Knock Down, Drag Out

by Laura on November 10, 2011

I feel like we’re in an epic boxing match with God right now.

And he’s the one most definitely winning.

It’s as if we’re stuck living a bad version of Groundhog Day, the cycle of hope and disappointment playing out in a thousand different scenarios.

It goes a bit like this:

1. We think God is moving in an area or situation. Circumstances shift to underscore this possibility. And, so . . .

2. We pray. We get excited. We begin to think, “This is it–the realization of the Dream, the purpose for our lives, the plan God’s been orchestrating all along.”

3. We taste hope and get drunk with it–  in finances or career, ministry, business, or relationship.

4. The anticipation rises and gloriously carries us for a few days, until

5. WHAM! Knock-down, drag-out, smack-down. The opportunity wasn’t at all what we thought. The position got given to someone else. Another donor had to drop us, oh, and the air conditioner just broke. The magazine didn’t like my writing. The ministry already has enough help. The business idea didn’t make any money, after all.  A well-meaning soul hands out gut-punching criticism.

And just like that, we deflate. Hope gets the wind knocked out of her, and we find ourselves on the mat, head spinning and nose bloody, wondering what in the world just happened to our dreams.

But, there’s still some fight left in us, we tell ourselves– at the beginning, at least.  There’s still some fight left.

And, so, we regather. We shake our heads and stand back to our feet, positive that that last experience wasn’t really “it,” anyway, and that God needed to make us stronger with that one, in order to give us this next one. 

But, in the sport of boxing, a fighter only has to taste three knockdowns before the match is called a TKO.  A body and a brain can only be pummeled so much, I guess.

Trouble is, it feels like suffering only three would be a vacation– an experience similar to lounging on the beach sipping little drinks with umbrellas.

Because what we are learning about this cycle we find ourselves spinning in

of hope, expectation, disappointment, and discouragement,

is that it can eventually begin to affect an outlook, a personality, a trust, a person’s ability to hope in the first place.

Because, really, how many times can a fighter get back up?

How. many. times?

Apparently, at least one more.

*******************

Fighting anything lately yourself?

Related Posts: on Feeling Hammered {video of my kid battling waves}, on Depression, on Cynicism

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  • flyinjuju

    Prayers for you sweet Laura.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Thanks, so much . ..

  • http://www.highadventuretours.com Amy Lindeman

    I hear you Laura.

    I don’t know why these seasons in life have to happen. I’m sure some people have really great meaningful insight and spiritual quips in response to my questions. Or simply, the age-old: what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? Maybe something like that. In our own personal series of disappointments, I had the clear visual of a rug being pulled from under my feet- so swiftly that I would actually get air and inevitably fall very hard on my tender behind. After a few of these, its hard to not let a hardness set in. I think that’s what the world can mistake for “makes us stronger”. That sneaky cynicism quenching every ounce of child-likeness left in me, ready to laugh (cackle) at the glossy hope and dreams of others. But it’s not real strength, and has proved to be my current greatest enemy in life.

    It used to be so easy- hearing God, having dreams, and then seeing them unfold before us, chasing butterflies around the globe. Back when I was young.

    For now- I console myself with this: At least I don’t have cancer! My kids are safe and not being abused! I have a husband who is right in this with me! ( And… at least I’m not in Bangkok right now.) Thank God, he’s okay with messes… He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. He’s not offended by our inability to “get it together for-crying-out-loud!” He’s not afraid of or disgusted with my coping mechanisms which can make me cynical.

    The more I get to know you Laura, the more I see what a gem you are. It’s easy for me to see that you have so many gifts that God can use and is using to bless others and reveal His kingdom on earth. No matter how long it takes you to find a position, role, vision, profitable employment… your family is STILL pouring out living water, passionate, and encouraging those around you in a way that is quite unique.

    Blessings-

    Amy

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Amy, I think we must just be soul-mates, because I feel like this comment was the perfect postscript to my post. I just kept nodding my head all the way through it. I especially loved the paragraph about consolation:

      “For now- I console myself with this: At least I don’t have cancer! My kids are safe and not being abused! I have a husband who is right in this with me! ( And… at least I’m not in Bangkok right now.) Thank God, he’s okay with messes… He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. He’s not offended by our inability to “get it together for-crying-out-loud!” He’s not afraid of or disgusted with my coping mechanisms which can make me cynical. ”

      That is really just, perfect.

      See you Monday, my honest-to-the-core friend.

