I was browsing my Facebook newsfeed early one morning when I saw an article titled, “God Wrote Every Chapter of Your Story”. I did not read the article, for the title alone sent the wheels of thoughts in my head spinning out of control. Whenever I see something that relates to the fact that God orchestrated every detail of my life, it causes a conundrum of emotions and reasoning and debating and soul searching that is difficult to put into words.
The first thought train that comes barreling onto the track of my mind when I see words of this nature is that of remembering past trauma. I have written before about the abuse I suffered as a child. If the title of the article is taken at face value, then one would have to concede that God wrote that abuse into my life before I was ever born. That causes a plethora of problems within me. I have done much work to accept what happened to me and continue to work on learning how it has shaped me into the adult I am and hate. The fact that God planned for this to be a part of my life leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Of course the Christian answer I have gotten to those thoughts have been along the lines of, “God didn’t want that to happen to you. We live in a fallen world, though, so that stuff does happen.” The longer I have contemplated that Christian cliche of “living in a fallen world” to explain away the difficult aspects of life on earth, the more I have grown to despise those words. It seems like a cop-out to explain away problems that no one seems to have the answers to. I am a mom. A human mom who had some control over what happened to her children. I did not rule the universe, though, and I was not all powerful. If one of my kids had suffered harm at the hands of one who was supposed to protect them, it certainly wouldn’t have been because I, the loving mom, wanted that to happen so that in the future it could be used somehow. Does reading that sound as absurd as typing it out did?? Yet, the fact that “God wrote every part of my story” implies that exact concept.
Another thought that my mind ruminates on related to this concept of God writing my story is the feeling, at least currently, that my life has no value. As a stay at home mom, I worked myself out of a job. As I drew close to the time where I knew the kids would be independent adults, I began to sort of panic. I had been “mom” for so long. It was my identity. The responsibilities that came along with that title were what got me out of bed in the morning. Babies could not care for themselves. Toddlers needed watchful eyes. Grade school kids need care and high school kids need guidance. But once those years are done, while they say mom is still needed, it is definitely not in the same hands on way as all the previous years. A few years before that officially happened, I began to wonder what I would do every day. What would be a reason for getting out of bed? Two years past the point of all my kids becoming independent, I am still trying to figure out why I should get out of bed every day. That might not be as difficult to figure out were it not for the fact that my body battles the effects of chronic illness. One thing I have always enjoyed has been being in my kitchen. I love to bake and share what I bake. I once thought that when my kids were grown, I would find a job in a bakery or some sort of kitchen work to fill my time. The fact that my feet burn constantly with nerve pain, not to mention the dizziness and fatigue that comes along with that illness as well, pretty much eliminates that possibility for me. Did God write worthlessness, purposelessness, and illness into my story intentionally? Or is this another “we live in a fallen world” situations that no one really has an answer for?
A last thought worth mentioning in regards to this subject is the loneliness faced each day when one is often unable to “do” things outside of the house. This has been an extremely miserable summer for me. We have had long strings of days with temperatures in the 90’s and heat indexes at that level or higher. For someone whose body literally shuts down in the heat, that has made for long days spent in the house. I haven’t even been able to keep up a routine of working out, something I worked hard to do over the winter–and succeeded at. I was at the gym six days a week, working on a combination of cardio and strength workouts. Not anymore, though. Since the mercury in the thermometer started climbing, I have found myself dealing with MS symptoms that had just about disappeared over the winter. A run on a treadmill or elliptical would be excruciating with neuropathy, and strength training is out because it overheats my body sending it into a mess of symptoms. Instead, my days are spent pretty much at home, and for the most part, alone. My husband has his job that keeps him very busy and sometimes even takes him out of town for days at a time. When I was a busy mom, I never thought I’d get alone time; now I have a plethora of hours alone. And while I enjoy being alone to an extent, I have been surprised by just how much the loneliness has left me feeling unloved and unwanted. Did God write loneliness into my life as a cruel joke?
Now before anyone blasts me for these words, let me be clear that, while my faith is struggling in a big way, I still believe there is a God and that he is in control of the universe. I have written before about how I question if he is good all the time (as the old church chorus goes) so I am not treading into those waters again. Instead, I write this to help me process how much of my story God actually wrote compared to how much he allowed. There is a great difference, at least in my mind. If God really wrote abuse, illness, and intense loneliness into my life, then I’m not sure that’s a God I can love and follow. But, if God merely allowed it because people all have free will and illness is part of this world, then that is a different story. The loneliness part I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to reconcile with the idea of God. Maybe after much more thought I’ll be able to come to a conclusion on why life has taken me down this lonely road.