Thursday, February 17, 2011

Personal Time of Darkness and Shadow

This portion of the retelling is very difficult to compress into small digestible portions.

Sending Donna home with Hilary and Ana brought excruciating pain to my soul and a dense fog over my understanding of God and His ways. I stayed behind with Marily for a couple of months while I completed some projects and dedicated time to our utmost family priority, adopting Ana. The completed adoption would be a source of peace in our lives. I was able to complete the adoption in six weeks. In retrospect, the entire adoption experience had God's fingerprints all over it.

After two months Marily and I joined the rest of our family. Within ten days we were at our new church assignment. We tried to pour out the life of Christ, only eternity will reveal results, but, the vessel of our life was damaged. We stayed at that small church for two years and then moved across the state. Ministry became mechanical, saying and doing the right thing, hours on end, days on end, months on end. Two events would shake me out of my comatose existence, both within a year of each other.

I must regress for a moment. During all of this time I continued to pray and read the bible and ponder the truth of God. At times praying brought great tears, tears of grief and sorrow, over friends left behind and wounds still bleeding.

During a youth outing Hilary collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Entering the, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, began an extended nightmare. Hilary, my Joyful Light, was so quiet. The silence of the room seemed married to the blipping of the cardiac monitor in a relationship of despair and more pain. Pain, I was becoming more intimate with this unwelcome heart resident each day.

Hilary had damaged her heart as a result of an eating disorder. Days later she was released, with a heart monitor and medication, at the age of fifteen. Just a couple of days later we admitted her to a small hospital that was referred to us. After the intake process Hilary was led to her room. As she was leaving us she pleaded to us to take her home and not to leave her. The doors shut and locked behind her and us. Donna and I sat in the parking lot and cried. Our tears brought no relief, only emptiness and questions impossible to answer. Why God? What is the purpose? Where are you? Our hearts and spirits are broken, what is the point of existence?

Post Traumatic Stress was determined to bring Donna's life to an end. The emotional damage from Zambia was now making her seriously ill. At one point she was in the hospital for more than a week due to stroke-like symptoms. Her doctor determined that she was having T.I.A. episodes. He told us that the stress in her life must be dealt with or she faced more illness and failing health.

In all honesty, I didn't really know how much more pain and despair we could endure. Many people would have had friends to share the burdens with. The few friends we had were far away, some far from us, not in distance, but in communication. People I thought close disengaged when we came back from Zambia. Our perception was, perceived failure, or not wanting to touch and understand our pain. At this point I made the decision to resign from our ministry.

A meeting to discuss our resignation, with our denominations leader, was a disaster. He told us in plain and very simple words that he, doesn't beg or ask pastors to stay. So many questions come to the minds of sincere seeking people when these events take place and they search in vain for answers. I had to come to the place where I asked every question. At that point, exhausted in mind and spirit, I gave up. I gave up searching for answers and gave up expecting God to answer me.

I thank God for the experience of doubt and pain. For the almost certainty, that God was absent and beyond my touch. Doubting His reality brought me to know a Greater Reality and certainty.  More later.


  1. I'm so glad I know that you came through this because it is very painful to read. There are a couple of grammatical things that would need clearing up but, on the whole, really well-written. Pacing and amount of detail are just right.

  2. I really appreciate the truthful approach to your experiences. The truth and how we see things are what they are. To "fluff" up how things really are is an injustice to those reading your blog. The way you express how you are feeling at the time these things are happening just makes it all the more real and most importantly human.

  3. As I read part one and part two of your experience in the desert places, I wept for you and your family...for your loss of so much...for the depth of your grief. Amid the tears I rejoiced that you could see the fingerprint of God occasionaly and that vision reminded you of God's presence.

    I also wept because of graceless leaders and their treatment of you. We who call ourselves by the name of Christ ought to minister grace and healing to those who are broken. I'm so sorry this happened...that it all happened.

    I am eager to read the next part of your story. Thanks for sharing so transparently.

  4. I long for that cup of coffee, my friend.

  5. I ask myself why am I so shocked that Donna was raped and beaten by a religious leader. I know first hand of the horrible things that are done by those that claim to represent God. In the 23rd chapter of Matthew verses 27 and 28 Jesus reproved the religious leaders of his day saying they outwardly appeared righteous but inside they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. It is so very sad that those we are supposed to trust are the very ones causing us harm. Your writings are very thought provoking and truthful and perhaps not what all care to read. But the truth is what it is and Jesus is all about the truth.