Monday, August 8, 2011

Merciful or Not? Am I Ready?

Over the weekend I read Betsy from My Five Men when she guest posted to Chicken Scratchings: Life with Autism and was so moved by her description of what Autism means to her. If you don't read Betsy, she has 4 boys and her teenage triplets are autistic. I have read Betsy almost from my blogging beginnings. She is so calm and serene in her description of life with triplets, let alone triplets with autism. I wish I had her peace of mind to help deal with my single Asperger's tween.

In her post, Betsy described some differences in her boys and how she and her husband cope with day to day living. Each boy has different puzzle pieces that Betsy and her family are working each day to put together.

Betsy talked about the hand that God played in her life with her boys. She doesn't believe God gave her boys autism, she does believe that he knew it would happen, allowed it to happen and has given her the tools necessary to cope with it. She has great faith and courage to ask for Him for strength and grace to be able to face each and every day.

Where's this post going, you ask? Keep reading. I'm getting there.

I wasn't raised in a religious home, meaning we didn't attend church services, we didn't pray before meals or bedtime. That doesn't mean that I don't believe in God or His powers. In fact, I have not had a good relationship or view of God for a very long time. In fact, you could say I've been angry with God.

Why, you ask. I grew up thinking that God was merciful and would protect us from bad things, like cancer. Mom was diagnosed with cancer for the first time right before my senior prom. She came home from her first surgery just in time for my pre-prom festivities.

Fast forward a few years. She was diagnosed with cancer the second time right before my wedding. She was so sick and couldn't do much to help with the planning. She couldn't make my wedding dress like we planned all my teenage years. She suffered and fought this ugly disease for another 3 years, not making much progress.

Finally, when I was 5 months pregnant, she was put on Hospice to finish out her days in peace. During my pregnancy, all I wanted was Mom to be able to help me shop for the baby stuff, to plan my baby shower, to make beautiful baby clothes, to be happy for me and to look forward to the birth of her first grandchild.

But she was sick. And depressed. And miserable. I remember one night, she called me and said she wanted to die. I think I had some contractions that night. I wasn't ready to loose my mommy. I hadn't accepted the fact that she was going to die yet.

Then she died three days before Jakes was born. She never got to meet him, hold him, kiss him. I know she loved him. I know she keeps watch over us.

So, there are my selfish reasons for being angry with God. My theory (not necessarily a good one) is that if He were merciful, He would have given me at least ONE milestone that wasn't overshadowed by this horrible disease.

PLUS, Mom was in tremendous pain. The cancer started in her colon but metastasized to her sacral nerve. She lost control of one foot and had shooting pain down her butt and leg all the time. Pain meds only dulled the pain, never took it away completely.

My other theory (again, not necessarily a good one) is that if he were merciful, He wouldn't have let Mom linger so long in such pain before taking her to heaven.

All of these things combined to make me very angry with God. Praying to Him didn't and still doesn’t feel "right". Asking Him for help and guidance with Jakes didn't and still doesn't feel "appropriate".

As I said earlier, religion never played a huge part in my life so it didn't seem like an issue that I had to deal with immediately. Reading Betsy's post has made me question if my life would be so stressful if I were able to put my trust in God and ask for His help. Is it possible that with His help, would I be able to see the bigger picture, not worry so much over the small things and be content with life as it is?

Betsy points out to me that no one is promised a carefree life, life is full of ugliness, hurt and hardships. But if I had a better relationship; trust in God, would my hardships seem less significant? Would I have more strength and grace to deal with the hardships in my life?

And the biggest question I have is: Am I ready to trust in God once again?


  1. Wow, an incredibly heavy and personal question. One even I of great opinion will not weigh in on.

    But - because I am me - I will say the following:

    1. I did not grow up in a religious home. At all. becuase

    2. My mother was very pissed at God. Her very religious, very pious mother died of cancer 3 months before I was born. My mom never got past this anger.

    3. I attribute this anger and the over grief of losing her mother as a MAJOR factor into her alcoholism and depression.

    4. I am not religious but there have been times in my life when the load of life was too much to bare alone. Turning to God, asking for help truly helped me.

    5. God or subconscious reaction - not for me to figure out. I just know that not feeling like I was alone in my burndens helped me to accept help.

    6. I believe all spiritual journeys are good. Asking these questions is good.


  2. i think that is a huge question...i grew up in an over religeous fam...and a baptist church which i left at 16 cause i did not fit any longer...came back to God years later and eventually walked away from a 6 figure job to work in ministry, which last 5 years...2.5 years ago i got out of ministry not by choice and at that time i was fairly angry considering what i gave up to do his will....God is a fairly easy target and somedays it seems it would be nice if he just fixed the world...i guess the problem is that it might not look as we hope it would...and if he did where would that leave us? it would be like doing everything for you kid and then expecting him to be able to make it on his own one day...ok you got me long winded...smiles.

  3. Wow, heavy post.

    I think you can trust Him again.

    I'm not terribly religious but I do believe in a higher being.

  4. It's so difficult to understand why some things happen, especially when there is so much pain involved. It's easy to get angry and understandable, but the only way I've ever known is to trust and have faith. It's usually long after the bumps that I can see the purpose in having been through them.

  5. Having two sons with disabilities is rough but without my faith I cannot imagine the depression and hopelessness of trying to raise them in the harsh world. Like Brian, I grew up in a STRICT, unforgiving church...where their interpretation of WHO God is was harsh and full of ugly discipline. I have now (DECADES LATER) come to a place of peace and know that God is full of grace and mercy. I NEED that hope. But with that hope is also GREAT JOY. The world is FULL of hypocrisy...

  6. Aw, Amy...I got you thinking! :) So many people misinterpret God and think if he was real he wouldn't let hurt and pain continue. Everyone has a choice. We can become bitter or we can become better. It is only when we ask God to show us who is really is and give all the hurts to him that we can see his love and mercy. Life is way too hard to live without his strength. Big know you can email me any time. :)

  7. Wow Amy, your post really touched me. I ached along with you at each unfolding major life event and how sick your mom was through it. your post is so honest adn real. I'm reminded immediately that Jesus said, "In this world you WILL have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world." To me that says, what else can we expect from a fallen unregenerate world but calamity, sorrows and evil of all sorts? Our hope and promise is in the world to come whilst each trying with God;s help to bring comfort and help to those hurting and poor in spirit. i think too that our pain, as horrid as it is, and believe me I have known deep sorrow, it does later help us to come alongside and have empathy with those who suffer likewise.

    Wishing you the best on your faith journey of discovery. It is truly a gift and one not to be either taken lightly but not to be flaunted in disregard either to others.

    Ty for being vulnerable here. I am sorry for the loss of your mother and the pains all of you went through in the process.

  8. I have to admit I have felt some similar feelings to yours in regards to my infertility. All my life I wanted to be a mother, and it seemed like God took that away from me. One good thing tho is that I am able to empathize with other women who are unable to conceive. I was thinking as I read your post that you would understand someone losing their loved one to cancer in a way that possibly nobody else could. Praying for you as you search for answers!!

  9. I understand where you are at. I spent my childhood going to church and praying at meal times and bedtime. But once I was free from my parents I decided I didn't believe in any of that. I've gone through spurts where I really believe and ones where I don't. I am a person who wants concrete proof something exists, something I'll never get if I choose to believe in God.

    This weekend we are going to mass, for the first time in about five or six years. I'm hoping for some peace about the whole thing. I'll try to pray you find some too.


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