Where Has All My Faith Gone?

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I have no delusions that writing this post will solve the many issues swimming around in my brain right now. I write because it’s cathartic, and occasionally doing so is literally life changing for me. However, sometimes issues are bigger than can be resolved in a thousand words.

My mind and spirit were damaged about two years ago. I have by no means recovered. I’m not even sure if I’ve progressed.

But who knows? Maybe writing about what’s happened to me will be the next (or first) step in a long recovery.

Divorce is Humbling

Getting divorced is a very humbling endeavor. It forces you to think about any and all events that happened up until that point. If something were different, could the marriage have been saved? Did I do something wrong? Are there marriages that were never meant to be, and thus divorce or unhappiness are basically inevitable outcomes?

Searching deeper, the questions become even more painful, as you realize you may have done everything correctly, or at least to the best of your ability, and still had the nasty and painful outcomes. Such a question shines a light on a part of faith that’s troubling to examine. There are no guarantees. Anything could happen. And you can do everything by the book, with passion, excitement, and devotion, and everything could regardless still come crashing to an excruciatingly violent crescendo.

It’s naive to think that if you do things “correctly”, everything will go well. Worse things have happened to better people; worse outcomes have happened to those who worked harder and better than I did.

How to Survive?

But how does one survive such a blow to the ego 100% intact? Especially when you consider that a divorce is only the beginning of the crazy that is about to happen. Separation from children, social confusion, financial woes. All starts to pile up, and you can’t help but notice that everything you ever dreamed life would be like is crashing down around you.

No one sets out to get divorced. No one sets out to see their children part time, or to have money leave their bank account to pay the mortgage for the house they don’t live in, or to go from a large home to an apartment with psychotic people living beneath them (true story). Life is often a series of a few steps forward and few more steps backwards. But no one ever plans for this many steps backwards!

But it was fine. All was well. I was enjoying my newfound freedom. I was rapidly learning how not only to be on my own again, but how to thoroughly enjoy the situation. And things quickly became some semblance of normal.

Until They Weren’t

I received a phone call, and a proposal to return to Israel. My older two children were already pumped and excited about the idea. But I was unsure.

I had lived in Israel for eight years, and I had spent ten years contemplating those eight years. What I liked, what went wrong, and where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I then spent the next two months trying to make a decision, objectively the hardest two months of my life. Would I block my children leaving, crushing their dreams (or at least the fantastic ideas they had built up in their heads? Would I once again make the trek across the ocean, knowing full well I was not ready to do so, professionally, financially, practically, emotionally, or in any way whatsoever? Or would I wave goodbye to my children indefinitely, and relegate my relationship with them to Skype and highly infrequent visits?

For two months I could not be alone with my thoughts. I agonized over the decision, and every moment was painful. Sleep was hard. Prayer was impossible. It was just too quiet, too inactive. And I physically felt my faith eroding away.

It was like being in a violent car crash in slow motion over the course of two full months. I knew no matter what I decided, there was no chance of me coming out unscathed.

Who Receives Problems?

I used to believe people only received problems they could handle. Used to believe, since I was placed in a situation I could not handle.

My choices were causing my children to hate me, inevitable financial devastation, or separation from my children. Who alive is equipped to make that call!?

And after endless personal debate, I chose what I thought was the best option at the time, even though it meant saying goodbye to children.

I am not a deadbeat dad. Sadly, I know many women whose ex-husbands are entirely out of the picture. Some have children who have never met or have forgotten their biological father. I find this wholly unnatural. No one–no one–should ever be placed in a situation where they need to say goodbye to their children, not knowing when they will hug them again.

And I Sunk

My life was good. I was doing just fine professionally. I was keeping myself busy and meeting new people. But my every action felt empty. It felt like something was terribly lacking from my life, no matter what happened.
And it called into question every choice I had ever made. How could my decisions have been correct if this was the ultimate result? How could a God who is good, who I felt I had served proudly and faithfully, have placed me in this untenable situation?

I’m with my kids again, thank goodness. I never kept my eye off the prize. I came back to Israel not because of a deep-seated religious desire, but because my four precious gems were here waiting for me.

But the damage was done.

I’ve said before that I believe with perfect faith that nothing happens without a reason, and if you don’t know the reason, it’s because not enough time has passed.

But sometimes it’s much easier to say than to actually act upon.

And here I am, with a giant crack running down the side of my faith. Hoping for clarity. Hoping for a comeback. Wondering what the future holds.

 

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