Sunday, June 27, 2010

Big Questions

Dear Stevie,
I've been thinking a lot about God and Heaven and prayer and all those "big questions" lately. Experiencing death, especially the death or your child, will do that to you I guess. I've especially been struggling with prayer. The other day, my mom said, "I pray for you everyday." And then it hit me. "You do realize that you're praying to the same God that you asked to keep Stevie safe everyday, you know," I replied, with more than a little sarcasm and bitterness in my voice. "I do know that," she said.

I have to be honest: I just don't get the point of prayer. I have always struggled with prayer, mainly because I've never really felt any connection to God when I'm doing it, and I always feel like I'm just talking to myself. Praying is not something I'm good at, or particularly enjoy, but I did it, every night before I went to sleep, when I was pregnant with you. Every night, I would lay in bed, close my eyes, and ask God to please keep you safe. I would say, "please God, let my baby keep growing. Let me be a good mom and help Andy to be a good dad." I would say, "thank you for giving us Stevie. We love her so much already." And then, as we all know, you died. My prayers were not answered.

So why pray now? Did God not somehow not hear me when I prayed for you? Did he hear my prayers, but just choose not to do what I asked of him? And if that's the case, why should I think he'll choose differently now? I mean, really, what's the purpose of prayer, if not to get what you want? And if God already has a big "plan" for my life, and has his mind made up about what's going to happen to all of us, what's the point in asking him for any of the things we want at all? I honestly would like to understand.

What I think is really getting to me, is the unfairness of it all, again. With the way prayer has always been explained to me at least, it seems like some people's prayers are answered, and some aren't. And that really bothers me. The concept of a God who picks and chooses whose prayers to listen to, whose wishes to "grant," seems so unfair to me. A God who sometimes steps in and miraculously heals people, and sometimes decides to let others die while they desperately pray, seems so unjust. If he has ever stepped in and miraculously saved another person's unborn baby, even once, and didn't save you, then that honestly makes me mad. It bothers me when people say things like, "I prayed and prayed and God blessed me with this baby." Because I prayed and prayed and I was not blessed with a living child. I can't stand when I hear, "we prayed and prayed and God healed me." Because I saw a friend of mine from church, who had thousands of people around the world praying to God for a miracle, die of bone cancer when she was 17.

It's easier and makes more sense for me to believe that God created the world, set the laws of nature into motion, and never steps in when those laws cause heartache for people.

But then, what's the point of praying to that God?

Dear readers/lurkers (I know you're out there!), I would love your thoughts on the prayer question. Honestly. This isn't one of those "I'm asking for your opinion but I already have my mind made up on the matter" kinds of things. I am open to understanding. I want to understand.

So, If you pray, why do you do it?

Do you believe God has the power to step in and make miracles happen? If so, why does he only step in sometimes, for some people?

Do you believe God has an ultimate "plan" for everyone's life? If so, does he ever change his mind if we pray for a different outcome than the one that he originally planned?

If God gets "credit" for all the good things in your life, do you think he's also responsible for all the bad things?

What is the meaning of life? Totally kidding. :)

I know I won't ever have all the answers to my questions. I know there are some things I will never understand. But if that's the case, I hate that my brain was wired with such a strong desire to have things make sense. It's really hard for me to take anything on faith. It's really hard for me to admit there are things I can't understand.

Sorry for all the big questions today, Baby. Everyday I wake up and just want to know why this had to happen. I want to know why God didn't keep you safe like I begged him to. It hurts me to my core that it feels like he ignored me. Like always, it all comes down to being sad. I miss you so much, little girl.

All my love,
Mom

40 comments:

Michaela said...

Lurker here. If you find the answer to this one, you've gotta share it with me. Seriously, I could have written this post.

I'm a member of Aug 2010 and we had a scare this pregnancy. I don't think of myself as a religious person so the thought of praying all of a sudden because something might be wrong with my baby seemed hypocritical.

I was flooded with people telling me they were praying for me, though. And it made me angry. It seemed like they were all saying I should suck it up and not worry because they were asking God to take care of my baby, and God had a plan and it would all turn out ok.

It did, but I don't think prayer had anything to do with it. And I didn't understand why people would say that to me when in their next breath they'd tell me that God has a plan for all of us. Then why are you praying...?

I sometimes wish I could just accept things on faith alone. It seems like it'd be comforting to do so. I'm just not one of those people, I guess.

Lucid Anne said...

Kristin, I've been having some SEVERE questions as of late about God and prayer and everything really.

