*This post was originally written on Sunday March 30th around 5am. I delayed publishing it until I had come to a conclusion about its usefulness. To read the conclusion I came to that lead me to post it here and to start a new “Mommy Questions” category of posts you can scroll down to the post before this one.*
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Early this morning I thought about Joel in heaven and realized the profound impact the glory of God must have already had on Joel. My broken Joel is whole, and I’m sure that wholeness has already changed him so much. I suspect there is a chance that I already wouldn’t recognize my son and if I believe that he will spend his time in heaven learning, maturing, becoming more like the God who created him as he is transformed by His love, and I do believe that, it means that right this moment, I am missing it. I am missing Joel growing up. I wanted so desperately to know Joel and to see who he would become, and now there is a pain much worse than Joel’s death as I realize Joel is knowable now, but not to me. Joel is becoming who he was made to be and I don’t get to witness it. Joel can communicate all of his thoughts and questions and I can’t hear them. This is, and may continue to be, the great abiding sorrow of my heart.
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I have so many questions for God and I am so resigned to never have the answers. I don’t even ask. I don’t even ask God my questions outright because I’m so sure He won’t answer me. I realize how sad that is, but it was always part of our relationship that I knew there were certain questions God just didn’t answer for me, and even though I would see Him giving answers to other people, answers He never gave to me, it was ok, because I was sure that I didn’t need the answers. He spoke to me in the way He spoke to me and it was enough. I didn’t need to have the specifics on every subject to trust Him. Now, I’m not sure I could trust Him even with every question answered, and that is my greatest personal loss in everything that has transpired. In the last year I found the sweetest, most secure trust in God I had ever known and now that priceless gift is shattered around me so spectacularly that I suspect no one will ever believe me that it was genuine and whole once. The trust I had was real. I’m convinced it was not misguided, not self-created, not inadequate, but then how do I respond to the accusation I cast myself that it was somehow not enough, even though I knew it was more-than-enough. How do I keep walking in my reality which still feels less real than the promises I held on to? As I prayed for Joel I saw that he would have an anointing of compassion, that as he taught and spoke, he could speak truths too hard for other people to speak, because his words, without having to be toned-down, would be tempered by a compassion he never even had to speak because people would just feel it, because it was an anointing he would carry. I didn’t set out to have a vision of who Joel would be, I was just praying for seizures to stop, not asking God the big questions about who Joel was and what he would be, because I never expected to have those answers, and yet, in my prayers, God urged me to pray for Joel’s life, his future, his calling. He gave me answers to questions I hadn’t asked, and now those answers plague me.
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What do I do when the future I contended for did not come about? The simplest solution would be to say that I was wrong, that God never meant for Joel to live, that He never intended to rescue him for a life here on earth, that every dream, vision, scripture, song, and word that was shared with me or that confirmed something in my spirit was misunderstood, misconstrued, falsified. The easiest solution is to say that even though I have learned to hear God the way I hear Him, to trust his voice to me, I never heard. I never understood. I was confused the whole time. But I know that is not the truth. I am confused now, I was not confused then. I am lost and unhearing now, but I was held then, I could hear Him then. I can’t describe it the way I want to, but I had a faith that was not built on myself, that wasn’t contingent on my righteousness or my miserable attempts at perfecting myself. I had a faith that was built on an unspoken promise God built slowly in my spirit over three years. Unspoken because it was the confirmation and culmination of so many intimate moments with Him, learning and changing and being sculpted into a person who could really hold the weight of what He was promising. Unspoken because it was not one word, but so many little words, little answers, whispers heavy with meaning and purpose, woven together in a way that I could not understand, but didn’t need to.
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So, now I have questions I don’t want to be asking, but the biggest is this. If God did not fail me, if He was not too weak, if He was not defeated by the devil, If His word and all its promises were not untrue, and if He was not cruel and misleading to me, then how did this happen? Something is not adding up and I need it to. I need to know that God does not fail me. I need to know that He is never too weak. I have to know that He has defeated the devil and is never subject to satan. I need to know that God’s word and all His promises are true. I have to know that He is not cruel and He did not mislead me as he lead me to believe for Joel’s healing. Those truths are central to me loving God and knowing Him, to me ever trusting Him and leading others to commit themselves to His care. If those truths are compromised than I am utterly lost. If those truths were not compromised, then Joel’s death seems impossible. The obvious answer is that God was perfect and I failed somewhere, but I can not describe enough for anyone to understand just how much the weight of my faith was never placed on me. It was never about my success. It was a confidence in who God was and what He was doing, independent of my own contributions. God was sculpting me to believe Him but never asking me to carry more than the assurance He had crafted in me Himself. There was nothing for me to fail in, nothing He was asking me to do on my own, so even if this could somehow be my failure, then my failure would still be entirely His failure, with no warning that I was somehow not fulfilling an unspoken expectation. My spirit often shouted at me not to take up burdens God had not given me, not to try to carry something God was carrying. The beauty of the trust God had given me was that it never depended on me at all. So even though the simplest and easiest answer was that I failed, it is an answer I can’t accept, because it wasn’t my test to fail.

