What’s faith got to do with it? If I’m being 100% honest with myself, right now.. not a whole hell of a lot.
I grew up and still live in the Bible Belt of Northeast Texas. My family and almost my entire community is southern Baptist or Methodist and most the whole town went to one of 3 churches (mine actually shared a parking lot with our high school.) When I say I “grew up” in church, I mean I was there every sunday morning & most Sunday evenings, Wednesdays for G.A.’s (now I think they call it Awana’s), VBS, & Children’s Church Camp as a child then Youth Group, MissionFUGE/CenterFUGE/Youth Camp, 5th Quarter, and a REC team leader & VBS leader/teacher as a teenager. I was surrounded by this entire community of Christ believers, I knew nothing else.
I remember as a pre-teen I started rebelling towards my mom and one way that I would rebel was refusing to get up to go to church on Sunday. It was a ROUGH year for us that year. I have a vivid memory of a particular Sunday morning in which my mom and I had already fought over going to church, I was 13 maybe 14.. She came in to wake me up & said that if I didn’t get up that she was going to whip my ass. Ha, yea right mom. She came in about 10 minutes later with the belt swinging. She didn’t care where it landed, she was determined that I was going to church that day. After screaming at her that she was being an insane bitch, I sat there as lick after lick hit me. I had belt welts for 2 weeks, but I didn’t go to church that day. I also remember right around the same time that she had “had enough” and called our Youth Pastor at the time to try to talk to me and “straighten me out” so to speak. Well, that didn’t work either. In fact it sent me even deeper into my rebellion. Now this wasn’t really rebelling against the church or God or Jesus, as I still “had a relationship” with Him, it was mostly just a way to piss my mom off & boy did it work. Yea I know, I was an asshole & I’m sure I’ll pay for it once my little human gets to be a teenage human.
Once that got old and I matured some, I started back to the normal schedule of every Sunday, Wednesday, all summer, and home game Friday nights. Then I had my wreck. At 16 I was coming home late from my boyfriend’s house. I took a turn too quickly and hit some fresh gravel in turn crashing into a guard rail and flipping upside down. I literally almost ripped my right leg off. I was in the hospital for at least a month and went into my 5th surgery not knowing if I would come out with a leg or not. This was the point in my life where my faith was actually the most strong. Even with everything going on and how horrible things were and how scared I was, I have actually never felt more at peace. I knew my God was with me, would not let me down and would not leave my side. The same was to be said of my church family and my community. When I say people came out of the wood works, that is as literal as I can get. People who had bullied and tortured me during my freshman year of high school were suddenly my “best friends” and hung out in the waiting room waiting to hear how each surgery had gone. I had flowers and balloons for days as well as get well cards and posters plastered around my room. My Pastor and Youth Minister sat with my mom during the initial crisis time and came to visit almost if not every single day I was in the hospital. There was a time when my mom considered moving me to Shriners hospital several hours away to finish my recovery, I begged her not to because I needed “my people” and church community surrounding me. Long story short, this was my “God time” and nothing was going to come between me and Him. Then I went home & all hell broke loose.
Most psychiatrists will tell you that PTSD after any traumatic event is totally normal, well, for me it knocked me off of my feet. I was having flash backs and even getting into a car would send me into a panic attack. Then I tried to go back to school.. BIG MISTAKE. On my first day back, I hobbled in on crutches, slipped coming into the double doors of my high school and went completely spread eagle right there in the foyer. Not only did I hurt myself, but the people that saw it did not rush to my aid, instead they stood and laughed at the clumsy girl on crutches. I was mortified and absolutely refused to go back to school. I finished that year via homeschool, and my community & “church family” essentially forgot I existed. We didn’t have insurance at the time of my accident therefore once I got home, I had NO PHYSICAL THERAPY available to me. Once I was ok’d for physical activity, some 3-4 months later, I began the tedious and INSANELY PAINFUL task of re-teaching myself how to walk again. Hours upon hours and tears and screams upon tears and screams were spent with my then boyfriend physically holding me up as I hobbled up and down my hallway, and practiced straitening my knee out because it had essentially “gotten stuck” from not being able to straiten it out while my skin grafts were healing. I begged and pleaded with God to help make it better, to make me stronger, to take the pain away and help me heal. 5 months after my accident, I walked into prom without crutches. I did that. Not God, not Jesus, not any story in the Bible helped me do that.. I myself put in the hard and painful work of learning how to walk again. This was the first time I started to really wonder and ask questions about the validity of everything I had believed in. I heard & still hear “God provided & God gave you the strength & Praise God & God will never give you more than you can handle & God will see you through etc. Once I was fully walking on my own again, these types of things actually started to piss me off. Um.. no. God did not go through all this pain. God was not there physically holding me up as I cried and screamed through the pain. And I’ll be damned if God get’s the credit for something that I did. Now, that may all sound weird or selfish or immature, but it was exactly how I felt. I was angry and pissed and it seemed everyone around me was praising & thanking God for something I didn’t see Him in at all.
