Heaviness on my heart.
It's weird to look back over the year and see the fluctuations in my thoughts and processing of this whole grief journey. Sometimes I read through old blog posts and roll my eyes, for I can't relate to that place I was once in. Blogging used to be cathartic to me...that has obviously faded in the last few months. Now I almost avoid my blog for it makes me face the pain and I still am just not ready for that. This blog makes me face my emotions and thoughts....but sitting in front of the tv and crocheting allows me to drown in distraction instead. For now, the latter is what I pathetically prefer.
This is such a roller coaster of emotions that I am on. I change my mind all the time on how I feel. It feels different already, as we enter into the second year without her. Mark stated it very well the other week when he said that "the first year was very new - every day of the first year was the very first time of living that date without our daughter...and now that we're into the second year and on repeat, the reality just sinks in deeper and the realization is that this all just sucks." I've lived October 14th already once without her and now I have nothing new to expect...and yes, it just sucks.
Right now, I find myself in a phase of deeper thinking and questioning. Anger has been my steady and unfriendly companion since the very beginning and it still is. It's quite a deceptive "friend", this Anger is. It seems to act as my driving force - the thing that keeps me plowing ahead, it keeps me distracted from sadness and it serves to keep me numb from the pain. But, it is corrosive and poisonous, this Anger is. It plants seeds of destructive anxiety that grow in my gut and continue to make me physically sick. It makes me unpleasant to be with at times and causes me to have little tolerance of anything outside of my "controlled little world". It drives me to cynicism and bitterness. Oh, this ugly friend called Anger is really not my friend at all.
I know all of this. Oh how I know. I am so ridiculously aware of myself...aren't I? Yes. I am hard on myself about this...but then again I have to remind myself over and over again that I am still so new to all of this. Yes it's been a year and that may seem long to those who do not understand grief...but in reality Mark and I are still "babies" in this dreaded journey. We are still learning what it's all about. It has certainly been a year full of self-discovery.....of a whole new self. I am not the same Jenny I was before September 6, 2012...and I never will be. I am wounded forever. And, right now, in the early stages of my wounds, I am still acting similarly to a wounded animal.....overly sensitive and prone to anger and defensiveness and protectiveness, full of tense anxiety. This discovery phase of my new "self" is enlightening and disappointing at the same time. I will enter a situation that I have not faced since before Vienne died, and I will expect myself to act as I once did only to quickly learn that I am no longer capable. For example - hosting. I normally love to host. I have not really hosted much of anything in the past year, of course. Now that we have moved and it is a year later, I am feeling ready to start hosting again. So, I have invited my small group of ladies from church to spend our gatherings at my home. I expected myself to be able to have everything ready, Ivy in bed, the house smelling of apply cider yumminess on the stove, candles lit, fire burning...you know, the idyllic cozy fall evening setting (what I am so good at normally providing). But the time came and I was a frazzled mess, everything was rushed and done last minute, and I wanted to literally scream an inappropriate expletive and run into my room and hide for the evening. Whoah.
Oh, yeah the title of this post. I should get to that, shouldn't I?
The sovereignty of God. Sovereignty is defined as "supreme power or authority". I have always full-heartedly believed that God is a completely sovereign God, having supreme power and authority on this earth that He created. I have believed that God made us with the ability to make choices, though as well, and I understand that along with the enemy's influence, that is why our world is so fallen. I also had always wholeheartedly believed that God is purely good and loving and wants only the best for us, His children.
I waiver in what I believe now.
**And let me clarify, again, that these are just my processings from my muddled emotional head. I am not here to debate God and what everyone else believes. I am not reliable in my stance. I am just in a process of cynical questioning. Some things I will share will not rest well with other believers - I know because I have been one forever. My intention is not to offend...I am just pouring out my thoughts and processing. And, these are things I will take to counseling and to my pastor for their wise and educated input.
Ok, this is why I waiver in what I believe ~
I do not (I repeat) I do not believe that God caused Vienne's heart to stop and for her to die instantly, suddenly, without warning. No, I do not believe He killed her. BUT, I do believe that He allowed it. That is where His sovereignty lies. I believe He can allow or disallow things. And, this is where I start to question His 100% pure goodness and intent for us. In Jerry Sittser's book, A Grace Disguised, he writes that many people who have gone through a tragic loss like mine typically develop one of three positions in their beliefs - 1) Atheistic - there really is no God. 2) God is good yet not in as much control as we once assumed...therefore, He is a weaker God. 3) God is powerful but can be cruel. Right now, I currently struggle between #2 and #3. I want to believe that He is all-powerful AND purely good...but the facts surrounding my experience seem to belie that. What I see now is a God who heard our desperate and faithful, believing, begging prayers that morning, and He said "No". He chose to allow Vienne's heart to randomly, unexpectedly and suddenly stop and then when there were chances for her revival, He said "No". Is that good, in your book?? Well, it is not in my mine.