  • http://naomiswarey.blogspot.com Naomi Swarey

    Laura, these were my feelings and experience exactly of a month ago. That cycle of hope, expectation, disappointment and then just frustration with God! Frustration because it felt like I kept putting myself out there, available for Him to use and then He didn’t. At least not in the way I thought He was going to. For me it was coming to a place of realizing I was trying so hard to build up the perfect little ministry in which I was the starring perfect little missionary with scores of women flocking to me for my help and wisdom…. And of course God’s not about to let that happen because it was excluding Him from the picture, or at least shoving Him to the outskirts. So hence the humbling, the crushing of my perfect kingdom…
    Sigh…..I don’t know… I don’t have answers but my heart is feeling with you and I just prayed for you, asking God to strengthen you afresh, and enable you with the wisdom and discernment you’re needing right now!
    -Naomi

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Naomi, girl-who-goes-into-dark-places-with-LOVE,

      Thank you for your honesty, for this: “I was trying so hard to build up the perfect little ministry in which I was the starring perfect little missionary with scores of women flocking to me for my help and wisdom…. And of course God’s not about to let that happen because it was excluding Him from the picture, or at least shoving Him to the outskirts. So hence the humbling, the crushing of my perfect kingdom…”

      Ouch. I see myself here, too, I’m afraid.

      Thanks for your prayers and encouragement . . . so proud of the work you guys continue to do in the alleys of Chiang Mai, friend.

      Love, L

  • http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com Diana Trautwein

    I cannot tell you how or when this season will morph into a different one, one that brings actual fulfillment and understanding – but this much I know: it.will.happen. I will not offer advice, I will not throw out kernels of wisdom. I will join you in saying out loud, “THIS SUCKS.” (Pardon my French). Because it does – it’s just plain hard to move through the morass of broken dreams, difficult relationships, disappointments with people and institutions. But. It will not always be so. It feels like that now – I fully understand that. But that is not truth. The light may come in small, slender shafts – or it may burst on you, causing you to shield your eyes from all the bright. However, it comes, it will surprise you. It may even astound you. In the meantime, cry out to God and to us, put one foot in front of the other, love your husband and your children…and watch for it. So, so sorry this is a long rough patch. Praying for glimpses of Light.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Diana, thanks for such encouragement that the NOW doesn’t dictate the FUTURE. A good thing to remember and cling to in the seasons of “suckiness.” (ps- loved that you used that word. :) }

      I like that idea of looking for “glimpses of Light.”

  • Kimberlae

    My heart so goes out to you – HUGS!!!!!!!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Oh, thanks, Kimberlae . . . .

      I promise I wasn’t trying to be all “feel sorry for me” . . . just trying to to be honest. :)

  • http://www.angiewashington.com @ngie

    yep. forever yep.

  • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

    Oh, wow. You couldn’t have described our situation any more specific. I keep feeling like maybe, just…maybe, that the ‘next’ time around…it will be ‘it’. But I’ve noticed lately that I’m no longer thinking about it because, frankly, I don’t really think it’s coming anymore. It’s just the carrot that will be dangled in front of us to…keep us moving forward. And I really wish I didn’t feel that way, but…you’re right. I’m almost out of ‘get-back-ups’. (I think…) 😉

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Oh, Susan, I completely get feeling out of “get-back-ups”– I smiled when I read that! And I totally get the feeling that the “dream” or something “working out” feels more like a carrot that I’ll never reach more than a promise God’s going to fulfill.

      And maybe that’s a good point you made, too, about the carrot being the idea that keeps us moving forward . . . perhaps if we had it, we would naturally stagnate. I have a friend who once called God the “celestial con man”– meaning that sometimes He “cons” us to get to the place he wants us, but because he knows we might not choose it {because it is hard, but GOOD} he allows us to think we are following a dream, a “carrot” to get us there, to keep us moving forward.

      Maybe? I don’t claim to know . . . but you hang in there, too, girl, and keep. getting. up.

      • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

        I read your follow-up comment while I was waiting to get my kids from school today. I couldn’t reply then because my phone doesn’t work so well with that. I then talked to my dad and he commented that sometimes God wants to get us to a certain place and He knows we wouldn’t normally go without Him moving us along….the irony of his statement was, he didn’t know I read this post or your comment. 😉

        The rest of today I realized that there is a certain part of ‘faith’ that seems a bit different from the average, typical ‘Christian’ walk. You step out to follow God to deeper things, and then when you realize how ‘far’ you’ve ventured out, you start to panic and decide to turn and go back to the boat…suddenly finding out that the ‘boat’ is no longer there. You’ve come further than you thought. Now, you can’t figure out which way is right or left, up or down…you are then completely dependent on Him. It’s a scary AND exciting place to be. But sometimes…very wearying. I ‘know’ He’s going to finish His work and fulfill His promises, but some days…all I can see is the fog surrounding me. At least I know He’s there…right? 😉 Thanks for responding. I agree with your ‘stagnate’ idea. (much to my dismay! lol)

  • Erin

    You know, it’s really inconvenient your living in Thailand what with the hug I want to give you and the coffee I’d like to buy you and the space I’d like to extend for you to just be :)

    Praying with you all through the heartache of this rough season.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      smiles. right back at you . . . maybe next year in Uganda, you can swing by Thailand for vacation? I mean, it’s not THAT far away . . . ha ha.

