Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spiritual dryness and renewal

"O Lord,you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways." (Psalm 139:1-3, NIV)

In the past few months I think I hit the wall in my faith. I experienced a spiritual dryness I had never encountered before. Even when I have had rough patches before I always felt the urge to keep trying and I would continue to read my Bible and prayer even through the difficult times. This time was very different. Not only did I not want to pick up my Bible, read my prayer book, pray the rosary, and do all the other things I routinely do in practicing my faith, I actually did not do them. Going to church became a struggle and instead of singing my worship songs around the house, I found myself singing the Eagles. Not that there is anything wrong with the Eagles or any other of the musical groups I enjoy, but I am not praising God when I am singing them.

I think a lot of my struggle began because of some of the yucky things we have had happen in the past few months. While I usually find myself turning even more to my faith during the rough times, this time I pushed it away. It wasn’t consciously, I didn’t say I’m upset, I’m mad, and I’m not opening the Bible, or my prayer book, or driving to church. I just did nothing.

The turning point came Sunday when my daughter wanted to go to the early morning service. So we went, with me vaguely hoping we’d be stuck in traffic (unlikely at that time of day), or not get a parking space. As we walked in to church, 10 minutes early, I was amazed to see that most of the seats were taken. In fact, as we walked around looking for a seat, we could not find two seats together – and we were early. We walked out of the church into the lobby and sat down. I don’t know what the look was on my face, but an usher immediately came up to me and asked if we wanted to sit in the choir. The choir? I didn’t even know we were allowed to sit up there unless we were actually in the choir.

As we sat down and picked up the song sheets, I was happy to see that some of my favorite songs were on the agenda. Once the mass started and the singing began, my heart began to lose some of its hardness. By the time communion was served and one of the choir members began a solo, I felt tears welling up, and a few found their way down my cheeks. As the choir belted out the last song, I found myself singing loudly, and yes, joyfully. I probably looked ridiculous as I’m sure some of my mascara had found its way down my cheeks along with the tears, and I stood with a smile on my face, singing loudly along with the choir. At the end, as the song finished, people clapped, and in my heart I did too. For the wonderful Lord of Lords, who knows us so well, had broken the cement surrounding my heart, and brought joy and my faith, back.

Now, I have to re-energize my faith, and in the next post I’ll share how God has already worked in that part of my life.

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