Friday, April 20, 2012

Anger with God

“I can’t…I can’t love or forgive myself…I just can’t.”

Sitting in a local café in London, I was talking with a lady from Romania (that we will call “Valerie”).  Before I even met her I could tell she was hurting and broken.  By her facial expressions, body language, etc, I could tell that she carried a heavy weight of pain in her life.

Valerie already knew on of my Korean friend whom was also a part of the conversation in the café.  In fact, my Korean friend talked to her all day and I was only able to talk to her for two hours, as I was committed to be at our book table and couldn’t stay the whole time. 

During the two hours I spent with Valerie I couldn’t help but notice how my heart ached for her obvious pain and hopelessness.

If you read my last blog entry, you know that my goal and prayer was to be able to use my testimony while out on the streets meeting people.  Truthfully?   In the first month or two I don’t think I was quite ready to share my story with a complete stranger.  My wounds were still raw and stinging with pain.  In fact, I struggled enough sharing my story with people I had known for month (or longer) without starting to cry.  But now?  Now I was ready.

While talking with Valerie, God prepared and opened a way for me to share what He has been doing in my life throughout the last year.  (My Korean friend also got to share her testimony as well!)  As she spoke, Valerie said something such as, “I shouldn’t be angry at God.”

I don’t know the cause of her pain nor do I know what past action she is trying to forgive herself.  What I do know, and what I can relate to is anger.  I know what it is to be angry with God.  (I’m human…what can I say?)

Once she finished speaking, I spoke up saying, “I know what it’s like to be angry with God.  This I year went through at least two months where I literally woke up and went to bed angry.  There were days when, while I still believed in God, I really just didn’t even want to talk to Him.”

Giving me a curious look, I continued.   As I told her my story I told her everything in the order that each event took place.  But in summary, I shared with her about the heartaches of 2011.  I shared of my dad’s three illnesses that lead to three hospitalizations, nearly taking his life each time.  Recalling back to my year, I also told her of my niece, Ashley, and how she died while I was in Japan, but was able to hold her for the first and last time before we buried her.  Then I told her of my grandmother’s second round of cancer, as well as other family cancer scares…Not to mention my own ankle injury and surgery, and other family illnesses/emergencies.  If you’ve followed my blog, you know most of my story as I wrote as it all took place.  (Although, my blog doesn't cover my whole if you ever want to know the full edition, feel free to ask.)

After I told her of all the heartaches I went through, I also told her, “I was angry about my life, my situation, and eventually realized that ultimately, I was just angry at God.  I was angry for what seemed like a lack of protection and for Him not healing my baby niece in a way that would let her live.  Once I realized I was angry and admitted to God of my pain and emotions, God was able to start repairing my brokenness, pain, and fears.  But even now, just four months after everything took place, I am still learning from God about this issue.

“I’m learning that I can’t always change the ways of my own heart as much as I attempt to do so…I have to pray for God to change what I can’t change on my own – like my anger I held towards Him, as well some of the bitterness that is still stored in my heart…And sometimes, that’s a daily prayer.   It’s not always a prayer we pray only one time in our lives.  It’s not always that simple.  We have to remember to continually go to Him and rely on Him, not ourselves.   

“No matter how we feel – God knows.  If we’re angry with Him – He knows.  We might as well tell Him and start repairing the cracks in our relationship with Him that our anger and bitterness causes.”

Throughout telling her my story and all that I had to say, she seemed like she was focused.  In the end she asked me many questions. Granted, there is the fact that she’s from Romania.  English isn’t her first language and there were some miscommunications through some of what was said.  (For example: I was telling her of my “baby niece”.  The first time I said that she said, “You’re baby??”  Since I have no children of my own, I quickly explained that it was not my own child but my sister’s.)  

I’m praying that God was able to use my imperfect words and testimony for His glory regardless of communication barriers caused from our two very different languages.

I told Valerie that she could always start by praying to God to help her find a way to love herself and to forgive herself for whatever she has done in her past…To change her heart in a way she can’t change on her own.  She told me that she couldn’t and wouldn't do that.  In reply, I asked, “Can we pray for you?  Can we pray that God will show you a way to forgive and love yourself – even if you can’t?”  She told me that we could.

I told her, “If our Great and Might God can still love you and forgive you, then it’s okay for you to do the same.  You might not be able to forget your past, but that’s okay.  God can help you learn through your story and use to help other people who can relate one day in the future.”

As we ended our conversation (at least, the first two hours that I was apart of...My dear Korean friend stayed with her to talk for a few hours more) I shared with her Jeremiah 29:11, and how it reminds us that God has a plan for our future.  Just before leaving the table, I told her, “I just can’t help but imagine God looking down on you, His child, His daughter, thinking to Himself, ‘My precious Valerie, I love you more than you will ever know, and I have forgiven you.’”  I also told her of how God must ache for His own hurting daughter.  (Knowing how much my heart aches for her, I can't even begin to imagine how God must feel when He sees how much she is hurting.)

If Valerie comes to your mind, please pray for her...
  • Pray that she can love and forgive herself.
  • Pray for God to change her heart in a way she cannot change on her own.
  • Pray that she finds peace and joy through our one and only God.
  • Please pray that regardless of my imperfections and our language barrier, that the important parts that God wanted her to hear she not only heard, but also listened to them as well.

