Monday, May 30, 2016

Did a war kill my daughter?

This weekend, Mark gifted me with some time away...just to myself.  It was my Mother's Day gift.  I chose a tiny cabin nestled back and up in the woods with a beautiful lookout over the ocean and Twin Rocks in Rockaway Beach.  The cabin is owned and rented out by Twin Rocks Friends Camp and it is intended for private retreats for prayer and reflection.

Now, I am not really into praying or much of anything in the "spiritual reflection" department, but I have taken this time to do some thinking and to open my mind and heart.  I brought a book for this weekend titled Lord Willing?:  Wrestling with God's Role in My Child's Death.  It was a gamble purchasing this book, for I had no idea what it would really be about except what the title conveys.  But, I would say it has turned out to be the perfect book for me.  For the first time in a long time, I am thinking and opening my mind to some new perspectives on God's role in Vienne's death.



Let's see if I can explain the "theology" I have been banked on for the past few years, since she was taken from me.  In the beginning, I believed that God was all-powerful and had control over all ways of this world.  I believed that He had the power to intervene whenever He wanted to and that all plans were ultimately up to Him.  So when we prayed fervently to Him, along with hundreds of others, for Vienne's life, I felt that God blatantly told us "NO"...."No, He would not save her"..."No, He would not intervene".  I have spent the past 3 1/2 years feeling betrayed and abandoned and well, really, unloved.  Many questions have often screamed through my head..."Why her??"..."Why did she have to be taken in that way??"..."Why wasn't I even allowed to say goodbye?"..."Why so cruel?"

Then, from time time, another thought would sneak into my head that I have entertained from time to time, as well.  What if God isn't as "all-powerful" as I had been raised to believe Him to be?  Because why would a supposedly loving God who loves life and joy and beauty allow something of death and sadness and horror?  This doesn't line up with the God that I have been raised to know.  Why would He say "yes" to saving some and "no" to saving others?  How is that loving?  How is that bringing life and joy?  How is that wanting the best for us?  So, maybe just maybe, He is not as capable as I have always believed Him to be...because that is the only thing that really makes sense to me.  But then it also fills me with fear.  Fear of Who I have entrusted most of my life to.  How can I dedicate my life to a God who really has very little control in this world...how am I supposed to trust  a source Who has little power??  Why do we or should we pray, then?  It is so so confusing.

So.  This book.  Now, I am not finished with it...but I need to jot down some of my thoughts as I am reading it.  The author's name is Jessica so I will refer to her name from now on.  From what I am gathering thus far, Jessica seems to be hinting more towards the latter idea...that maybe God doesn't have as much influence in this world as we have all been raised to believe.  She points out that God created us intentionally with "free wills" of our own...so that we could make our own decisions...in the hope that we would ultimately choose Him.  Why do it any other way...otherwise, we'd just be robots.  And why do we have children anyway?  Have you asked yourself that?  Why did you really want children?  Well, for me, it was because I wanted to experience a love like no other...a burning-from-my-core self-sacrificial selfless kind of love...with the hopes that I would raise these children to make good choices and in hopes that they will love me back.  I am guessing this hope might be similar to why God created us.  But in allowing us to have our own free wills, He also allowed the enemy to be present in this world....and once the first humans made choices that defied God's wishes and reflected evil, Satan was given power in this world.  Our free will and choices give him power.  Jesus called him the "Prince of this World"...why?  Because as our sinful choices are made, they fuel his power in this world.  And, hence our world has been at war since the beginning of time.  A spiritual war.  And, I guess because of this, God does not always have the power??  Jessica referred to a story in the Old Testament about when Daniel was fasting and praying for help for 3 weeks without any answer.  And, then Daniel 10:12 - 14  says this:

12 Then the man said to me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel, because from the day you first set your mind to understand things and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I’ve come because of your words! 13 For twenty-one days the leader of the Persian kingdom blocked my way. But then Michael, one of the highest leaders, came to help me. I left Michael there with the leader of the Persian kingdom.[a] 14 But I’ve come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the future, because there is another vision concerning that time.”

Daniel prayed for 3 weeks and didn't get any response from God...then after 3 weeks, he received a vision of an angel speaking to him, explaining that his prayers had been heard but that he had been blocked by the enemy (the Prince of Persia was thought to be an evil spirit)...finally it took Michael (one of the highest angels) to help get through.  I guess this shows that there is constantly a war waging and maybe God is always trying to get through to meet us and our requests but maybe He is often thwarted by an enemy who runs rampant in this world.  Maybe when God created man with free will, He submitted and sacrificed His own will for this world which allowed the will of the enemy to come in and rival His.  And, He did this all in the hopes that we would choose Him and love.  Confusing, right??

But I still have questions.  Like....how are some prayers answered and some aren't??  Is that really in the hands of the enemy??  Like which answers make it through the battle and which don't??  Or what about the Bible verses we all have read that say God is omniscient and all powerful??  And, if you have faith of a mustard seed...and...??  You know??  What about all that??

