I promised that this blog would be “real”. Real struggles, real victories, real thoughts and feelings- good, bad or ugly. No unicorns and fairy dust here. My struggle moment to moment. This is a tad long, but hang in….I will turn it around, promise.
As a Christian, there are certain things I believe to be true- the Bible, first and foremost. Praying is supposed to work too. I’m not a fairy-tale Christian that believes everything I ask for comes true and I get the perfect ending I pray for. I know very well that sometimes the answer is “no”. But there are also “promises” I thought I could bank on. I’ve had books near my nightstand of the promises God since I can remember. I bank on them. Well, I did. I believe when you diligently make your requests known to God, or ask for guidance and wisdom, He answers. When we made the decision to move and venture into a new state and a new business, we gave it to the Lord first. We prayed and talked and prayed and talked. Dave, desperate and on his knees in the basement one night, KNOWS he heard the Lord give him the “go ahead”. He prayed “Lord, this is such a big thing for us.”, and he heard God say, clear as day, “Yes, but it’s a small thing for me.”
So off we went with our 3 precious boys to our new life, full of hope and excitement, with what we thought was the blessing of God, and more faith than we have ever mustered up in our 21 years of marriage. I was pretty surprised at what we had the faith and courage to do. But we knew we had an audacious God who was behind us all the way. I honestly didn’t think I had it in me. I’m a home-body. I put down deep roots. Redwood tree deep roots. I like my comfort zone. It’s comfortable. But I stepped out of it. Way out of it.
I was sure we did it “right”. Made decisions based on important life circumstances, based on prayer and based on what we felt God had communicated to us. Cut to the chase; nothing has worked out. Nothing. The business we came here to open, never did. It took a year for it to not open. The second and third business’ are open but have been a colossal strain, a huge financial drain and overall disappointment. Last and most devastating of course, Aiden is gone. Our beloved child, our baby. How now, do I not obsess over “why?”.
It is consuming me right now. I have circled this in my mind over and over again and still it comes back around to haunt me. I carried the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 in my mind since the day I found out I was carrying our first child. I would hear it over and over in my mind, so I feel like it is something I prayed “without ceasing.” Psalm 91 was also a favorite. A go-to.
“…to prosper you and not harm you, plans for a hope and a future.”
” For He will command His angels concerning you and guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Those were my prayers for us. Those were my prayers for my children. I prayed that prayer with Aiden. But it wasn’t true for us. Aiden was harmed, fatally harmed. Where was God that Monday? I remember screaming that the night I arrived back home to David and Connor after hearing my son was dead. I screamed it to my husband. “WHAT KIND OF A GOD DOES THIS??? Oh my God, AIDEN!” What kind of God? Betrayal on top of the worse devastation imaginable.
Where was Aiden’s “hope for a future” that day? I hate the Christianese “bait and switch” philosophical response of “Well, his future is in heaven, he has eternity there and you’ll be with him again ‘someday’.” or “Your hope is in the Lord and spending eternity with Aiden.” even, “ You will prosper in spiritual growth because of this. Your prospering will be a spiritual one.” NO! Don’t even. Biblical bait and switch. He could’ve saved my boy and He didn’t. Period. Why?
When you are a bible believing Christian Mother and you read that Jeremiah verse, the ONLY thing you hear is “my children are safe in the hands of a loving Lord and His mighty angels that He has commissioned around us lest we dash our foot against a stone HERE ON EARTH because I have a God who has promised my children a hope and a future, to prosper and not harm us.” That is what I believed. Nothing less. That is not what I got, and I ask “WHY GOD?” every. single. day.
My own “hope for a future” is buried so deep, it takes everything in me some days to dig my way down to find a piece of it. I do, and I’ve written about it here. But it’s deep and far away and takes perseverance, intention and energy to find. Many days I don’t have it in me. Hope for a future without Aiden? Not really interested.
I voiced this frustration to a dear friend in my ladies small group. To try and help me find answers, she went to another Mom she knows who also recently lost a child. This was that Mom’s response. (She is way ahead of me in terms of acceptance and understanding, clearly.) Her answer did help me tremendously. Slapped me across the face a little bit actually, which is why I want to share it. Maybe it will help you or someone you know tormented with “the question of why?” Here are her thoughts, paraphrased;
- Coming to grips took a lot of deep thought, meditation, prayer and reading His words. I finally got to the place of believing that the bad things that happen in our lives (including bad things that happen to our children) are only caused by life’s circumstances, not God. Could God had prevented it? Yes. Why didn’t He? We will never know.
- I learned to trust His promises that He can and will create good in all that He controls. So, at the time that I was on my knees…completely broken and defeated. I looked up to God, raised my arms and said to Him, “This is too painful for me to figure out, so I am totally giving it up to You. Take this pain and hopelessness from me and show me, lead me, instill in me the peace in knowing that somewhere, somehow and sometime You will make something out of this for Your good. And He did.
- I had to accept that sometimes God’s good is not what we want…period. There is no “why me?” or questioning how He decides to create good from our tragic circumstances. I learned to ask “why not me?” instead. There are many other parents losing their children from cancer, having babies born with lifelong disabilities, and there are starving children all over the world that a God could have taken away. I am no different. There isn’t a “why?” to what God decides. It is a matter of trust and belief that if you give the situation totally to Him, you know without a doubt there will be good from it…not necessarily the good WE want, but it’s God’s good, and God’s good is what truly matters.
- It takes a lot of trust to get to this place of thinking, but it mostly takes a very personal surrendering and connection with God. No one or no thing on Earth can lessen or comfort their pain from such a terrible tragedy. Something so painful can ONLY be comforted by God’s peace, love and grace.
- Many good people suffer trials. Just because we believe and are good doesn’t mean that we deserve something better than others. We are all still vulnerable to life’s circumstances. God promises us “peace” and “eternity”, but not a life free of struggles.
- God’s relationship with us is not based on bargains. His love is unconditional and constant. Just straight love…no matter what we do or what happens, He loves us the same.
- I also learned from God that He will use everyone’s circumstances to teach others about Him….He will show how people will pray and there will be miracle answers to prayer, there will be destruction of lives, and God will perform miracle rebuilding of those lives.
- There are also things He will teach others thru examples of trust…of how to trust His love and promises when He doesn’t answer our prayers like we want. And how to find peace and how to live life accepting what life dealt you but knowing a God will use it for others.
- Am I glad He chose our situation to teach that message…No….but I am not in charge. He is, so I have to trust His decisions and His plans.
“Why Not Me?” indeed. I pray this Mom continues to feel the peace and acceptance I am so badly seeking. I pray she is still staying strong and receiving everything she needs to continue healing. Help all of us Lord who cannot understand or accept this.