I had another post all written out and waiting to be published, a diatribe of my most recent worries and anxieties, but I think I’m going to save it. I’ll post it in a day or two. Instead, I want to talk about faith. I’ve tried to avoid discussing this sensitive topic for fear of offending someone as I know we all have our own set of beliefs, whatever they may be. However, my faith is a part of me, as is my current struggle with it, and it seems inauthentic if I fail to talk about it in this venue.
Today’s church sermon was about learning to trust God when the seas are stormy and when life is not going how you planned. Appropriate, you think? Our pastor, the man who baptized my daughter last year and has two young children of his own, was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor just this last December. After several surgeries as well as speech and cognitive therapy, he is doing well now, though it was touch and go for a while and he still has some months of recovery ahead of him. However, through it all, he has managed to glorify God’s name. His wife, who spoke in the sermon today, confessed that she struggled with accepting God’s plan, with even believing that He had a plan at all, but in the end was able to make peace with it and to see that God is good in all things.
Me? I’m having a bit more trouble with that.
It’s no secret to my IRL friends and family that I’ve struggled with my faith ever since my miscarriage. I have been very honest about it. I’m mad at God. When trying to conceive our first child, I bargained with Him and promised if he gave me a child, I would go to church more. I have since reneged on that promise. This month, I have gone every other week. Last month, I didn’t go at all. It’s not that I have made a conscious decision to do it…but if I find an excuse to do something else, I will. I have also found excuses to not read my Bible, to not pray, to not donate to the church offering plate. I’m still trying, but I’m finding it harder than ever to be faithful.
Apparently, my faith wasn’t very strong to begin with. Right? I mean, it’s easy to have faith when things are going your way. I went to church every single week when I knew I was pregnant with our Teddy Graham. But it’s much harder to have faith when your heart is crushed and you just can’t make sense of why.
And it’s not that I’ve stopped believing in God. I haven’t. I don’t think I ever will. I remember reading in a recent post on Baby-Making Merry-go-Round that Mrs. Green Grass believes our core values are formed fairly early in our lives and I think she’s right about that. Though we are talking about very different situations, I was raised to believe in God from infancy and even if my whole world was destroyed and I was the only one left standing in it, I don’t think I would stop believing. That’s not the type of crisis of faith I’m having. Instead, I’m just struggling to trust. To understand. To accept. And to once again believe in the power of prayer.
Because I did a LOT of praying when I was pregnant with Teddy Graham and we know how far that got me!
When I was TTC the first time, I often cried out to God and sometimes I was angry too, but it was never like this. Then, it was easy to say to myself: Oh, well, maybe now just isn’t the right time. Maybe God knows something I don’t. Maybe we’re not quite ready. And when I finally did get pregnant and everything fell into place perfectly, it was easy to see His Plan. But it’s much harder to understand why God would give us the child I have been praying for, only to take him away a few weeks later. What’s the point? Really!
And the truth is, I still have no answers. This is not some post where I am here to convert you. Or convince you of the goodness of God. Or encourage you to summon faith when it’s hardest. I’m still trying to figure all of that out myself. In my heart of hearts, I do believe God is good, and there is a reason for all of this (every single bit of it. Every. Single. Bit.), and things will work out perfectly in the end. I believe that! But it’s still hard to reconcile the good God I believe in with the One who has taken away my itty bitty babe.
So what I got out of the sermon today was this: He gives and He takes away. We don’t have to like it. We can pray for something else. But in the end, we just need to trust. Even when there are no answers. Even when we can’t understand it. It is all too big for our little human brains to understand, anyways. We just, quite simply, need to have faith.
My husband asked me yesterday if losing our li’l Teddy has given me a more three-dimensional view of my faith. The answer is yes. Surely. I am learning that faith is a lot more than praying for what you want and thanking God when He gives it to you. It is also finding a way to be thankful and to praise God’s name in the times when you are alone in the wilderness of life, just trying to survive. But what I should have told my husband is: “Yes, but it’s a work in progress.” I still can’t make sense of so very much. Why me? Why all of us? Why now? Why like this? My faith in God is not perfect, not unwavering. It can — and has — been shaken. But I have been told countless times that that’s okay. It’s okay to be angry with God. He expects it and He can handle it. This, again, is just all part of the journey I suppose. Part of the TTC/IF journey and part of my faith journey as well.
With time, perhaps, I will find my answers. Or I will grow to accept that there aren’t any, or I am not meant to understand them.
As with so many areas of my life, I am forevermore a Work in Progress.
P.S. So, so sorry about this very long post. Especially to all the ICLWers…I know you have a lot of reading you want to do and I’m sorry for monopolizing your time! I’m failing miserably at suppressing my long-windedness. And I confess, there’s another long one just around the corner. Stay tuned to hear about all the heavy worries weighing on me over the weekend!