowly crawling my way back through, breaking my pride, I have have run across information on a conference in another town, next week-end. At first I ignored it, yet it seemed to keep popping across my path. Then again recently I saw it and thought that it might be something I would do if I could find someone to go with me. As everyone I asked was not able to come, I pretty much gave up the idea that it could happen... I kept feeling as if this is something I needed to do, but without company and the finances, I wasn't sure...
So, this morning I decided to write an email to the organizers and explain a little where I am coming from and my desire to come and why. I left it at that and in God's hands. Within a half an hour I had a response back, not only providing me with a ticket to the conference itself, but also providing me a place to stay for the week-end!!
I am so excited... I feel that I am in an exciting time. I am so hungry for God and excited at feeling this way again! I pray that in the next week as I prepare, that I will continue to tear down the walls I have built up around me. That the pain, pride, selfishness, distrust etc...that has accompanied me, will be shed.