What Would God Look Like to You?

I know it has been way too long since I posted here but I haven’t had anything to say.  I did skip church last week because I had previous commitments that church would have interfered with.  It was so nice sleeping in though.  (No sleeping in was not my previous commitment)

Since tomorrow is Easter (or today now I guess) that means that technically I am done with giving up being an Atheist for Lent.  The thing is I don’t feel like it is time for this to be over.  On one hand church is boring and it makes me mad.  I don’t have a spiritual connection with it but it feels like a sociology class and I want to ask questions and challenge the assertions/views but I can’t.  I really need some place I can do that.  I need more open talk with people about their faith and Christianity.  Being preached to is not effective for someone that doesn’t believe the way you do.  This is true for everything not just religion.

So I am sitting here on my couch.  All the kids have been in bed for over 3 hours, even my husband went to bed about 2 hours ago.  I was on Facebook and Twitter and I realize there are things I want to say but really nowhere to say them.  I want to get feedback but I don’t want the judgement that would come with it.  Maybe this is what prayer is really about?  Talking to someone and getting feedback without judgement.  But God and Jesus both have too many Facebook accounts for me to know which one is the right one to send a message to.  😉

The words I want to say are flowing so i figure this is as good of time as any to grab a laptop and make a post.  I am not so sure this is really the right place to share my feelings – only because so many of my friends are following me but honesty is the best policy right?

Here’s what I have been thinking about.  I was asked in a comment some time back (and I am feeling too lazy to look up which post specifically) What would God look like to me?   I was unsure at the time and I just said it would have to be something big.  The small and subtle might work for those just questioning their beliefs but for a non-believer to change their mind I would think it needs to be a grand gesture on God’s part.

I think that right now I can answer this.  God would provide help.  For the first time in my life I am truly worried about how things are going to work out over the next few months.  Like most of America money is tight, but for us right now it is not just tight we are downright broke.  I don’t actually care if people know that.  We have a large blended family and somethings that have been out of our control have really sent us down the river so to speak.   Like the State of Florida confiscating $3200 from our tax return on the premise that my husband was behind on child support.    He is NOT behind.  The State of Colorado knows that (they are the ones the order is through and it is taken out of his checks every two weeks) but Florida messed it up and they have now had our money for 2.5 months.  My husband calls weekly to see what is going on and as of the last conversation with them they admit the money is owed back to us not to his ex-wife but they don’t know when they will send it back.   We were counting on that money to do silly things like pay our rent and put some in savings for what will likely be a cross state move this summer.
The other thing that has hit us even harder was my ex-husband lost his job. Even though my ex is paying support for 3 kids it doesn’t quite make up for what my husband pays to his ex-wife for two so we actually really depend on that money.  This is not a case of using the child support for frivolous things like going to the movies or getting hair & nails done.  It goes towards bills.  Anyone who knows us personally knows we have Season Tickets to our local Major League Soccer team.  That and the fuel to go to the games is our only real splurge.  It is the only thing we do as a family.  It was the main thing we got for the kids for christmas.  Seriously their big gift was a keychain with a sticker in the box that said “plus 1 season ticket.”  I won’t apologize for not spending every moment of every day in our house.   So anyway we need that money and it is not coming in right now.  He is basically behind what equals our electric bill and my van payment (and remember we live in Colorado so this isn’t a $40 electric bill).  My ex is doing everything he can and he does have 2 part time jobs but since he went on vacation after he lost his job (it was already planned) he didn’t work for a month at all.  I trust that he will do what needs to happen to get caught up but until then it hurts to be here.

We are just in one of those situations where we are not living the high life. We don’t have cable.  We don’t have expensive cars, but we do have car payments.  We do have cell phones but my husband truly needs his for work and we need some sort of phone at home so I don’t consider these unnecessary luxuries items.  We are at the point I am actually thinking about going to a food bank to fill our cupboards.  I don’t want to do this.  I want this situation to resolve.  To be back at the point where we aren’t worrying about this stuff.  To not be at the point where I let my 8 year old daughter know the Easter Bunny isn’t real because we aren’t doing Easter baskets this year.  Its an unnecessary expense.

