Tag Archive | faith

On Blind Faith

Note: This is a post about faith and God. I welcome any comments and opinions, but I ask that you be respectful of my beliefs. And please know that I am not in any way commenting on you, your situation, your opposing faith, or lack thereof. This is only about me, what I have learned, and what I believe in the dark corners of my heart.

Also: Pregnancy is briefly mentioned throughout this post.

This is a post I have been wanting to write for some time, long before Skittle ever came to be, or I ever saw a heartbeat, over and over and over again. I have talked about it with Kelly over at Life is Good Today in some great length and it is something I have pondered for many months. Early on in the life of this little blog, I wrote about my struggle with my faith since my miscarriage. I was born and raised a Christian, but I was mad at God and I couldn’t make sense of my loss or anyone else’s. But in Kelly’s comments to my post, she mentioned blind faith, which really spoke to me. Now I realize that it (“it” being “blind faith”) is a bit of a redundant phrase, as all faith is essentially blind — that is, faith is believing in something that cannot be seen or touched, something that we don’t have solid proof of — but it made me see my faith, and faith in general, differently.

I realized that blind faith was exactly what I needed to have in order to get through this difficult period of infertility (and later, the scary first weeks of pregnancy) with any sort of grace or peace. It was my only hope. And it helped, I will say. Letting the control slip from my hands into Someone Else’s, and just working every damn day to believe that everything would work out, would be okay, was all part of some grand plan, gave me what I needed to make it from one day to the next. I will not lie: it has not always been easy. I still get angry at God sometimes, not only for me but for all of you, and I still don’t have all the answers. There have been days when I must have repeated my mantra of “blind faith, blind faith, blind faith” a thousand times because I needed the constant reminder. But it helped. Oh dear God, it helped. And in the end, I believe that’s the purpose of faith and prayer. It is not for God. God is God. He wants but does not need for us to believe in Him, worship Him, or go to Him in all things. Rather, faith is for us. It changes us. It lifts us up. And it makes life so much easier.

And in my hard work of learning to just let God be in charge, and trust that His plan is the best plan, I have come to learn so much about what it means to have blind faith. Because it is more than going to church, believing in God, praying for what you want and expecting you’ll get it. It is more than worship and praise. It is trusting fully, come what may. It’s accepting God’s will, and embracing it, even if you simultaneously despise it. It’s acknowledging the hateful and angry feelings you have towards God, and working through them. It’s knowing you will be okay and you are not alone, even if you don’t get what you want. It’s understanding that God knows best, even if you don’t like His reasons. It’s grasping that there is a purpose for your pain.

Blind faith does not require that we seek answers and try to understand God’s plan. In fact, I think it’s the exact opposite: not wanting or needing the answers at all. Just going forward with your eyes closed, leaping into the unknown. Basically, it boils down to trust. You can’t see where the road in front of you leads, if the trip will be easy or hard or long. But just trusting that, one way or another, God will lead you through it.

To me, this is what blind faith is. I know this now. I know this not because I am growing another baby, but because my faith has evolved significantly since losing Teddy Graham last year. All those times I was standing still — all those times I was waiting for my period, waiting for ovulation, waiting to be done with Provera, waiting, waiting, waiting — I had time to think about this. And yet practicing this sort of faith, letting it take over my head and heart at all times — well, I’m still working on that. I imagine I will be for the rest of my life.

Sorry for the rambling, friends. I don’t want to come off as preachy. I know this is a sensitive subject. I know so many people, especially in this community, find it impossible to believe in anything at all or really struggle as I have, or more. I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I don’t judge and I hope you won’t judge me. It’s just, without my faith and without working towards a greater understanding of what that means, I would have been lost over the last year. In fact, I would have lost it (as in, my mind). So while I’m so happy that some of you made it to the end of this post and have been supportive enough to listen to all my ramblings, this post is really for me. Because when I face another crisis (and there will be another one), I want to remember what I learned. I want every bit of it written down as a solid, tangible reminder that faith got me through once before. And it will do it again.

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Praying for Babies

First of all, thanks to all of you for your kind, supportive, and encouraging comments on my last post. I have successfully stayed away from Google and am trying to embrace the moments of peace and joy when they find me. I am still terrified, but taking this all one day (or one minute) at a time.

