Daring Questions

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Mark 8: 29 NIV

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

And I’m not talking about a rational, head-response, but a heart response. “Who am I to you, Anna?” He asks me.

Here is an insight into the kind of tough questions I asked of God a few days before I went into my first therapy session for PTSD, questions that would drastically change my heart response to the above question. I KNEW the rational head answers I’d read in the Bible, but I desperately needed God’s personal touch. And He heard my cry:

 
If You’re a Healer, then why did You not heal?

Jesus answered me by reassuring me that my mother was healed and awaiting me in heaven. In my therapy session I saw angels lifting her into heaven:

And I started seeing images of us holding hands as a family: Mum, Dad, us kids. And then all of a sudden it was a huge crowd of worshiping people and I saw Mum’s face glowing with overwhelming joy.

If You’re a Comforter, then why does my heart still ache so very much?

Jesus showed me, in the seeking:

in numbing myself, I’ve turned my back on God. I’ve been asking Him to show Himself, but in the same breath telling Him He’s not there anyway…

And then I read Micha Boyett’s post about opening our eyes to the blessings, shifting our perspective to see what’s always been there all along. And then the verse about the “shadow of His wings” covering me, speaks volumes. And so, my prayer today is that He would open my eyes to see His wings covering me, sheltering me, right in that moment of helplessness, showing me He’s always been there all along and will never, ever forsake me (keep reading to see this prayer miraculously answered!!!).

If You’re my ever present help in trouble, why do I writhe in helpless anger and messiness on the floor beside my kids?

Jesus answered me in the midst of my therapy session:

I this time felt an anger seething beneath. And I heard Jesus telling me, “Kick, scream, throw a tantrum. Be angry. I’m angry at it all with you and I’m not letting you go.” and I saw myself kicking, screaming, flailing and Jesus holding me tight.

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Jesus showed me I was repressing anger I felt was wrong to feel. He showed me it was right to feel it because what I experienced as a child was wrong and not of Him and that it angered Him too, terribly so, but that until I dared to release this anger in His safe arms it would spill out onto others in sin.

If You’re a Redeemer, why aren’t You redeeming me in this mess?

Jesus answered with Psalm 12:6 (Jewish Bible):

For the oppression of the poor [in want, needy, poor], for the sighing [expressing physical weakness or mental disquietude] of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety at whom they puff [blow upon, break, puff, bring into a snare, speak, utter].

If You promise You’re holding me, then why do I feel so very alone in this all?

Jesus answered me in therapy by showing me I was and am NOT alone:

I found myself … seeing images of angels and Jesus and hearing the voice of God. At first I saw wings covering me, sheltering me and angels holding my Mum, drawing her upwards and God saying to me: “You’re safe and she’s safe, I’ve got you and I’ve got her, it’s okay.” … and I saw Him holding me, as a little child, safe in His arms.

If You have a Church, a Body, then where are they are? Where are Your arms, where is Your physical presence, a hug, a listening ear, tears streaming for this loss so horrid no words can describe it, or ever make any sense of it.

Jesus has kept answering this cry in manifold ways, showing me that in many ways the lack of support I felt at that time had more to do with my hesitance to seek support, with the enemy’s lies of shame and fear that made me unwilling to expose the depth of my suffering (which I share here: Loyal – He’s Holding You Tight) and that kept one of my most faithful spiritually mothering friends (and my former vicar’s wife) and me apart, just after I moved churches, when we both retreated not wanting to overburden one another.

If Your heart aches for every lost sheep then why are You not opening my husband’s heart and allowing faith into my girls’ lives?

God has repeatedly shown me since then that His heart does ache terribly for them and has encouraged me to start trusting and speaking the promises of His Word over them and I’ve seen beautiful things happening.

If You are our safe place, our fortress, then why am I SO scared of You, scared You’re about to strike me dead or kill me off slowly and excruciatingly like my Mum?

In therapy Jesus showed me that these fears were based on me falsely believing it was my fault that my mother died of cancer, believing that the punishment instead of grace I’d seen extended by people I trusted as a child was a true image of God the Father and falsely believing it was my task to protect others and that when I failed to do so, it was proof God was punishing me:

and then as I felt the guilt consume me, I heard Him keep telling me: “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s NOT your fault.” and I saw Him holding me, as a little child, safe in His arms…

Then … I heard Jesus telling me it was not my job to protect my little brother. And I saw him walking hand in hand with my brother as a little boy and I heard the worship song: Majesty, Worship His Majesty, Unto Jesus be all Glory, Honour and Praise. And I heard Him reassuring me He IS in control, that He sees the bigger picture and how it’s all being worked together for good.

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Where are You in all of this? What is the purpose of all of this? Are we all just little puppets in Your hands? Are You readying to let me fall into oblivion…because that’s what it sure does feel like.

In therapy He entered every traumatic memory and opened my eyes to His Presence: I heard Him soothingly comfort me and firmly speak truth into the lies that covered me in shame and fear, I felt Him holding me tight and patting my head till all the anger and tension poured out of my body, I saw Him holding my little brother’s hand and His angels taking my mother home. And in the last few months especially He’s been opening my eyes to how He is using my and my family’s heartache to draw us ever closer and bring deep healing, steadfast hope and beautiful comfort not just to us, but also to others.

Who are You?

He showed me that He is my ever-present help in trouble, the lover of my soul, the One who sees and knows me, the One who will never ever ever let me go, the One whose heart bled and still bleeds for me and the One who loves me with relentless pursuing passion…and YOU too!!!

