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Born-again Christians.. help. Why am I in so much pain...

(27 Posts)
LeighNic Mon 29-Jun-09 13:28:09

I've been a believer since I was a kid. Always had faith, had some real encounters with God (and I mean real), but went off the rails quite badly as a teenager - for quite a few years. Held on to the promises of God for my future though, and always knew that He would always be a part of my life.

Think I've made a stack of mistakes, but the thing that is so incredibly difficult is that my life began slowly falling apart around 2002. As it stands today, my marriage is virtually dead, dh has been struggling with various physical complaints & doesn't seem to want to know me (haven't been intimate with him for ages - embarrassed to say how long), I've lost a friend that I had for about 25 years, a couple of close friends (dh's relatives) are going through a nasty divorce and are causing me a lot of stress. They want me to choose between them (the husband has threatened to cut me, dh and my son off for the rest of his life if we don't take his side) and on top of this I struggled with major depression in 2007 & 2008. Still trying to keep my head above water. I only have one child (a boy) whom I love dearly, he is almost the only light in my life right now but I don't want to affect him with any negativity. Very very hard though.

I've had various prophecies over my life from people in ministry and had great hopes for my future (and specific promises from God, I truly believe) so I don't know why this is all happening to me. I have never felt so alone and hopeless. Perhaps this is my 'wilderness' experience - who knows. I pray in tongues which helps somewhat, but I don't think I pray enough to be quite honest. Praying in tongues helped me incredibly at first and I saw some great changes in my life in a short space of time, but I think I allowed other distractions and worries to take over my life. My faith and relationship with God once seemed so simple and straightforward, and now I feel completely distaught. Hard to even muster enough faith to get through this. Would appreciate prayers, other stories or input from anyone who is experiencing anything like this. Just when I get over one hurdle, another one comes. Sorry this is long.

positiveattitudeonly Mon 29-Jun-09 18:07:25

I read your post earlier and felt for you so much, but I didn't want to post, and make you go off the unanswered posts thingy as someone more appropriate may have answered, but I really want to give you a massive hug.

I do not want to say "I know how you feel", cos I don't, but I can say that I am a Christian and I feel as if I have been in the wilderness for years. I seem to go round and round in circles of guilt, searching, angry, depression, and so many other emotions! Like you, I have made a mess of so much, but have clung on to a promise I was given many years ago. I have never really doubted that God is there, but have definitely doubted He is there for me!

You should not be put in that awful situation with your friends. You must feel totally torn. Especially if your marriage is not too good either, I can totally understand you feeling alone and stressed out.

I would love to be able to be here for you and stand beside you metaphorically. If you want to then please post here and I will pray for you and do all I can, which is not a lot! I have to say though, that I have a daughter who is ill and there is a thread on here that a few mums post regularly and the support I have from them is absolutely invaluable. I feel as if I can say anything to them and we all understand each others problems as our children are suffering the same illness. I had wanted to start soemthing like that on the spiritual topic, just to see if I could get some Christians posting and supporting each other and being there for each other. I would love to start doing that and hopefully we can take the journey one step at a time together-ish!

Anyway, big hugs for now and I would love to keep praying and keep in touch to support you. smile

DutchOma Mon 29-Jun-09 20:08:46

It's nice to see that there are such a lot of people reaching out for prayer support. If you look here you will see that we are small group of Christian women praying for and supporting each other in a variety of ways.
Sometimes life gets so difficult that we haven't got the energy to pray for ourselves and the fact that others are upholding you in prayer is a tremendous comfort.
Can I also say that God is not really far away from you, but that it can FEEL as if He is. Feelings are not really reliable though.
God's promise is that he will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) and that is the truth. Stand on that truth and begin to praise God for it. Count your blessings, thank God for even the smallest things, come and tell us about it and I would be very surprised if you didn't find your spirits lifted. You are the Lord's and He will never leave you.

KTNoo Mon 29-Jun-09 21:03:16

LeighNic would you consider going to see a Christian counsellor? I know a lot of people who have found this really helpful. You don't say if you're part of a church community but if you are they can often put you in touch with someone.