"It's easier and makes more sense for me to believe that God created the world, set the laws of nature into motion, and never steps in when those laws cause heartache for people."

This is truly the only thing I can believe at this moment.

Violet1122 said...

I recently read the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Kushner. By far, it was the best book on grief I have ever read. I HIGHLY recommend it.

He summed up pretty much what I had always suspected. That God loves us, is there to comfort us, grieves with us when we are going through a trauma. But he is not all-powerful.

Like you said, the laws of nature are set, and God works within those laws.

So I've been trying to change my prayers. I don't pray to have a healthy baby anymore. Conception has happened. The genetics have already determined what will be. I do my best to eat right, get sleep, avoid toxins - all the things I know will provide a safe place for my baby to grow. But I don't ask God to change what is already set in motion.

I pray now, that he will be there with me. Every minute of the day. That he will help me feel peace. That he will be there if I lose this baby too. That's the sort of thing God can do.

And I know he can do it, because he's already done it over and over for me. If you had told me I after the first miscarriage that I would have two more... I would never have believed that I could live through it.

And yet, somehow I have. And I'm still basically functioning. And I'm still willing to risk total heartache to try again. Where did that strength come from? Not from me, I can guarantee you that.

This is my opinion: I believe God wanted more than anything to keep our babies safe. He wants us to have what we desire - to be a mother. But due to nature, it just couldn't happen. And it's totally unfair. And God feels it is unfair too.

Whether you pray or not, I am sure God is with you - miraculously giving you strength to carry on and sending comforting thoughts when you need it most.

((Big Hugs))

Julie said...

kristin, wow.

i continue to marvel at how many of your posts echo thoughts and feelings i have just been having on the same day or very, very recently. is grief really so predictable that two people with different lives in different places who experience similar losses at about the same time would have the same thoughts from day to day or week to week?

everything you’ve said here is something i’ve wondered and worried about, and of course i don’t have the answers either. my father is not a pastor, but i was raised going to church and sunday school EVERY sunday, bible school in the summers, youth group, bell choir, etc. - in other words always very involved in the church. as an adult i have been a deacon in my church, and until the night before my water broke, still rang in the bell choir. so i WANT to have a relationship with god but more often than not i have a lot of doubts about him.

i think what it comes down to for me - and this makes me feel a little pathetic, quite frankly - is desperation. if there’s the slightest chance that god will answer my prayers next time around, that my prayers will make the difference between a live 2nd baby or a dead one, then i must pray. part of me does worry that he is in fact a spiteful, hurtful god who is sitting up there watching me, laughing that i’m so gullible that i haven’t figured it out yet.

but i have had several times in my life when i felt very out of touch with god, and resentful that everyone else seems to have what they want when i don’t, even though in my mind i am deserving. i am a “good” person, responsible, caring, a good friend, a loving family member, blah, blah, blah. and ultimately for every one of those very trying times in my life, eventually over time i have been able to look back and see some “reason” for that bad thing happening. most often this seems to be a lesson i have learned that will serve me well for the rest of my life. granted, these are usually lessons that seem like common sense and very obvious, but hard-headed me had to learn them the hard way.

however, i cannot in my wildest dreams imagine what good could possibly come from the death of my first child - the child we wanted SO much, and the child we fought SO hard to create. so, no, i don’t have any answers for you, and i struggle everyday with these same questions.

KAM said...

I've thought the very same things at times, well maybe most of the time. I honestly didn't blame God for taking my Josey, I just figured it was the law of nature and I was just plain defective. But then someone gave me the book, Holding on to Hope, and it compared our grief with Job's. The author says God didn't cause our grief, but he allowed it to happen. Now I have more questions than I did before. Why would he allow it to happen to me, but not the meth addicted Mom poppin' them out like no tomorrow? My faith is definitely struggling, but I keep praying for some sort of peace in hopes I can find it again.

Angela said...

I was going to recommend the same book Violet did. When Bad Things Happen to Good People got me through the first three weeks when I was questioning everything around me, including the faith that has sustained me all my life. It's a good book, the only one about grief that has resonated with me.

Chelsea said...

Hi Kristin,

I met you on the August 2010 board, and have followed your blog since I saw your adorable avatar in January. You don't know me, but I have grieved with you, thought about you, and yes, even prayed for you.

My prayers are that God will grant you strength and grace through this terrible time that no one deserves to ever happen to them. My prayers have been answered.

I think what is most perplexing about God to those of us "lucky" enough to be raised in a church (not said without a great deal of irony), is that church leaders humanize God. Granted, it's the only way that something of so much mystery can make sense to us, but I don't think that I'm comfortable serving/dedicating my life to an entity that is as trivial as "granting wishes." The purpose of prayer isn't getting what you want, the purpose of prayer is to build communion and relationship with God.

