Saturday, September 13, 2008


It is Saturday night. We just watched a pathetic football game between Auburn and Mississippi State. Final score, Auburn-3 Mississippi State-2. What kind of a score is that? There were millions of penalties and multiple turnovers. The offense was a mess but the defense had a stellar performance. Blake almost made me leave the room because I was getting too worked up for someone on bed rest.

In a strange way, I could relate to that game. Both teams looked about as good as my spiritual life feels - part of me looks like I have it together. But the other half of me is a train wreck. There have been comments on the blog, in email, on voicemail and even on Facebook about my faith, strength, courage, etc. While I would love to possess each of those virtues, I am ashamed to say you may have been fooled. I feel uncomfortable to receive such credit because I am not that person. Let me explain.

My parents taught me right from wrong at an early age. I was a fairly polite kid, saying "Yes ma'am" and "No sir" when responding to my elders. I wasn't the smartest in the class, but I always did my homework, never skipped class, never talked back to my teachers. Growing up in a Southern Baptist home, you didn't drink, didn't smoke, didn't swear. Have you met or seen my father? He is big. He worked on a farm, worked on a railroad and has done manual labor as long as I can remember. His shoulders and arms are as solid as a rock. It never really crossed my mind to try and break spoken or unspoken rules around my house out of fear of the wrath of Danny.

A self-proclaimed social butterfly, I genuinely like people. I like to meet new people. It kills me that we had a new couple move in next door and I can't give them a warm welcome to our street. I will admit to sitting by our window the day they moved in just to catch a glimpse of their faces! When I walk down the halls at church, at work or in a store and make eye contact with someone, it feels natural for me to smile. It kind of bothers me when people don't respond with the same. I loved being a lymphedema therapist, as it allowed me to spend extended time with my patients, developing close relationships with many. I keep in touch with friends from high school, Tennessee Tech, Lexington, KY, Eastern Kentucky University and Auburn. I like to know what is going on with friends who have played a roll in my life. I call and try to stay connected...well, I used to be better at that but you know what I mean!

So why am I saying all of this? Maybe it sounds like I am full of myself. That is NOT at all what I am getting at. What I am trying to explain is that being a "good" person according to society's standard is not a struggle for me. I think it is fairly easy to be a "nice" person. But, those traits alone are not what I was called to be from a spiritual standpoint. There is more to it than that.

It is easy to be a Christian when life is, seemingly, going well. It has only been in the past few years that I witnessed despair around me and truly realized that no one is exempt from suffering. I watched a dear friend bury her husband after 10 months of marriage. Then I reflect back on the day I learned a life-long friend of ours had been in a helicopter crash and was badly burned. To stand on the sidelines as my friends suffered shook my spiritual foundation to the core. It was the first time my faith had been challenged and realized my shallow walk would not withstand such a test.

When the first round of despair hit our family, I was not prepared. Sure, I prayed most nights for a healthy baby and thanked Him for all the blessings in my life. I would mention a few prayer requests from friends and family, when I remembered. I went to church every Sunday we were in town. We were members of a small group that had its share of deep, spiritual discussion that made me think deeper, for a few minutes at least. I was "nice" to people the rest of the week, leading a fairly "good" life. God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit may be mentioned on a day to day basis in random conversation but that is about it. I was too busy to take it to the next level, spending the time needed to develop true relationship with my God.

I set out to change that once we lost Finley. I had been dealt my blow and I would learn from it. I would not replace that void with another baby. I would let a deep relationship with my Lord assume its rightful position. Ahhh, how quickly I became complacent once I had the hope of a new baby on the horizon. While I started out strong, my need for a Savior became less and less of the focus. Life was on the upswing and I could handle it, on my own. I moved into the same old routine, calling out to God for the things I needed on behalf of friends/family and of course, for myself. I scummed to the belief that I had "passed" my test of faith and would be spared sorrow for a few years, at least.

Then, February 25th, 2008 came and knocked me off my feet. I have been flat on my face ever since. Well, there was the brief glimmer of hope when I wrote Exposure. A brief moment of revival. But, shortly after, I learned I was pregnant and the downward spiral began. I immediately began a battle in my head. Wanting to trust God's hand in the timing of things vs the medical reality that this was much too soon and very risky. Fear seems to be winning over faith/trust. While I know God is bigger than medicine and He can defy the odds, I also know His plans may not be my own. The thought of the later seems to be more than I can bear. I am terrified of facing that outcome once again. It is a reality I cannot deny.