      • http://mirembeekisa.wordpress.com Erin

        haha that WOULD be amazing. I couldn’t promise a vacation, but since Uganda and Thailand are practically right next door, you could visit too! riiiiiight :)

  • Julie

    Thanks so much for sharing this…you know the journey. And we have been in the same arena. Feels like we have already had three TKO’s. How many times can you get back up again? Good question.
    Miss you so much, dying to connect.
    Heard a quote the other day that actually SAID something to my heart. “The ability to keep going (or get back up again :)) is the evidence of Christ’s presence with you.” Hmmm. Feels like we are alone, abandoned, or being teased. But the fact that we are still intact does make me wonder. Definitely seems true. I would have given up, quit, thrown in the towel long ago. But yes, we get back up again. And I know in my weakness that is evidence of Jesus with us. Don’t know why there is knock down after knock down, but I am learning to live on His presence for today. He’s all I’ve got. And really, He is all I ever wanted.
    Love you. MUCH.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Julie, thanks for this . . . when i think of people”getting back up”, i think of ya’ll . . .your ability to keep. going. thanks for proving to the rest of us that His presence must most definitely be in you and ryan– simply in your ability to stay in the ring.
      love right back at you,
      L

  • Daniel Kruidenier

    Hey Laura, after reading your post I was reminded of one of my favorite nuggets from the Stoic Epictetus who was a slave before becoming a sage philosopher. When asked how to avoid disappointment or suffering he responded with the following: “Always wish, desire or hope for things to happen as they will”. Is this what Jesus meant when he included “Thy will be done” in his model prayer? Sometimes Epictetus words sound like a cheap trick or an ignoring of the obvious difficulty of achieving such a state. Other times I’m struck by a sense that he nailed it. How do they sound to you? Does it sound like a cop out? Is it equivalent to losing hope? Is it the only hope we should have?

    Hi to Matt and the kids,
    Daniel K.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Daniel! Hey, man– thanks for adding this. Loved this quote/idea because I do think it speaks to the problem of expectation. Perhaps that’s what gets us all in trouble in regards to disappointment– we play out this story in our minds of how the next chapter is going to go, and then when it doesn’t even come close, we can’t grapple with the realities of a different story.

      Matt and I have talked lots lately about how in Christian circles especially, there is this idea that people should “follow their dreams,” “do what they love,” live a Good Story,” etc. And it seems like this idea sets the bar so incredibly high for our lives, that sometimes we get dissatisfied with living an everyday, stable, “normal” life, well. The men in the rice fields here never struggle with expectations (maybe not never, but surely as much) because they are content in their state of life. They know they will live in the same village, farm the rice, have kids, drink beer in the evenings, and that’ll be about it. And while it is sad that maybe they don’t have expectations because they don’t have wealth or opportunity, in a small way I wonder if their lives are easier because they are not plagued with this idea to “embrace your dreams, follow your heart, “etc stuff that makes the rest of us rich Americans struggle with disappointment so.

      I would assume the men in the rice fields would have a much easier time siding with Epictetus.

      Great food for thought, Daniel.

      How we’d love to hang out with ya’ll again– we’d be able to bat around ideas with much more openness than we had in our college days, for sure. :)

      Have a great weekend with Jen and the kids, L

      • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

        That’s a great point. I think I sometimes imagine ‘my’ dreams…are His. Hmmm….I needed this ‘discussion’ that has started. 😉

      • Daniel Kruidenier

        Good thoughts. Jennifer and I have asked similar questions about the “follow your dreams” story and with no certain answers.
        I like Susan’s way of looking at it: the important question, answer anyone?, is how to distinguish the dreams I want from the dreams I should have. And Epictetus is less help here.
        He’ll just recommend that the first task of any person is to “define one’s purpose” which he’ll claim takes significant effort and energy. I take it that’s what we’re all doing. So, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing :-)
        Wait…
        Daniel

        • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

          Daniel, perfect question . . . funny that you asked it, because I just replied to Susan 2 minutes ago along the same lines:

          ” the important question is how to distinguish the dreams I want from the dreams I should have. ”

          I think that just make all the difference. It’s like with my son. If I want him to be a great, famous soccer player, I will push him and get him opportunity and be crushed if he doesn’t make the team. However, if my goal for my son is to develop humble character, hard work, etc., then the making the team or not is not such a big deal– in fact, NOT making the team might actually help make him more humble, work harder next time, etc. The shift from a goal on paper to a goal of the heart might be a pretty defining shift.