If we want to draw out the parent/child analogy with God, do you only call your mom when you want something, or do you call her daily/weekly with updates and musings? Yes, when you want something, you will let her know, and if it's in her power to help you she absolutely will, but her purpose isn't to give you everything you want, but to provide you with what will make you a better, stronger, more productive person. I'm not saying that God took Stevie to make your stronger, please know that. I'm actually not saying God took Stevie at all, but the laws of nature did, for some random, heartbreaking reason, and now all God can do is be there for you, grant you comfort and strength to overcome this absolute tragedy, and you will grow in this and realize what a mother you are.

This is an incredibly complex issue, and I deal better with conversation than writing in a comment section on a blog. I hope that I have made my thoughts clear, but please let me know if I need to clarify, or you'd like to discuss this further.

Take care of yourself.

April said...

I have struggled with the idea of God since Chris died. All these years later I still don't know where I stand. I can't put my faith in a God when the world is as it is. When drug addicts can have their babies live, but perfectly good parents who are ready to love and care for a baby have theirs taken away from them. When innocent children can be abused by their parents, can be murdered, can be stricken with diseases that ravage their tiny bodies before taking their lives. I understand a lot of bad in this world is due to free will, but a lot of bad in this world isn't.
To me there will never be a "good" reason to take these children. There is no good enough reason to take a child from their parents. So I can't imagine that God plays an active roll in the world. And if he does, and he does take these children and he is in control over this, well I'm sorry, that is not a God I want to be a part of.
So I can't believe that God is an active participant in our daily lives. I also can't believe God sets a plan in motion for us, because that would mean he'd plan for people to become homeless, to become drug addicts, to become murderers and rapists.
So those are some of my basic thoughts on God in terms of child loss. I have issues with the idea of God and religion outside of that, but most of my issues come from Chris dying.

Ashlee G. said...

I'm sorry your struggling. I don't blame you. I would be too.

As for prayer. My take on it-

Prayer for me is a way of keeping an open line of communication between myself and my Heavenly Father. I prayer every morning, and every night. I believe that He does listen, but he's not a wizard. He doesn't grant wishes. If that were the case we would live in a perfect world. There wouldn't be illness, there wouldn't be death, there wouldn't be anything.

To me, in my faith, we believe that we are here on this earth to endure trials. Trials to test our faith. I believe that my unanswered prayers are ways of testing my faith. I've prayed every day for over a year for a baby. I'm infertile. It's not going to happen anytime soon. I don't blame God for that. I know that if he could he would protect all of us, his children, from any unfortunate circumstance that they would come in contact with. Wouldn't any parent do that?

He loves us, and he cares. He never gives us anything we can't handle. I truly believe that we are stronger for the hardships in our lives. Even though we may not see it, or understand it when it is happening we will all be better.

I believe that families are forever. You will always be Stevie's mommy. And you will see her again someday. I'm sorry that she was taken away so soon in her precious little life.

"First, prayer is a humble acknowledgment that God is our Father and that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Second, it is a sincere confession of sin and transgression and a request for forgiveness. Third, it is recognition that we need help beyond our own ability. Fourth, it is an opportunity to express thanksgiving and gratitude to our Creator. It is important that we frequently say: “We thank Thee … , “ “We acknowledge before Thee … ,” “We are grateful unto Thee …” Fifth, it is a privilege to ask Deity for specific blessings."

http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=4db68d00422fe010VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=f318118dd536c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

I hope you find some comfort soon.

Thinking about you.

Danae said...

I have sat and pondered on your questions before you even wrote this post, because I too have wondered the same things many times...and I don't have the answers, and I go back and forth on my opinions on this topic probably every other day.

As a child (and now, even as an adult), I used to have horrible nightmares. And as petty as it may sound, I used to pray to not have bad dreams, and it seemed like when I did, the bad dreams stayed away.

After getting pregnant with Bailey, I prayed for a happy, healthy Bailey. And here's what I got...Bailey was happy and healthy, at least while she was inside me. But my stupid body couldn't handle this pregnancy, and "evicted" her. So, I guess in a way, I got what I asked for...maybe I just wasn't specific enough?

At Bailey's funeral, I can't even tell you what my preacher prayed for. I was SO angry, and I remember thinking..."Well, God didn't keep her safe, and she's dead. So, what's the point of praying now?" So, I couldn't tell you what was said, or what was prayed for at that time.

