As a young 🙂 52 year old I am continually questioning my faith, my relationship with the mystery that is God, and life in this world. I call it contemplation.
One aspect of my life that has been through this process multiple times has been how I view the idea of whether God is in control of our lives and/or the lives of all human beings or not. I’ve thought about this so much that it’s really been a mental and spiritual wrestling match. In my early days of faith as an Evangelical Christian I would proclaim that there was no doubt whatsoever that God was in control – absolute control. His way was always perfect and He was good so even if life sucked, it was God’s will for me. I no longer buy it so fully. I no longer think of God as exclusively Him either 🙂 .
One of my great challenges in life has been Hannah’s diagnosis of bulimia nervosa followed by a diagnosis of major depression/severe after having been born as my “miracle” child. She was born 3 months early after my water broke at 13 weeks into the pregnancy. My pregnancy and her birth were considered miraculous from the most profoundly rational scientific doctors caring for her. I remember during that pregnancy the sense that God was ever present with me was profound and very real. I have multiple memories of being told some doomsday scenario about my pregnancy upon entering the emergency room and then praying about it, reading my Bible and coming out on the other side with faith that God’s “plan” for us was a miraculous intervention. Following that I repeatedly heard technicians, nurses and doctors say, “I can’t believe you are still pregnant!” or “I can’t believe you have a baby!” It was an amazing experience to see her be born alive at 28 weeks.
Fast forward to her adolescent years and what you will see is all hell breaking loose in her mind and our family standing there numb and beside ourselves with how to help her. Over the last 12 years we have come to understand that the trauma she experienced in utero as well as with her colon constricting and undergoing multiple surgeries before she was even 9 months old, greatly impacted the way her brain developed. The parts of her brain that process emotions were greatly compromised by those traumas and the interrupted bonding process that takes place when you spend the first month of your life outside the womb in a box in the hospital. We could not hold her for a month.
These years have been spent with great vigilance in offering support and understanding to our daughter and seeking to help her heal however we possibly could. It has taken everything we have had and much support from friends and family to get to where we are today. It has been anything but a straight line and I personally have had a very difficult time processing it all. I still struggle with wanting to understand the whys involved but I know that would be an unimportant and fruitless pursuit.
The idea of “God being in control” is something I once thought I clearly understood but I guess at this point in my life I have come to the conclusion after weighing the evidence contained in my personal experiences, that it is simply a paradox. I do believe that somehow God is in control though it is more of a mystery than ever but I also believe that I have a lot more control than my Evangelical faith would have given me credit for. M. Scott Peck says that great truths are contained in life’s paradoxes and tonight all I can say is I sure hope so.