“Everything came crashing down — my self-esteem, my energy to live and work, my sense of being loved, my hope for healing, my trust in God… everything.” — Henry Nowen.
‼️Did those words grab at you? Anger you? Stir up feelings?
I can honestly say that the first time that I read them they sure did move me! I have read and pondered a few of Henry Nowen‘s books and quotes for some time now.
Especially when Henri Nouwen vulnerably wrote about the season in His life when he “Couldn’t Feel” God’s Love.
Friends, the warmth of God’s presence can be elusive at times! In his secret journal, Henri Nouwen was honest about a dark season in which he couldn’t feel God’s love.
He’d helped millions of other people around the world into a more tender and intimate experience with God, but suddenly, there HE WAS, in a very difficult, lonely and deep soul searching agony.
The spiritual anguish and deep pain overtook Nouwen around the time of his transition of leaving his work as a seminary professor to live and serve in a community of developmentally disabled adults in 1988.
Eight years later and shortly before his death he agreed to publish his secret journal as “The Inner Voice of Love“.
Here are some excerpts from that short and heartfelt book shared by another writer by the name of Bill Gaultiere :
“Everything came crashing down — my self-esteem, my energy to live and work, my sense of being loved, my hope for healing, my trust in God… everything.”
“Here I was, a writer about the spiritual life, known as someone who loves God and gives hope to people, flat on the ground and in total darkness.”
“What had happened? I had come face to face with my own nothingness. It was as if all that had given my life meaning was pulled away and I could see nothing in front of me but a bottomless abyss.” (p xiii)
“It was as if the house I had finally found had no floors…”
“I could not be reached by consoling words or arguments. I no longer had any interest in other people’s problems. I… could not appreciate the beauty of music, art, or even nature. All had become darkness.” (pages xiv-xv)
➡️ Henri Nouwen finally experienced consolation from God through two spiritual counselors. ⬅️
💗 Through them The LORD spoke to his heart and to ours:
“You have to trust the place that is solid, the place where you can say yes to God’s love even when you do not feel it.”
“Right now you feel nothing except emptiness and the lack of strength to choose. But keep saying, ‘God loves me, and God’s love is enough.’ You have to choose the solid place over and over again and return to it after every failure.” (p 8)
“Don’t whip yourself for your lack of spiritual progress. If you do, you will easily be pulled even further away from your center. You will damage yourself…”
“It is obviously good not to act on your sudden emotions. But you don’t have to repress them either… Acknowledge them [and] befriend them so that you do not become their victim.”
“The way to ‘victory’ is not in trying to overcome your
dispiriting emotions directly but in building a deeper sense of safety and at-homeness and a more incarnate knowledge that you are deeply loved. Then little by little, you will stop giving so much power to strangers [who make you feel insecure].” (pages 42-43)
“When you experience the deep pain of loneliness, it is understandable that your thoughts go out to the person who was able to take that loneliness away, even if only for a moment…
“But no human being can heal that pain.”
“Still, people will be sent to you to mediate God’s healing, and they will be able to offer you the deep sense of belonging that you desire and that gives meaning to all you do.
“Dare to stay with your pain, and trust in God’s promise to you.” (pages 47-48) :- Bill Gaultiere.
💞🛐✝️💕 This is why I (Mary) continue to be a minister and Pastoral Counselor. I know the value of having others help me though the adjustments, shocks, pain, and growth in life.
And, they nudge me to keep on “nudging others” into the light of HOPE and the power of mercy and grace.
💥 There is such a false narrative about the Christian life being “all happiness and angels blissfully floating around us playing harps, whilst nibbling on angel food cake”. 💥
To live here on earth, we walk out a daily, progressive process from cradle to grave.
We are daily being sanctified, renewed and changed as we intentionally face the pain, fears, losses and yes, shocks that come our way, embracing the courage Jesus gives us to walk with Him, learning to trust Him, until feelings are not what drive us, but His words alone, (sometimes spoon-fed to us) are our answer, our anchor and our guide.
‼️ Never be afraid to ask for help. ‼️
Especially from those who have had some seasons of hardship and “vulnerable limping”.
They will hear you, help you, and walk you into the Light of HIS heart, which always brings depth and lasting healing. 💗
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.