Now that Bailey's gone, I've prayed for the strength to make it through this. And ultimately, I guess I'm making it. I've prayed for you and others like us, to have that strength, and to find peace in this awful time. I've prayed to have a little faith, and know that although something as tragic as this has happened, that someday, maybe someday soon, something great will happen.

So why did God "answer" my prayers as a child, when all I wanted was something as petty as to not have a bad dream? Why didn't he "answer" my prayers (or yours, or any others) to keep our children safe. I don't know...maybe because it was all part of the plan?

Do I think there is already a plan for us? Most days, yes, I think there is a plan already made. Do I understand it? No. Do I think that parts of the plan suck? Absolutely.

While believing there is a "plan", I believe that God does get to be responsible for the bad things that happen. If he gets credit for the good, then he gets that "credit" too.

Like I said, my opinions change quite frequently. Today, that's what I think...it's a big jumbled mess, but it's thoughts nonetheless. Tomorrow can be a completely different mess of jumbled thoughts.

Michelle said...

I agree with Chelsea "The purpose of prayer isn't getting what you want, the purpose of prayer is to build communion and relationship with God." The purpose of this life is to bring glory to God.

s said...

what an incredible blog.
how beautiful that you are sharing all of this.
thank you so much.
you have touched my heart.
wishing you only blessings.

tee said...

Kristin - I read your blog every day - there are things that happened in my life where I've found myself asking the exact same questions. But then deep inside me I keep hearing this voice in my spirit that says..."you ask because you don't trust me." And I know it's true...I don't fully trust Him...but I am working very hard at learning how to .

I don't have all the answers to your questions - but I know that God is real...and I know although He doesn't set all the bad things that happens to us in motion...everything that happens He does purpose it so that it is for our good whether we understand it or not at that time. There comes a day when you look back and you say God...I should have trusted you - I've done that so many times. Then find myself right back in the same place when something else painful happens. It's a cycle...that started with Creation and mankind's choice to choose independence. We demand our independence in life - then complain when God loves us enough to give it to us. It's hard...and I wish I could put it plainly for you to help you grasp it - but how could I when I don't fully grasp it myself. I just know for me...prayer isn't about getting what I want anymore - its about my being strong enough to TRUST HIM...in spite of my pain. It's about my faith.

I am reading a book right now - that kinda addresses all of this. It's about a man who lost his daughter...and he actually spends a weekend with God, the holy spirit and Jesus - and he asks them all of the same questions you are asking in this blog. The answers in the book have me going back and reading it over and over again...because the more I read it - the more it starts to make a little bit of sense to me...the more it starts to sink in. If you have time...you should read it -won't answer all your questions - but it might help a little - it's doing something for me...just a little...

It's "The Shack" By Wm. Paul Young.

thishumanscondition said...

When I was asking for prayers/happy thoughts/good energy for Mabel before we knew that she wasn't going to make it, a friend of mine put it well. She has a little girl who suffers from a rare illness and she said that she doesn't think God has much to do with it. If he/she does, what kind of God would be messing with innocent babies and children, just because he/she can? It's a tough one. I prayed and prayed (because I didn't know what else to do) but it felt false. I was basically begging the universe to intervene, for something to help my little girl. When that doesn't happen, it's hard to believe that there is anything in the universe that makes a damn bit of sense.

thishumanscondition said...

Do I remember reading that you're a pastor's daughter? I am too and when my dad was in a car accident that killed him, slowly over the course of 10 months in a hospital bed, I asked a lot of questions. I'm still waiting for the answers. It's all so hard!

Shaun and Courtney said...

Kristin -

Many of the same questions have kept me up at night and shaken my faith to the core over the past year. Please know that these questions are so important to ask, and when you don't have the strength to pray, there are so many people who are praying for you.

One of the books that has been helpful to me in processing God's involvement in my life and in my pain is Jerry Sittser's book, "A Grace Disguised." I won't even try to unpackage it here because he does such an excellent job. If you don't have it, I'd love to mail you a copy. Let me know!

Much Love,
Courtney

Kelley and Chris said...