I only dared to ask these questions in my absolute desperation, but they were questions that had been there all along. And in finally asking them, I saw God draw incredibly near.

Faith, dear reader, should never be stagnant, but constantly evolving, as we allow Jesus to take us by the hand and lead us into more and more truth, into more and more of who God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is.

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Let us ask the deep dark questions, let us draw near and let Him take us in His loving arms.

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Read on to hear why challenging questions directed at us, testing what we believe in, are in fact a blessing in disguise: The Invitation of Challenging Questions.

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21 thoughts on “Daring Questions

  1. Anna, there is not an honest soul among who has not struggled, often ashamedly, with these hard questions. Thanks for reminding us that the triune God is eager for our questions. When He can engage us, He can reveal Himself to us. Thank you for sharing your pursuit of Him, and revealing He is the One who relentlessly pursues us!

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    1. You have no idea how much I have wept in gratitude for your encouragement, both with this and the previous post. Was it not for you following the Spirit’s prompting to press me to be open and honest this would not have happened. Thank you: through Christ in you I am being freed of more and more shame. He is calling me and I’m excited to see His Love touch more and more lives: He is SO, SO powerful.

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  2. Anna, this was so beautiful. Your vulnerability and honesty are rare. Thank you for sharing what God has taught you.

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  3. This is probably my favourite post of yours! It’s so important that we can ask these questions. I think I held back from asking them for a long time because it felt wrong to be questioning God, but being honest with him is so freeing and I have definitely grown closer to him through asking the hard questions.

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    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Lesley. It took me almost taking my own life to ask these… the lies were ruthless and persistent. It’s funny because I had forgotten just how bad things had gotten till I went to reread my private journal posts. It’s made me even more thankful for God’s pursuing and powerful love. Thank you for faithfully encouraging me.

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  4. Our questions are how we get to know each other in our world here, AND in how we get to know God in the spiritual realm. I believe asking questions is honoring to Christ as then we are in a relationship! But it can take a lot of courage and bravery to ask those tough ones! You are brave, and courageous Anna, as God made you. May you continue to grow closer to Him in this journey here until called home.

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    1. Thanks, Lynn. Yes, questions are so vital to growth. These questions were from July last year and it is stunning how much He has taught me through it all since then. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  5. Anna, thank you for sharing these deeply personal words! Sometimes we think we are being honest as we come to God with our persistent “why, why, why?” questions, but in reality our hearts are not open to really listen when we are voicing only our complaints. I have appreciated your depth of honesty in asking God the specific questions that were in the deep places of your heart. It is when we bring those kinds of true questions that we place ourselves in humility to listen. Thank you for the encouragement you offer to us to look deep in our own hearts as well!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement, Bettie. You are such a blessing: every time you visit. And yes: you capture it perfectly, it’s the specificity..but I can’t truly take the credit…God’s beautiful leading…the months leading up to this I read through the whole New Testament and started reading through the Old…God’s beautiful timing even there too, as I was filled with His Word that tethered and guided.

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  6. Anna, you dared to ask the hard questions and to press into God for the answers. Not many would be so bold or brave. It’s so encouraging to read how your faith has been stretched and grown through adversity and grief.. And to be reminded how God knows all of our pain, acknowledges it even when words fail us sometimes, bringing His hope and healing in the midst of our despair. A beautiful, searingly honest word I can truly relate to. Thank you for your courage to face those tricky questions and your willingness to wait for answers to come. You’re an inspiration, my friend! xo

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    1. Every time you write me, here or via a PM, I’m so touched and encouraged, Joy. You have a beautiful gift. So thankful to God for your presence in my life. I pray He blesses you abundantly in multiplied form for all you’ve poured out from His Presence in you into me.

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  7. Thank you for sharing these deep questions, Anna. You really help me to realize more fully that God wants us to ask questions. That it’s ok, and we can come into a deeper relationship with Him as a result. In the background I grew up in, God was unapproachable and it was wrong to ever question Him. But I have learned since then that He is a loving God who invites us to commune with Him. Step by step I’m learning throughout the years… Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. I’m so sorry to hear of the pain inflicted by this false and damaging ideology, but also SO thankful God has since been drawing you nearer and nearer with His freeing and relational focused truth. So sad to consider how many more could be blinded in this way by the enemy right now. Praying for the power of God to continue to break the enemy’s hold on the children of the Most High King. Our hearts are all traumatized by sin (our own and the consequences of others’)…but God draws us to Him and encourages us to cast our burdens onto Him…no matter how ugly they feel…trust after all is being real, isn’t it? So encouraged by you Trudy…have missed your posts….but know the rest will have blessed you…all of us need to withdraw at times.

      BTW before asking these questions I’d spent Lent reading through the whole New Testament with my church and started reading through the Old…I see now how God used this fresh knowledge of His Word to focus me on promises He gives us that I couldn’t see being fulfilled in my blinded state. It intrigues me to see brain scans of PTSD and physically see its crippling impact: but God…wow, just wow. Nothing is too big for His healing touch.

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      1. Thank you for your love and understanding, Anna. I’m praying with you “for the power of God to continue to break the enemy’s hold on the children of the Most High King.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen brain scans showing the effects of PTSD, but my brother recently told me of a book called The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. A trauma expert shows how trauma “literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust.” I love the two words – but God! Yes, nothing is too big for His healing touch!

        Thank you for missing me but also understanding the need for withdrawal at times. I am coming back, and there will be a new post tomorrow. 🙂 Hugs!

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