Sunday, February 8, 2009

Unfailing Strength

God and I have not been getting along too well lately. I’m not sure if God is actually AWARE of our spat, maybe it’s all one sided anger at this point but I have been angry. I’ve been angry, on and off, for well over a year now. God could chime in with an “I’m sorry” or “You’re right, Megan…” once in awhile but no… I never hear from him.

I’ve felt overwhelmed by tragic stories lately. Stories like the one I wrote about the other day, the beautiful little twin girls with the awful disease. Stories like sweet Tuesday, who lost a brave battle with cancer at just a little over 2 years old (and who along with her twin sister shares a birthday with my babies, October 11th). Even stories like that of Caylee Anthony and Baby Grace. I read them and can’t let go of them. Can’t stop wondering WHY. Why?

Where was God, where was he when these little girls needed him? Why would he let these things happen?

Where was he when we needed him? When Jack needed him?

And I feel really, really angry.

Of course, then I hear about children who do get better. Read blogs where the baby is born so so sick, and actually improves! Goes home! Thrives! And I am so happy for that baby, for her family.

And I feel really really angry.

Because, why that baby? Why that family? Why not my Jack? Or Tuesday or Spencer or all the other 'lost' babies and children? Were their prayers better than ours? Did they deserve it more than we did? Did we not pray enough, believe enough? Love Jack enough? What? What is the answer?

I read these blogs praising Jesus, the ‘healer’, of COURSE he would save our baby, how could he or how could God ignore all these prayers, all these people who love our baby?

You know what…. It seems to me like he can.

Here is what I tell myself. Here is how I have to try and look at it, for my own sanity.

My baby was just much sicker than the baby who got better. That’s all it comes down to.

What is going to happen, will happen. God is not up there, picking and choosing who will get well and who won’t. Saying, hmmm, that’s some mighty good prayin’ going on over there, I think I’ll cure that kid. But not that other one, forget it – his mom keeps screwing up the rosary.

I think of God like your parents. They want to fix everything but they can’t. So when something happens that’s awful, they are there for you, they help you through. God is the one who helps keep you going. He is there when you think you are all alone. He is the one giving you the strength you didn't know you had.

Jack wasn't 'cured' but his suffering ended. And he was sent here for a reason. And we are all still going. We still love him and love each other and know that we will all be together again. And I guess, God has helped get us here. Because some days have really been a struggle.

When I left for college (a long, long LOOOONG time ago) my grandmother gave me a little prayer she had typed up on a piece of paper. I carried it around forever until I pretty much had it memorized. It sums up God to me.

"Be at Peace," by Saint Francis de Sales

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His Arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father Who cares for you today
will take care of you tomorrow and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering or will give you the unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

That is it. What will happen, will happen. Try not to worry about it. You will get through it.... you will have the UNFAILING STRENGTH TO BEAR IT. You will. Whether you believe it is from God or Buddha or Tom Cruise even..... Maybe it is just from inside you, but you will have the strength to survive.

So enjoy today, love life. Keep going. Be at peace.

I know, easier said than done. But keep trying. I am. Still. I guess forever.

Our Wagie Ride for little Tuesday….





37 comments:

MC said...

I know that this is something you have been struggling with for a while, and I am so happy to hear what you have to say in this post. I see God in the same way you do...and while it is easy to lose sight of Him some days, I do like to think He is always there!

I think of Jack every day, as I know a lot of us out here in the Blogosphere do. Your son touched so many, and he will never be forgotten!

jodi_96 said...

I've been following along with your story for awhile now, but have never commented. I have been on an intense journey the last few months and have been learning about/struggling with this exact same thing. What I've come to terms with is that *I* cannot decide what's good and what's bad. God HAS a plan, I'm sure of it. And, some of the things in his plan has me going through suffering, but in the end, everything that happens is to bring Him glory and to show His character. What we see as tragic and terrible, God is using to further His purposes in whatever unimaginable ways that happens.

I don't even pretend to know your agony and grief and I'm certainly not saying it is easy. But, through these last 5 months it has become crystal clear to me that 'He works ALL things for good' whether I am able to see it or not. That is the what I have chosen to keep focused on, and hope that it's a lesson that will stick with me for a long time.

Jody said...

Good for you. This is hard stuff. Of course you're angry. I'm glad that you're able to make your peace with God, even if it is something that you'll be working on forever. I think we all are, in our own ways.