Comments

There are 6 comments for this post.

  1. Caroline on April 3, 2014 2:37 pm

    You absolutely can not blame yourself for this. You can blame yourself or God, and those will both get you nowhere. There is nothing that you did wrong. The enemy is going to try to tell you otherwise. It sucks that we live in such a broken world with sickness, death, destructions etc. I have had a lot of the same questions you have had this past week, but ultimately we can run to God or away and I’m choosing to run towards him. The miracle we prayed for, healing for the boys, is not the miracle God had in mind. God is choosing to do a bigger miracle and promises to turn all of this into good. Everything the enemy desired to destroy, God will restore xoxo

  2. Leah on April 3, 2014 3:24 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this private process of grief and questions with us. I’ve followed your posts for years now, and while I know for sure that Joel’s life has blessed me immensely, I am full of questions now too. I am sure God is good, but I can’t explain your loss.
    My prayers continue to lift you and your precious family to God though, and your dear words continue to point us to Him. In your vunerableness He is still shining through so beautifully. Our walk with you (those of us who have prayed for all of you all these years, contending prayerfully for Joel’s healing) is not done. We are with you still, praying for answers, praying for all of your precious, broken hearts. So, thank you for your Mommy Questions. You are the voice of so many of us, loving God and wondering why.

  3. Anne on April 5, 2014 6:20 am

    Amy,
    I don’t think you were wrong. I have never read your posts and thought, “Oh, she is so deluded”. I think that God enveloped you and your family with extraordinary grace in order to weather an unbelievable tribulation. How else to explain that your family actually seemed to thrive in spite of Joel’s illness (maybe even got stronger, somehow)? I don’t think that you comprehend what a miracle you and your family accomplished. People turn to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain; marriages often split up and the other children sometimes act out inappropriately because it’s so much to them to handle emotionally. I think in the incredible way that you and your family dealt with Joel’s cancer, surrounding him with love, holding yourselves and your family together, and leaving no stone unturned in order to save Joel, is THE MIRACLE. You have no idea yet of what you accomplished; it’s so soon and you’re still in emotional turmoil.
    I think that you’re right that Joel is transformed. He is whole and in a blink of an eye, you will be reunited with him once again. He’ll have a lot to say (because now he’ll be able to communicate); I suspect that he would agree with what I’m saying wholeheartedly!
    Anne

  4. Lacey Ballard on April 5, 2014 6:38 am

    Just wanted you to know that there are a LOT of us still praying for the Green Family. Just wanted you to know that you are NOT the only person that truly felt GOD saying He was about to do something and then being shocked that it was NOT what was expected. As i currently muddle thru the loss of some recent loved ones, as i think about the hours i have cried out and prayed over your son that i have never met, i think about the promises HE has promised us. As i prepare for a funeral of a loved one, i am brought to a quote by James M. Boice: “Nothing will happen to us that is not fully known by God and ordered by God for His own glory and ultimately for our good and the good of others.” Your faith through this process was not misguided. God will use your trust in Him through this to help others deal with pain and suffering. Joel’s future that you prayed for could very well be another Joel out there, a family walking in your footsteps that doesn’t know God or His love. Even in our questions and confusion, “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

  5. Melanie Davis on April 6, 2014 12:01 am

    Amy thank you for being so transparent
    It is helping me work through my own grief..losses from 20 to 30+ ye as rs ago. Love you friend

  6. mary on April 6, 2014 11:29 am

    Your honesty is beautiful, and shows an authentic faith. Your family, including baby Zoe is in my prayers. I too, was finding myself believing in a real earthly miracle for baby Joel, and found it almost shocking to learn that he took his last breath. I will continue to think of you in the days ahead. Love.

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