The Travelin' Chick,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Where have the last two weeks gone?  It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes by here in London.

Before I get into some of details of the last two weeks I want to share this story with you.  If your sense of humor is similar to mine in anyway, prepare yourself for a moment of laughter...


The joys of living in an international community!  In our flat lives seven girls (formerly 8, but my German friend was only here for 7 weeks.)  Only two of us are native English speakers.  Last night we went for a prayer meeting with another group here in England and we got back late last night at half past 11 p.m.  The following basic conversation took place between three of us girls:
English Speaker: I'm tired and grumpy.
Korean: Grumpy?  What does that mean?
Me: Grouchy.  Unhappy.  Or, like when you wake up and haven't had your coffee yet.  Grumpy.
English Speaker: Have you seen "Snow White and the 7 Dwarves?" 
Korean: No...What means 'dwarves'?
English Speakers: Ummm...Dwarves are like little people.
Korean: Oh, like smurfs??!?
English Speaker: No...Not exactly...
Needless to say, I was laughing really hard towards the end of the conversation.  I knew exactly where my English speaking friend was going with the movie, "Snow White and the 7 Dwarves" - and eventually she did get to explain that there were some by the name of Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, etc, etc...Sometimes it's pretty much impossible to keep a straight face during moments like this. 

During the last two weeks I've been keeping busy with many things.  Our work of having a book table and distributing free Christian literature to people we meet on the streets, with my communications internship, living with 7-10 people (depending on who is here, who isn't...), taking classes, etc, etc...The list is never ending.  While it has been crazy busy I am still learning a lot and soaking everything in to the best of my ability.

Recently as we distributed the free Christian literature, within an hour I had at least 3 or 4 people walk by the table telling me and my friends/coworkers, "You're young! One day when you're my age and you see all the rubbish that goes on in this world, you'll know that there is no God!!"

To be honest, my first reaction (internally) was frustration.  It drives me insane when people look down upon others because of their age...Not to mention before getting to know a person and their story.  When the first person looked down on us for our age I was okay...but after the third and fourth one, that's when the frustration came.  (It also didn't help that it would be said by people who walk by the table without stopping, not giving us a chance to talk with them to learn more about them.)  In my mind I couldn't help but think, "Who's to say we haven't seen 'rubbish' in our own personal lives or in the lives of others?  Why are they judging our lives because of our age?  They don't know us!"

Then I realized, after my frustration calmed down (as I am not perfect by any means!), the sadness that came over my heart for them and their lives.  What had these people been through to make them disregard God?  What's happened in their lives?  What is their story??  What are their struggles and heartaches??

It's really saddening to think about the hopelessness their lives must hold.  Sure, I have heart aches.  I have struggles.  But one thing remains the same through all the different circumstances: I still have hope in God.  It's like what I recently posted on my Facebook account.  Often I'm reminded that it's not about showing people that I'm stronger than anyone else, but just as broken as they are. The difference between myself and some of the people that I meet? In the midst of my brokenness I still have hope in God...and that makes all the difference. And even though I am still healing from brokenness from my year of 2011, and healing can be a painful process in itself, I also remember that God has a purpose for my life and my unique testimony.   What are the people that I meet on a regular base putting their hopes in??  Do they even have hope of any kind???  (And if they do, I cannot imagine how little hope they truly get from something other then God.)

1 Timothy 4:12 also came to my mind:
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

Yes, I might be younger then many of the people that I meet on the street.  Yes, it's true that my story might be different then those that I meet, but I still understand what it's like to go through the rubbish of life through illnesses, death, fear, and anger.  I may be young, but I'm not living in a bubble protected from the storms that life brings. (As, if you read my blog on a regular basis, I don't need to tell you that!)

Instead of letting my frustration take ahold of my mind, next time I hope and pray that the people who say these kind of statements will slow down and talk with us.  I want them to see that we truly care about them and who they are and the struggles that they face.   I want a chance to hear their stories and to share my own in return...To share my testimony and what God has done and been doing in my life...To set an example. 

We always try and set goals before heading out.  Wheither it to be that we pass out a certain amount of literature, to use a certain Bible verse in the day, to get into a good conversation, etc...Sometimes the goals are met, sometimes they are not.  But often, God has something incredible to show each of us who go out for the day regardless of if they were met or not.  My next goal?  To have a chance to get into a good conversation with someone.  I really want want to be able to share my testimony and what God has done in my life and what He continues to do....I want my testimony to be used for His glory, to help make a difference in someone's life for God...I want to connect with someone and to show God's love to them.

Soon I'll be sending out my next newsletter.  If you didn't get the last one and you would like to be included on this upcoming one, please send me an email and let me know.  I've only done one so far, but I do go into a little more detail of the work I am doing here through the newsletter verses on my blog postings and Facebook posts.

Oh yeah!  After praying about it and thinking about it for the last few months being away, I've extended my time to work here until June 26th instead of leaving in late May.  This adds one month to my time here.  I feel as though this is where God has called me to be for this period of my life and that I am meant to be here through the additional month.  Please be in prayer for funding to come in quickly and easily.  Where God guides, God provides - and I firmly believe this!

The Travelin' Chick,