That time in my life was 16 years ago & my relationship with God has had its ups and downs. Regardless of being pissed off and hurt, I still had my deep faith and assurance that God was with me and by my side every day. I prayed daily like I was talking to a friend and usually had my radio tuned to K-Love, but life was still hitting me in the face at every turn. So, I sought out “therapy” in the form of biblical counseling. Oh boy. Basically, I was told that I wasn’t living the “just life” and needed to repent of my built up animosity towards God/Jesus because once again.. He doesn’t make mistakes & will never give you more than you can handle. Gag me with a spoon.. but I lapped it up. I was at a point in my life where I was grasping for anything to give it meaning and hope. Christianity had been my lifeboat before, and so it became again. I was back in church full force, reading every bible study I could get my hands on, and doing devotion after devotion because I was sure that if I could just be better, be good enough, then God would come back to me and give me that same peace I had when I was in the hospital years before. Guess what.. He didn’t. I won’t go into the whole “God never leaves you, you leave him or the saved vs backslidden or this is just satan tempting you” type of thinking here, but I heard all of that as well and yet, no matter how hard I tried or how much I prayed.. God & Jesus still seemed to elude me as my adult years gained momentum.
I went back and forth for several years from one side of the spectrum to the other. I was either all in or all out, but my thought process of a big guy in the sky that I prayed to for help and guidance as well as the elation and fear of heaven vs hell has always been there, even during the worst and my most pissed off at God times. And then..
I noticed at about 6 months old that little human wasn’t meeting her mile stones & our entire life changed. As we got/get deeper and deeper into the non-existence of a diagnosis and the grieving process that goes with having the label and realization of having a special needs child. BEYOND PISSED. How could a God that loves all of his people equally give me more shit in my life. Has He not picked on me enough? Again, I know this sounds almost silly and selfish, but that’s how I felt!! Every special needs parent goes through the “why me” phase. My “why me” phase was a literal shouting match with my God. A God who would never leave me or forsake me, a God who “doesn’t make mistakes” not that I think our little human is a mistake, but you get what I’m saying. I’ve done everything right.. and even if I didn’t do everything right, why would he put this burden on my child who is precious in His sight?! What “parent” or “Father” would CHOOSE to make my child or any child like this? My final decision.. He wouldn’t. It finally came down to that for me, at this point in my life. I can’t believe in an all knowing & all LOVING deity/guy in the sky who loves everyone equally, won’t give you more than you or He can handle blah blah blah while having a special needs child. I.JUST.CAN’T.
Do I still WANT to believe, a resounding YES. Am I honestly terrified that if I were to die today that I would go to Hell, also a resounding YES. Am I willing to roll the dice right now.. YES. The reason behind that is because IF there is a tangible God/Guy in the sky & He loves me the way the Bible tells us He loves us, then He knows my heart and my fears and my pissed offness & couldn’t/wouldn’t send me to Hell for questioning things that don’t make any sense to me on earth. Now, you die hard Christians will be gasping and pointing the ever knowing finger at me and that’s ok. We are not in the same place in our lives and have not had the same experiences either. For those SN parent’s that have a deep faith to lean on and it is what get’s them through, more power to you. I am actually a little envious of you for being so for sure. Questioning my religion and faith in general is an insanely and deeply scary place and not one I would wish upon anyone. Now that I have the questions, I can’t simply make them go away, especially when there is no tangible evidence (the Bible.. written BY MEN) does not count, to the contrary. Besides the above reasons, the main question I have is a question about “free will.”
So God is all knowing/all seeing/all doin.. but we have free will. How is that possible?! God literally knows from the moment we are conceived every move, though, and decision we will ever make. He knows the moment we will die and how our lives will be lived out. HE IS ALL KNOWING REMEMBER.. so how do we have for real “free will” when HE ALREADY KNOWS WHAT CHOICE/DECISION we are going to make for every step of our lives?! Yes, we have the decision to make ..or do we since our life is literally already planned and laid out for us? Could we “surprise” God with a change in a decision.. not if you believe that He is already all knowing/all seeing. The second big question in my head also involves Him being all knowing. If He’s all knowing .. then why would he purposefully make so many different races/thought processes/religions etc. KNOWING that the end result is a disaster. This God of compassion, love, and mercy purposefully made us so different so that we can fight and start war’s between each other?! ummm… TOTAL contradiction.
So, there you have it. I am interested to get feedback about all of this so please send it my way. I am also sure that there will be some backlash over this specific post & I am prepared for that as well. Give whatever words of advice/encouragement/thoughts that you would like, HOWEVER, do not quote scripture to me as one of my big issues right now is the actual validity of the Bible as a whole. Also, do not bring up the story of Job. Anyone who is going through a rough time HATES Job because now not only are we having a rough time, but we also can’t live up to this man who “lost everything for his God” and didn’t bat an eye. Do you know what I call that.. CRAZY.
A weird twist to all of this is that as I am struggling with God and my faith, my husband seems to be finding his faith and God. That calls for a serious WTF moment.