Palms sweating, heart thudding, I darted glances at the others in the room and quickly lowered my head. I had learned in elementary school that the best way to be overlooked was to evade eye contact with the teacher. Forty years later it was still an effective avoidance tactic. I hid my discomfort behind a well-rehearsed “poker face.”
There were only a dozen or so of us there, ostensibly all for the same reason. Only I knew different. I knew I was the only one there because I had to be. I was the only one who had no choice.
I waited, hoping against hope that someone else would take the bait and answer the question I couldn’t answer. Well, not truthfully anyway. No one did. So the pastor repeated the question with an encouraging smile. And waited.
“What has God been doing in your life this week?”
I began leafing through my Bible, pretending to look for that elusive scripture that had supposedly impacted me one day last week. If I could just locate that little gem, I would be happy to take the floor and tell everyone about the marvellous insights and life-changing tips I was daily gleaning from my personal devotions. It was a ruse, of course. There were no personal devotions. The last time I had opened my bible was one week earlier, same time, same place, same reason.
Relief washed over me as a woman spoke up at last. The group sharing time where the pastor asked the inevitable what-has-God-been-doing question was done. Now I just had to join a talkative group of fervent pray-ers and let them do most of the work and the toughest hour of my week would be over. I had survived another Wednesday Night prayer meeting with my secret still intact.
As I drove away from the church, it hit me once again how I had come full circle — from darkness to numbness with an exciting interlude in between. I felt hopeless and alone. If only I could just walk away from religion and quietly lead a hermit’s life of tending my flowers and decorating my home I would be so much happier, I thought for the millionth time. But I knew that was impossible. I was a Sunday School teacher. I played keyboard in the worship band. Church was a huge part of my life. Not only that, I was married to the church: my husband, once a pastor, was still in full-time ministry. I knew that in order for him to live out his call, I must be a supportive wife. If I didn’t share his living faith, I needed to pretend, I thought.
I kept coming back to the same thing: the only choice I had was no choice at all. Telling the truth was not possible. Because if I told the truth — that I had once been a fervent believer but had somehow lost my faith and didn’t know where to find it — my husband’s ministry would be over. If not over, then seriously hindered. The only way I could stop living a lie was to leave him and dissolve the marriage. That would kill his ministry even quicker! I loved my husband. I loved my family. Divorce was never an option. So I had to keep faking it, I thought. For my husband’s sake. Once again, I felt hopeless and alone.
And that’s how my story began in From Faking it to Finding Grace. Married to a minister but so spiritually dry that I now doubted everything I had once believed; I no longer prayed, read my Bible, shared my faith, taught my children, prayed before meals, sang worship songs, or practised any spiritual disciplines.
How and why did this happen?
Where did I find help?
You know someone who is in this same condition. Maybe it’s you. Stick with me for the next several blogs and I will take you on a journey of grace where you will see the work of a pursuing God and His effect on the life of a dried up believer.
Are you with me? That’s the most terrifying question a blogger ever asks. What if no one is…with me? I know that 80% of believers experience spiritual dryness at some point in their journey of faith so whether or not you comment or share, I know you’re out there. This is for you.