I’m in a dark night of the soul. I don’t know if I have lost my faith permanently, or simply misplaced it, but my faith just isn’t there. It’s gone, just gone. Poof, like a stiff wind came through and whisked it off to a place as hard to find as the legendary Oz. 

And here I sit.

My loved ones are worried for my soul, as I would be in their shoes, but I ironically, I am not. 

Maybe if they understood better where I’m coming from it would help, so although these things have come up in conversations, maybe it makes sense to write them all down as a reminder. 

  1. I’m not doing this out of rebellion. Not at all. This isn’t intentional. It isn’t planned. In fact I ran toward the God I believed in with all my might, and as I ran toward Him, He shimmered in the distance as an oasis, but as I ran harder and faster, the oasis never got closer. Alas, I find myself exhausted and thirsty in the desert, and the oasis has faded far off in the distance. I’ve come to suspect it’s only a mirage.
  2. Scripture won’t help. I’ve spent years of my life devouring in the Bible, I know it well. But the words that once gave me hope now ring empty. I know that they still give you hope, and that you want to remind me of that hope, but it doesn’t work that way anymore. I don’t really understand it, but those words feel like weapons now instead of comfort. 
  3. This isn’t a phase or a stage. I don’t know what it is, but please understand it’s more than just being mad at God because life hasn’t gone how I’d like. I hope you don’t think this is a cosmic level temper tantrum. Nor is it just a rough patch. We all have periods when prayers seem to bounce of the ceiling, but this is deeper and more substantial.
  4. I’m sorry it hurts you. I wish this life change didn’t impact you like it does. But, just like if I was going through a divorce or lost my job, this also isn’t actually about you. I need you to accept me where I am even if you don’t like it or agree with it, just as I continue to accept you where you are.
  5. You didn’t fail. Whether you wonder if you prayed or are praying enough for me, or said the wrong things or not enough right things—let me assure you, there’s nothing you could have done to make things different. Ironically, I was attending Bible studies and going to church and doing daily devotions through the early and middle stages of this change. I was immersed in scripture when my heart changed.
  6. I don’t know where this will take me, but I do know I cannot return from whence I came. I cannot slip back to childhood, and I cannot return to the faith that was once robust. I may not know where the road ahead is going, but I plan to navigate it carefully. Whether I sojourn toward a new faith that I never could have imagined or ever further away, I am uncertain.
  7. I still follow Jesus. My love for the unconventional wisdom he teaches, especially in the Sermon on the Mount has never faltered. My daily decisions are still based on these principals, and I believe that his love is present in my life as much as it ever was. 

If you can, dear ones, maybe try on my shoes for just a moment. Let my words sink in. Please don’t make your need for me to be a Christian in good standing a burden for me; I already have more burdens than I care to bear. If you can be a safe and soft place for me to land, that, dear loved one, would be the most lovely, Christlike way to be an instrument of God.

Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on https://benswritingrunningmom.wordpress.com/. She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.