LeighNic Tue 30-Jun-09 03:01:28

Thank you for replying. I was expecting to get some negative answers (ie ridiculed!) for my beliefs so I actually asked the moderators if they would take my post off after I'd written it.

Anyway - positiveattitude only & DutchOma, yes I would love to keep in touch and at least try to uphold each other. You're right when you say that sometimes we just don't even have the energy to pray for ourselves, so I know it's vital to have others who can pray for you and encourage you.

Positiveattitudeonly, I have also been going around in the same kinds of circles as you (guilt, anger etc) and the thing I find SOOO hard, is looking at other Christians who seem to be able to do it with ease... who have managed to leave their baggage behind and take on a new life. I just don't know what my problem is except that perhaps deep down I'm choosing to hang on to it!!! I know my brother & I were both very affected by our upbringing and even though I've tried to forgive, I still feel very angry about it sometimes. The guilt, condemnation and criticism I grew up with has been extremely hard to live with. I rebelled in a BIG way as soon as I was old enough to do so

KTNoo, yes I'm part of a church community (pentecostal) but it's a very big church so I wouldn't say it's got the intimacy of a smaller church, although I go to a great women's group once a week. Everyone was great while I was going through depression a couple of years ago, but they think I'm fine now and I'm too embarrassed (and tired - mentally & emotionally) to let anyone know that I'm still struggling.

Thanks again for your responses. I'd love to be kept in the loop and to be able to pray for others and be prayed for. Just talking about it helps too. x

LeighNic Tue 30-Jun-09 03:21:21

PS. - KTNoo, I did go to a Christian counsellor once but there was really no substance to the counselling. She kept trying to get me to answer my own questions (which I didn't know the answers to anyway!!!) and didn't really give me a lot in the way of help. She seemed a bit distracted as well while I was talking to her (they were very busy & trying to stick to a time limit), so I didn't go back. I've also tried talking to pastors once or twice, but once again they're very busy so I didn't feel I could keep going to see them. I even went down the anti-depressants road for a few months, but that didn't help either! I think there's a lot going on deep down that perhaps only God can help me with... maybe it's just having the courage to face those things and leave them behind.

Astrophe Tue 30-Jun-09 06:25:49

Hi Leighnic,
Sorry to hear you have been having such a difficult time. With the issues you are facing its no wonder you are struggling and feling weary.

I want to second Dutchomas words, that you really must focus on what the Bible tells you in these times - it really is the only way through this.

You feel as though God is not here for you, and yet the Bible affirms that He is always with you. You feel as though your suffering means God is somehow absent or indifferent to your pain, and yet in the Bible God promisese to discipline those he're His, and so he loves you and will discipline you.

I hate suffering. This hasn't been a great tear for me either, or indeed a great few years marriage wise. My DH has been unemployed for 7 months, we are staying with my parents (difficult) with 2 kids and a baby due...(I'm not trying to do competetive sorrow here, just wanting you to know that I also feel pain and so I don't say these things lightly).

Suffering is not fun at all, and yet I know the Bible promises I will suffer, and that in all things, easy and fun, and hard and distressing, God is working out his purposes for me and for his kingdom.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. " Romans 8: 28-29

I have been really encouraged by this part of Romans. In times when my life seems to be anything but "good", I can read this pasage and be reminded that God's idea of 'good' and my idea of 'good' are not the same. I so often equate good with 'ease', but the 'good purpose' that God promises to work out in our lives is that we will be "conformed to the likeness of his Son", so that we can be Jesus "brothers".

There is no promise of ease, fun, or even happiness...and I'll be the first to admit that sometimes that is not at all what I want to hear. But God's promises to make us like Jesus, and that we will be heirs with Jesus (his "brothers" are so infitately better than what we can imagine. Please trust that whatever bad is happening in your life is part of God's plans for you, because he loves you so much and wants you to be like Jesus, which will bring you more joy than any good you can imagine.

Of course this doesn't mean we can't ask God for help, and to remove our suffereing, and I will gladly pray and do this for you!

Please cling to the promises of the Bible. As Dutchoma says, feelings can be unreliable, but the Bible tells us the truth. Make sure the people who advise you and the people at your church look first to the Bible for guidance, and please make sure you do this too.

I found this short book very helpful, and very Biblical. It's not expensive - perhaps you might find it useful too?