I have been working too.  I have picked up every possible substitute teaching job offered.  I have been leaving my cell number and my sub ID number with teachers in hopes that they will call me first if they need a sub.  I am working a lot.  My husband officiates soccer and has been doing that since it is in season.  It doesn’t pay a lot but it is something.  Substituting pays decently but what I am earning now I won’t get paid for until May 31st so it is not a solution for right now.

This week will be a week of putting stuff on Craigslist (need a Wii or a Beco Baby Carrier?) and seeing if we can get stuff organized enough to have a garage sale friday and saturday if the weather isn’t horrible.  This is going to be a hard task for me.  I have struggled with clinical depression in my life but have been pretty good until recently.  The idea of even going to church tomorrow makes me want to go into my bathroom and lock the door.  I am regretting telling the kids we were going because there would be an Easter egg hunt after and now I cannot back out.  I can’t get their hopes up and then dash them like that.  I won’t be that parent.

So what would God look like to me?  Right now, God would look like a solution to my problems.  A grand gesture that I cannot possibly pass off as coincidence.  I am not talking winning the lottery (especially since I only play when its at $500 million).  I am not looking for money to fall from the sky or things to magically be resolved.  I can do the work; I am just not 100% sure what it would be, but if there is a God then I am sure he knows the solution. He just needs to show it to me in a way I cannot ignore because at this point I am out of every idea except the one that keeps haunting me about telling my kids we have no place to live or explaining why we are eating crackers with ketchup for dinner.

____________
† If you happen to be my husband reading this and are uncomfortable with this being out there – you know how to reach me.  I’ll edit it or take it down.

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22 thoughts on “What Would God Look Like to You?

  1. In times like these, and you know I’ve had them too, all I can do is ask God for strength. Every moment of every day and that’s what he gives me to make it through. That’s not always good enough for everyone but a sermon quite a few years ago told me just that. Ask for strength and He will give it to you. He doesn’t solve your problems for you but he provides the things you need to do it yourself.

    That’s how I know I have a God. Simply because I don’t know how I’ve made it through some of the crap I have without something pushing me, telling me it WILL be better. The past year has been especially hard and God blessed me with so many friends that were there for me when I needed it.

    Just my two cents. 😉

  2. If you ever want to ask me any questions about christianity, you can ask me (natteringfingers@yahoo.com) and I’ll try not to judge. As a Christian of only a year, I can understand how you feel about being preached too. I’ll try to answer you openly, and I hope this doesn’t sound too pushy either! Just want to try help you out 🙂 I feel God is still helping me through a tough time, and looking back at what I’ve been through I can’t imagine doing it without God. Hope this helps, and doesn’t sound too evangelical :’)
    God bless! x

  3. I’ve posted before that I’m also a new Christian of less than a year, and I still question and challenge things all the time. Luckily I have a church community that welcomes this and encourages me to ask questions. If you want me to ask any on your behalf, just let me know! LOL I don’t always find the answers to my questions totally satisfactory, but I’m okay with this being a lifelong journey.

    I’m sorry to hear that life is so difficult right now. It must be really, really hard. When I go through difficult times, I ask God to provide what it is I need – but in broad terms. I let him decide how He is going to do that. Help me provide for my family, help me ensure there is a roof over our heads, etc. Sometimes He surprises us… sometimes the solution that presents itself isn’t the one you would expect, but in the end it makes total sense. I know trusting in that is huge and can seem impossible, but I do believe it’s true.

    As a side note, do you have a Paypal account? I’d like to send a tiny little something to help you out a little bit.

