Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thy Will Be Done...

If you have been reading my blog lately, you will know that I am having some trust issues with God. The truth is, these issues have been building for a long time, and Calvin's upcoming heart procedure on May 9th have brought them to the forefront. As far as heart problems go, his is really a minor and fairly common one called an ASD. Most of the time these holes can be closed in the cath lab and only require an overnight stay in the hospital. Occasionally, they are big enough to require open heart surgery. As far as we know, his will be closed in the cath lab, though we can't know for sure until the pediatric cardiologists get in there and see the actual size of the hole.

It's funny how I have been telling people since we knew about the defect that this procedure is no big deal, but now that the date is set, I feel completely differently. I have considered calling to cancel it on many occasions, waiting until Calvin is much older to walk down this road. But the truth is that we need to take care of it before we move overseas where we won't be able to monitor it as well. And I know on some level that my soul needs to walk through this, too.

But I am really terrified. On any given day, the thoughts in my head go something like this: "God may be good and He may love me, but He wants to make life really hard for me so that I will grow in my faith. Since the scariest thing I can think of is losing one of my boys, He is probably going to make me experience that or at least come close enough to realize that He is ultimately in control of their lives. I know He is preparing me for this because of such-and-such sermon or Bible study or because of this interaction with such-and-such person. Yep, there is no other option. Something bad is going to happen to Calvin. God probably doesn't really love me. I refuse to do this. I am going to cancel the appointment and wait until God is paying attention to someone else's messed up soul."

I am not even going to begin to unpack the theological difficulties of this line of thought or what it displays about the sad, selfish state of my soul that I am so focused on avoiding my own sufferings and not thinking about others'. I know on an intellectual level how messed up this train of thought is, but I am not ready to be anywhere else.

I cannot begin to say how grateful I am for the people in my life, especially the women in my church, who are not offering platitudes and happy scriptures. Instead, they offer hugs and tears and prayers and understanding. They point me to the Psalms, where David expressed his frustrations and anger at God and was still called a man after His own heart. They know that I do not need to be cured of my bad attitude but allowed to lament and be angry and hopefully come out on the other side with a greater trust and love for the Father. And they long with me for Calvin's procedure to really be as minor as it should be and for him to be up and running the next day.

As I try to work through this and seek wisdom, one thing I do keep hearing is the need to come to a place of being able to pray "Thy will be done." At first, I got angry at that, too, thinking it was a platitude, a way of saying that I need to be okay with the way things are or with the way things turn out and still trust in God. I need to just be content with His will, whether that means suffering or joy for me at any moment. Perhaps that is how a lot of people mean it, and I know that accepting His will is important. But as I look at the greater context of that line of the Lord's prayer, I see so much more.

Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on Earth as it is in Heaven

Thy Kingdom come, a kingdom of healing and wholeness and life. On Earth as it is in Heaven, in Heaven that healing and wholeness and life are complete, while they are just beginning to be realized on Earth. It is a prayer that God's Kingdom would become manifest in the lives of His people on Earth now. It doesn't mean that people will always be healed, and it doesn't mean that if I pray that prayer Calvin will come through this procedure okay. I know there are no guarantees. I also know that prayer is powerful, and that if I look back on my own life, I see many more answered prayers than unanswered ones. So it is okay to pray for His healing spirit to break through in this instance, for His kingdom to become reality in Calvin's heart.

Or perhaps to ask people to pray that for me when I am too weak and broken to pray it myself.


Farrah said...

Oh friend...
I read these posts and I just ache to hug you. I know these thoughts, I feel them with you. I feel like I should have something deep or profound to say about trusting God even in the face of circumstances that suck or could potentially suck. I will have to leave the profound words to Cath because I have none.
I can say to you, though, that your fear about Calvin's procedure and wondering about God's goodness does not mean your soul is "selfish" or even "messed up." We all, well at least me, have looked at the crappy things that happen and wonder "where is God in this?" And the millions of prayers that were lifted for Micah's and your dad's healing didn't seem to change the course of their paths. Or ours either. And that sucks. And it isn't fair. And I think God allows, maybe even expects us to live through situations like that and say "what the heck, God!! What are your purposes in this pain?"

