Last December, I began a quest to trust God more. It started with my reading The Way of Trust and Love by Jacques Philippe. You can read my original post on St. Therese’s trust here. (I know I link to this post a lot, but that’s because I consider it among my best. Trust is the Lesson from the Carmelite Saints that is changing my life. If you haven’t read it, I strongly encourage you to do so.)
Later, I told you how I was focusing on trusting God in the ups and downs of my day during Lent.
More recently, I have worked on entrusting my future to God. This next step began with my reading Diary of a Country Mother by Cindy Montanaro. It’s the journal of a mother reflecting on the life of her young son who has recently died. As I hinted in my review, I have struggled with entrusting my children’s futures to God. I hear of so many parents who have lost a child. Two of my siblings died in childhood. My former roommate’s daughter died at age four. Some of my readers have blogs about their losses.
Then there are the adults I know who have left the faith. Three people in my immediate family are non-practicing. Most families I know have at least one wayward member. (My husbands’ family is a rare but encouraging exception).
Shortly after finishing Cindy’s book, I picked up Left to Tell: Finding God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza. Immaculee lost nearly all her family to genocide. Friends and neighbors turned into deadly enemies. Yet, not only did she keep her faith–she was able to forgive the murderers.
Tragedy could happen to me too
Reading such books makes me feel extremely vulnerable. If it happened to Cindy and Immaculee, it could happen to me or someone I love. How can I trust God to watch over us? Why should he protect the Rossini family, when so many others have suffered?
And lurking behind the fear is this question: Do I really believe in life after death, or is it just a nice fairytale?
Since turning 40 a few years back (okay five–you wanted to know how old I am, right?), thoughts of death have plagued me. I believe this is common. I probably have fewer years ahead of me than behind. I am no longer young. What if I am wrong, and the world is meaningless–tragedy and death are the end of man, and I can do nothing to stop it?
St. Therese’s night of faith
St. Therese experienced a dark night of faith at the end of her life. Writing to Mother Marie Gonzague, she said an inner voice taunted her, saying, “It’s all a dream, this talk of a heavenly country, bathed in light, scented with delicious perfumes, and of a God who made it all, who is to be your possession in eternity! You really believe, do you? That the mist, which hangs about you, will clear away later on? All right, all right, go on longing for death! But death will make nonsense of your hopes; it will only mean a night darker than ever, the night of mere non-existence.”
But at the same time, she told the Lord that she would gladly die for her belief in Heaven.
It strikes me that Therese was like Abraham. She hoped against hope. She believed even when she could no longer believe, if I may put it that way. That is what I aspire to.
For now, these three women–Cindy, Immaculee, and Therese–have strengthened my trust in God, They have taught me I must have confidence in His goodness when every circumstance and every voice, including my heart’s, tells me to doubt Him.
And I am at peace.
Share with us: How have you struggled to trust God? Who or what has strengthened your trust?
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Interesting post as always, C. So, you think YOU are no longer young. Hmm. If I asked for a birthday cake, the number of candles on it would adversely impact global warming. 🙂 God bless you and yours!
Do candles really affect global warming–or is it only warmer until they are blown out? Pardon my ignorance, it’s not my area of expertise. LOL. Thanks for the comment.
If we were to be completely honest, I think most of us would admit that we have difficulty trusting God. The good news is that our difficulty doesn’t stop us from daily (hourly?) asking (begging) for the grace of childlike trust. That action in itself is a form of trust, I think.
I thought 45 was old a couple of years ago too – until I passed it that is 😉
Thanks for the honest post. I think it helps us all when we realize that the spiritual life is not smooth sailing for anyone…not even the saints.
(I loved the book Left to Tell!!)
Your avatar looks much younger! St. Paul said, “We must endure many hardships to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” But even the hardships can be sources of peace and joy.
Photos hide a lot of wrinkles 😉 (Oh yeah, and did I mention the avatar on my blog is three years old? Lol.)
I am in a McDonalds on the road to a mega family reunion and escaped the sleeping family for a cup of tea and some solitude. Imagine my surprise to see my name and that little reference to my book. It was a great moment of grace for me, I can tell you. Yesterday was an all day ride with three teenage grandsons and my eighty something parents, all of us packed tightly into the same vehicle. I was not at my best by the end of the day, as you can imagine.
Your post is an encouragement to me to keep on practicing the trust I espouse, especially in the difficult moments.
Another book that has had a most profound influence on my unbounded trust in God’s providence is I Believe in Love, that wonderful book that is a retreat on the spirituality of Therese by Fr. d’Elbee. I read and reread it and prescribe it to others for all sorts of difficulties, the chapters focusing on confidence being my particular balm.
I will be sending along my prayers for you, your family and blog readers as I square my shoulders and drive on today. Thank you!
Cindy, I have given away I Believe in Love twice–the last time to someone who had just lost her husband to suicide. I need to get another copy for myself. I recommend it to everybody. I read all these websites that are debunking the idea of St. Therese as just a sentimental saint, and I think–what? People could only have that misconception if they’ve never read her writings. She was little, but she was mighty.
Blessings on your family reunion. They can be stressful as well as wonderful.
As for encouragement–what goes around, comes around. 🙂
I have awarded you (and quite a few others on this site) the Best Moments award with a twist
– no rules except to pass it on
I am calling it the D.O.M. Best Catholic Moments Award
Connie, this is so beautifully transparent and I found Imaculee’s book very inspiring as well..
She has became a model to me of how to forgive…right up there with one of my all time hero’s Corrie Ten Boom ..
Blessings and +
I’m also a fan of Corrie Ten Boom. We read The Hiding Place aloud as a family when I was little. Later, my sister did mission work based in Holland.