          And, Daniel, thanks for the “circular logic”– that’s a philosophy term, right? Yeah, that’s the only one I know, I think. :)

          L

          • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

            I agree. Ironically this discussion has seriously helped me. I like your ‘soccer’ example. Excellent point. It’s never fun to admit that what I’ve dreamed about has simply been…selfish (if that’s not too harsh a word) desires. And since He created me, His plans for me will always be what’s best for me. My character is what He pays attention to. And character is rarely truly refined in the good times…at least for me, that is. It usually takes a good yucky moment to clear away the ‘me’ that keeps getting in the way. Okay. I’ll quit commenting! lol. (but thanks to everyone for responding…it’s truly made me feel better.) God always sends us just what we need.

            • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

              ha ha .. . comment away! i’ve loved reading your thoughts. :)

              • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

                😉

          • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

            um, yes, friends, Daniel is a philosophy professor . . . . :) and a brilliant one, i have no doubt.

    • Janie

      Hi Daniel,

      Your words inspired the same two thoughts I often have when reading the words of some philosophers: “How did I miss such an obvious answer?” followed immediately by, “Hey, isn’t that just saying ‘Don’t hope for anything or do anything at all, just sit back and let the world happen to you and be content with what comes’?”.

      Obviously I’m not a philosopher, and now I’ve made it just as obvious to anyone who reads Laura’s blog that I’m easily confused :-) I’m also not one for whom doing nothing comes easy – like Eve, I’m obstinately certain that if God would just put the power in my hands I could really do a great job of fixing this world I’m living in. I pray He never grants that wish since even I know that it’s much easier to criticize those in power than it is to exercise power (and the responsibility for others that comes with that power) when you get it.

      Nonetheless I’ve copied your reply into a text file which I titled “how to avoid disappointment” and put it in my “Thoughts” folder. It seems to be one of those pearls of wisdom worth looking at more than once. Thanks!

      • Daniel K

        Hi Janie,
        I agree with you that there is a temptation to treat such a demand “Hope for things to happen as they will” as an opportunity to retire early or to give up. What always impresses me about Epictetus who rose from slave to sage, or even Jesus for that matter who said “Thy will be done”, is that they were active determined men. Somehow they lived in the tension of an active contentment. It would be most striking to discover that such a hope as we have been discussing was the very source of their determination.

        So, are we to be content no matter what? Well, if by content we mean “inactive”, by no means! But if by content we mean “at peace while acting”, then yes, by all means, be content.

        Daniel

        • Daniel K

          Sorry, the “Napkin Pillows” post was picked up from my wife’s blog because the internet is much smarter than I am. Apologies for the confusion.
          Daniel

          • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

            Um, so glad for that link b/c i found out ya’ll were pregnant! AWESOME!! Congrats to ya’ll!

        • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

          Daniel– I think I most loved this:

          “Well, if by content we mean “inactive”, by no means! But if by content we mean “at peace while acting”, then yes, by all means, be content.”

          It is true that so often we equate contentment with doing nothing. Perhaps the real trick is doing something, choosing to continue to move forward, all the while releasing the results– in a “thy will be done” attitude. Maybe a key factor is in letting go of the results of our actions–

          the daughter to be reconciled, the job to work out, the “hope” to be fulfilled like we had imagined.

  • http://kendalprivette.blogspot.com kendal

    oh, just oh. i have no wise words. praying.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Oh, thanks . .. .

      i’d love to meet in real life one day . . . just sayin.

  • http://immunotec.com/robhairston Mark Rob Hairston

    Wow! Laura Were you and Amy writers in a previous life. I do not know how you come up with this stuff. You write so well. Anyway, we fight until we die. We have no other choice. Everyday it seems there is a new battle to fight. They will always be there. I am a worker not a writer, but I comment to let you know that I read your stuff. Thank you for sending. Keep up you”re wonderful works. We love you. P.S You probably don”t need A/C right now…Do you? Take care

  • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

    I read this post this morning. Maybe it doesn’t really connect (in anyone else’s mind), but it kind of seemed to for me. http://newlife919blog.blogs.com/new_life_919_blog/2011/11/a-pep-talk-from-one-who-made-it-out-of-the-wilderness-of-hope.html

    • http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com Diana Trautwein

      This was a remarkable link – thank you so much. I looked around the blog a little and was astounded to realize that “Gary,” the blog owner (and this is a blog dedicated to encouragement – is that cool or what?) – well anyhow, he is the father of two bloggers I have followed (one I follow – the other I know about and like) – Emily from “Chatting at the Sky” and author of “Grace for the Good Girl,” a new book just out that many are raving about, and “The Nester.” This blogging world is amazingly small – even though it sometimes feels endless to me because there are so many fine ones out here. But somehow, Laura, I found that piece of knowledge very encouraging to me right now, as I am exploring a very different kind of wilderness than you are (I retired this year). I hope it will be encouraging for you as well. There are invisible threads in this body we’re a part of and we are all connected in some lovely ways sometimes. And the connections alone can sometimes be exactly what we need to keep on truckin’.

      • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

        Yeah, I found his site from the ’31-days’ challenge and his daughter had posted one day. He has some really great posts. (As do his daughters!) And that book that ‘so many are raving about’?…a-maz-ing. Trust me. Go buy it. I’m reading very slowly because there’s just so much stuff in there that’s ‘digging’ on the inside of me. Great, great book. Glad you liked the site. It just made me think of this post when I read it.

      • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

        Diana– wildernesses can look very different for each of us. Absolutely. And sometimes maybe even what feels like a wilderness for one of us doesn’t seem like it to someone else, but it really doesn’t matter, I guess. A person’s perception of where they are is really what matters to their heart and what they are learning.

        Thanks for the encouragement, and I love the small world-ness of the blogosphere, too!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Oh, yeah . . . i liked this link, too, Susan. Thanks for sharing it– loved that story about Walt Disney which he had posted right before, it, too.

      Hope is a powerful force, for sure, to keep us going. I reckon the hard thing is what do we really hope for? Obviously, if we hope for the specific– a job, a dream, a future, a business to make money, kids to “turn out,” etc, perhaps we are always looking for disappointment and should expect it. Hope in our ideas of the future perhaps are just set-ups for expectations to be crushed . . .. maybe the reality that had the Epicetus saying “Just hope for what’s happening, since you really don’t have any choice anyway.”

      Maybe our perspective has to shift to the eternal. If I was always only hoping for LOVE to WIN, for my HEART TO BE PURE, for me to KNOW JESUS BETTER, for me to be a SERVANT to those around me . . . than maybe I wouldn’t get disappointed as much, because those things can happen regardless of what actually happens, ya know?

      • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

        What an incredible thought! If my dreams were more focused on the eternal, they probably wouldn’t ‘fail’ so much. Love that idea…

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  • http://bahava.wordpress.com Katy

    I’ve kept this open in my browser just because it so perfectly describes the fight. The wrestling I’ve been wrestling for what feels like so very long and it’s definitely feeling like I’m down and out for the count and the thought of dreaming again just sounds like a a lot of work because of the grief that comes with it….the grief for those closed doors and the potential for even more closed doors. I don’t know. And yet it’s that somehow you keep moving forward even if it’s in the little things of just getting out of bed.
    praying for you and your fighting match.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Katy, I feel for you — “the grief of even more closed doors.” Humanly speaking, it’s hard to choose to keep knocking. I know.

      Keep moving forward yourself, friend,
      love from here, L

  • http://www.betterthanahallelujah4041.wordpress.com Sarah

    Hi Laura,

    I was referred to you by Susan, I found her 31 days on autism posts. I have been writing and thinking about this same question over the past few weeks, wondering what it is that God really wants for me. And then when I think that I’ve found it, it seems to be pulled away. I don’t understand it, but I’m seeing more and more in my life that if it’s not from God, I don’t want it. Yes, I could make all my dreams happen but I wouldn’t be full, or saved from a much worse eternity.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts and hopefully we can be encouragements along this same road.

    Sarah

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Thanks for stopping by, Sarah.. . . . totally resonate with your struggles.

      And, yes, looking forward to getting to know you more in the future, too!

  • Tamara

    Dear One. My prayers are tonight that you two continue to cling to Our Father, to each other, to those sweet kids. And that you remember Job, the original “get back up when knocked down and still praising” guy. And that Deut. says He will never leave you or FORSAKE you.
    He’s here, He’s not the one punching or kicking you, and He is bringing the blessings. Yup. I hate it that we sometimes have to wait sooooooooo long to see ’em. Keep up the fight but don’t feel bad about getting the rest you need in the way you need it.
    Hugs and hugs and hugs to you!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      T, love your encouragement, as always, always. :)

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  • http://www.livingingraceland.com Jenn

    Wow, this post resonated with me! I’ve been doing some boxing of my own lately. And I’ve gotten knocked down. I think I’m finally to the point at which I don’t get back up. Instead I’m just lying here saying, “OK, God, I’ll get up when you pick me up and put me where You want me. I don’t even care where that is any more. I can learn to be content anywhere You want me. So whenever You’re ready to put me somewhere, I’ll be right here waiting.” I’m just tired of fighting it out, figuring it out, finagling things to try to make it all work the way I want it to. I’m tired of planning and getting my hopes up. So I’m just waiting and trying to be thankful for this moment of this day. At least, that’s where I am right now — tomorrow, I might be back to worrying and fretting again.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Oh, Jenn, yes . ..this:

      “finagling things to try to make it all work the way I want it to.” Oh, girl, I resonate. So. Much.