It's funny because I thought of you a lot awhile back, for reasons I won't share here, because of something you once emailed to me about your life. I kept wondering why it worked out for you, and not me. Why, why, why? Were you better than me, did you deserve it more? Why, why, why? When, of course, you deal with things far worse on a daily basis. Maybe that's the thing about God... maybe the things that seem so awful to us are put into perspective for him. Like, losing Jack is godawful terrible to you, here on Earth, but someday won't be at all because you'll all be together and he will have been safe and sound and happy the entire time... whereas he wouldn't have been here. Anyway, I don't know if I'm getting my point across. Hang in there.

BreezieGirl said...

That's a beautiful prayer your grandmother gave you.

Your post reminded me of the book The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. I read it recently and highly recommend it. One line I'd like to share...

God tells Mackenzie, "There are millions of reasons to allow pain and hurt and suffering rather that to eradicate them, but most of those reasons can only be understood within each person's story. I am not evil. You are the ones who embrace fear and pain and power and rights so readily in your relationships. But your choices are also not stronger than my purposes, and I will use every choice you make for the ultimate good and the most loving outcome."

Cortney said...

I love what you said: "He is the one giving you the strength you didn't know you had."

Our church has been doing a series on where is God when it hurts and one thing the Pastor said that really stuck out to me was that it's not our job to ask WHY the bad things happen but to ask HOW I can use this situation to honor and glorify God. You've been through some horrible things but the challenge (which you are doing a great job at) is to everday honor and glorify God for bringing you through it and letting others see it too. You are in my prayers.

Lisa said...

I understand, Megan. You know that I've had my struggles with G-d and keeping my faith. I once had someone (in the IF community, no less) tell me that she prayed and prayed and prayed every single day and G-d answered her prayers (she has a baby now) and was I sure I was praying enough, because, clearly, G-d answers the prayers of those who truly pray for what they want.

I have to believe that it is not only perfectly natural to question the things that happen in our lives and in the lives of people we know but also healthy to do so. I see the fact that we do question what happens as an implicit faith that we have that G-d is truly there. If not, really, who or what are we directing our questions to?

Linda said...

You hit the nail right on the head and said it so eloquently Megan.

Lyn said...

You have no idea how much good it does my heart to know that your anger seems to be subsiding

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

Your description of God reminded me of a movie called, "Love Comes Softly." (It's a Hallmark TV movie staring Katherine Heigl. And is based on the first book in series of Christian books by Janette Oake.) In the movie the female lead, Marty, yells at her husband saying she doesn't understand why he believes in God when God allows bad things to happen. Her husband responds that God is like a parent...we might be walkiing right beside our children, but they can still fall down and get hurt. However, we are there to pick them up and ease their pain as much as we can.

For me this is SO true. God is like a guide and comforter. He helps us through the good and bad times, and doesn't ever guarentee that there won't be rough patches.

Hang in there! I am glad you are able to acknowledge your anger.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing out this prayer. I really needed to hear this today.

MrsAmer (The Nest) said...

I really love following your blog. You are such an inspiration. I hope things get easier for you and some of your pain goes away, although speaking from the experience of tragedy, the pain never really goes away.

It's OK to be angry. You have a right to be angry.

I want you to know that I think of Jack more than you will ever know. Since following your blog, he seems to pop into my head a lot even though I have never met you.

Anonymous said...

Megan,

I don't post often on your blog;occasionally I'll leave an anonymous comment. Know that many people, myself included, think of your family and keep you in our prayers.
Your post today was a Godsend to me; I received some bad news this morning. Then I saw your post and read the prayer that you posted. It really helped me try to put things in perspective. Thank you for sharing all of the things you post with us; the beautiful pictures and updates of your daughters, along with posts like the one from today. Your story helps others without your realizing it. God is with you, I know that for sure, thought you have been tested more than others. You are a very brave and strong woman.


Kim from Philadelphia

Star said...

Thank you for this post. This is the type of thing that gets me through and I wrote a related blog yesterday.

I hate the why question to. And sometimes it just hits me over the head and I can't get over it.

People say all the time "I can't imagine being you and still doing/being everything you are" but at the same time, I can't imagine otherwise. I can't give up. I just can't.

When I first starting reading your blog, my life was so "normal" and I cried when reading cause I couldn't imagine your grief. Now I read it because although different, there are similarities. And your blog helps me.

Emily said...

This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it. I love the analogy of God as our parents. Very thought provoking. The prayer is beautiful too.

Barbara Manatee said...

I have been reading for quite a while but honestly not sure if I've ever commented. Your girls are beautiful and I honestly think of you and Jack often (especially whenever I hear the song you often wrote about).

The prayer you shared today is beautiful - I think I'm going to tuck that away in case I ever need reminding of its purpose.

I also think its awesome that you and the girls did a "wagie" ride for Tuesday...so did we!

