A writer who struggles to speak her mind. Sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what I was.
After the death of my second unborn child, something broke inside my soul, much like a rusty faucet handle that had had enough of the daily routine of twisting and turning. My heart was broken. I was so badly bruised that my emotions struggled to figure out whether to cry or just settle, cold and damp, in the pit of my stomach.
Yes, I knew in theory that walking with God is not an exemption from personal tragedy and devastation, but I couldn’t understand what I’d done so wrong to deserve having two beautiful babies taken from me in immediate succession of each other. Though I also knew that my ‘record of goodness’ was immaterial to the issue at hand, I couldn’t help but reach for my list anyway—haven’t I been a ‘good’ Christian, fundamental in my beliefs, stringent in my religious practices, and uncompromising in my worship?
Quite unsuspectingly, I had stepped into the darkest days of my spiritual journey.
To everyone around me, I had self-soothed. I showed no signs of depression or lingering grief. I had quickly pulled on my ‘resilient faith’ hat, and without hesitation, I returned to my usual routines. All seemed well, except for the sad, little secret that only I knew:
I had stopped praying.
Sure, I prayed a little, interceded for others a little, but I never really allowed myself to venture down the deep hallways of prayer. No, not quite like I used to. I avoided my secret times with God gingerly. I was afraid to get too close, too transparent to His gaze. What if He stared straight pass my words into my heart? I’m sure He’d read my thoughts and knew exactly what I was hiding. There was no need to let Him know how severely let down I felt.
No tears. No signs of grief. Lock it up and move on, I’d tell myself.
I dressed up in church clothes Sunday after hymn-filled Sunday and denied the gaping cavity in my heart the desperate release it sought. All the time thinking, “What am I supposed to do now that I’ve been denied something so definitively feminine, so basically essential to my womanhood?”
For two solid years, I maintained the game. I continued to hide, and God continued to wait. Until one day I came face-to-face with Him and found myself trapped in His love. It was the day my husband asked if I wanted us to “try again.” He didn’t have to say more, I knew exactly what those two words meant. I broke like an avalanche cascading down the mountainside fortress of survival I’d built for myself. And right there, standing transfixed, I wept.
The problem, I admitted through bulbous tears and shallow breaths, was that I didn’t know how to speak my mind. I’ve always been told that I have an issue with avoidance. I hate confrontation and am even less skilled in ‘saying it like it is’ speech. I often let the moment pass without saying what needs to be said.
But not this time.
My prayer started as a quiet sob, then graduated to a wail, my chest heaving and words spilling out in no specific order.
On and on I cried, until finally His voice broke through my emotional uproar.
I felt His comfort as He ministered to my brokenness, and suddenly I felt like a child again. It was as though I was in Sunday school, learning about how Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us. I heard the Bible stories in my head again as though it was my very first time, and they were powerful.
Yes, Jesus could heal!
Yes, Jesus knew my pain!
Yes, Jesus would make me better!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
These were the simple confessions that jumped from my spirit
—and reverberated in my mind as I prayed without reservation. I had found my way back, after walking through deep darkness, grief, and disappointment.
This whole time, He was right there waiting to receive me.
My prodigal story isn’t about a life of drugs and parties, but it’s no less abandonment and rejection of the Father than if it was. My story is about a woman who stumbled from the Master’s hand because she felt unsure of His love. And like a good Father, He came running.
Kerri-Ann Haye-Donawa is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about the word of God and how it is translated in our everyday lives. She currently lives in Toronto, Canada. You can find her on Twitter at @KHayeDonawa and on Facebook.com/kerriann.haye.
[photo: mathteacher...falling in love with Fall, Creative Commons]