Matters of Faith: Wandering | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

July 23, 2012

Matters of Faith: Wandering

It's been quite a while since I've shared another post in the Matters of Faith series. Perhaps that is due to the fact that not much has changed since my last post. Maybe it's because I'm still struggling, still undecided. But the matter of faith is never far from my thoughts, and I think about faith (and my questions regarding such) on a daily basis. Like, multiple times a day.

Over the past year, I've shared a bit of my religious background,  how I came to struggle with the "Why Factor," and why I hit a lot of walls when it comes to Christians. I still find myself angry, frustrated and wrestling with these issues. I feel because of where I am, I am not really identifying myself as one of faith

Yet, I agonize over where I am currently. 

The best way to describe where I am is wandering. But not in a happy-frolicking-in-the-meadow-let's-smell-the-flowers-under-the-gorgeous-blue-sky-as-we-meander kind of way. Rather, I feel like I am in a dark and unfamiliar forest, the path beneath my feet is uncertain and gives away often.  Every tree I see looks the same, the trail seems to run me in unproductive circles and every corner feels foreboding.  I don't like this kind of wandering, because it is unsettling. I'd rather just know: know what I believe, know how I'm supposed to live my life, know what is right.

But I don't.

You see, I still pray.  Daily. I'm not sure why; perhaps it is just familiar.  It feels right to pray. And it feels good, the way a massage feels good on a sore muscle, but for the soul. But if I think too much about prayer, about God, about truth, my mind gets overwhelmed. Because I am faced with all the questions, all the frustrations, all of the jagged edges that I cannot make fit together. When I think too much, faith seems nonsensical or incredulous. When I let my mind crawl over the truths I used to know, God is suddenly either impotent or cruel. Neither attribute I am comfortable assigning to him, but I don't know how to see it any other way. 

Somewhere along the line, that which gave my life sense no longer makes sense. And that makes me feel panicky.

I don't feel animosity towards faith or God. It's not like I cringe when my friends want to share what they are learning in their faith and how they are growing. I really like hearing those things, because still understand those things. Those things still resound with me. Most days, I miss my life of faith.  I feel like I have failed the teenagers I shared Christianity with for the seven years I was a Young Life volunteer, the people who used to look up to me as a woman of faith. When I was following Christianity, my life made sense and I was most happy. I miss the comfort of knowing the direction my life was going, the certainty of what was to come. I despise the feeling of yearning for my faith, yet feeling completely let down by it.  It is unnerving to be unsure of those things. It's uncomfortable to wander.

Yet I believe: Not all who wander are lost.

Truly. And not in the bad excuse kind of way. As much as the bible has become foreign to me, I can't unknow all of the words and stories that had become familiar to me over the years. How many people had wandered: in the desert, away from their people, away from their calling, away from their faith? And how many came back around, albeit circuitously, to the truth they had always known all along? Some of the most compelling people in the history of Christianity had these seasons of wandering. And I hold onto the strange hope that God did not leave them. 

So while I long for Christ yet can't bring myself to believe or understand Him, I am not worried. Nor do I think that God is worried. Because I believe that if God is who He says He is (and IS), He knows exactly where I am going.

And He'll meet me there.

I hold on to that hope. 

Because nothing would bring me more joy than for faith to make sense again. Is that a possibility? Absolutely. But there are a lot of things that I need to reconcile, questions I need answered and hurts that need to be healed before that journey begins, if it were to begin at all. I know if I find my way back, it won't be the same. I will know God differently, and I will look at Christianity, at the world, differently. And perhaps those things can't co-exist. 

We shall see.

I'd love to hear your thoughts: on faith, on God, on my journey, on your journey. However that looks for you.  So leave a comment. Let's talk.


  1. First of all, I just love your honesty. I've only very recently come to know Christ, even though I grew up Cathoic and going to Catholic school. After college and in my early adulthood, I wandered too, but in an opposite way... I was longing to find God, faith, a church.... something. That became overwhelming and so it was easier to ignore. Finally, a friend (over much time)was able to help guide me to investigate the right church and community for us to explore our faith and I couldnt be happier. I so respect your path, though and get that you have questions and struggles that need resolutions. I do know one thing.... He will meet you whereever you are if you want him there... we are all his lost sheep.

  2. I think this is why I've always been comfortable labeling myself as a Quaker, although I'm an agnostic/atheist, depending on the day. Quakers tend to be in a constant state of query, so there are no right or wrong levels of commitment, just conversations, and thinking and questioning. I attended Young Life for a few months, and while an interesting experience, I found it cultist, and downright frightening at times. The day I heard the "kill your son to save the people on the train" metaphor was the end of me attending. I use Jesus as a role model in the same way that I use Dr. King...and I take his birthday off in celebration of his work as well. When I listen to sermons talking about "God"...I add an "o" and hear "good" instead. I think we all have a responsibility to chip in towards the greater good of the world, in whatever way seems appropriate. I think the good works of many can exceed the good works of the individual.

    1. I will pray for you that you find your way back to God and your faith.

    2. And I hope that someday you feel as comfortable in your own faith, as I do in mine, so that you don't feel the need to recruit me to yours.

  3. I'm a Christian, but I don't talk about it much (unless asked) - in fact, the one and only time I've talked about it on my blog was here:

    And yes, you're right when you say "All who wander are not lost." God is waiting - patiently - for you to find your way, wherever it leads...and wherever it leads, He'll be there. :)

  4. I really love you post and can relate to what you are going through. I think in this world of so much uncertainty, pain, and unnecessary violence, there are a lot of people who just aren't sure where to turn as it relates to their faith.

  5. I understand what you are saying re that uncertain place you are walking. You are not alone. God is with us even as we wander, searching for our conclusions to make it all come together in a tidy little, acceptable, package. I believe that since he made us, he understands our curious and questioning nature.

    Something I am trying to grasp for myself is the idea that genuine faith equals rest. Resting in the knowledge that God takes care of all who believe. Resting in his care for me rather than worrying, fretting, fussing, struggling.

    Faith often gets confused with doing. Faith is not about how many teams we serve on at church or how many times or even if we attend a service. Faith is about walking, even walking 'in a dark and unfamiliar forest' yet resting in his unfailing love for us.

    I sometimes find myself in a similar forest with my unanswered questions, but when I do, I remind myself to rest in the promise of his love for me, and the peace I sense when I do this, is beyond description.

    So wander in your thinking, as we all sometimes do, but don't forget to stop for a minute and rest.

  6. Thanks so much for a great post. I think one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, our children, our churches and our world when it comes to faith is honesty with humility and grace, and that's what you've done here.


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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