It's funny that you posted this just today. My husband and I decided last night that we would go to Church today. I was raised Catholic (husband was not...at all) and he wasn't too eager to go to a Catholic Church. Anyway, he did end up agreeing. I would have gone to a different Church, but I don't know anything else. So I thought being in the Catholic Church, on my knees, in one of the many aisles of pews...that I would feel some comfort. Well, I didn't find out because I couldn't bring myself to go this morning. My husband was up and ready to go and I just couldn't do it. I don't know why...but I'm sure it has something to do with what you wrote in your blog. I ask myself those same questions everyday and I just don't have an answer. The only thing that makes any kind of sense (but not much) to me comes from one of the many books on grief that I have read. It said something along the lines of "God didn't have a hand in you losing your child. The only thing God can do is give you the ability to reproduce, the power to conceive. Once you conceive, nature takes over." Hmmm...well that just opens up a new can of worms because I read many blogs of women really struggling to conceive. They have been trying for years, with the help of doctors, but nothing works. So that shoots what that book said all to hell. I find prayer 'uncomfortable.' I do it. For myself and others. But mostly only when things aren't going so well. I was on my knees at my bedside the other night praying for the health of a friend of mine. I don't really think I was praying to
God though. It was more just a plea that I wanted to throw out to the universe or something. I know that sounds weird. But I don't know how else to explain it. I could go on and on and on...but the bottom line is that I'm just as confused as you. And I don't know that we'll ever find our answer, because the truth is that nothing will ever make us feel 'okay' about losing our babies. It's always going to be unfair and it's always going to break our hearts, no matter what answers we may find out about God.

Maggie said...

Kristin, I have a lot of struggle with this too. I was raised Catholic, did all the Sunday school, got confirmed, all of that and then once that happened, I just kind of stopped going to church. I think the Sunday school to me felt more like a hassle to anything else and later on, I had to go to school after school- what kid wants to do that???! So, church & God was never really something my life revolved around, especially as I got older. Then this happened & it kind of made me wonder. I'm still looking for answers to all of this too. If you find any...let me know!

Misty said...

Kristin,
I have had a hard time with prayer ever since the miscarriage as well. I was lying in a hospital bed getting ready to go into emergency surgery, and my husband asked if I wanted to pray. I looked at him and said no. I was mad. I was really mad at God. Why would he do that to me? I was just raging. My husband gently held my hand and prayed out loud. At first, I was so angry, but as he prayed, I had an overwhelming sense of calm come over me. I dont know if that was his presence or just the words, but it helped.

To me, prayer is an open line of communication between me and God. I used to try to say the right words, ask for the right things. But, in church recently, we had a wonderful speaker, that said we are praying with an orphan spirit, begging and asking for things that he already knows we want/need. So now I talk to God when I pray. My first prayer of my own from the miscarriage opened with " Im mad at you." and every now and again I feel like I hear that small voice saying ' Im still here and I love you"

I have always struggled with the idea that the God that sacrificed his own son for us would be ok with horrible things happening to us. Why does a mother lose their child? Why are children abducted and beaten? When people say "everything happens for a reason", it drives me up the wall. What reason could there possibly be for those things? We had a service a few months ago, and the pastor said things DO NOT happen for a reason. God doesn't say I want this horrible thing to happen to this person/family. Our world is horribly horribly broken. Ever since that orginal sin, and were given free will, horrible things have happened to people over and over again. He doesn't make the decisions that cause us trauma, heart break. Those things are a result of being in a broken world, or a result of someone elses free will. God plays a role in the aftermath. He didn't make those things happen, but he is there for us in the wake of the event to hold our hand and help us through. THAT I could understand.

I think the Christian walk is a hard one, its not a leisurely stroll on a smooth path, but one that is rocky and torturous at times. But knowing that there is someone there to help us when we fall, thats a huge blessing...

I hope that you find some peace in your walk soon. I can't imagine how hard it must be...

Emily said...

I think I might just have to write an answering blog to this. I can't sum it all up here.

Kathy said...

I haven't been through something similar to what you have, dear, but I can only comment from someone who has experienced chronic pain for years now, from high school on "officially." I've been much too close to dying myself more times than I can count, and I've asked "why me?" more times than I'd care to admit.

To me, prayer is an expression of faith, of belief. It's not always a belief that God will heal you, but that I believe whatever happens, He will help me through it regardless of how it turns out. I've seen my father have medical miracles occur with his cancer; he's been fighting for nearly 14 years when they initially gave him 5, if that. If nothing else, seeing him continue to have to fight the cancer at all growing up helped me to prepare for my own struggles medically, though it's still hard. I still get angry, get upset, get confused with why these things happen, but I have to remind myself that what happens is something I cannot change, and I can only hope to have the strength and faith to get through it.

Britt said...