    Hang in there… and please keep writing! I find your posts, and this process, fascinating. 🙂

    • Thanks for your kind words. I just want to say that this post was not a request for funds in any way. Just our honest situation and how I feel about it in relation to a possibility of a God. I don’t want anyone to misinterpret my intentions here

    • I was wondering the same thing as according to Kate about a paypal account. I even asked a friend who had your blog link posted on her FB page if she had your address cause it said “my friend” but I believe she just participates in a group with you but you don’t actually know one another. I was hoping to keep it annonomious…but alas…I need to ask. I want you to know that it is worth it to follow God…because He has given us compassion to help those in need & allowed us to see & hear you at such a time as this. Would you allow us to reach out to you on God’s behalf? :]

  4. I wanted to say thanks for sharing this with us these past few weeks. I am a recent-ish non-christian but trying to view things from an objective viewpoint rather than my feelings about what I was taught. Anyway I have really enjoyed it.
    I have no suggestions for the current problems just sympathy. I totally understand how scary and frustrating it can be. We are in a similar position where income tax is not splurge money. It is half our rent for the entire year. We also depend on student loans because my husband is in school rather than working a second job. Something always seems to happen where we end up scraping change to make ends meet. Good luck with your garage sale. I am so sorry it has come to that, I know it sucks.

  5. The first trip to the food bank is the hardest.

    Do you guys have consignment sales there? Like Just Between Friends or Kids Closet Connection? J is outgrowing things and V probably won’t be passing her things down to him, so you could prep those and sell them. Toys that they outgrow can be sold at consignment sales too.

  6. Dy-Anne, my heart goes out to you in regard to both areas that you discussed in this post: concerning your spiritual questions and also concerning your family’s physical and financial needs at this time. As I have written before, thank you for sharing this; I know it must be hard to delve down into the depths of your heart and put this all out there for everyone to see. But I’m sure that *writing* about it is a mere shadow of what it’s like to actually *live* it.

    First, I’ll comment on the spiritual issues. I do hope that you continue your quest past Easter. Those questions that you have and those challenges that you want to assert seem to be very important to you, and perhaps (as you wrote about before) it’s the urging of the Holy Spirit right now that is causing you to seek answers. If you do not find someone locally to work with concerning your questions, I am certain that I can find someone whom I know who could work with you long distance someway – maybe by phone or Skype (email would probably take too long and wouldn’t be interactive enough). I think you’re right in that you need some one-on-one or small-group non-judgmental sessions to explore this further. You’re also right that mere preaching often does not accomplish what you are looking for. The fact that you are still looking, however, does seem significant to me.

    Secondly, concerning your family’s physical and financial needs: I am so sorry to learn that you all are going through this. I know you didn’t write what you wrote to ask for donations, etc., but I am hoping and praying that something truly helpful does come through for you … soon. And if and when it does, I hope that you will attribute it to God. I believe and trust that he is moving right now to help you out in some way.

    I’d also like to belatedly comment on a previous post that you made (“The Holy Spirit,” March 22). Rather than place it here, I’ll go back and post it on your original blog. I’m telling you about it here b/c I just didn’t want it not to be on the radar somehow.

    Some of the phrases that I and others use may seem cliché or trite, but I do mean and believe it when I say, “God bless.”

    – Sallie

  7. Hi Dy-Anne, I’ve been thinking about you this last week wondering how your journey has been going as you came to the end of your time commitment. I was wondering if you’d given up because it was too hard, but I see that it’s just the blogging that’s been too hard. 😉 And lets be honest because daily blogging IS hard, and all the more so when you are trying to sort out your own feelings and thoughts.

    I can totally relate your comment about struggling with clinical depression. I too struggle with that, ESPECIALLY when there is no money. I mean, how do you choose between paying for heat vs paying for food or shoes/clothes your kids need?