  • Janie

    Laura I’m so grateful for this entry today, for the reassurance that it’s not just me struggling with the cycle of hope and despair. I just can’t seem to get it together and live the wonderful happy life that a wise, good little child of God would be living if I weren’t so dense and unable to know God’s will. You’ve described in perfect detail how the relationship I’ve had with my now-34-year-old daughter for the past 10-15 years makes me feel. I keep asking myself when I will give up and just live my life as if I had no daughter, and now a grandson I’m not allowed to see (born Oct. 6). I keep asking God what I’m not learning from Him that forces Him to keep knocking me down this way. I keep praying that God will open my heart and closed-mind and allow me to learn this lesson so the pain will finally stop. I remind myself of abused children who believe their parents are beating them because they are bad little girls and boys. I know God isn’t an abusive parent, so why am I letting myself get sucked into this trap of believing God is CAUSING my suffering in response to my inadequacy?
    In the letter my daughter sent asking me not to come down and ruin her happy moment with this newborn child with my talk about why a drug addict should let other parents raise the child, she told me SHE knew what God wanted because she’d gotten down on her knees in December, asking God to rescue her from herself (and her self-destructive habits including drug addiction), and in January she was pregnant! So obviously God wants her to keep and raise this child! It frightens me to think that she might be right, and she’s more receptive to God’s will than I am. It frightens me more to think that a drug addict is using a helpless infant to fill the emptiness in her soul the same way she uses drugs. It frightens me even more that there seems to be nothing I can do to rescue that child from being used like an illegal drug supply. But it frightens me most that I seem to have gone deaf and can no longer hear God talking to me at all.

    p.s. Can I help with the air conditioning problem? I’m making out my Christmas gift list this week :-)

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Wow, Janie, thanks for sharing so honestly. I think it’s a real gift to be able to honestly share the struggle– I think it makes allll the rest of us feel not so alone. Thanks for the bravery it took to do that.

      No words or smart answers, just prayers right now from Thailand on behalf of your precious daughter, precious grandchild, and your precious mother’s heart.

      Praying that somehow Love would win the day there . . .

    • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

      I read this and it made me think of something I posted a few weeks ago. I saw your word ‘abusive’ and was amazed because I used the very.same.word…just a while ago.
      http://thebossymom.com/2011/10/fresh-filters-and-clearer-lenses/
      I will sincerely pray that God will protect that baby and use the situation for His purposes. No matter how cliche’d that may sound.

      • Janie

        Thanks for the link Susan. Your post at “thebossymom” so eloquently described that brief flash of recognition I had while typing my comment above, about how children ALWAYS believe the abuse they are receiving is because they are bad. I’ve copied it for my files so I can refer back to it when I slip into that “filter” and allow it to block the love God is pouring out to me every day.

        • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

          Glad it helped. My ‘filter’ keeps slipping a bit, but I’m sure trying to let go of the feeling that I’ve messed up and this is my pay-day, ya know? Why IS it that we think rough times are payment for something bad? Where did I get that belief system? Hmmm…

          • Janie

            “Where did I get that belief system?”

            Kohlberg (1971) defined the stages of moral development where this very belief system (egocentric) starts as early as we are capable of reasoning out cause-and-effect. Each stage doesn’t naturally replace the earlier ones, but can instead blend with them, which is why it’s so easy to still slip into those earlier ‘filters’ or ways of thinking from when we were young – especially when under duress.
            http://info.psu.edu.sa/psu/maths/Stages%20of%20Moral%20Development%20According%20to%20Kohlberg.pdf

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  • http://www.littlemoregrace.blogspot.com Connie

    You have totally described the last couple of years for my husband and I. Opportunities arise, we get stoked, then they disappear. I haven’t the slightest idea why it’s happening, I’m just trying to hold on for dear life. Prayers for you, friend.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      back at you, sweetie.

  • http://www.ourwrightingpad.blogspot.com richelle

    so hard… i love the way the psalmist described your feelings (psalm 60.3)

    feeling a pummeled here, too.

    been studying through 1 and 2 kings lately – got to the part where Elijah is transported to heaven as Elisha watches. what captured my thoughts and meditations was the scene just before that, where Elisha asks for a blessing, a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah tells him that this thing he asks for is a “hard thing.”

    that got me to thinkin’ – aren’t blessings supposed to be nice and good and desirable things? so what in the world is a “hard blessing?” (and why would anyone want it?)

    and… would i ever have the courage, grace and habit of finding myself so completely immersed in Him and His will to ask for that same blessing?

    sorry, humanly speaking, that things are so hard… prayed for you… and thankfully trusting that God is doing something new, amazing and wonderful – especially as He encourages you through these hard times.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Richelle {missionary in Africa, ya’ll!},

      You are such a treasure– loved the wisdom here:

      “that got me to thinkin’ – aren’t blessings supposed to be nice and good and desirable things? so what in the world is a “hard blessing?” (and why would anyone want it?)

      and… would i ever have the courage, grace and habit of finding myself so completely immersed in Him and His will to ask for that same blessing?”

