When Tragedy Causes A Crisis of Faith

I keep sitting down to write out something to minister to the hearts of others and I just can’t! This Christian counselor who absolutely loves to write, hasn’t been able to write for months. When I sit down to try, nothing comes out! It feels empty and hallow in the face of this tragedy! I keep praying for peace, for comfort, for greater understanding. It’s just not coming to me! It feels like I’m in survival mode and that’s precisely the case. It’s survival mode… Wake up and force yourself out of bed! It’s easier to stay asleep! Even my morning coffee doesn’t bring me joy like it used to. It takes intentional effort to be present for my children, my spouse, my house, and my job. I pray for strength and wisdom to make it through the day! Most days it works, others it hasn’t! I keep telling myself it will get easier, it does for a bit, but then I get knocked down again. It’s so much easier to get knocked down these days, by fears of the future and by my own self-doubts about my ability to face the Goliath in front of me.

Most of the time I get knocked down by the people who call themselves believers, God-followers, and even pastors (shepherds of God’s flock). This is the worse kind of evil, pastors who abuse. Those who calls themselves Shephards, but in actuality are ravenous wolves.

Sometimes, I get knocked down by someone’s ignorance or worse their ~ silence. Silence I’ve learned is a very real and extremely loud way of saying “I don’t care about your pain, your struggle, your broken heart, or the fact that your life has been turned upside down. I only care about my comfort, my peace, and my ability to continue living the life I please, the way I like it. I only care about my comfort! This hurts to the core of my already broken and shattered heart. Sadly, some of these people I looked up to, I called friends, and now I’ve seen their true colors! My heart aches in the face of this unwelcomed reality. These people who we shared our hearts with, our lives with. In light of our biggest life’s trial, they’ve seemingly disappeared into thin air, as if they never really existed! This is hard to wrap my head around!

I also get knocked down by someone’s “I’m sorry, I’ll miss you!” Like, that’s it, “So long, nice knowing you!” It’s all a reality of how inauthentic the relationships were and a reminder that they were never ~ real. This hurts deeply! So very deeply! The people we thought loved God, us, and God’s children whole-heartedly flaked at the most important and vital moment. These “so-called” friends vanished in the face of our greatest trials! This heavy dose of reality received in the midst of such a tragedy is the absolute worse part of the trial! That and the outright denial of what they know is absolute truth! Denial is like looking at someone who’s bleeding to death and saying “All we know is that you are allegedly bleeding to death. We don’t actually have proof!” No help, no support, no compassion, no life-saving measures, no calling 911, just walks away and denies the reality that you are in fact bleeding to death! May sound silly, but I guarantee that’s what it feels like! Anyone who’s walked this path would attest to the feeling of you’re friends have left you to die, bleed, and hurt alone! {Ouch!} I pray no one has to know this level of hurt, yet sadly, for many this is their reality.

What is holding me up through this trial? What is holding up my family? God almighty is absolutely holding all of us up! His promises, His love, His word, His answers to the prayers from the deepest cries of my heart. Our strong family connection and the way we come together in the face of tragedy, that’s holding us up. On a tearful walk one evening my husband held my hand and said “It always comes back to the six of us!” So true! I feel so sorry for those who face such awful tragedies and don’t have a loving and supportive family.

God is holding us up by the friends who are choosing to stand with us in the trial! Who pray for us multiple times a day! Support and encourage us and who answer the phone when I’m bawling and frightened by the sheer overwhelmingness of the trials we’re walking through. Thank you! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart! Your crowns await you in Heaven! God is holding us up by answering the prayer of my heart to send us to the right people! People who get our pain, who know the heartache is real and offer truth and comfort all at once! To our greatest supporters who leave long voicemails praying over us, cards of encouragement sent in the mail, signs to remind us that God is fighting our battle, scriptures sent every morning to point me to Jesus, supportive Facebook messages and texts lifting us up to the Father! Laughter is holding us up! When our family sits around talking or taking long drives and we just laugh hysterically ~ It is true, laughter is the best medicine! Friends sending funny texts and funny little videos that cause me to literally laugh out loud. Today a friend who was driving and upon hearing my broken-hearted tears pulled into a random person’s driveway in the middle of a mountain to pray with me, this cracked me up and immediately lifted the heaviness and weight off my weary shoulders. These are the very things God is using to hold us together through the trial!

WE ARE SO THANKFUL!

Music is holding me up when my heart no longer knows what to feel, when the Spirit intercedes on our behalf with moans and groans that the Father knows and understands! We are being held up in the midst of the trial! We are so very grateful! I am thankful for the warriors who’ve gone before and bravely faced Goliaths with God at their side, despite facing the same heart-wrenching circumstances we’ve endured! Even when it feels like we’re all alone, we’re never alone! God is always by our side!

To be honest, I don’t know what the end result is. I do know our lives will never be the same. Just like the Covid pandemic, we had to face the very real reality that normal wasn’t coming back. Our family now has to face this new reality in a new trial. Normal ain’t coming back for us, the only hope we have is for God to direct us into a new new normal, a new way of living! To know that ministries come out of our greatest heartbreaks! To trust that our pain is never in vain! God counts every tear that falls from our eyes! God promises to give back abundantly more than what was taken from us! I trust in God’s promises!

“The Lord is near the weary and broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit!”

Friends, if you’re walking through or have walked through an insurmountable trial ~ I’m so very sorry! I know it feels like you’re heart will never beat normally again and it feels like joy is so far away! Hang in there! Joy comes in the morning! Believe in God’s promises! It’s normal to have a crisis of faith in the face of such a tragedy, I have and I’m a Christian counselor. This is all Satan’s strategy to keep us from God when we desperately need Him most! Don’t fall for this evil scheme from the Father of lies!

In closing, I’m reminded of someone I admire greatly who was a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Larry Nasser, famous doctor for the United States gymnastics. Rachel Denhollandar has to be one of the bravest people and her heart for justice and God’s goodness is absolutely awe-inspiring.

I’ll leave you with a few of her quotes that have encouraged me.

“If I have no God, I have nothing!” Racheal Denhollandar

Friends, in the face of such a trial is not the time to turn away from God. This will overtake you and leave you completely hopeless! Stay focused on God! He’s with you and his heart aches because you’re heart has been shattered!

“I struggled to separate the way I felt about God from the evil Larry had committed. Had God abandoned me? He had not, it dawned on me as I wrote. I couldn’t deny the goodness in the world, the strength and purpose of God’s love. With the help of my faith and my family, I was able to grow. The passion and drive I’d once put into gymnastics, I poured into law, debate and public policy. I put those journal pages away in a folder and moved on. I graduated law school, passed the bar and met Jacob.” Rachel Denhollandar

There is hope in our pain! There is beauty in our world! There is goodness in people! There is a God who is in control and hates to see His children hurt!

Friends, There is life, there is joy, and there is hope after this trial! Don’t give up! Stay close to God!

Love, Your sister in Christ,

Crystal Ridlon, LPC, LMHC

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