Then Tuesday I went to group counseling, and I happened to be last to speak. I poured out my heart, basically saying all I had said in that post. There was silence for a few moments, and then my counselor began to talk to me. She got very heated, telling me that I should give up self-pity and make the choice to trust God... she said it differently but that was the gist of it. Some of the other women got uncomfortable with her directness (she was rather irate) and defended me, and she toned herself down a bit but didn't change what she was saying.
Meanwhile, my inner cobra was flaring her hood. I was furious. I held up my hand, palm toward her, and said, "I reject your judgement. That does not fall on me." I know the inner workings of me better than anyone except God, and I know that self-pity has not been a battle I've had to fight. I can't stand the role of the victim, and I certainly wouldn't wallow in it.
As she 'accused' and I 'defended,' I found myself growing stronger and stronger. I had had those doubts about myself, and as she caused me to face them head on, I realized how untrue they were. As I explained myself to her, I began to believe in myself more.
I know I have never stopped believing in God. I have never taken the easy way out! It's far, far easier simply to put aside these torturous questions and accept what someone else tells you is true -- but I refuse to do that. That's not always 'faith' -- sometimes it's just laziness, or a lack of passion -- or even fear of the answer. I believe that God is truth, and I believe that he is big enough to handle all my questions and pain and fear. I don't need to drop my questions; I need to seek the answer and be willing to accept it when I get it. No, I don't trust that God loves me, not right now, as much as I'd like to -- but some part of me must, because I still believe with my whole self that he IS Love, that he loves every human, and that he works in people's lives in response to my prayers. I've seen it, over and over again.
I don't know what it will take to get me to where I can believe that God loves me personally, deeply, fully, passionately, unreservedly, unconditionally...
... but I know I will get there.
At the end of the meeting, we all prayed together, including a specific prayer that God would give me the answer and that I'd be able to accept it, and then as people started getting up, my counselor apologized for being harsh, and I forgave her. And I asked for everyone's attention, and said that I could understand how they might feel upset with my counselor -- I would have been very upset had it been someone else she was scolding -- but that I believe that she was doing what God wanted her to. The result in my heart was positive -- not the result she was pushing for at all, but exactly the right result. I said that I thought her methods might have been somewhat questionable, but she was following God. After I finished my little speech, my counselor and I hugged, and I totally let go of any negative emotions I might have had toward her. I know she did that because she feels a little like a mother to me, and because she very passionately wants the best for me. There wasn't an unclean motive in her heart. (and I know she'd NEVER have gone off on anyone else like that, she was so completely honest; I kinda take it as a compliment) Another of the counselors came up to me and hugged me and thanked me for saying that, which filled me with the certainty that I had done the right thing. Hopefully it soothed any worried hearts.