      Yes, why would we ever ask/want a “HARD BLESSING?” Humanly speaking, maybe we wouldn’t, but maybe He is in the business of giving those out more than the nice fuzzy ones, anyway. Maybe He knows the hard ones are the ones that bring us closer to him . . . .

      hang in there with the “pummeling.”
      love, L

      • http://www.ourwrightingpad.blogspot.com richelle

        one additional thought kept trailing through my mind, sleep and dreams last night. walking with a bit of a limp… like jacob… this morning.

        however, the gist of my wrestlings and wanderings as i slept: shouldn’t we expect to feel pummeled from time to time? and shouldn’t we be more worried if we never felt that way? …since (theoretically) we are warriors engaged spiritual battle against powerful things in high places, there will be times when we feel worn and weary, black and blue, injured and incapable of continuing. shouldn’t we be more concerned if we always felt victorious and started thinking we were the reason? shouldn’t it be significantly more scary to realize that the enemy doesn’t even bother with what we are doing b/c it is so insignificant eternally?

        obviously, there are times i’m “pummeled” as a consequence for bad choices or for sin… not refering to those here. rather, thinking of those times when i’m sure i’m following after the Lord with everything in me – and it still doesn’t work out (or like we say here… i’m “wawa-ed,” meaning west africa wins again…)

        blessings!
        r-

    • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

      Oh, hello. I’ve never noticed that before. Incredible. Who knew this discussion would turn into a mini Bible study/encouragement get-together? lol. A ‘hard blessing’…never would have seen it that way before. THank you…

  • Amanda

    good morning friend.
    ga-le-gee. sorry its been a bloody few weeks. wish i could walk more
    closely with you through it. i miss you.
    will pray today- no more sykes from God. hope in the unseen & direction.
    your lives have purpose no matter where they are lived out. there ARE
    more chapters.
    love you.
    lots… mandy

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Oh, girl, love this truth:

      “There ARE more chapters.”

      That is hope in and of itself, isn’t it?
      Isn’t it?

      Love you too, L

  • http://www.howcantheyhear.org Cody

    Wow! This is a discussion that I can really enter into these days. We ourselves have felt like the carpet has been ripped out from underneath us BIG TIME. But it is true that as believers in Christ and His eternal promises, like Scripture says, we are “struck down, but not destroyed, persecuted, but not abandoned, hard pressed, but not crushed.” And we certainly have been all these things.

    Having lived through the earthquake in Haiti where we are missionaries, then hear that our 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage IV terminal cancer, then to return to the states and live in hospitals and hotel rooms for the next ten months for treatment, then to have her called home to Heaven after all the fighting, then to return to Haiti a few months later, and now we are back in the states because last week our house was broken into at gunpoint and shots were fired through our bedroom door where I had my wife and children hiding behind as the thieves also had 3 guns pointed at me demanding that I give them all our money.
    So, yeah, I totally get where you are coming from as far as the confusion or the frustration as to why this happens.

    But here’s what I continue to say through it all…and trust me…this is not just some trite Christianese. In the words of Job, “though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”

    You see, the problem comes when we try to make sense as to why these things happen to us but only look at things from a temporal, and often self-centered, viewpoint. That’s where it doesn’t make sense at all and that’s where we can get very discouraged. But as Christians, we must remember the words of Jesus, “In this world you will have many troubles, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” So, I think our solace and our hope come not from a season, no matter how long or short, of trouble free, all your dreams are unfolding, life is good, but rather from knowing that no matter what happens, Christ has risen, is on His throne, and has promised to take us to be with Him. Here is where all of our hope lies. We can’t forget that.

    The first comment written on your post came from someone who stated, For now- I console myself with this: At least I don’t have cancer! My kids are safe and not being abused! I have a husband who is right in this with me!” Again, I understand that we can always try to find solace or confirmation with thinking that you don’t have it as bad as others. But what does someone like me do with something like that. I didn’t have cancer, but even worse, my little princess had cancer and did not survive it. My kids were not safe…they were just shot at last week by evil men who invaded our home and violated us. I cannot find solace in a statement such as “well, at least I’m not as bad as someone else.” Even though I’m certain that that’s true. I’m sure that there are people who lost more than one of their young children to a deadly disease.

