“Be Still and Know that I am God”

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Strictly from a faith standpoint, this is my toughest test.
Strictly from a faith standpoint, this is my toughest test.

God talks to me.

Not from a burning bush.

Not from the heavens above.

Not in my dreams.

Not through any voices in my head.

Nothing weird.

But, once in a great while—as in just a few times in my life—He talks to me.

And the message I’ve been getting since Easter weekend—just hours before finding out my wife was leaving—is Psalm 46:10 from the all-time No. 1 bestseller which I’ve still never read all the way through.

Be still and know that I am God.

We Walk by Faith, and Not by Sight

At least, I’ve said that in church before. But I don’t always do it.

I have a little trouble letting go sometimes.

I was raised in the Catholic church. I don’t like to say that to too many people because I don’t want to give Catholics or Christians a bad name.

I don’t Bible thump.

I don’t judge other people’s personal choices.

And I don’t think I’m better than anyone. Ever. Quite the opposite, actually.

I don’t go to church every Sunday, even though I believe I should.

I don’t do a lot of things I believe would be best for my mind, heart and soul.

We’ve all got a little self-destructiveness in us. And I’ve been dabbling in that lately.

Drinking a lot. Even by my proud-to-be-a-social-drinker standards.

Smoking. Even though it’s a disgusting habit I kicked when I found out I was going to be a father six years ago.

And on the spiritual side of things, I’ve been angry and lazy and lax in my prayers.

I pray for my son.

I pray for my friends—particularly those who are going through tough times.

I pray for my family.

But most often these days, I pray for strength and courage. I pray for wisdom. I pray that I can be brave enough to walk the tougher path.

The one with steeper hills. The one that doesn’t have any “easy” shortcuts. The one that promises a real sense of accomplishment upon completion.

God Said it in the Bathroom

It was the Saturday before Easter.

And I was using a restroom in the home of one of my lifelong best friends. He and his wife are my son’s godparents. He is representing both my ex and I in this “amicable” dissolution which will conclude on Wednesday. My son’s godmother is an incredible example of how to do things even when they’re hard and inconvenient. She’s inspiring.

In their bathroom, they have a black-framed photo of a boat dock jutting out into a lake.

Printed on it: Be Still and Know that I am God.

And it stopped me in my tracks. And I just stared at it for a long time, thinking about its meaning. Wondering whether I really obtain the faith to cede control of my life during my most-challenging moments.

I still, in my heart and soul, believed my marriage could survive in that moment. That there was still a chance.

That very day, in fact, while my friend and I were rifling through old football cards like we were in grade school again, his wife—a good friend of my ex—looked me in the eye and said: “She’s not giving up, Matt. She sat right here last week, and I asked her: ‘Are you done?’ And she said no. She said she’s not done. There’s still hope.”

It was hard to believe. She’d grown more distant than ever. But I wanted to believe. I wanted us to make it.

Be still and know that I am God.

God Said it in my Grandmother’s Kitchen

My grandmother is ridiculously kind and sweet.

She is nice to everyone.

She loves her family.

And she loves her God.

She’s not afraid to supply chocolate bunnies, and plastic treat-filled eggs, and large food spreads. But you’re also not walking out without at least one token designed to remind you what Easter is supposed to be about for the faithful.

This year, my grandmother was handing out these little gray plastic fake stones. When they’re upside down they look real enough. Maybe three inches wide, two inches tall, and an inch thick. Faux stone finish.

There was a short Bible verse on the bottom side of these—all of them unique, no repeats—in this huge bucket of fake gray stones.

As people arrived, my grandma would hold out the container and ask us to take one.

It’s the kind of thing I normally would have thought was cute then never looked at again after that day.

But then I flipped it over.

Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God.

There were a lot of stones in that bowl. But that’s the one I grabbed.

Message received.

Are you There God? It’s me, Matt

Four hours later, after my son and I made the drive back home, I sat on one of the living room couches I no longer possess. It only took me a minute to notice.

She wasn’t wearing her wedding ring.

I’ll never forget that exact moment. It stopped me mid-sentence, and I don’t even remember what I was talking about.

She didn’t want to talk about it in front of our son. I remember dreading that walk downstairs to see her after kissing my son goodnight.

The last night we were a family.

She moved out the next day. My life has felt wrong and surreal ever since.

Most of the things that have happened between then and now have been documented here.

One month at a time. One week at a time. One day at a time.

I keep learning little things. I keep piecing more of the puzzle together. I keep learning things that make it hurt more.

I have just one priority as it pertains to my failed marriage: I want my son Owen to grow up feeling loved, safe, and being able to count on both of his parents to provide a stable, supportive foundation for him.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

I found out yesterday that my ex has officially made plans to co-habitat with Rich Guy. My son told me.

I’ve found out over the course of the past few months, one small nugget of information at a time, what a horrible human being Rich Guy is.

He’s not a man that I can, in good conscience, allow to be part of Team Raising Owen.

He’s a man with no moral code. He’s a man with no ethics. He’s a man who doesn’t value family. Not his own, nor others. He’s a man who liked sex better than his high-paying job. But it doesn’t matter. Because he’s a trust fund baby who has always been able to buy his way out of trouble.

I want to burn this motherfucker down.

But I also want to maintain dignity and discipline.

I want to destroy their bullshit, poisonous, built-on-lies relationship.

But I also want to always take the high road—to be a good person even when it’s inconvenient. Because way too much has been broken already.

I want to expose this fraudulent asshole to my ex and to everyone else. Because, in the deepest recesses of my soul, I believe he’s a bad person.

And I have a real problem with bad people.

And I have a real problem with doing what I should.

And I have a real problem with having faith when life keeps delivering sucker punches.

Be still and know that I am God.

Man, I’m trying, Lord. And I know things happen on your schedule, not mine.

But please. Pretty please. Show me the way on this one.

Because I’m trying to walk the walk.

But I’m fresh out of walking shoes.

8 thoughts on ““Be Still and Know that I am God””

  1. If you weren’t 5 hours away, I’d immediately come and hug you.
    I admire your faith, I wish that I had some.
    You should let it comfort you, but not let it become a crutch, which I don’t think you have…
    I haven’t completely given up on the hope that there could be a God, but I cannot reconcile the possibility of there being a God with the things that happen in the world.
    If there is a God, he is often a mean kid with a magnifying glass…
    {{{Matt}}} best I can do from Kentucky…

    1. I’ll never preach to you. But I do hope life will provide you with the beautiful moments that will fill your heart with faith and hope.

      Because in my experience, that faith relationship is our only insurance from feeling abandonment.

      Hope is priceless. Invaluable. And faith is the only reason I maintain it.

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