Unlearning

I am honored to have Melanie Dorsey sharing her journey of hope on The Scenic Route today.  Melanie enjoys speaking, teaching and writing. She also loves running, which is just icing on the cool cake!  You can connect with Melanie at her blog Melanie Dorsey & a Faith that Endures.

Unlearning
By Melanie Dorsey

My twelve-year-old son, Andrew, went to be with the Lord in December 2009. Before then, I thought I had learned who God is and what to expect from Him. Before our world was rocked by the diagnosis of stage 4 brain cancer and Andrew’s passing, I thought I had some answers. Afterwards, all I was left with is The Answer and He is Jesus Christ.

However when I was faced with the very opposite outcome of what our family had hoped and prayed, I felt greatly disappointed. Disappointed with God? Yes. I remember receiving an email from an acquaintance who had prayed for our son. She seemed to have many questions of her own and wrote, “…but God does not disappoint.” I remember thinking, “You feel that way because it was not your child who suffered and died.” I wrote back to her, “I feel VERY disappointed.”

Months later I received a copy of Philip Yancey’s book, Disappointment with God. I dove head and heart first into the text. Yancey dealt with the questions that few Christians voice aloud.

  • Is God unfair?
  • Is God silent?
  • Is God hidden?

These questions were the very painful crux of what I shared with many others who had also faced hurricane level storms in their personal lives. Yancey writes, “True atheists do not, I presume, feel disappointed in God. They expect nothing and receive nothing. But those who commit their lives to God, no matter what, instinctively expect something in return.”

As the overwhelming heaviness of living without Andrew lifted enough for me to venture outside my door, I hit the pavement in my neighborhood. Each evening I laced up my running shoes and ran in the dark. Weaving up and down, I always avoided one particular spot. There were too many painful images associated with the top of our street. Andrew had spent hours playing outside with his friends who lived just a few houses up from ours.

Those evenings under the inky sky, I put my heart on the line with God.

“I don’t understand you. You are NOT who I thought You were. I’m mad, sad, hurt and confused but I’m not leaving you.”

Painful emotions and questions welled up within me. “Losing my son is unfair.” “God, why can’t I hear from You?” “Where are You in this?”

Night after night I ran. Night after night I scanned the indigo sky. I showed up before God in running clothes and damp hair from the sweat that dripped while running in Florida’s humidity. Often as I ran, there was still a bit of sunset. Brilliant corals, azure blue and peacock purple decorated the western edge of sky. I talked to God and I talked to Andrew. But it was always a one-sided conversation.

Until one night.

Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, “It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials: through every cloud He brings, He wants us to unlearn something.”

One night I was almost at the end of my run and was nearing home. It had been months since I had offered God my praise. But that night God spoke sweet words to my heart and in response I slowed my pace and lifted one hand…and then the other. Both hands upraised, I stopped in my tracks.

God was no longer silent. No longer hidden.

Before the trial…before the “cloud,” I thought I had learned who God was. In the dark cover of night, I was unlearning.

My hands lifted to the sky and my tears intermingled with sweat.

I whispered to God, “I was right. You are not who I thought You were. You are MORE.”

 

23 thoughts on “Unlearning

  1. Pingback: Unlearning | Melanie Dorsey & a Faith that Endures

  2. Peggy Morris

    Thanks for sharing my friend Melanie’s beautiful, heart-felt words today at the Scenic Route. She certainly has an amazing story of God’s keeping grace to share, and I’d recommend her ministry to any woman’s group. I’m her friend and pastor’s wife, and she’s the real deal. Blessings!

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Peggy, thanks for coming by. I’ve only been able to meet Melanie online but would love to meet her in real life one day! Her testimony is so encouraging. I am grateful our paths have crossed.

      Reply
  3. Beth Harris

    Melanie ~ although our circumstances are different I smiled when I saw how July 29th devotional has touched your life, too. Yes…I have that one marked up good! Through your grief you have given so many hope. Thank you as always for sharing your heart.

    Reply
  4. Eileen Post author

    Thank you again for being here today, Melanie. Ever since you emailed me this post last week I’ve been thinking about that last line you wrote… “I whispered to God, “I was right. You are not who I thought You were. You are MORE.” He is SO MUCH MORE and it’s definitely the cloudiest and darkest seasons of our lives that teach us just how loving and faithful our Father is!

    Reply
  5. Kathleen Flanagan

    Powerful! I like the thought of “unlearning” even better than “enduring”. I have had some huge losses & betrayls in my life, and through each season of disappointment I’ve come to know the Lord as Job, or Hagar did. He is & will always be The God Who Sees Me. How comforting.

    I love your perspective.

    Reply
  6. elaine @ peace for the journey

    I remember thinking something similar, friend. “I thought I knew who you were, God.” I had only scratched as his surface. When we find our praise after the heartache, after the questions, … then we unlearn God and stand amazed in his presence!

    Beautiful, Melanie.

    peace~elaine

    Reply
  7. Lisa V.

    I am always moved deeply in what you write Melanie. This one being no exception. I still marvel at your faith and honesty since losing precious Andrew. I will hold onto what you wrote for a long time I hope, “You are not who I thought You were. You are MORE.” I don’t ever want to think I have My Lord figured out, I walk in faith and reverence for the Almighty.

    Reply
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