    But that’s not where we can find our hope and solace. Our hope as believers comes from ONE thing. God is good. It is not trite at all to say this. I think by hearing some of what we have gone through it is safe to say that I am allowed to say such things and not sound fluffy duffy and trite. But it is plain fact. He is sovereign and is in control of everything. And He has a purpose for everything. Even our greatest sufferings, trials, setbacks, failures, etc. He will use it for His glory. We simply need to trust Him in this. I think we need to be careful when we talk about our dreams. Again, sometimes we have a tendency to become self focused when we talk in terms of our dreams. It can be dangerous. The Bible doesn’t call us to pursue our dreams, but rather to pursue Christ, to live for Him and make His name known. And this must be for His glory alone, not for ourselves, otherwise we are missing something here.

    Trust me, I know the struggle. And right now, sitting here in an undisclosed location in the states after having to flee Haiti in a moment…again…we wrestle and ask the Lord what He is doing through all of this because we certainly cannot make sense of any of it. And often, the Lord has been silent when it comes to our questions. But we sense that still small voice deep within the core of our being that bids us come as we hear Him say again, “Trust me.”

    I will end my “comment” with something that I wrote about after Susana was taken home to Heaven. Corrie Ten Boom writes, “Only Heaven will reveal the front side of God’s tapestry of our lives.” Right now, we can only see the back of the tapestry. It looks like a mess. Nothing makes sense. Colors are random. Knots are everywhere. There is no rhythm or pattern. That is what the backside of a tapestry looks like. But when that tapestry is completed and flipped over and hung out for all to see, the comments are no longer, “This does not make sense”, but rather, “Wow, how incredibly beautiful!” And this, I believe, is what Heaven will reveal.

    But until then fellow soldiers…press on. God has a plan…and He does all things well.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      This comment spoke volumes to me, volumes . . . .
      Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
      So. Much.

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  • Janie

    “…we wrestle and ask the Lord what He is doing through all of this because we certainly cannot make sense of any of it. And often, the Lord has been silent when it comes to our questions. But we sense that still small voice deep within the core of our being that bids us come as we hear Him say again, ‘Trust me.’ ”

    Cody… your entire comment held so much wisdom, but these words above especially spoke to the internal struggle I keep experiencing. Hearing God speak to me (finally) with those two powerful words, “Trust Me,” was an incredible blessing.
    Thank you.

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  • http://www.carriebalvin.blogspot.com Carrie

    Had to come back and read the original post after reading Cody’s comment.

    Powerful words Laura. Thanks for sharing them!

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  • Char Fox

    I keep fighting through one bad turn after another. In almost 5 years, I’ve not really seen moments when things went well. I will see God move to help just to have it shattered that same day or the very next day. I lose hope then it increases again. Yet it gets harder and harder to see it increase. I’ve gotten so ill, much of it exacerbated by mountains of stress. Even trying to take a moment to get away and pray becomes impossible much of the time. I have to take anti-depressants. Some of it physical but it’s also worsened by the stress. I take medication just to get through the day because of chronic fatigue from an illness. When I try to sit down to read the Bible and pray, I sometimes nod off. And that’s even more discouraging as the Word that can lift me up slips away in the fatigue. After years of this fatigue, it’s causing a mental fog, making it even more difficult to keep hold of hope. There has to be a reprieve somewhere because lack of rest can affect how we see things. I keep praying for a reprieve.

  • Lost

    Why? Why would this supposedly loving, all powerful God, allow those who follow him most closely, and those who try with all their being to be GOOD to be knocked down, beaten, crushed… Again and again and again????? While those who do evil seem to have their every need fulfilled and most of their wants too!! I used to believe with the faith of a child, but I had to grow up. And now I have lost my faith or rather I still believe in God, I just think he’s not very nice.

    • Char Fox

      Lost,

      As you can see below, I’ve been there. Keep finding myself there. But as the author states:

      “Because, really, how many times can a fighter get back up?

      How. many. times?

      Apparently, at least one more.”

      To the question of why He allows it while those who do evil have everything, consider Lazarus and the rich man. I’ve also noticed that people who have everything they need are just as miserable as some who don’t. And miserable, uncontented people tend to lash out at others in their misery.

      When we get to Paul’s season, where we have learned to be content in any situation, we no longer question God. We’re no longer miserable inside and don’t react out of our misery and hardship. We find the peace Christ gave us rather than as the world gives. And it’s at that point that we can see that all we endured was worth it.

      And we may see all the time we spent going back and forth with God and thinking He was doing all this to us, was time we lost that we can’t get back and rather than lose anymore time, we want to move forward with Him and help others to believe.

  • mikerrr

    seems to me God is mean

  • mikerrr

    the tears of those ravaged by the wrongness of life – God doesnt seem bothered

  • mikerrr

    the Bible aays he loves me life says he doesnt care

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