Molly said...

I'm just so sorry for what you're feeling, Megan. And even though I have not lost a child I feel angry too. I have tried really hard lately to look to God more for answers. But he doesn't give them that often. I read the story of Tuesday and bawled my eyes out. For some strange reason I seem to be drawn to depressing stories. I have been like this all my life. My favorite movies all end tragically! You ask "why" a lot and I think that's perfectly acceptable. I think that is what makes us human. Sometimes we falter in our faith and that's okay.

Rachael said...

thank you for sharing that prayer, it is beautiful and one i am going to copy and save. what beautiful pictures of your girls and what a beautiful tribute to tuesday. i want you to know that you, my dear friend, are always in my thoughts and prayers.

jenni said...

Your messages touch so many-thank you Megan! I know you go through so much everyday-you share that with us and that information gives so much strength to others. I sent the prayer and this part of the blog to my friend who just lost her 20 year old son to cancer. I hope it gives her strength as it does you! Thank you-I miss you my friend. xoxo Jenni all the way in CO.

Amanda said...

I understand exactly how you feel. Thanks for remembering and mentioning Spencer. It feels good to see his name written!

Rachel said...

Thank you for this post. I think of you and your family often.

Claroux said...

Hi...I came upon your blog tonight because I've been reading about everyone's Wagie Rides for Tuesday. I simply HAD to comment because I have struggled with the same questions about God and my faith for quite some time now. While I've never experienced a loss lik you have, I get - or got - angry when I would hear about horrible things happening to children and families. I am a social worker and I work with the worst population EVER - sex offenders. When I read about the loss of Tuesday firs I cried - for like three days. Then I got mad. Mad because I look at all the beautiful families that lose children and go through so much pain and suffering and then I see my clients and I wonder WHY? Why not take someone who has done horrible things instead????

But a friend of mine - who has an amazing strength inside of her from her faith - a faith that I have always admired - told me almost exactly what you wrote. God is there to help us through. But your "God is like your parents" analogy is GREAT! The best I've heard and been able to relate to in YEARS.

All that aside...I'm glad I "found" you. I'll definitely be coming back. I love your blog, your girlies are beautiful and I love your honesty. I also LOVE that you're a liberal, democratic Jersey girl just like me :-)

-Marnie

Candice said...

Wow. What an amazing post. I too wonder how people, especially parents who have lost children, can continue to have faith after such tragedy. Why one baby, but the other?

I like your analogy of God as your parents. Sometimes, one searches and searches for why, but I think you're right. Maybe it is more simple than that, one baby is just sicker than the other. How can God fix everything, or answer every prayer?

Eudea-Mamia said...

These photos are beautiful - your girls, beautiful. Your son - words cannot express the beauty of him.

I've spent about an hour sifting through your blog. I hope you do not mind. I wanted to know Jack, to know his story. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

I wish I had the answers too. One thing I do know for sure - that God cries along with us as his curing hands are being held.

That doesn't stop the anger though.

Thank you so much for linking in to Tuesday's tribute. I imagine your unique perspective will bring immense comfort to the Whitt's.

Sincerely, Em

Jen said...

I, too have been following your blog for quite some time...and I haven't commented but I now feel compelled to. I feel the need to tell you that God doesn't cause these things. He is just as sad about sick babies and dying babies as we are. More so, actually. They are His creation. He never meant for it to be this way- and some day it won't be like this. The children will be resurrected & will survive in perfection. God's plan most certainly DOES NOT include the suffering & death of anyone, particularly innocent children. James 1:13 says, "Let no one say 'I am being tried by God.' For with evil things God cannot be tried NOR DOES HE HIMSELF TRY ANYONE." And really, how could a "loving" God do such a thing? It's quite simple: He doesn't. If you're interested...I'd love to go more in depth. Let me know.

BenLand said...

you inspire me and so many others with your honesty and strength.....

i love that prayer....it really touched my heart.....thank you...

Carrie said...

I have had the same thoughts a lot lately. More because of my own daughter and having so little faith in doctors. It is so hard to watch these little people struggle and fight.
-SassyC

Peanut Gallery said...

You don't know me, but I have your blog saved on my 'favorites' for as far long as I can remember. I am not a mom, but I 'met' you by browsing "the nest."

Today, more than ever I felt the need to respond to your post.

I am going through a very difficult Divorce. NO ONE, in my mind, understands what I am going through.

Your "poem" that you wrote tonite was so touching.

I will print it out and hold onto it. Read it, when need be.

My days are full of struggles and worry. I often wonder where tomorrow will bring me. I lay awake most nights, watching the clock tick.

