Hubs and I went to an awesome retreat this weekend by Joel Warne of Wellspring Life Resources. It was actually themed as a retreat for those going through the aging process but was very well suited for anyone grieving loss or experiencing a transition. There were many points that stood out to me, so I might write a few blogs about those as I sit in them longer.
The seasons when my faith just doesn't seem to fit...
Perhaps you can relate to this. It certainly has been a challenge for me on occasion over the years (and is right now). A moment of death (a change, a challenge, a loss) in which what you thought you knew about God or in your faith isn't seeming to fit just right anymore...
And, of course, the introspective questions in a season of "faith friction" are usually shame-based. "What am I doing wrong that allows what "worked" yesterday to be lacking today? Is something wrong with me? Is God disappointed in me?" It can be a hamster wheel of self-condemnation that can actually take us from relationship with the divine to a state of doubt, disillusion and despair.
The enemy is quite equipped to help us rob ourselves of a beautiful process...an unfolding or emerging of a gift.
Joel reminded us of the story of Mary at the empty tomb of Jesus. (Mary at Jesus' Empty Tomb) Initially, Mary doesn't recognize Jesus when he speaks to her. When He says her name, she is suddenly aware. Of course, after yelling out "Teacher!" (which is how she knows Jesus), she wants to touch Him...to hold on to Him...in the joy she is experiencing in her heart. Interestingly, He cautions her not to because He has not yet ascended to His Father.
What in the world does this have to do with our faith not fitting sometimes???
How Mary knew Jesus before the cross wasn't going to fit the new situation she was entering. He wasn't just "Teacher" anymore. He was something much different. He was now the resurrected Jesus...and her understanding of Him was about to explode into something far more awesome than she ever imagined. A Jesus beyond her current understanding but "fit" for the new life circumstances she would be entering.
And her story is a gift to us. Who we've known Jesus to be or how we've understood our faith up until now will likely not be the same as the gift of "new" that is coming our way on the other side of our challenge. Through and past those "cross" moments is a "faith fit" meant for us.
So...our invitation as we walk through...keep holding on. Keep wrestling. In the loss or struggle, keep coming to the tomb to see where Jesus is, and be open to the fact that He just might show up in a new and "fitting" way...