And, so now if you are a believer your mind might be quickly and desperately trying to come up with contradictions to this, explanations for this, and comforts that you think might soothe my cynical mind. You might want to say things like "Well, God has an ultimate plan"...or ..."God always works things out for the good"....or ..."God is going to do something amazing with you, through this" ...or ..."Sometimes, we don't understand His ways but we need to trust His will" ...or ..."We live in a fallen world where sin causes such tragedies, even illness" ...etc. But, what I've come to see through all of this, as I feel that a veil has been ripped from my many years of ignorance, is that really the "good" that we want so desperately to accredit to God is ultimately only meant for Himself. What do I mean? To put it bluntly, right now I struggle with realizing that the God I have served is really a self-serving God (gasp. yes, I just said that). That sounds so sacrilegious, I know. But, let me explain in simple matter-of-fact terms - Everything that He creates, everything that He allows, every prayer that He answers "yes" or "no" to, is all intended for His ultimate glory. He wants us to love Him and glorify Him. He wants everything that we are about to be for His glory. He wants us to serve Him and share His Word, and teach others to serve Him. That is all truth, as understood by most believers. See, that is not sacrilegious at all....I just put it in ugly terms that made you cringe. But, it is all truth. And, now that I see it from a different perspective, I am currently uncomfortable with it and I have to work through this and find a way to reconcile how I want to live my life. And, I'm not trying to say that I want any glory or that I want to serve myself...no. That is NOT me AT ALL. I'm just trying to understand the Biblical verses that promise that God wants what's best for us, that He loves us so much etc...When now, I understand that He really just wants what's best for Him. But, I still believe in Him. I still believe that He created me and that there are only two paths to choose from - Heaven-bound or Hell-bound. And, I am determined to be Heaven-bound, for that is the only way for me to be able to see my precious Girl again. But, the way I end up walking my path might look a little different from the "norm".
I feel that we "Christians" are so easily blinded...or that we choose to be. We want to give God all the credit for the good that happens in our world. But, when bad things happen (which they do all the time), we neglect to acknowledge that God chooses to allow it. I know that sin is the cause for the fallen nature of our world...but God chose to allow that sin in. And, that could lead to an entirely different discussion on Adam and Eve and the fall of man - but I don't want to go that far just yet. Also, the commonly-held perspective that 'the original sin is what first caused the stepping stones in creating illness in our world' - which therefore caused Vienne to die - does not sit well with me. In essence, that explanation is saying that sin caused the most unheard-of heart problem to randomly kill my daughter. Why would a good and loving God allow that? We have a tendency to make up so so many excuses for God because He is supposed to be good and want only good for us (even if it's a different "good" than we expect)....but, really we do not fully know. When I really start to think further on it, I remember how God was in the Old Testament. It wasn't necessarily pretty. He not only allowed, but actually caused much tragedy in those early days. And, we are taught from the Bible that God never changes - "He is the same yesterday today and forever" (Heb. 13:8). If He is the same, then He is the same "harsh" God from the Old Testament. Yes, Christ coming to this earth and "dying for our sins" did allow for a change in our "consequences to sin" but it did not change who God was. And, so I am reminded that He is a bit cruel. I don't believe Jesus is cruel....but I believe the part of Him that is God is. Phew....did that make any sense?? But, we want to believe that God is good and so we blindly trust that He is. This is what I am fiercely wrestling with. I will never come to a time in my life and finally look back and say "oh, yes, now I see and understand why Vienne had to die." No. This will never be ok with me. Her death may glorify God...but it will do nothing good for me (not that I'm trying to be selfish here). I am so damaged now. Trusting Him just seems almost....foolish to me right now.
And, this is why I obviously wrestle with forgiving Him. I find it easier to forgive man than it is to forgive God. Man is fallible, God is not. It is easier to forgive man when we ultimately know that we are all capable of sin and mistakes. But, God is not. That makes it harder to forgive Him. The thing is, is that I want to be able to. I really do for I know what unforgiveness does to a heart - it is poisonous. I do not want to grow to become a bitter and calloused lady. I heavily fear this. I do not want to be unpleasant and miserable to be around. I am already full of fear that my current bitterness is starting to seep out and that those around me are starting to sense it. I try so hard to cover it up...but at the same time, I am so blasted honest when asked.
**In summary - I want to clarify that I have NOT turned my back on God. No, not at all. I do not want to. I am confused and I am wrestling. I wish I was back to the "naive" mindset I used to have. But now that I see things differently, I want to know more and I want to understand. I want this to work out and I want to have a relationship with Him again...but I just don't know how to reconcile all of my questions yet. I am in a phase right now. Heavy stuff on my plate these days, for sure. I guess this is the darkness that I talked about in an earlier post - the inevitable darkness that I am supposed to face. I didn't expect it to look like this....dark yet with a new perspective. I don't know how to process this.
I do not feel pursued by God. I feel lonely. I feel that He is against me. I am not so much bitter as I am hurt. I feel hurt by God. I just wish that He would speak out clearly to me.
**ADDENDUM ~ I want to also clarify and add that I am not trying to say that God is not good and therefore bad. I do not believe that God is bad. I need that to be clear. I guess I am realizing that I do not fully understand what "good" is....and who that "good" is necessarily for. Allowing children to die is not good - we can all agree to that. So, maybe our idea of what "good" means is not the same as God's. Does that make sense? And, now with what I have been through, I have to decide if I am ok with that. That is my wrestling. OH my thoughts keep going on this subject.....more later, I am sure....
This is where I'm at. Take it or leave it.
(the days when my arms could wrap around a sweet 4 yr-old baby girl...days when I so naively believed that that was the life I was meant to have.)