Astrophe Tue 30-Jun-09 06:28:41

oh, I mean this book, sorry

LeighNic Tue 30-Jun-09 07:46:48

Thank you, Astrophe. Very helpful... and I will look into the John Dickson book. Funny how quickly we forget God's word (and walk away from it) when times get tough. I've managed to hang on in the past, but things have gotten even tougher than they ever were, so I guess I tend to go off and feel aggrieved about it all instead of doing what the Bible says.

Sorry you are also going through a trying time... suffering IS awful but sometimes it helps just to hear that someone else is going through it too. I was reading a book by John G. Lake last night (evangelist who lived around 100 years ago). He had a strong relationship with God, an incredible healing ministry and operated powerfully in the Holy Spirit. But he spoke of initially being immature, and the fact that God could not use him properly until he'd seen some serious suffering in his life. Oh boy. And yet, where do we go? You can't go anywhere but forward. Once you know the truth, you can't just ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist. I've wanted to throw my hands up and walk away but I just can't.

Anyway thanks again for your words and for taking the time to answer me. I will pray for your situation as well. xx

DutchOma Tue 30-Jun-09 08:59:45

Something I heard on the radio the other day:- if we were always happy we wouldn't know it."

sobloodystupid Tue 30-Jun-09 09:05:51

so sorry to hear about what you're going through LeighNic. I will pray for you and yours that you may have the strength to get through these trials. I don't post very often on this thread but I read very frequently and the compassion and good sense here always lifts me up.

positiveattitudeonly Tue 30-Jun-09 09:26:06

Thanks for all the posts here.
As I have been reading about which books you have found useful I remembered a book that really helped me a couple of years ago by Mike Pilavachi (not sure on spelling) called "Wasteland" I must dig it out again and have another read. I seem to remember it being very easy reading and in the way of Mike, very down to earth, but powerful.

I am reading the "Through the Bible as it Happened" year plan and I was really encouraged this morning about the very personal promise I receiveed years ago as it was discussed in Micah. I must have read this a number of times before, but never noticed how it ties in with God's promise to me. YES He will deliver! Yes He will fulfil His promises! How good to know!

I pray that you will have a peaceful and positive day LeighNic and Astrophe.

Can I just add something on here on a positive note. My DD3 has been unwell for a year with CFS/ME. She had reached the point of being virtually bedbound for months. Dh and I have been very specifically praying all this time for her not to get depressed. We were told earlier this year that her specialist had never seen a less depressed sufferer than she is.- we had , obviously been praying for full healing too, but that is in God's timing! A friend asked a healer guy to come and pray with her a few weeks ago. That night DD was very happy, but slightly disappointed that nothing drastic had happened. However, the next day I received a text from her while i was working which simply said "I can walk". She had been unable to stand even for many months. She is now improving so well. God does answer prayer!!

Be encouraged. Good times will come and we will look back and see how these bad times shaped us, our thinking, our maturity in Christ and also, we will be better placed to help others.

Love to you all! grin

LeighNic Tue 30-Jun-09 12:21:19

That's great, positiveattitudeonly. I've seen a few miraculous things myself, and I'm very grateful to God for that - I just wish I wouldn't forget about it so quickly!! I used to think that the Israelites in the desert must've been stupid to doubt God in the face of all the miracles he'd done, but now I can kind of understand it... I feel just like them sometimes.

Thanks again for your posts - I'm glad I found this particular forum and hope we can all still chat & encourage each other. Love to you all too x

PS. Would appreciate prayer for my dh, who's having an ultrasound on his liver tomorrow.. thanks.

Notquitegrownup Tue 30-Jun-09 12:26:24

LeighNic - I've just seen this, and wanted to add a few words of encouragement. I could have written your post a few years ago, when struggling with depression. I had very similar encounters with God and yet have walked a rocky path.

You have had some good advice below (or above, depending on which way round you have your MN settings!) to which I can't add much.

A couple of books I found particularly helpful were:

"Calm my Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow - a wonderful look at the Bible and how to apply it to your life, recommended to me by another MNetter and

"Tramp for the Lord" by Corrie ten Boom, in which she applies the gospel message to all sorts of situations in which people are in difficult and dark straits. She talks of how the gospel brings peace and joy into those situations, rather than (or as well as) helping people to escape from them.

