Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about faith (the religious principle, not the song by George Michael which is now stuck in my head and not at all conducive to deep thought). I’m attending the Casual Blogger Conference this week (Could I be any more excited?) and there’s a panel called “Blogging Your Faith.” They’ll be discussing “how to incorporate your faith into your blog and promote spirituality on the Internet.”
This is interesting to me, because I don’t really think of myself as a “Mormon blogger.” I’m a Mormon, and I blog. Those two things are simply a part of who I am. If I feel like talking about my religion or personal experiences involving spirituality, I will. If I don’t…well, I’m not going to force it just so I can feel like I’m spreading the missionary message.
Please don’t think I’m bashing the Mormon blogging culture. Not at all. It’s just that the really vague vision I have for my blog doesn’t involve daily faith-promoting messages. (Unless you consider obscene animal cookies faith-promoting, in which case you might want to consider professional help.)
That said, I do want to touch on the idea of faith.
After my third pregnancy loss, I kind of went off the rails. I’ll spare you the gory details (by now they’re really unimportant), but the culmination of this was a disciplinary council. This consisted of me, my therapist (hey, they said I could bring someone along), the bishop, the first counselor, someone from the ward who was on the high council (the second counselor in the bishopric was unavailable), and the ward clerk.
It probably sounds terrible, but it wasn’t so bad (all things considered) until…THE QUESTION. Yes, it deserves all caps and bold. I had expressed my desire for children and the feeling that I was incredibly unhappy doing all the things I was supposed to do, so I might as well do whatever I want because if I’m going to be unhappy, I should at least have fun.
Cut me a little slack. It was a bad time in my life.
Anyway, after much discussion and questioning, yada yada yada…the high councilor says to me, “Have you ever considered that if you just had enough faith, you’d be blessed with those things you want so badly?”
Yeah. Take a moment to look at that question, because he really asked it. He took my crappy genetics and autoimmune problems and turned it into something that was my fault.
I’m sure, having a sense of my personality, you’re wondering what I answered. I believe it was something along the lines of, “There’s no way I can answer that question without swearing at you.” No, I’m not making that up. Of course, at that point my therapist jumped in to interpret my feelings of hurt and dismay. (Thanks, Steve!)
Even after I returned to full activity at church, I couldn’t look that man in the eye for about five years because I was still so angry. (My inner therapist: “Anger is a secondary emotion. What were you really feeling?” Me: “Can anger be secondary to fury? Also, shut up, inner therapist.”) Okay, I was hurt. And offended.
I had nothing but the purest, most unquestioning faith as I went into those three pregnancies. I knew the potential difficulties. I knew we might fail, but I felt like Heavenly Father wanted me to have kids, and by golly, if that’s what He wanted, I knew He could make it happen. So really, it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough faith.
Is there such a thing as too much faith?
When I delve deep into my feelings at the time, I begin to recognize that my faith was limited. Yes, I had complete faith in the omnipotence of God. What I didn’t figure in was His omniscience. I knew if He wanted to, He could make my pregnancy work, but I didn’t allow for the possibility that He might have something else in mind for me.
So I pretty much believed in a God who would grant my righteous desires. Like, immediately. End of story. Heavenly Father says to multiply and replenish the earth, I want a baby, I get pregnant, BAM! It’s all good! I’m being obedient, and will be blessed! It’s just like I learned in Young Women’s, and now I’m going to burst into song! Probably a song by Janice Kapp Perry!
But I digress.
I remember praying every night to see the bigger picture. I wanted to understand why God thought this was a good idea. After all, if He had a reason, it would only be polite to clue me in, right?
Yeah. Not so much.
Eventually the tone of my prayers changed. I went from praying to know why things happened to praying to be okay with the things that happened. Such a small change when I type it, but it was life-changing.
At this point in my life, I’m finally coming to understand that I don’t need to know the how and why of everything. What I do need to know is that God is in control, and He has my best interests in mind.
I’ll put it this way: I’m trying to put together a puzzle. God has the picture, but has given me the pieces. He won’t tell me exactly where they go, because then I wouldn’t learn anything. What He will do is give me a nudge here and a gentle hand there, so that when everything is said and done, my puzzle is complete.
My Heavenly Father has a plan for me…even if I don’t always like it.
So I guess that’s where I am right now. Next step: Learning to like the plan. I’m thinking that’s going to take a while.