    I also hear you on why the sermons are frustrating as the forum isn’t set up as a time to ask questions and get feedback. I imagine you sitting there coming up with question after question after question! Do you write them down? Do you think that the pastor would be open to meeting with you during the week to discuss your questions raised by the topic? It also seems like you have some pretty open Christian “real life” friends who aren’t afraid to talk honestly about faith with you. I think it would be a challenge to have so many questions and I think I’d feel frustrated at not having answers to all of them at once – esp when one question leads to another and another. May I encourage you to consider that your questions came though a life time of experiences (not all at once) and that it could take some time for you to get them all answered? When I am struggling with faith, I often feel like once “injustice” leads me to say, “and that’s another thing!” about another area of dissatisfaction. 😐

    Regarding the struggle you shared here, my heart goes out to you – those are all hard things!!!! $3200 is a LOT of money that is being withheld! I am praying with you about this. It’s clear that the two of you are doing all that you humanly can to make sure that your needs are covered and doing all you can to minimize your expenses – it would be unjust of anyone to accuse you of spending frivolously. And I hear your heart in not wanting to come across as asking for anything or trying to manipulate readers into giving you something or wanting to become “accountable” to hundreds (?) of online readers on how you spend your monthly budget. But I also understand the heart of the reader who would want to express compassion to you and your family and whose heart would be to reach out to anyone in need – even an online blogger.

    One of the mysteries of God’s ways, to me, is how he works and how (and why) he chooses to use people. All throughout the OT and NT people are the agents of God’s work and compassion. The NT gospels are full of stories of people Jesus personally healed. Couldn’t God have healed them without Jesus being there? Of course. But for whatever reason he chose to use the personal touch. Same for the book of Acts – the disciples-come-apostles touched many who were healed. Surely these same people had prayed for their own healing before, but for whatever reason God used the touch of individual persons to meet their needs. What I am trying to say is that I would encourage you to let God work in HIS way and how HE would choose to provide, even if that means letting people help you in a way that you might not otherwise. For example, when Jack hurt himself and your soccer friend offered to keep the other kids so you could go to the hospital. You might not have asked, but when she offered you knew that this met a need and you allowed it to happen. Perhaps a friend of yours works with your state’s senate or house and would be willing to speak to your local representative about the situation? Or you might email them yourself and explain the details? Sometimes an inquiry from an official can get things moving when they otherwise would be stagnate.

    Nevertheless, I am still praying that God shows himself to you in tangible ways that you an understand. After all, the people who were healed knew at that moment that God did something for them that they could not have done for themselves and it seems like that is exactly what you need God to be.

  8. I wrote a lot, so I divided it in two. 😛

    Hi Dy-Anne, I’ve been thinking about you this last week wondering how your journey has been going as you came to the end of your time commitment. I was wondering if you’d given up because it was too hard, but I see that it’s just the blogging that’s been too hard. 😉 And lets be honest because daily blogging IS hard, and all the more so when you are trying to sort out your own feelings and thoughts.

    I can totally relate your comment about struggling with clinical depression. I too struggle with that, ESPECIALLY when there is no money. I mean, how do you choose between paying for heat vs paying for food or shoes/clothes your kids need?

    I also hear you on why the sermons are frustrating as the forum isn’t set up as a time to ask questions and get feedback. I imagine you sitting there coming up with question after question after question! Do you write them down? Do you think that the pastor would be open to meeting with you during the week to discuss your questions raised by the topic? It also seems like you have some pretty open Christian “real life” friends who aren’t afraid to talk honestly about faith with you. I think it would be a challenge to have so many questions and I think I’d feel frustrated at not having answers to all of them at once – esp when one question leads to another and another. May I encourage you to consider that your questions came though a life time of experiences (not all at once) and that it could take some time for you to get them all answered? When I am struggling with faith, I often feel like once “injustice” leads me to say, “and that’s another thing!” about another area of dissatisfaction. 😐

  9. Part Two,
    Regarding the struggle you shared here, my heart goes out to you – those are all hard things!!!! $3200 is a LOT of money that is being withheld! I am praying with you about this. It’s clear that the two of you are doing all that you humanly can to make sure that your needs are covered and doing all you can to minimize your expenses – it would be unjust of anyone to accuse you of spending frivolously. And I hear your heart in not wanting to come across as asking for anything or trying to manipulate readers into giving you something or wanting to become “accountable” to hundreds (?) of online readers on how you spend your monthly budget. But I also understand the heart of the reader who would want to express compassion to you and your family and whose heart would be to reach out to anyone in need – even an online blogger.