So, I am no great theologan (actually, I am not even sure I spelled it correctly) but I feltp compelled to answer. In my opinion prayer isn't just about getting what you ask for, it's more about having a conversation with God. I think about it like when I have a conversation with my husband. Sometimes I get what I want out of the conversatio and sometimes I don't, but I am always better off for having talked to him. As for God changing His mind, I don't think He does. I think that we are the ones that have the freedom to choose who we will serve and how we are going to act, but God never wavers. I don't know if I am making sense and I am in bed, in the dark so I don't have my Bible with me to give you any solid "evidence" but I can tell you that on my blog I am doing a "Study" on the book "21 reason bad things happen to good people" and I would love for you to check out the links that I have already done (or get the book) I think you would really find it interesting!! I hope you find some of the peace you are looking for! Thinking of you and your Stevie tonight!

Ashley said...

I agree with those who say prayer is an open line of communication. Ive had plenty of instance in my life to want to turn away from God and basically my take on it is like any relationship. If you love God with all your heart you stick through the tough times because the good ones ar so worth it. Just like in marriage vows when you say for better or for worse, thats how I view my relationship with God. I still get angry often about the death of my brother, I know its not the same as a child but its the greatest loss I have personally endured. I guess I'm willing to trust God through that, because He is the same God who gave me my brother at all. His blessings in my life, far out weigh the pain. And I do belive God hears and asnwers prayers, there is a Bible Verse (forgive me for not knowing but I don't have it memorized and it would be fake of me to go look it off and play it off like I do) That says God will give his followers (those who bring glroy I think it says) the desires of thier hearts. Its a strong verse for me. Even if praying isn't in your heart right now, I Pray for you as I know so many are doing, and as a child of God he still knows the desires of your heart wether you express them to him or not. I pray God blesses you abundantly, not that any blessing will outweigh the loss of your baby girl, but that you may have a blessed life until you can hold your girl again.

Lindsay said...

Really good questions. I think people pray only to make themselves feel better. I believe in God and am christian and all that, but I don't often go to church just because of convenience reasons and the feeling that I don't need to go to a place to feel religious. I see church as a community basically.

So that being said, I believe that things do happen for a reason. Even crappy things and when these crappy things happen they happen because we are meant to learn from them. We are meant to become stronger because of them. I think the hurting that comes after these crappy things is a very necessary thing. Hurting to the point of not being able to take it anymore and then we learn how to deal with the hurting so we become a stronger person.

I don't think God is trying to "punish" people by doing bad things. I think it's just a part of life but I think there is a reason for it. Look at this blog. How many people you and Stevie have touched because it exists. There has to be a reason. At least that is what I believe.

Christina said...

I guess what helps me figure out "prayer" is that I just never ask for stuff. I only praise him for being so big and awesome and for creating things with such beauty. I decided that God doesn't "owe" me anything and that I should be in awe of his abilities and not ask for anything more than what I have--no matter what. It was just easier for me to handle when bad crap would always happen despite what I would pray. I've decided that it's probably not the best approach, but it's the one I tend to use. It may be a "cop out" but it helps me feel better about "unanswered prayers".. I just assume that God doesn't owe me anything, especially no explanations. He is forever faithful and I could never be. Not sure if that's explained right, really.. but it's what I use as my justification for the crap life throws at me that never ends up with an explanation. I like to think that he just set things in motion and doesn't intervene. Things happen because of the laws of life and science and chemistry, and he created all of those things, but does not manually make them occur. They just do out of what they were designed to do.. and not specifically to injur or cause pain..

Ugh, I really am clueless. My God ideas change daily, it seems.. but I can't *not* believe.. there's something deep inside that won't let me.. and I'm comfortable with that I suppose.

Kristin said...

Wow--thanks everyone! You gave me a LOT to think about and try to process! :)

Elaine said...

Hi Kristen, as one of your lurkers!! here is what I am thinking at the time. I am an avid prayer. I lost my son on April 13th. This is something I struggled with as well. Don't know if I have any answers but here's what I'm thinking...


I pray because it gives me a sense of calm, peace. I pray like I'm talking to my Father. I do KNOW not believe that there is a God and that prayer does work. Not always. That's the tough part.

Yes God can make miracles happen and he does. He gave me my son to carry for 17 weeks. He took a little sperm and a little egg and gave me a baby to love for 17 weeks. I don't know why other things are selective, some babies are saved and some aren't. Why do crackheads have babies like rabbits and I lose my son? I don't know the answer to that.

Does God have a plan. I don't know and I hate to hear that "it was God's plan" I don't think it's God's plan that we lose our kids. That's not his work. He loves us and would not want this grief for us. I don't know why it happens but we live in a world where death exists. That wasn't God's plan. But here we are and it sucks.

