Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Struggles with God - My Answer!

When describing myself, I usually say "I'm not an overly religious person." I was reading my friend Kirsten's blog entry today entitled "Struggles with God" where she asks "Why can't he answer prayers the way we want?" after learning about the death of a child. As you can imagine, this subject hits home with me because it is a question I ask myself daily in regards to my daughter Jenelle. Mostly though, I usually just wonder ... "Why?", as in "Why would God to this to a child?"


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It takes a lot of courage I think to be angry with God, or more specifically at the way he lets things happen in life. I remind myself daily that I too could easily withdraw into a self pitying type of depression because of my daughter, and think that she has come into my life as some sort of punishment, or because I lacked something religious, or because I teased a retarded child when I was young. To me, this is an easy way out ... to push the blame on God. And yes, there are times that I've been angry with him for what he puts her through. Life isn't fair sometimes, and no one is immune, not even children.

My favorite quote about this comes from the movie "Rudy", when the Rudy character is talking to the Cardinal and Dean of the School at Notre Dame asking if he's prayed hard enough about getting admitted. The priest answers, "In all my years of religious studies, there I two constant things I know. There is a God, and I'm not Him!" ... then he says, "Praying is something we do in our time. God answers in his time." Which also means God answers in his own way too.

I finally found peace with God regarding Jenelle a few years ago now. Like I said, it is easy to put the blame on God for who she is, but instead I choose to focus on her purpose in life rather than her struggles. Instead of anger towards God, I see that sharing her life and story with the world has brought inspiration to others and has changed me as well. I see the beauty in her small accomplishments like someone who sees the beauty in seeing the Northern Lights for the first time. It is God's work, in the most profound way. And when you think of it like that, it is easier to accept his answer to your prayers, which isn't really what you were praying for or the answer you were expecting.

Lately with all of her new accomplishments, I get a lot of email responses like "Your prayers are finally answered!" Well yes, but not exactly. You see, when I pray to God about Jenelle, I never ask him to stop her seizures or to make her "normal", etc. I usually just ask God to continue to give me strength to be her Mother. Because honestly, Jenelle gets plenty of prayers about her medical condition... but in reality, having the strength to accept her is what keeps me going. And yes, God does answer that prayer daily - if he didn't, I'd probably be a mess! However, I am enjoying her new accomplishments as an added bonus!

So while it is difficult to understand why God answers prayers in a certain way, remember that sometimes the answer has a deeper meaning, or that the prayer has been answered another way. Thank you Kirsten for making me think about that, especially this week.

5 Comments:

Blogger The Imperfect Christian said...

I strongly believe His will will be done. Whatever He wants to happen, will happen. I also believe it all serves a purpose, even if we never know what that purpose is. He gave you Jenelle for a reason. You would not be the person you are had you not been her mother.

I don't think He punishes us for things we've done and/or said in the past, I think we punish ourselves. Bad things don't happen because we've done something wrong in life. Bad things happen to teach us something, to show us something we otherwise wouldn't see.

You are not being punished.

I completely believe I dealt with infertility because the children I adopted were MEANT to be my children. Had I gotten pregnant when I wanted, I would not have found THESE children.

I had so much Faith His will would be done, I gave my daughter "Faith" for her middle name. He brought her to me with all her wonderful imperfections.

You are doing a great job with your daughter. Just as you are blessed to have her, she is SO blessed to have YOU!

9:22 PM  
Blogger Thimbelle said...

When our daughter was born, so many people told me that "God sent her to you, because he knew you could *handle* this".

People told us that the Angels in Heaven above picked us just to be her parents, because we were "special", just like she was.

People told us that "God has a plan for her" and that we should wait to see what it is.

What I have learned is this: That God is our Father. Because he is our Father, he would NEVER inflict pain or suffering on an innocent baby or child. He NEVER inflicts pain or suffering on any of us. He loves us, as completely as any earthly father loves his children.

God doesn't "allow" these things to happen to innocent babies and children; we must remember that when God gave us free will, there were consequences. One of those consequences is that God no longer controls every little thing that occurs here on earth. So babies are sometimes born with problems, and children are sometimes afflicted with illness or disease. And other bad things happen. And it isn't because God "inflicts" this upon us, it's because we asked for free will.

My faith has been shaken, stirred and remixed since our daughter was born, but in the end I know that God would NEVER "punish" an innocent newborn.

Keep the faith - keep it strong. It does help! :)

9:52 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

I know I struggle. I think everyone struggles. Some more than others and some at more times than others.

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