It's been 9 months since he left me, and I still don't see how I will 'move on with my life.'

Thank you for posting this tonight. You really ought to know how much you have touched me without even knowing me.

Millicent said...

I really needed to read this today. I am feeling depressed and down and defeated. I don't even have a really good reason why. That aside, you reminded me what really matters. I think too much and worry to much. If you can follow that prayer, I can too. Thank you Megan. You made a difference today. And isn't that what it is really all about.

Jenny Leger said...

I have never been in your shoes and do not AT ALL want to sound like I have any opinion on your beliefs, questions or otherwise. I enjoy your candid posts and look forward to great stories of your girls thriving. I have twins girls too and they will be 10 on April Fool's Day. Time flies... But, when you asked the question about where God was when all of these babies needed Him. It reminded me of a book I recently read and LOVED. It gave such a different perspective. Knowing how busy you likely are, you may not read much and might not even really feel like exploring this type of story, but if you haven't heard of it, I strongly suggest you look for 'The Shack' by William P. Young. If you do read it, I hope it opens your heart and gives you some sense of comfort. Take care and have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Lindsay said...

I just found your blog after losing my daughter 3 weeks ago. I am so sorry for your lose. Jack was a beautiful baby and his sisters are just gorgeous. Thanks for your post about being angry with God, I can relate 100%....Take care and hug those girls extra tight tonight.

Jen said...

I met Jack through your blog several months ago, and have never forgotten him. He's touched so many, and every time I see his sweet face, tears just spring to my eyes- it's very difficult for me to visit for this reason. May God continue to give you unyeilding strength, and bless you with the ever-present knowledge that sweet Jack is with him..

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in God. At least, not the one that I learned about in church or in the bible. Why? For many of the reasons that you describe in your post. I believe in a higher power, but I don't see evidence of a hand that guides daily happenings. How could a good God let these things happen?

When I read your comparison, describing God as like your parents, I burst into tears. Maybe it makes a little more sense to me. Maybe I can understand, if I change my perspective. Thanks for giving me things to think about.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the prayer. I have been wondering the why question for a few years now and have finally come to the same conclusion as you have. I am pregnant again and the only way I overcome my nightly worries is to thank GOD that I have gotten another day with my baby.

Anonymous said...

I want to be able to give you all the answers you're looking for, but I can't. I am struggling with the LORD myself in many ways. I feel as though the rug has been pulled out from beneath me, and I'm just now starting to stand back up. I still don't have the answers I want. But I did want to share with you a few things I have learned. One is, GOD is there even if it doesn't seem so. For whatever reason, there are times we just can't sense HIM or seem to hear from HIM. But HE is there for those who are truly HIS. Another is that our sins sure do carry a long way. If only Eve and Adam had chosen differently. For now, GOD allows the suffering to continue - HE does not want anyone to perish (to enter eternal life outside of HIS presence - Hell). As horrible as our suffering can be here, it is nothing compared to the unending agony of hell. And the last one is that Heaven is so much more than we can understand. I myself wonder why we want to stay here when Heaven is the paradise we've always looked for and want. There we are always in the presence of the LORD; we can hear HIM; there is no suffering or pain, no evil. I don't know if any of this will help you, but I hope in some small way it will.

JD

Jean said...

I'm so glad that you are able to express how you feel - no matter how it is. I think of you a lot and how brave you are to open up. Some of these feelings are so painful and I agree with you about why are some children taken while others get better. I read this book once called, "Why Bad Things happen to Good people." While I don't agree with it 100%, it sheds some light on God. I like your parent situation idea. I really agree with that and haven't been able to put it in those words.

Becky said...

I've been reading you for a while, and although I'm late on commenting, I wanted you to know that I feel the same way, and I am thankful for your words of hope - and your thoughts that are so similar to mine, but that I can't seem to put into words.

My daughter was very sick too. She passed away on Thanksgiving this past year. Her story is on my blog.

Patyrish said...

I sooo needed that.

I have had a struggle lately with my own thoughts.

I adore Makily with every ounce of my soul but I still get angry that she is not walking or talking or even eating....and she is almost five.

I had started questioning God again.

I would say "God, you took SO much from here from the moment she was concieved, she won't live a "normal" life and I can accept that....can she please just walk though"?

sigh


This prayer spoke to me in ways I can't begin to tell you. I think your explanation of how things work in God's eyes is right on. I never thought of it that way....but it sure makes sense.



Thank you so much for posting this prayer, I love it and would like to use it on my blog.

Oh and I appreciate you posting the twins site here. I had wanted to keep up with them but hadnt been able to find their blog.

I am praying for their family.