Does God get credit for the good and bad? Yes and no. Just like I have to take responsibility for some of the bad choices I've made I also fully recognize some of the good choices I made. Not that I'm saying we in any way caused our child's loss but just in general.

I think what I'm saying might actually cause more questions than answers but as a Christian who lost their baby even though I prayed for this little guy...I'm asking myself the same things and trying to find the answers too.

Anonymous said...

Kristin,
I am a pediatric ICU nurse and see tragedy on a daily basis. I watch parents pray over their children for days, weeks, and months on end begging God to save their precious loved one. I watch and my heart breaks because very often I know that their baby has no chance for survival. I know it's only a matter of time before that baby will die and their lives will be shattered. And often, I am right.

Yet similar to what you said, I have seen some children who, by some miracle, survive. I have seen the families who have their prayers answered, their babies recover, and live full lives.

I don't know why some live and some die. I don't know why some hearts break and some heal. But I will tell you, I have felt God present in both situations. I have seen God hold those grieving families, I have seen him wrap his arms around them while they cry. I have also seen him share the joy of recovery and new life.

I used to have a negative attitude about death. My own mother died when I was 16. But being a nurse has changed my perspective. I don't know how to explain it, but I know there is a higher power who is there for us when we live and when we die. And he holds those around us who are sad about it. You might never get the answers to the questions you are asking, but I know that someday you will find peace!

Amanda

Waiting Lisa said...

I am stopping by your blog for the first time. I am so sorry for your loss. Your blog is beautiful.

Amanda said...

Semi-lurker here, and I have the same view point as you do, so I have nothing helpful to add. I just feel like it accomplishes nothing but it does help people feel better. The "power of prayer" is rather hit or miss, and it's never appealed to me personally.

Dana said...

I prayed every night that Jacob would be healthy. When I found out that Jacob had died, my minister came in. He said that it was okay to be mad at God. I said that I was and that I prayed every night for Jacob. How can I ever pray for the next baby when Jacob died. I know all of our prayers aren't answered, but this didn't make me trust God anymore. In fact, it makes me think that I will be jinxing the next baby if I do the same thing I did for Jacob.

But maybe God couldn't do anything to save Jacob. Maybe he made the whole experience as easy as possible for me. Maybe we would have found out at an upcoming ultrasound that there was something wrong with his body and my husband and I would have had to make a terrible decision - let him live and suffer or terminate the pregnancy (I don't know if this would have been the case, we haven't got the autopsy results back get). I was at my doctor's office when I found out. I didn't start having contractions at work, have to go to the nearest hospital, have a doctor I didn't know, wait forever in the ER etc. I had excellent nurses who really seemed to care (as did my doctor). Almost all of my family was able to come to the hospital as soon as I called them and one of my sisters who lives in NY was able to come, got here safely etc. Then I found the support board at BBC, I was put in touch with a woman who lives near me, lost a baby at 7 months and who talked to me for hours. I found out how many people cared about me through letters, visits, calls etc. I believe that losing Jacob has made our family even closer and really makes us appreciate every day that we have. Now we really see how things can turn from great to bad in a second. Maybe that is God working.

I don't know. I'm still angry that Jacob was taken. I wouldn't want this to happen to anyone, but why does the drug-addicted mother keep delivering baby after baby, but the mothers here who were so careful, took every precaution and loved their babies from the second they were conceived and could have provided their children with a wonderful life, lose them?

I wish I had some answers for you, but I don't.

car said...

Thanks for your post Kristin, it helped me get some of my feelings sorted out (and written out on my blog too)

Michele said...

i believe prayer works. it is a mystery and yet... i have two babies in my lap, born at 27w, who are healthy and i have no explaination except prayer. why did God give us a decade of infertility? why did I have 3 miscarriages? why did I birth three second trimester babies who lived mere moments? i dont know. i cant say that it is so babies 7 and 8 could make it... that they made the pain worth it. all i know is that i wouldnt give any of my children back. i am grateful for every single second, even though they cause me heartache in my joy.

if i were to stand before God and God offered me either the life i have or one where i only knew two of my children, i'd choose the one i have now. i can't imagine not having even those few moments.

sending hugs...

Jennifer said...

Wow, those are some tough questions. You made me think today. I posted what I believe the answers to your questions are on my latest blog. Praying for you and your husband. Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Violet, You said "But he (God) is not all-powerful." God IS all powerful. Just to clarify, this is what Christians believe- followers of Jesus Christ- which I *think* Kristen is as far as her religious preference...(She'll have to correct me if I'm wrong). Kristen, I don't pretend to know the answers to this and struggle with the same thing. But, I do know the peace you want can only come from God. Read "I don't have enough faith to be an athiest"- it's amazing. And keep asking the questions- and trying to get answers- don't give up. God is here!