But instead of writing yet another ten or twenty paragraphs about how hard and scary these early weeks are (because we all know there will be plenty more to come!), I want to talk about the church service I attended in January. It seems a little silly to write about this now with a BFP in my back pocket (so to speak), but I want to do it anyways because it was an amazing and horrible experience, all wrapped into one. It was like nothing I had experienced before and I think it deserves an honest discussion.

On January 27, I attended a service at a local church (“local” being about 45 minutes north of us). It was the last Sunday of January, which meant it was time for their annual Presentation Sunday — a prayer service for couples struggling with infertility. I had never been before, but when I read an article about it last year just as we had started trying for another baby, I told my husband that, should we still be TTC in 2013, I wanted to go. Of course, I didn’t really think we would be stuck in this same place a year down the road. But I guess the joke was on me, because we were and we went.

A little background: This was their 25th annual Presentation Sunday. They have had people from all over the country fly in to be prayed for. And there have been many, many successes. They stopped keeping track when they reached 500 babies born post-Presentation Sunday some years ago. Some of these babies were born nine months after the prayer service and some were born much later. Also, the pastor and his wife are one of us…that is, they suffered 11 miscarriages/losses (one of them at six months) before they were able to have their son.

Now, let me be clear…I did not go there expecting a miracle. I thoroughly believe in the power of prayer, but I know that we don’t always get what we pray for. It’s not a case of “ask and you shall receive.” Sometimes, what we want is just not in the cards, or God’s plan, for us. I am realistic about this. But I guess, in my heart of hearts, I hoped that this type of service would have some mystical powers or really speak to God and voila! A baby would be conceived and born. But at the very least, I felt it might be powerful to be surrounded by couples who were facing our same set of circumstances, and understood the pain and fear that arises from that. Not to mention, any amount of prayer usually brings peace into my heart. I may not get what I am yearning for, but it’s easier to go forward with that sense of peace.

So that was the good part of the service. Hearing the testimony and success stories. Hearing the pastor’s sermon about how you need only the smallest amount of faith, something the size of a mustard seed, to get a miracle. Seeing the women around me weeping and knowing I’m not alone. Feeling that kinship. But then along came the problematic part…

Towards the end of the service, my daughter started to get restless. Two years old, listening to “old” people ramble…who can blame her? We had toys, snacks, and books for her, but she was tired of sitting still, and especially tired of sitting still quietly. So my husband took her into the hall. I had told him before the service that, should this happen, I needed him to come back into the sanctuary when it was time to be prayed for. And when he left with Cupcake, I reminded him, “Stay close.” Do you see where this is going?

When it was time to go the front to kneel before the stage and have others lay their hands on us and be prayed for, Honey still had not returned, so I went alone. Alongside lots of other couples. Because I was the “single” woman up there (and therefore not aligned with their belief that married couples should be blessed with children), I was ignored. Never mind that I was wearing a wedding ring or that this sort of ostracizing is so far from what Christianity is about, but no one touched me and no one prayed for me. I was sobbing (which was okay, because so was everyone else), but not because of my infertility. Instead, I felt utterly alone, abandoned by my husband, enraged, and singled out. Eventually, a woman did ask if I was praying for myself and when I told her my husband was in the hall with our daughter, she prayed for me, and so did several others. It was a weird experience, because the church I regularly attend is very conservative and doesn’t speak in tongues or lay hands upon others, or do anything remotely like this. And I couldn’t even focus on the prayer, because I was still so upset over being there without Honey and being treated like an outcast. So I just cried while they prayed and that was that.

After the time of prayer, the service ended, my husband and daughter returned, and we left the church with me completely distraught. I am ashamed of how mad I was at Honey for abandoning me. And how devastated I felt. I know it’s silly, but in those moments, I felt as if we blown it. Ruined some magic formula to getting the pregnancy and baby that I so very much longed for. After some time, and quiet thought, and a long phone conversation with my mama, I started to calm down and realize how ridiculous I was being. But still…it was a hard thing to handle. I wanted to leave that service feeling such a strong sense of peace and hope, knowing I had done everything I could to try to have another baby, and instead I felt devastated. Not exactly how I imagined it.

Of course, now that I got my BFP, just two days after that service, I waffle between:

  • Wow, that prayer service really worked!

AND

  • Hahaha, I didn’t need you guys after all! Take your judgmental Christianity somewhere else please!

In the end, this service didn’t matter at all. I didn’t need it. But I’m still glad I went. And I can’t say that, if this pregnancy doesn’t work out and we are still standing still next January, that I wouldn’t go again. Because I would. I do think I would.

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!