    One of the mysteries of God’s ways, to me, is how he works and how (and why) he chooses to use people. All throughout the OT and NT people are the agents of God’s work and compassion. The NT gospels are full of stories of people Jesus personally healed. Couldn’t God have healed them without Jesus being there? Of course. But for whatever reason he chose to use the personal touch. Same for the book of Acts – the disciples-come-apostles touched many who were healed. Surely these same people had prayed for their own healing before, but for whatever reason God used the touch of individual persons to meet their needs. What I am trying to say is that I would encourage you to let God work in HIS way and how HE would choose to provide, even if that means letting people help you in a way that you might not otherwise. For example, when Jack hurt himself and your soccer friend offered to keep the other kids so you could go to the hospital. You might not have asked, but when she offered you knew that this met a need and you allowed it to happen. Perhaps a friend of yours works with your state’s senate or house and would be willing to speak to your local representative about the situation? Or you might email them yourself and explain the details? Sometimes an inquiry from an official can get things moving when they otherwise would be stagnate.

    Nevertheless, I am still praying that God shows himself to you in tangible ways that you an understand. After all, the people who were healed knew at that moment that God did something for them that they could not have done for themselves and it seems like that is exactly what you need God to be.

  10. Sigh – apparently I *did* manage to post twice on your blog – So sorry!! Once in the “full verion” and once divided into two parts. Makes me seem like I think my comments are pretty important. 😛 I will just shut the heck up now. 😛

  11. Dy-Anne, I have been following your journey on your blog and your husband’s blog since day one. I am very proud of you for making it this far and planning on continuing farther. He loves you so much and you two will make it through this. God knows how much you can and cannot take. I believe that is why he allowed your boy to fall, but also protected your son from injury. That would have been too much for you to handle. I am here if you ever want to talk. I will continue praying and I look forward to hearing what happens.

  12. Dear Dy-Anne,
    I’ve followed your adventure on-and-off, and I have to say that this post is my favorite. You are so right, we Christians want to put limits on God. We want to interpret him for you. This is wrong. Only you can seek him out in the end.

    I don’t see it as a coincidence… your situation, your “experiment”, and it all coming to a head around Easter. This is a chance to see if he really is real.

    Just a simple thing. Ask. Dig deep down into your heart and find your most profound desires and ask him to help you. You must be sincere though. Imagine when your kids ask for something… you can tell when it is a sincere request. Let your guard down in front of God.

    He is never ashamed of us. Never. He does not judge us. He saves us and gives us everything.
    You are in my prayers,
    Vince

  13. What does God look like to me?

    God looks like the strength that you have had to get through everything that you have been through (unexpected pregnancy which led to an unhappy marriage, a relationship filled with turmoil with your mom, everyday struggles with life in general). The strength to come away from teenage depression without being a teenage statistic.

    God looks like the perserverance that you have had to get through school no matter how many years it has taken you and no matter how many kids you have which always make it tough to commit.

    God looks like the spirit of compassion that you have for all those baby boys s that you want to fight for and all those babies you want to save from dipshits who don’t put them in carseats properly and whatever other issue you decide to stand behind.

    God looks like love and loyalty. The love and loyalty that you have for your children no matter how tough they have been on you and the trials and tribulations that you have gone through with step-parenting issues and age gaps and behavioral issues.

    You are not one of the weak and weary that has given up on God or “spaghetti” and has given into a life of desperation and darkness. You are a fighter and that spirit comes from within. A light that shines from inside that grows brighter with your strength. Maybe all of those times that you thanked “spaghetti” God heard “Thank you Lord”. Maybe all of those times that you sent “happy thoughts” into the universe, God answered your prayers. God is light. Everything that is good and wonderful that keeps us going comes from Him. Somewhere along the way each time that you may have felt like giving up something has happened to change your mind and you have continued to fight.You may not be able to recognize what they were but it doesn’t change that fact that you are still here…fighting. That is what God looks like.

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