Ugh.  This is so much to think about.  I finally prayed once this weekend and I have asked God to show me.  Show me what happened that horrible morning that wrecked and changed our lives forever.  Show me what happened in the spiritual realm when we begged for intervention.  Was there an enemy spirit blocking the way and thwarting God's saving efforts?  Did God really actually want to save Vienne's life..but as hard as He tried, He just couldn't??  Was it maybe actually not God's will for her to die...but the will of a horrific enemy??  Was there a war being waged for her life that very morning???  So, show me, God!  Show me!!  Please.  I never ask anything...but please convey some answer to me.

"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12)

Trying my hand at blogging again...for now...today.

Whew, it's been a while since I have blogged.  I have decided to start writing on my old blog and have changed the title from "Radical Mama" to "Bereaved Mama".  One of the reasons I had stopped writing on my blog "For Vienne" is because it had slowly morphed from a blog dedicated to memories about her and thoughts on her...to more about my grief journey.  I think it would be best to separate the two.

I am not sitting down with any eloquence or grand thoughts in mind.  I am just sitting and doing this. I needed to just do it.  I have had so many thoughts floating around in my head...things that I've needed to get out of my head but I haven't just taken the time to sit and let them pour out.  I am not even sure they will come now...but at least I have started.  That's something.

I don't yet plan to publicize this blog.  I don't need the attention.  But if someone were to stumble upon it, then they are welcome to peek into the inner depths of my mind as I grapple to find some sense and order to them.  But, if you are new, please tread lightly.  Basically - Be nice or leave.  ;)

Right this very moment I am sitting on a couch in a quiet little coffee shop in Wheeler, OR - it's on the coast.  Mark gifted me with a private weekend away, just time away for me.  I've never taken a trip like this before.  I have to admit, at first it is hard to adjust to.  I drove up to my little cottage in the woods and had a mini panic attack moment.  I sat on the bed and just thought "ok, what now?".  It was so quiet.  So remote.  So lonely.  But I am 2 days into it and doing better...finding my independent groove.

I have needed some "me time".  Time to just organize my thoughts.  Allow myself opportunities to openly grieve without fear of inconveniencing anyone or feeling rushed to sop up my tears.  I haven't cried, yet though.  I haven't really "gone there"...haven't felt the nudge.  I have found an interesting book to delve into though.  It's called "Lord Willing?:  Wrestling with God's Role in My Child's Death".  Appropriate, I'd say.  From what I am gathering, thus far, the author is going to tackle the big question of "was this God's will?" or "did God allow/cause this?".  These are questions I have often wrestled with and never found answers for, so I shove them aside in a messy corner and work hard at ignoring them, like I do with so much else of my grief.  So, I am interested to read what she has to say.  I am hoping for a good answer...not a fluffy Christian-y one.

I have learned over the last year that my biggest spiritual struggle lies in feeling that Christianity failed me when Vienne died.  My theologies of God and Jesus and Christianity, that I had accumulated and formed throughout my life, set me up for great failure and really wrecked my spiritual response to Vienne's horridly tragic and sudden death.  I had always known that tragedies happen (duh, of course)..but for some very naive reason, I had foolishly let myself believe that if I covered my children in prayer and faith and enough Jesus, that they would be protected.  I let myself believe that if I spoke it and had enough faith, that it would come to be...that my faith could move mountains.  I let myself believe that "when two or more are gather, God would hear my prayers" and act in my favor in answer to those prayers.  I never ever thought that He would tell me NO...or even consider that maybe He wasn't able to answer in the way I pleaded with Him to.  I let myself blindly reside inside an insecure unstable "Christian bubble" that was doomed to pop...and it did.  Holy hell did it pop.  And, unfortunately, it burned much of my faith down to ashes.

What do I believe?  Where is my faith right now?  Well, I still believe the basics - I believe in God and I believe that He sent His Son, Jesus, here to die for us.  I believe in the Trinity.  And, that's about all I can say right now.  I do not agree with most Christian theology anymore.  I struggle with the Bible.  I believe that it was inspired by God and written by very faithful and well-meaning believers.  I do not believe it is the handbook for life and the end-all answer to all things anymore.  I believe that it was written by people in different times, influenced and biased by their societies, circumstances, culture, and time.  Things that made sense and were applicable then are NOT always applicable now. Just because it was written in the Bible does not mean that when you read it, it is exactly meant for you.  I think it is foolish and naive and ignorant to believe that now...but I used to rely heavily on the words in that book.  When I felt inspired by a passage, I strongly felt that it was meant for me.  I do not feel this way anymore.

This is the most fragmented nonsensical blog and I think I'm going to end it now and write another one.  I just had to start somewhere.  This was it.  No grace or beauty or thoughtfulness..just a pouring.