Introduction: Jen


(Jennifer Spencer) #1

Hi everyone, I am a stay at home mom in Texas. I have been actively listening to the podcasts and videos on RZIM as I have found myself in a dark time of doubt and questions where I feel, at times, my faith has all but slipped away. I’ve been through this before (College was a major time, as is common), but this time has resulted in such despair that I cannot resist the temptation to constantly immerse myself in apologetics and testimonies. It’s getting obsessive, admittedly (which is not helpful when I have three small children who need me, one who is special needs), so I decided to reach out on here for prayer and encouragement from people who don’t know me. I am highly active in my church and can’t shake this dark sense of isolation there right now because this weighs so heavily on my soul. I can hardly even worship (and I’m on praise team). I will say that I am adamant in my belief in the resurrection, so that has been my rock to cling to. I truly believe God has worked in my life before, but my brain keeps asking the age-old question “Was that REALLY God?”. I’m praying that this time ends up being a great time of growth instead of the worst (ending in me losing everything that is important to me). I really don’t believe it will go that way in its entirety, but I have let my imagination run wild and go there on multiple occasions lately. I also am struggling with the gospel for me right now, as the one thing that Jesus asks of us is to BELIEVE. I would appreciate your prayers and love to hear of others who went through this and came out stronger!
Glad to meet y’all!


(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #2

Jen, my heart goes out for you. Let me confirm one thing (actually two): God LOVES you so incredibly much! Don’t ever forget that.
And two, God encourages us to ask hard questions. Just because we have times of doubt and low times in our lives, God hasn’t left us. He is right there with us holding us up in his loving and caring arms. Only God can be that solid rock that we plant our feet on.
Here is some encouragement:
Acts 5:40-41 NIV
[40] His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. [41] The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.


(Kathleen) #3

@Jen! You are most welcome here, and we are very glad to have you in our midst. I too know those dark, isolated times, and they oh how bleak they can be! The doubt, though, can be good. Let it drive your search for and pursuit of truth and light. We are here with you. Do ask your questions, and I pray that God will use this place to grow you in knowledge of Him (and his grace and goodness) as well as yourself. :blush:


(James Armbruster) #4

Welcome Jen - you are in a good place, great community, great content. Give yourself time - that hunger you feel for answers will be satisfied, but you can’t do it all in one sitting :slight_smile:

Praying for you and your family now - God bless!


(Carson Weitnauer) #5

Hi @Jen,

Thank you for introducing yourself and sharing your need with us. This morning the RZIM staff at our global headquarters prayed for God to meet you in a powerful way.

I have been wondering how to respond. I confess that sometimes my words feel (to me) so light and insubstantial in meeting the needs of the heart.

However, I was deeply struck by @mmingus36 and his introduction to Connect today:

I thought you might be encouraged to read his testimony and hear how God transformed his life.

One practice I have recommended and found helpful is to write down the very specific objection or doubt I am having. Instead of letting your imagination run wild, get out paper and pen and specifically describe what the problem seems to be. Then, as you desire, please share your questions with us, and you will find encouragement, prayer, and insight as the Connect community comes alongside you in your journey for a solid foundation of truth.

I also hope that you might be able to have time and opportunity to have coffee with some friends on the worship team or other ministries at church. Sometimes it can be so hard to open up about our struggles with people we know. But, the members of your church are in the very best position to pray for you, encourage you, and support you. A few hours out of the home with a good friend can do wonders for our physical, mental, and spiritual health.

I look forward to hearing more from you.