And if it were me facing a procedure like Calvins, even with how many times I have watched and assisted and seen some miraculous results with this very procedure, I would feel the same as you. Even when Lucas was in the hospital with pneumonia a year ago I asked these same questions. "You are going to let something bad happen to him, aren't you God, just to teach my soul yet another lesson in trusting you." And the thing about it is, even though Lucas recovered and this next baby is healthy, I still fully believe that God would have just as easily taken either or both from me as part of His bigger plan, whatever the heck that is. Praying "Thy will be done" is one of the scariest things to say. To me it is the ultimate in trusting and giving up control 'cuz as we have seen before His will may include something that sucks more than you can imagine. But it may also include something more joyful and restorative too. If you are able to pray that, you are doing good. God is surely at work in your soul. And He is, of that I am sure.

So, I am not sure I am helping at all here. I need to shut my mouth I think. But all I am really trying to say is that those of us who love you and love Calvin ARE praying with you and for you during this time when you might not know how to pray for yourself. You are a brave, loving momma who naturally wants to protect her boys. Calvin is in God's hands and we will be praying vigorously that all will go well and he will recover quickly and fully. And that you will make it through and not go insane while you wait.

I love you and am walking with you in this time of fear and lack of trust.

Anonymous said...

Oh the fear you must be feeling. The scary and unknown future. My mother had this same problem, but hers was not detected until she was in her early 50s and had a 'mini stroke'. She has since had this same surgery and is just fine. None of this helps, I am sure. I do know the fear of having a child in the hospital. It sucks - no two ways about it. I hope, I pray. I don't know what else to do. I hope. I cry. I pray. I hope. Be brave. If you can not trust in Him (as we all struggle with), trust in yourself that you are being the best mother you can be and doing what is best for Calvin now - before larger problems have the opportunity to arise. You are all in our prayers.

your Mebane friend.

Mark said...

Hey A, thanks so much for your birthday greetings. I, too, hope for a brighter, better year...and am making amends to bring that about. So, we shall see.

My prayers continue to be with you as the 9th draws closer.

Grace and Peace,

Kate said...

I've been thinking a lot about Gethsemane this week. As you said in your comment, God walks through the darkness with us, and He knows what it is like, having been there Himself. It feels like recently, the only place I've been able to meet God is in the garden, echoing Jesus' words, and wishing I had the strength to finish with, 'Not mine, but Your will be done'.

I have also been thinking that though obviously I would never wish for you to have to face Calvin's operation and the fear you feel about the results, I have been grateful for your honesty and openness about your struggle. It has made me feel a little less alone - and a little less crazy - as I grapple with similar thoughts and feelings.

I have marked the 9th on my calendar and will have a candle lit for the day and will be praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

My beloved friend, I meant to comment last wk but being a mommy I didn't get time. I have no deep thoughts for you, it's never been my thing. I can just offer my love and a shoulder for you to lean on if you need an extra. I don't think it's wrong for you to be mad at God for putting that type of "test" on you. The only thing that I can compare it to is when my son had to have tubes put in his ears and they put him under. I remember hoping and praying that the doctor didn't over medicate him when he went under. I know that can't compare to what you must have been feeling, but I can empathize with you. You're a strong person especially in Christ and you will come out on the other side even stronger than you were before. You were in my thoughts that day and mom/dad were praying for you too. I wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and you were in my thoughts. I love ya, like a sister.

My love always,

Kerry said...

Hi, friend. I'm sorry I've not been able to keep up with my blog reading lately and missed this. My laptop was out of commission. But I'm so thankful to have caught this prayer need before the surgery date on Friday. I will be praying for you and your son and the medical team.