For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sometimes When God is Silent He is Speaking Loud and Clear

It's been nearly five years since the full-blown rebuilding started. As I told my friend John during Thanksgiving, this is the first holiday season I have not felt like part of me was missing. For the first time since it all started, I feel whole.

And the rebuilding has shifted.

I didn't realize that for the first few years, really up until just the last few months, "rebuilding" was simply get out of the rubble and finding a way to breathe that wasn't still inhaling the dust of decaying skeletons or the debris of shattered dreams. I didn't realize the significant difference between rebuilding myself and rebuilding my life. I naively thought they were the same thing.

They aren't.

Many people rebuild lives. They move to new places, get new jobs, even find new relationships. That is not the same as rebuilding oneself. Rebuilding oneself is hard work that requires a total restoration of soul, not just a change of circumstance.

I thought I was doing both, and to some extent, I think I was. I was at least gathering pieces, but lately, I have found myself pushing more and more for rebuilding life. Doing that, I've been sorting through the pieces, figuring out what stays and what was a good lifeboat at a time, and seeing how it could all fit together.

As some of you know, I have had the privilege of working with men and women who have suffered various forms of PTSD, trauma, and loss. Unlike the VA or most of the population it seems, I do not believe the answer is medication for the rest of a person's life. I do not agree that "successful treatment" means a person has not killed him-/herself or someone else that day. I have read the Bible. I have read the Jesus came so people can have abundant life, and 10-15 prescriptions taken at varying times each day is not abundant life. I believe God has the power and intention to heal minds and souls, except psychology only deals with the minds. They aren't finding solutions because they aren't addressing the souls.

I want to address the souls.

I want to see these men and women restored to the people God created them to be, and I know they can be. I have been, and I do not believe what God gave me is just for "special people". I believe He is willing to give it to anyone who is willing to seek Him.

There is a problem. I am not a combat vet, so reasonably, soldiers and marines aren't going to feel I will understand.  I get that. I get that in their minds, I don't have the credentials to be useful. I thought the Lord had provided a partner to work with, but that is up in the air. In the meantime, I've been praying about master's programs where I could combine psychology with seminary. I have checked into a variety of programs, and each one was a brick wall. Finally, I stopped and was simply silent. Sometimes God speaks pretty loud in the silence.

When my thoughts had grown quiet, I began to think a simple thing: "The silence is an answer. I'm not directing you to a program because a program isn't where I want you. Your gift is not psychology. You don't understand people because of a degree in psychology. You understand them because My Spirit tells you about them. Your gift is your ability to hear Me. Your gift is hearing Me and being the place where I can speak to others. I will be your credentials. I will be everything."

Of course, that could be arrogance. I've known people who think like that, and it isn't pretty. I really don't want to be one of them, so I prayed for the Lord to speak clearly in some oddball way that can't be missed. In fact, I prayed this all the way to mass and while I prepared my heart for worship last night.

Our scriptures were from Zephaniah and Matthew. Both talked about the rebellion of Israel and their inability or unwillingness to obey God. Pretty straightforward stuff. Except, Fr. James pulled the two together in a fascinating way. He didn't talk about rebellion or disobedience. Instead, he talked about hearing God, and in his list of ways we need to hear God, he said:
"We need to learn to hear God, even in the silence." 

And in that statement, the silence spoke volumes.

In His silence, God was not ignoring me, deeming my prayers unimportant, or refusing an answer. His answer was loud and clear. "You are asking for a program of study. There isn't one. I have nothing to say on the matter."

And when God has nothing to say on the matter, there is silence.

Often we take the silence as the lack of an answer, but in truth, the silence is the answer.

We pray for God to give us direction to another job, one that is not so hard, and we get silence. We think He is ignoring us. In truth, He is telling us we are where we need to be. Perhaps instead of praying for Him to bless our comfort, we should ask how He wants to build our character.

We pray for direction out of the desert, and our prayers spread across the sand. We think God is being distant but perhaps He really wants us undistracted so we can learn His presence.

The silence isn't His refusal to speak but rather His loud and clear invitation to still ourselves in Him and recline against His breast and learn His heartbeat.

And when we get still enough and quiet enough to hear His heartbeat, we find the silence is filled with the sound of Him.

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