Do come and join us on the MN Christian prayer thread. It would be good to see you there. smile

LeighNic Tue 30-Jun-09 12:31:51

Thanks too, sobloodystupid. x

LeighNic Tue 30-Jun-09 12:35:21

Must've been posting at the same time as you, notquitegrownup. Thanks for your message too and yes I'd like to join the prayer thread. Nice to have support from other Christians who understand and care about what each other is going through.

positiveattitudeonly Tue 30-Jun-09 12:46:45

I totally agree about the Israelites, but aren't we all like that at times? I most definitely am! But it is so easy with hindsight and a mountain of history to see! Likewise, it is so easy to read other people's stories and see their mistakes, or the way out seems so obvious, until it is your life and walk with God, then I seem to need different glasses on!!
I will certainly pray for your DH scan tomorrow. It must be a worrying time for you all.

positiveattitudeonly Thu 02-Jul-09 08:36:46

Hope the scan was ok. hmm
Praying for you today!

LeighNic Thu 02-Jul-09 10:17:07

Thanks pao. He hasn't got the results back yet, but hopefully should be tomorrow... hate these sorts of things. Will let u know

DutchOma Thu 02-Jul-09 10:20:46

I picked up a little book by Selwyn Hughes. It's called Where is God? Strengthening your faith.

I have only read a little bit of it, but his point is that there are things in life that you cannot see in the light but can see in the darkness.
He begins with this text:

I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord (Isaiah 45:3) and says:-

"When we find ourselves surrounded by darkness we must look for the meaning that lies within it. Many Christians allow the darkness to drag their spirits down to such a degree that they lose their faith. They do not know how to search out the treasures that lay all around them"

I don't know whether the booklet is still available; Selwyn of course is no longer with us, but it seems that he has still a lot to teach us.

LeighNic Mon 06-Jul-09 08:49:03

Hi again. Still haven't got dh's results back yet, as his doctor has apparently gone on holidays without contacting him. (!) He'll be back on the weekend I think. Crazy.

Anyway I just wanted to ask a favour from you wonderful women. I really, really need prayer right now... I just feel as though I cannot get on top of things and now my health is starting to be affected as well. On top of my own problems, DH also feels that his job is in jeopardy since a new CEO took over and it's making him miserable, as well as his health issues. And as much as I love him, I feel my son is being somewhat neglected because of our problems. I just want to break this horrible cycle and take authority over it, if only I could find the strength. I am SO wanting my faith to kick in! Anyway thank you so much... appreciate your help. God bless xx

DutchOma Mon 06-Jul-09 09:20:43

Sounds to me like you need a real life buddy. Can you "phone a friend"? Try and relax in the knowledge that God loves you and is close to you, whether it feels like it or not.

positiveattitudeonly Mon 06-Jul-09 16:44:50

Prayers for you, DH and son. God is in control, more so when we feel life is totally out of our control. smile

Notquitegrownup Thu 09-Jul-09 13:31:23

Glad to pray for you LeighNic. There are times when we are not strong enough to pray for ourselves, but we are one body. Others can pray for you, and you can concentrate on looking after yourself and your family. So sorry that I've only just seen this.

I would second DO's recommendation of Selwyn Hughes. He knew all about depression, in fact said that Christians tend to be very prone to it.

I remember a sermon about Selwyn at the time when his wife and then both of his adult sons died. In the darkness, he could make no sense of anything, and didn't know how to pray. He described walking his study, holding his Bible and simply repeating the name of Jesus. He had just that one word and that one person to hang onto - but when push comes to shove, who else do we need? (Like you, I have lost good friends recently, but found that it does serve to remind me whom I can really trust to look after me, and to be there for me.)

Praying that you will feel Him close to you, and that God will be looking after your dh and his test results too.

Notquitegrownup Thu 09-Jul-09 13:34:23

PS - can you tell your divorcing friend, in no uncertain terms, that you love them both and will always be there for anyone who needs you? Period. If he then chooses to cut you off, that is his responsibility and he is grown up enough to make it, but you should not be called on to make any decision you don't feel comfortable with.

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