Crisis of Faith

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!

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15 thoughts on “Crisis of Faith

  1. I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with your faith, and I totally understand what it’s like to question God’s goodness when blessings seem to keep passing you by. For me, personally, I assume that every trial is for a reason. We may not understand the reason right away, and sometimes, the reason may not be entirely about us. Sometimes I believe I, as a Christian, go through trials so that my strength and faith can be seen by others, can be glorifying to God, and maybe can help a few people understand a little more about what faith is truly about and maybe they will know Him as a result. That brings peace to me. The hardest answer I personally have ever had to accept is that maybe I’m going through this trial so it will grow MY faith and understanding in Him. Funny enough, once I give in and give blind faith a real chance, my prayers seem to get answered, even if it wasn’t in the way I originally expected. Questioning your faith is normal, especially to go through the tragedy you have faced. I cannot imagine what that’s like and won’t pretend to. But I did read a book a few years back that changed my life forever. It’s called The Shack by William P Young. It helped me to really see the “bigger picture” when it comes to faith and I have had an unspeakably strong sense of peace about His plans for me ever since. There are definitely still times when I forget, and I question, and I doubt. But after some really good prayer, and a lot of quiet time and reflecting, the answer is usually something I’ve been doing wrong all along.

    I will pray that your faith can be strengthened through all of this and that you will find meaning in your loss, and have an understanding of what God’s plans are for your life. And SOON!
    xo

    • Thank you so much for your comments, your prayers, and for sharing your experience with faith. I needed to hear this and I think I need to work on seeing this from a different perspective. I especially appreciate what you said about blind faith. I, too, have found that when I take a leap of faith with my eyes closed, my prayers are often answered in one way or another. I think it’s time to practice doing more of that. I’m sure I’ll be reading your comment over and over in the weeks ahead as I try to see things in another light. Again — thank you!

      P.S. I’ve heard good things about “The Shack” but have never read it. Sounds like now is the perfect time!

  2. I was not raised as a religious person, but more as a person of faith in God. I prayed a ton during my entire journey until I lost my twins…now I can’t get myself to talk to God at all. I know how it feels to have your very core rocked and to question the reasons for things. It’s a hard place to be in. I thank you for your honesty and thoughtful post. Also – I found your blog!

    • I’m so sorry that your relationship with God has suffered since the loss of your babies. It’s hard to have faith when God gives you such a painful blow. I just hope that, little by little, my trust will return (and I think it is). I do keep praying — sometimes, it feels like it’s in vain, but at other times, it feels like it’s the only small measure of control I have. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  3. Thanks for this post. It touches a lot on what many of us have been going through lately. I’m just now learning that it is ok to have all of these questions and no answers. Like you said, it is easy to believe when things are going well, but difficult when things are so tough.

  4. I am glad you are finding your way in your faith.

    I was never a deeply religious person, but now I can barely call myself one at all. I feel like things have been tough for so long, that they will never get better. They may get better temporarily (like when I was pregnant with twins for that short amount of time, or even my current short (thus far) success but it comes back. I’ve had so much medical stuff in my life and it doesn’t seem to stop. No matter how much I prayed, it didn’t matter. Maybe I didn’t pray enough.

    So I’m very mad at God right now and I don’t know when that will get better. And yet I believe in God, and I love Him. I just don’t think He loves me very much.

    Wow, that just turned into a pity-party on your blog. I’m so sorry! I think the faith discussion always cuts me a bit.

    ICLW #27

    • Feel free to throw a pity party here any time…you have every right! I totally understand your anger at God, but I’m so sorry you feel unloved by Him. I have been there too (and sometimes still feel that way), but I once read in some book (can’t remember which one) that God never promised his people a life free of suffering…that it’s part of the human experience. I hate that, but I think it’s true and I try to remind myself of it often. It’s still hard to understand, though. And I guess we may never have the answers or understanding, at least not in this life.

      But I’m going to be praying for that itty bitty success of yours to continue. I really hope this time is IT for you!!

  5. Faith is such a hard thing through these hard times… I’m not particularly religious but have certainly questioned the goodness in the world when there is so much hurt and sadness. Thinking of you xoxo

  6. You know I can relate to these feelings because you read my post, “Are You There God, It’s Me, Your Punching Bag” back in June. Turns out, I didn’t know it at the time, but I was a few weeks pregnant when I wrote that letter. Talk about being humbled!
    I can feel your pain come through in your honest words, and I just wish there was something I could do to help. It does sound like you are very in touch with your feelings about your faith and how it relates to your IF journey. I think that’s a good thing. I’ll be praying that you can work it all out in a way that leaves you filled with peace.

    • Thanks for your prayers and for stopping by my blog! I’ve actually thought about your post a lot in recent weeks. About the anger, pain and honesty in it — and about the irony (or perhaps perfect timing) of your surprise pregnancy. And for me, it’s not only proof positive that God IS listening AND that He doesn’t hold one’s anger towards Him against us, but it also gives me hope. Truly. I do think God has a tendency to answer prayers when you need it the most and when it’s least expected, so I’m trying to be patient. And to still believe in miracles. When I’m wallowing, it’s not always easy or even possible. But when I look up- and outwards, and think of your story and even my own (e.g. my daughter), then I know it’s true. Miracles do happen.

      • I’m so glad my journey has given you hope and strengthened your faith that God is listening… even if it’s quickly replaced by wallowing or anger. Those ups and downs are part of what makes IF so mentally and emotionally difficult, IMO. Don’t give up hope, though. And I’ll pray for God to give you patience, until he’s ready to give you your miracle.

  7. I touched on this topic in June, around Father’s Day when I realized I feel straight up betrayed by God. I know I was never promised, in explicit terms at least, the ability to have children, but I have heard my whole life that God won’t give you anything you can’t handle. And I do not feel equipped to handle a childless life. And I feel so hurt and angry and let down I can’t hardly stand it. Maybe there will be a reason that comes to light at some point some time, but maybe not.

    Anyway, I feel your pain, and I appreciate your honest post about what’s going through your head!

    • Thank you for your support. I guess this is just one more thing that infertility robs from us — our faith and our God — though I’m trying not to let it. I’m fighting. I do have to believe that there is a reason for everything, because that’s the only way I can even begin to get through all of this, but that doesn’t mean I like it or am glad it has happened. I’m going to keep praying — and hope that’s enough. And I’ll pray for your own peace, strength, and happy ending too.

  8. I am not religious, so I do not feel these struggles with God, but I do understand how a loss and a struggle like this one can shake one’s faith in the universe. I hope in time you reach the equilibrium you’re seeking on this issue.

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