Friday, March 13, 2015

A faith shattered

**(I am starting to try to organize some old posts that were half-written and never published to the blog.  Bear with me as my thoughts are scattered.  A handful of posts might be coming out, solely focused on spiritual stuff and wrestlings.  Things I have not known how to get out of my head with eloquence.  But I am starting to roll up my sleeves and at least attempt to put some words to my thoughts and frustrations.  Here's just a small snippet….something I jotted down a while ago.)**

We all know that my husband and I have suffered an unimaginable loss.  Absolutely, the worst kind of loss there is.  I'm sure that everyone can agree with that.

It was once pointed out to me that I have also suffered another kind of tragic loss after Vienne passed away.  My faith.

Well, I guess I am not going to go so far as to say that my faith is completely lost…but it is most certainly shattered.  If you know me, then you know that I had always been a very strong and convicted believer in Jesus Christ.  I've never followed any denomination.  I've never related to "religiosity".  But I had always had a firmly rooted faith.  My faith was what I based many of my decisions and choices, opinions and convictions, my parenting style and lifestyle…etc. on.  I had never agreed with a "shove Jesus in your face" kind of Christianity.  Yuck.  But, I maintained my strong beliefs and enjoyed any conversation on the topic if anyone else was mutually interested.  I believe I had a personal relationship with Jesus and I gladly introduced Vienne to the Jesus I once knew.

This was my foundation…for most of my life.  I unwaveringly developed myself around this faith.  So, all that to say, for this foundation of faith to be shattered…I agree with the suggestion that this should be counted as another significant kind of loss.  (*and to other bereaved parents, I am not trying to say that my loss is more intense than yours.  We all know that it is all relevant to our own personal lives and experiences.)  I have a hard time admitting things like this because I hate sounding so "woe is me".

This is where I currently stand on God and Jesus….

I do believe in God.  I do believe that He is the only God and I do believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.  I do believe they are one in the same, yet separate. (That one is difficult to explain to those who haven't been raised with this belief:  The way I was taught was to think about how you are a mother as well as a daughter…or a Dad as well as a friend.  You are two different people in those roles, yet still the same 1 person.  That's how I've seen it, anyway.  Yes, it's a little weird and sometimes I still can't wrap my brain around it if I try to think too hard.)

What has changed for me now…is that I do not like God anymore…or right now, at least.  I do not want to worship Him.  I do not thank Him for my circumstances.  I do not agree with His choices.  I do not believe that He is entirely "good" in our human understanding of "goodness".   I don't, however, have a beef with Jesus, for some reason.  I know that sounds odd.  I can't really explain it.  Jesus is more personable to me.  I admire the Man that He was, here on earth.  But God makes me angry…makes me cringe.  I believe in Him…but I do not like Him.

I don't fully understand, anymore, if He is fully in control of all things, here on earth…or not.  I have a VERY difficult time, now, understanding that an "all-powerful" and loving God would allow sooooo much ugliness and hurt and horror and tragedy on this earth.  I feel like more prayers against those horrors in our world go unanswered than answered.  Meaning, I see more tragedies than miracles.  The only question I have come to from this perspective, now, is that maybe He has more power on His side of Heaven than on this one?  On the earth side?  Because why??  Otherwise, why??  I have a hard time wanting to worship a God that could intervene but rarely does.  I don't like that.  So, I almost want to resolve that….maybe He just can't.

How to reconcile all of this??  I have no clue.

(I think I'll tackle the topic of prayer and religion in another post….so many thoughts)


  1. I read your post with a heavy heart and a lot of understanding for someone who has never lost a child. As I was raising our two children I worried A LOT about my children's health and safety, and it may sound strange but I asked God if he wanted to test my faith please do not use my children to get my attention. When they became teenagers and, 'they got us back in the church" I prayed often for their protection as I watched them walk out the door and get into a car, praying I would hear the slamming of their door that night. We attended many funerals of their friends from school who died for various reasons and 90% were from Christian families. I will never understand what good comes out of such loss and many families fell apart that I thought were strong when this happened. Now that my children have children I have a new worry and concern, because I could not relate to a pain like you have because I was sparred for whatever reason from this. I think that you are well justified to feel like you do for the rest of your life if necessary. It will be your time to decide when you want to feel close to God again.....I think he understands but I sure do not. Take care you are a very strong writer and have helped more people then you know from all over the world. Hugs to you, Dina, Tallahassee, Fl

  2. Jesus said in John 14: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms … I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going … I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew Me, you would know my Father as well….”
    Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
    Jesus answered: “Don’t you know Me …. even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father ….
    ….. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth … you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you …. The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid …. The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”
    Jesus says to you, in John 15: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.”

    Dear daughter of mine. I just wanted to encourage you with the goodness of Jesus and the Father, with the reminder that His spirit IS in you (even when you don’t feel it is so), and the knowledge that in the depths of your grieving and wrestling with Who He is, you continue to bear much fruit in His name. Grief causes us to question our belief system…and that is good. It causes us to rethink who we have, without question, thought God to be in the past. I believe we come to find Him and know Him in a new way, a real way. And though we may not like or understand His ways (and that is ok – He would be a pretty small God if we understood Him fully), we can still stand in reverence and awe and hope and yes, even trust, in the bigger picture, His ultimate plan.
    However, I do concur…it is extremely difficult to understand why He tarrys and has not put an end to the atrocities of this world. In my limited understanding, I don’t like this part of the plan one bit and think He should get on with it! But my timing is not His, nor my plans, nor my understanding. Someday, we will know fully, when we are face to face.
    We do have a choice and my soul rests as I choose to keep my eyes focused on the hope we have in Revelation 21:
    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away … Now the dwelling of God is with men and He will live with them…He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new … Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. … they who overcome will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my people.”
    Grief is a now a part of our fiber (I wish it were not so). It has put a deep, dark hue in our soul that can cause us to care and love on a deeper level. How my heart aches at missing our Vienne...and always, always will. How my heart aches at your heartache, my daughter. I love you to China.

    1. Beautifully written. Words only a mama and grandma could write. Praying for your family.

  3. Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts on this blog. I lost my 4-year-old daughter in a driveway accident three years ago, so I read your blog to remember I'm not alone in my grief. I'm a Mormon and was so interested to hear your perspective on faith. For some reason, my faith has endured this trial so far. I don't know if this would help or not, and I certainly hope it won't offend you, but I thought I could share a little about my faith in the face of my family's tragedy.
    I believe this earth life is a test of our moral agency and that we are to live by faith, which would be impossible if we understood it all. I don't expect or begin to believe people can comprehend the mind of God in this life. But, if we trust in God and endure to the end, I believe we will receive a glorious reward for eternity. I believe our trials are not random, but necessary for our salvation, mainly because I believe God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful. And I believe that Christ is one with God. That they are of the same mind and heart.
    This life is a temporary state, as we know all too well. But what comes after will never end. There will be no death. This earth life is the only time we can experience pain and suffering and death in a way that can educate us and qualify us for the eternities. The Atonement and the reality of the Resurrection and knowing my daughter is happy and well resolve my deepest concerns. My job is to wait. Maybe for 50 years, which is no small task as we know. Maybe the Second Coming will come sooner--I can only hope!
    My love and prayers go out to you!—Lorenne Evans

    1. Great insight and perfectly said, Lorenne....
      (Julie = Jenny's mama, Vienne's Grammy)