Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Four Seasons of Faith

Last year, I read a book by Dr. Gary Chapman titled The Four Seasons of Marriage. As the title of the book indicates, most, if not all marriages go through phases that resemble the seasons: Hope and growth in the spring; blooming happiness in the summer; a slight chill in the fall as things begin to dry up and begin a period of dormancy or death; and darkness and bitter cold in the winter. It’s an inspiring book and I read it for both personal and professional reasons. I set aside a little time each evening when I could quietly absorb the words and reflect on them. I found myself thinking about how most things in my life can be characteristically described using the traits of the seasons.

Most recently, I’ve been thinking about God, religion and my faith in general. In the past two years, my faith has undergone many transformations. Looking back on it now, I see that what was going on in the “seasons” of my life had a direct impact on the “seasons” of my faith.

During my pregnancy, I was in the throes of spring—hoping and waiting for good things, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the child that I’d wanted and prayed for. People would see me waddling into church, my belly enormous, having to get up twice to go to the bathroom. I would pray for the save arrival of my child and thank God for the blessings in my life. After my daughter’s birth, there was a brief summer, where life was amazing and beautiful. We went to church as a family week after week, and I would hold her close, swaying with her resting against my chest and softly sing hymns in her ear. Soon, fall took over as my marriage slowly disintegrated, my work took on a life of its own and my daughter’s health faltered. I spent hours in church alone, praying for things to change. In the darkest days of winter, I thought that I couldn’t cope for another second and briefly stopped attending. It was then that I realized that it wasn’t God’s fault that things were going wrong in my life. So, I went back to His house and forgot why I stopped visiting in the first place.

God knows what’s in my heart. He knows that I still carry hurt and sadness, occasional bitterness…but He also knows that my heart is leading me in the direction of healing and that I spend more days feeling good than feeling bad.

That being said, I’ve spent much time praying for Baby Z, who I wrote about in my last post. She’s almost a month old and has yet to go home from the hospital. The prognosis isn’t good, and yet, all her parents can talk about is how amazing and beautiful she is. In some of my darker moments, I get angry with God, not being able to understand why God would do this to an innocent child. Then, I have to remind myself that this tiny baby is making progress—she can breathe on her own and recently started taking partial feedings from a bottle instead of a feeding tube. I kick myself for feeling sad and seeing that there’s such a long road ahead…and all her parents see is the miracle in front of them.

Sometimes I think that the road to Heaven is too long to travel. I worry that I may take the wrong road and end up somewhere other than where God intended. I worry that my human nature will keep me caught up in things that are far beyond my control.

And then, just like always, I saw a sign that I modified into the following prayer:

Dear God, When I feel like my road is fraught with difficulties and darkness and I wonder if I’ll ever make it to where You are, help me to remember that You sent Your Son to this earth so that He could build everyone a bridge to Heaven…and He did it using only two boards and three nails. Amen.


Catherine said...

Your posts always make me cry a little. I love you.

edensfamily said...

Martha-Thanks for stopping by my blog. May God continue to bless you on your journey. I love that the family of God is so big and even virtual!! Blessings to you and yours.