Girls Write Out
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Okay, I was having a bad hair day in this photo. Hard to do your hair when you have only one arm. And of course, my friends would choose that moment to take a shot. And of course I'd be out of any other photos more interesting for this blog tonight because Mel's at work and I don't know how to download photos from my cell phone. So this photo is just me saying hi.

What I really want to talk about is the experience I had the other day on a hike. Yes, I know, it's all too familiar, me talking about hiking. But this one was different. I hadn't been hiking for awhile. Why? Because I was having a dark season of the heart, when I felt as if my prayers weren't getting through, and that even if they did, God wouldn't hear them. I wasn't exactly mad at God, but I just didn't think my prayers would be answered. So often it seems they're answered in ways I don't want them to be. I felt totally disconnected.

This year, for instance, my mother has been having tiny strokes in her brain, and I can't stop it. Meds can't stop it. Doctors can't do anything about it. I'm helpless to help her, and the grief process right now is weighing heavily on me. I feel as if I'm flying apart, just as this picture represents me, only there's no smile.

So after consulting with some long-time friends about my doubts and fears, I was encouraged, finally, to take a hike, to seek God there despite my feelings of abandonment. Hiking is something sacred to me, because I feel closest to God when I hike. He speaks to me through the sights, smells, sounds, feel and even tastes I find in the forest and valleys and fields.

God knows me well. He knew that, this time, I would be walking with my head down instead of up, looking around me. He knew how heavily I was loaded with grief. This hike? It took place on Maundy Thursday, and my prayer was, literally, "God, why have you forsaken me?" It became my litany as I walked with my head down.

Not long after I started, however, I took a turn from the main trail onto a grassy one, head still down, still dying inside. But then it happened. Because I was looking down, I saw the first little sprigs of tiny flowers that began to carpet the trail. As I looked ahead instead of down, the whole trail was filled with these flowers. God was showing me the beauty that still exists in this world. I dropped to my knees and inhaled the fragrance of those tiny blooms, and then looked up, gazed around me and saw the bright yellow jonquils nearby. I walked over and smelled them.

And then I saw the one thing that took my breath away. It was a thorn tree. Not a big tree, only a sapling, but the thorns were three inches long, stabbing into the blue sky.

That was when I remembered the crown of thorns that stabbed Jesus. And I remembered that Jesus also asked, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" And I knew that God was speaking to me. He was still there, and He heard. And I was no longer alone on the trail. He walked with me there. Even through the pain and awareness of impending death. God is there with us through it all, even when we don't sense His presence.

If you're feeling cut off from God, don't be afraid to seek Him. Ask Him to hold you and encourage and guide you. Don't be afraid that He'll ignore you, as I was. He isn't. He won't. He loves you with a deeper love than any parent could ever have for a child. He knows your heart, He knows your future, and He has you solidly in His arms. Never forget that.

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 10:00 PM  
  Comments (11)
 
 
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11 Comments:
At 12:53 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

Wow! So eloquent! My only response can be, "AMEN! and Amen!"

 
At 8:37 AM, Blogger Denise said...

Thank you, Cheryl, for that beautiful message.

I too have experienced a rather dark, dry period in my life. I have wondered where He is in my situation. You have encouraged my weary heart. Again, thank you. :)

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Great is Thy faithfulness, O, God, my Father. Your post brought tears to my eyes and praises to my lips, Hannah.

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Jackie Smith said...

Wonderful post!!! I have been there...when my Mom was slipping away (her mind first - Alzheimers)
and I could do NOTHING! God gave me special scriptures then, and your post reminded me how faithful He was. Blessings on you!!

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Isn't it amazing how pain can bring us together even more surely than the special highs in our lives? Your words encourage me, and I'm glad mine have encouraged you.

 
At 7:45 PM, Blogger Katy McKenna said...

I am so there with you, Cheryl! I think my mother must now be having mini-strokes, also, on top of a multitude of other awful problems. It's been 8.5 years of steady decline, and yes--grief. Her latest broken bones (added to the 30 or so in her history) occurred on Dec 23. Three in foot and a rib. She had to permanently move from assisted living, where she'd lived 8 years, into a nursing home. Her foot did not heal, so now she can bear no weight on it. They must use a Hoyer lift every time they move her. Last week, she got DROPPED, and her spine is now misaligned. Another level of grief....

I wrote my story of spending Christmas Eve snowed in with my mom at the hospital. She screamed in pain with every breath she drew in her sleep, while the patient next door sang a ragged and tormented version of Silent Night at midnight. And yet: Redemption was in that room. If you'd like to read it, it might bring some comfort to you. I hope it does! www.fallible.com . Blessings and love....

 
At 8:07 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

Thank you for this. I really needed this. I'd had trouble praying lately, feeling that it has no use - feeling down and depressed and like there's no way up. I know our Saviour is there for us, and He will lift us up when we are done. He paid the price for our sins!

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Katy you are really going through it. I don't know how you hold on. That passage from the Bible has been my constant companion. Don't worry about tomorrow, because sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Okay, I've paraphrased, I know, but that's the crux.

 
At 8:45 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Most of us know how you're feeling, Ashley. I just keep reminding myself that this isn't my real home. My real home is without pain.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger Eszter said...

That was beautiful. It deeply touched my heart and spoke to me in an incredible way. Thank you for sharing this!

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Thank you, Eszter.

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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