If it seems like I have it together, it is by the grace of God and God alone. I can take no credit for that. I am not courageous. I am not strong. I am not faithful. I am barely hanging on by a thread. I cannot pick up my Bible. On occasion, I utter prayers, begging for mercy for the sake of this child. I am not like the women whose blogs I read. I wish I could keep moving forward and praising Him in the midst of the storm. As I have stated before, I am frozen. I am only hoping that, in time, I can move to a different spiritual level. It truly is what I want. I am just not there yet.

Sorry this is random but I needed to clarify.


Kristen said...

I think more people are in this boat with you than you think! I have been told alot of the "you're so strong" or "you have such faith" in regards to all of the health issues with the girls. I wonder how much faith it really is when I dont rely on God first, but as my last line of defense once I have realized that I cant do anything else. You've been through more in 2 years than most people in a lifetime. God will take us leaning on him when we are battered and bruised just as much as when we have it all together. Were thinking about you guys all the way across the street!

Carla and Daryl said...

since you are brave enough to delve into your innermost feelings in front of the internet world i wanted to share with you that i, too, are that "nice" person who has always tried to do the right things and help other people when i can but for years i was also at a place where i couldn't feel exactly sure god was REALLY there for me. i asked myself isn't that what faith is supposed to be?? truly believing he can do anything...make anything possible? oh, i would pray and pray and pray about my struggles but in my mind i don't think it was really doing much good because it seemed no matter what i did i always ended up in the same boat with the same feelings. i guess i'm not a very patient person and when years went by i really felt like it would never change. you know the verse about all things being in god's timing and how his timing is perfect? on one level i know this to be true but i just didn't want to make it apply to me. i wanted it to be in my time when it was convenient for ME. i think one day i will be able to look back on that waiting period and say, "aha! i get it now" but i'm not there just yet either. i'm working on it though.

i am praying for you, blake and that little baby. I am glad that Jesus interceeds for me when i don't pray as "faithfully" as i should. i love you all.

ashleyspann said...

Danielle -

You are EXACTLY where God wants you to be - dangling on a thread - that thread is HIM! He will be continue to show Himself faithful in your struggle for faith and strength. Fully relying on Him is the safest place on earth! Praying for your heart and baby Malone!

Ashley Spann

Anonymous said...

Okay, now you've got me soul-searching...thanks a lot! It's way easier being complacent! Maybe that is why I keep reading your blog, though. Like Rachel, I am glad you can't see how many times a day I check this thing! But, that's the point, I think. We, out here in, are getting "fed" by you!!!

I am sitting her thinking about times in my life when I have felt the closest to God and also the farthest away. Do you remember a certain Colorado trek the summer of 96? Well, I certainly do! If I recall, your husband and my brother were basically dragging me up that stupid mountain! They carried my pack, got me water, cooked my food...and I sat there and cried because I wanted my hairdryer! What a wimp! All the while, God was showing me something through, even undeserved. When we finally got to the top, do you remember that feeling? Awesome! God still gave me the reward even though I acted like such a baby along the way! Isn't that grace, though?

Then, when that same brother was fighting for his life, I couldn't hardly pray for him! Is that sad or what? I didn't know how to talk to the God that had given me that awesome brother! I remember going to church and just sitting there crying (yes, again, like a baby), I couldn't even choke through a few songs! It was like, I had "faith", but I couldn't "feel" faithful. Thankfully, I had so many friends to do all that for me....including you, my friend, and your precious family! You were there for the sanity of my sister-in-law, Blake and Mrs. Lucy were physical strengths there in Phoenix, Mr. Buddy was the strong, silent support of my out-of-his-mind father, your parents were prayer warriors....and on it goes!

My point is, like Kristen said, we are all in this boat because we live in a fallen world where our human nature just can't measure up. Some of us are just in different waters at different times. Thank goodness for Jesus, he's already got it all covered! I am still the cry-baby I always have been and my "faith feelings", shamefully, come and go with the weather. It will probably be a life-long journey, but thank you for sharing yourself so honestly becasue I am persinally getting re-fueled by it! Your tank is on "E" right now, but the rest of us just paid $4.15 per gallon! We're good to go!
xoxoxo~ jill

Anonymous said...

danielle...i typed for what seemed to be forever late last evening...impressed by your honesty and being able to relate in spite of walking with the Lord for more years than you are instead of retelling my story..(i somehow lost it when i tried to send it...go figure...i just hardily agree with every comment on this "clarification" blog...amen, amen, amen!!!!! thank you Father it's all about GRACE!!! in our weakness....HE is strong!!! love, bettie