(Matthew Mingus) #6

Jen…Welcome first of all and I will be praying for you. I understand that there are certainly times in life when we are prodded with the temptation of doubt. Remember that Job was a man who was called righteous, but He went through some of the most difficult times imaginable. Your faith is not gone. Much like a chair you are about to sit in, you may have faith in that chair to hold you, but there is nothing wrong with investigating it and confirming its strength. In fact the more sure of the strength that chair holds, the more confidently you can sit in it.
Remember that Satan loves to attack believers by making them feel alone and isolated. Then he is free to plant those doubts in your mind. But the more you stay faithful and seek the answers that only God can give, the more confident you become in Him and the weaker those attacks by this world will become. Take Heart Jennifer, you are not isolated, and you are not alone. You have said already that you know God has worked in your life before, and sometimes He works best in the difficult times we face.
The first step is belief, but then the rest of your life is a time to grow and strengthen your faith in Him. Ask questions, seek and you will find the answers, and never let yourself believe for a second that you are alone Jennifer. God is with you even in the difficult times, and so is your church and your family, and now all of us as well. I will pray for you and I hope that this helps. God bless Jennifer


(Tabitha Gallman) #7

Hi Jen,

I can only speak from experience as a stay at home mother and can relate also to doubts about my faith. But I could not imagine what it is like to take care of a special needs child. My heart goes out to you. I hope you have support with your special needs child. My sister has a special needs child and she has a very supportive husband and other family. I pray for my nephew every night and for God to provide physical and mental strength for my sister to take care of her son. Being a Mom is not an easy task. Like others have said, don’t be afraid to share your struggles with others.

Another important thing is to try your best to never isolate yourself. When we are in fellowship with other people (specifically other believers) you will see a different perspective of your life.

I have only been asking questions here for a short time, but everyone here that I have communicated with have been nothing short of a blessing to me. They are incredibly wise in God’s word :slight_smile:

God loves you and so do I. I will be praying for you and your precious family.

Tabitha


(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #8

Hello, @Jen. I don’t know exactly what words to say to you right now. It seems to me that you’re going through a lot. I encourage you to seek the Lord, to seek His Word, most especially in times like this, and also to be with people in your local church. I just prayed for you today.


(Jennifer Spencer) #9

Thank y’all for your prayers and advice, it means a lot to me.


(David Bruce Young) #10

Welcome. I think your seeking prayer is the best thing you can do except praying for deliverance from the oppression yourself. I am asking God for a couple of things. First, I pray for eventual peace. And I pray 2 Corinthians 1:4,5 for you. I pray God will give you insight and grace to minister to others who struggle with similar trials.


(Laurie King) #11

Hello Jen,

I think your questions touched so many of our hearts because most of us have been where you are at some point in our lives. It feels so scary and precarious. I agree with so much of what has already been offered here. Don’t fall into condemnation over your doubts and questions. Condemnation is never from God, but from the enemy of your soul. God convicts of righteousness because He always wants to move you toward his best. His truth. Satan on the other hand, wants you to believe that you are less than, not fit for use, a failure. And that brings fear, which as we learn in 1 John 4:18, brings torment. But perfect love casts out fear. Immerse yourself in who God says you are, fearfully and wonderfully made, the apple of his eye. God doesn’t fear your questions or leave you because of them. Imagine one of your kids asking you “Do you really love me Mom?” How desperately would you want to assure them you do! And our love is just a pittance compared to our Fathers love for us. Rest in his perfect love and let him teach you and grow you as you read his word and let it renew your mind and dispel your fears and doubts. And keep those questions coming.


(Amy Preston) #12

Jen,

I’m sorry you are struggling and thankful that you are reaching out to this community for support. I hope you are also able to reach out to your local community for support and that sisters and brothers in Christ surround you as you walk through this time.

A verse that has been so helpful to me is Luke 22:31-32. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you turn back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus knows you, your journey and is praying for you.

As you are able, John Piper commentary on this verse is very good. You will find written commentary and a podcast of a sermon on Desiring God.

In Christ,

Amy


(Howard Swanson) #13

If you haven’t read it, I would recommend “Doubting” by Alister McGrath. He went from an atheistic young man, to conversion, to degrees in theology and Philosophy from Oxford to chair of theology at Kings College London. He has a knack for writing in a down to earth but penetrating style. This small book was very helpful for us. Howard Swanson