Today’s guest on Faith Notes is Kass Fogle. I recently met Kass on Twitter and followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to invite her to share her story with you. I am so glad I did! As it turns out, Kass is a woman after my own heart. She has a fiery, authentic faith where she often starts her prayer with, “OK, so I’m not doing so well right now and I need you to just hug me, like now….” Oh my goodness! See what I mean? Don’t you know the Lord takes delight in this little woman? She has learned how to do life with God. I can’t wait to share her with you.
Describe a time when you felt abandoned by God or very disappointed in Him, thinking He had failed you.
My husband and I made a decision to move “back home”. We would often visit family for holidays or on weekends and every time we left, we just felt like we were leaving home rather than going home. We prayed and prayed and felt like we were answering a call of God. So, we put the house up for sale and I looked for a job. Having found a job within a month, with a very generous relocation package, we thought God was smiling upon us.
However, three years later we were still paying two mortgages and our marriage was suffering the effects of financial burdens. Satan sensed the weakness and dove in. The only conversations were about money. We didn’t talk, we didn’t date, we didn’t even enjoy being in the same room together. We started to lose all of our savings.
Three years later, we could not fathom why God would place such a beautiful desire in our heart, fill it with plans for the perfect house to host a small group, introduce us to a great church, and connect my husband to a great job, only to send us spiraling out of control financially.
For three and a half years I prayed. I sought wise counsel. I looked within for sins not confessed. I followed the Christian Rule Book on unanswered prayers. But the more I prayed, the more it seemed like there was no hope whatsoever. In a series of wildly unexplainable events, we went through four realtors. We had three buyers only to have something happen at the last minute to stop the closing.
When we finally sold our house three and a half years after moving, the market was so horrible that we lost tens of thousands of dollars in the sale, not to mention the dollars we could not save because we were paying two mortgages with insurance, taxes and utilities. Six years later, we are still recovering financially. Six years later, there is still no clear answer.
During this time, how was your faith-walk impacted? Were you angry? Fearful? Numb? Doubtful? Did you turn your back on God for a while, or cling desperately to what you know to be true, even though your emotions told you otherwise?
At first, I was driven — totally faithful to what God wanted to teach us. We knew the market was a bit shaky but houses around us were selling just fine. I began doubting our decision. We had misunderstood. We panicked because we saw our savings dwindle to nothing. We were angry that we made good salaries but were relegated to a shoestring budget. We were so disappointed that our faithful obedience to God was being punished. We were so confused by it. Over time, I was plain numb.
What happened to resolve your faith crisis? How did God reveal Himself to you during this time? With extraordinary comfort? Reassurance? Peace that passes understanding? Quiet knowing?
I yelled at God.
I often went on a walk at a Nature Preserve to get fresh air and a trail run. Part way through my run I just broke down crying. A sobbing-bawling-snorting kind of cry. I stopped and literally shook my hands at the sky and cried out to Him. I asked him why he would do this to a couple who prayerfully answered their call in obedience. I asked him what I was missing, what I was doing wrong. I begged him to reveal himself to me. And then I got a little snap-snap-snap (think Z) attitude and said, “Well, if you think this is going to shake my faith, you’re wrong. I love you, do you hear me? I love you! Fine. If you want us to keep paying two house payments — FINE. But we will still serve you.” And then I had a few things to say to the devil about how he’ll never win, and I finished my run.
I don’t usually do things traditionally.
What scripture became a sure place for you?
There were quite a few!
James 1:13-14 ~ Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own evil desires and enticed.
Ephesians 6:12 ~ For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
But I also clung to the radio. I had dabbled in Christian Music and enjoyed it, but I began to immerse myself in it, using it to worship. I found a preaching radio station and began listening to Janet Parshall, Ravi Zacharias, Tony Evans and others. I couldn’t get enough learning.
Did praise play a part of your faith restoration? What about thankfulness? Is praise a big part of your faith-walk now?
I started reading the Psalms over and over and over again. I’d read them in the morning, and at noon, and at night along with my other bible studying. Psalm 100 became my favorite!
How do you find God’s peace when you are troubled?
I speak to him plainly. I do not try and polish my prayers. I don’t start with, “Dear Lord” with my hands folded demurely. I usually start out with, “OK, so I’m not doing so well right now and I need you to just hug me, like now….”
What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of the Lord and why?
Breath. Every moment and every breath, He is with me. He breathes life and peace and grace and mercy into me at every breath. It’s where I came up with my blog, The First Breath.
Could you offer some encouraging words for those who may be seeking the Lord, those wanting to draw closer to Him and trust Him more, especially during a painful season?
God is bigger than our failures, than our repeated failures. He doesn’t want us to try harder, he wants us to worship him and praise him. When you feel like you’ve asked enough, done enough, cried enough … stop and worship him. Let every prayer, day and night be only about him, never asking for a thing. Find a cause. Move your focus off yourself. The troubles do not magically disappear, but your worship and service to others builds your faith and with the strengthening of your faith, builds a shield around your heart that Satan can no longer penetrate with his lies that life will never get better. Just love Him and worship him — every day — and his blessings will be given to you in good measure!
More About Kass:
Kass Fogle is a Contemporary Christian Author, Speaker and Blogger who lives with her husband and two teenage children in South-Central Illinois. She is working on her first novel, Ruth’s Garden and when she is not at the local coffee house writing, she is baking, hanging out with family or causing trouble with her tight group of girlfriends.
You can follow Kass on twitter @kassfogle, visit her website (and subscribe to the blog!) at kassfogle.com or join her facebook page at The First Breath She’d be honored if you stopped by! Send a prayer request at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org