Jen said...

Kristin

I delivered my daughter Abigail Eden into the arms of Jesus April 13, 2010 at 15 wks 2 days. Grief stinks. Grief steals our joy.

Prayer works, but with that said I know those thoughts...I had them to. But God loves me so much and has never left my side. He loves you too! He loves your precious Stevie!

I pray you can feel peace, not peace that your baby died but peace that there is a God who loves you and is carrying through this journey.

My prayers are with you!

Jen
@jenchic
jenchic.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Kristin- I haven't experienced your loss, but I've experienced great loss and suffering in my own life. I sure don't have all of the answers, but here's what I've come to understand more confidently then ever before. There is a God. He made us, and loves each of us intimately and personally. He is intimately aquainted with pain and suffering, and bears our suffering with us. Jesus' own mother, Mary, went through incredible pain and suffering watching her own son's cruel death. She, too knows our pain and grief, with a mother's heart. Suffering came into the world because of sin, not because of God. Heaven is where there will be no more pain, death, tears, sorrow. As humans, we're going to experience all of this here on earth. All of us in different ways. We can use our suffering to learn the lessons God wants us to learn, and to be more caring and compassionate towards others. We can unite our sufferings with those of Christ, who loved us enough to endure all he did so we could live with him forever in Heaven. For me, prayer during these most difficult times has been to help me not be separated from God, to have the power and strength to endure all that is going on, and carry the cross I've been given to carry. I will say, that although all of my suffering and grief haven't gone away- God has never left me and has given me His stregth to go through what He's asked me to go through. It's very clear that I'm not doing this on my own. I think He wants me to be dependent upon Him, and not rely on myself. I don't know if any of this has been helpful- I pray it is, and I'll pray for you and your family. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I think it's great you're doing a blog and getting so much support from friends, family, and even strangers. Your blog is gaining popularity and you have the ability to help tons of people affected by this difficult experience.

I know you didn't ask for advice, but I'm taking a risk here and I say it in love.

Try not to lean too much on your own understanding, or other's support, or spend too much time keeping busy by the blog, etc. I say that because I don't want you to miss out on an opportunity to pour your heart out to God and experience the start of an authentic relationship with him- one that I sense you are longing for. Who wouldn't want deeper peace, meaning, and contentment?

I just feel like your head has to be spinning after getting so many different opinions on such big questions.

So my advice-- search for the truth by calling on God and searching your own heart-- instead of getting jaded or overwhelmed by everyone else's opinions. (I only speculate that you may be, because I know I've been when I've asked the same question to too many people). Take care!

Natalie said...

Why shouldn't we pray? Do we not believe that we our children of our Heavenly Father? Do we not believe that he created us? Do we not believe that when we die we will see his face? We speak with our Fathers here on Earth. Why then should we live our lives without ever speaking to God? Praying to Him? Letting him into our lives?

We are His children, He loves us. Just as we love our own children. More even.

Our Father in Heaven IS all-powerful. He can and does perform miracles. He is all-knowing. Why then do we doubt Him? He knows what is best for each of his children. He sent his son Jesus Christ into this world to suffer and die for all mankind and through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can all have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven and all our loved ones for eternity.

I too have experienced the loss of a precious baby girl. It is the most agonizing thing I have ever gone though. I think about her every day. The only thing that has kept me sane and alive is my testimony that families are forever. I know I will see her again, I know that you will see your sweet Stevie again.

I am LDS, a "Mormon". We know that this life on Earth is not all there is. There is life after death.
I would encourage you to visit Mormon.org to learn more about what we believe. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know God hears our prayers. We don't always get the answers we want or expect. But that does not change his love for us.

I would also encourage you to read a book called "Angel Children" it was written by a lady named Mary V. Hill. Some of the things said in that book really helped me deal with the loss of my daughter. I believe that you can find it online, try searching at Deseretbook.com, or SeagullBook.com It is a quick read and very insightful.

I came across your blog after reading the Sullengers blog. I have really enjoyed what you have to say. It is very heartbreaking to read your posts because I have felt so many of the same emotions that you have. I think of my daughter every day and always will. You will always think if yours too.

I hope what I have written will be of some use to you. You seem like a wonderful person.
~Natalie

Betty said...

I so could have written this. At times I still don't know what the point in praying is. But Ido it. Even if its a simple thank you.

(((hugs)))

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