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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Are you out there, God?

My sister is having major back surgery later this morning. She's got spinal stenosis, bulging discs, and other issues that will hopefully be mostly, if not all resolved as a result of the surgery so she can stand upright and walk without agony.

It occurred to me when I woke up in the middle of the night tonight and found myself asking God to get her through the surgery, and to get her through it with successful results, that it's been some time since I asked God for anything. I used to say prayers with my kids at night and end it with, "and thank you God for this day and for keeping us healthy and happy." After Matt died, I revised it to, "and thank you God for another day" because he didn't keep us healthy and happy.

I used to ask him for all kinds of things. "Please God, take Jacob's fever away. Please God don't let us crash. Please God, don't let it rain for the party tomorrow..." You get the idea. I should have been thankful for feeling like I needed to bother God with some of those mundane requests. Hindsight blah blah blah... Is that the reason I've stopped making the requests, or is it that my faith has been shaken enough that I don't think it would make a difference anymore? I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Maybe a little bit of both.

I guess I have been angry at God this whole time and didn't consciously admit to it. Why ask him for anything? Do I really think that after everything that's gone down the past ten months that he'd actually listen to our prayers to have my sister come out of her surgery successfully, and to continue to keep what's left of my little family safe, healthy and happy? Hmmm... perhaps I should have included the word "safe" in my prayers all along.

I hate to bash God after everything he has done for us, like giving me ten years with Matt in the first place and giving us two beautiful kids, helping me to survive after the most crushing blow I could have ever experienced, and to keep my kids healthy and mostly happy since, and have everything work out so that we could get a fresh start in sunny California. I must have him to thank for putting so many wonderful people in my life that if it wasn't for all the incredible support I've gotten from my family and friends, my new network of peers who unfortunately can relate, and complete strangers who keep us in their thoughts and prayers all the time, I maybe wouldn't be making it. It seems sacrilegious and scares me because I don't want to sound like I'm challenging him that he'll end up giving me some other devastating blow to have to get through just to prove a point. That must be the "Fear of God" that I've had instilled in me since my childhood being raised Catholic. Not enough, though, to have me go back and revise this post to capitalize all the H's in "he" and "him."

Well, enough pondering the major questions of life. I should get back to bed and get some sleep... In the meantime, I just might take my chances and ask God again to keep my sister safe, healthy, and happy with the results of her surgery, and to keep Matt, Maddy and Rachel safe with their upcoming journey to the other side of the world. Who knows... maybe he is listening.


Nicki said...

Thankfully, God knows the desires of our hearts even if we can't bring ourselves to ask Him in prayer. It is not uncommon to question His motives and/or lose a little faith after such tragedies. Someone told me recently that God answers the prayers of His believers, but the His answers are not always 'yes'. He has our best interest at heart and He is not a punishing God. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Cammie said...

Keep us updated on your sister Andrea, I will be thinking about you!!

Danielle said...

I sometimes wonder the same when I hear things that makes my heart hurt.
I also think that it is you that has made all the good things happen.
But I do believe that he is there giving us the strenght behind it all.
Keep your head up and we will keep your sister in our prayers.

Dani said...

I imagine the same things once in a while. No one knows everything. But I believe His purposes are far above our own- He sees ahead and behind what we have the ability to see. He knows us inside and out- no matter how hard the trials we face in life get. I hope things go well with the surgery and all. You are stronger than you realize.

erynn said...

I was talking to my gf about this last night. What is the purpose of this? Why? I just don't get it. But I do know it's ok to be angry at him, he knows your heart. Praying for your sister's surgery and a speedy recovery.

Suddenwidow said...

I can relate to this post so strongly. Thank you for expressing it so eloquently and for letting me know that it's not just me who's feeling this way. Let us know how your sister is doing.

Micki said...

Many good thoughts for your sister.

Anonymous said...

I hope your sister does well..I too had major back surgery 7 yrs ago for herniated discs and it was a long long recovery - but I run, ride my horses and do all sorts of normal things, stomach muscles are key, so tell her to take her time and get into pilates...but dont be discouraged if she is still in pain when she gets out...
Deb from canada

Colleen said...

Hi Andrea,
I am a blog reader that you don't know. I read your post today and felt that I really wanted to reach out and tell you how much what you are feeling has been felt by others in situations like yours. Life is unfair and horrible sometimes and it really hurts! So many have not found out the truth about why God allows such suffering. Even faithful, God-fearing people like the prophet Habakkuk have wondered this:
(Habakkuk 1:3) 3 Why is it that you make me see what is hurtful, and you keep looking upon mere trouble? And [why] are despoiling and violence in front of me, and [why] does quarreling occur, and [why] is strife carried?

God didn't scold this faithful man for asking such things but included his words in the inspired Bible record and God helped Habakkuk get a clearer understanding of matters and to gain greater faith.

There is information in the Bible that will answer this question in a way that most religions have not taught. It will really make you come to understand how much God desires to fix these things and do away with pain, suffering and death but that there is a universal issue that must be settled first. In the meantime, he suffers with us, he hurts for his human children. God hates the suffering and pain we endure far more than we even do. He actually yearns to set things right and bring a change to the earth and the situation in it and to return our dead loved ones to us.

I really would like to encourage you to go to this web page:

and if you listen to the recording of
CHAPTER 11—Why Does God Allow Suffering?
under the English downloads of the book "What does the Bible really teach?" you will discover some amazing truths and comforting explanations that you can verify with your own copy of the Bible. There are so many other chapters in that book that you will find comforting also, like Chapter 7 "Real Hope for Your Loved Ones Who Have Died".

If you want a copy of this book you can contact me @

I truly hope you will not be offended or upset that I reached out to tell you this but I was so moved by your post and wanted to share something that I truly felt would give you answers in this sad and devestating time of your life.

Thinking of you,

Glenda said...

Thinking and praying for you and your family. Hoping that everything comes out fine with your sister. Sending you hugs XX

Shannon said...

Reading this makes me miss my sister sooo much. I lost my sister to lung Cancer last Janurary, only 4 months after she was diagnosed. It was such a blow to all of us. I still cry every day. God bless your sister, I hope all goes well with her surgery. I need to have back surgery but keep procrastinating because of my kids. I will be praying for your sister and you. Love, Shannon

Crash Course Widow said...

Aww...hugs, Andrea.

I've had endless struggles with the whole God/angry-at-God dilemma these past 4 years. I always assumed there was a God, didn't want to live in a world where there wasn't one...but Charley's death shook everything I ever believed or wanted to believe. Anymore, it's more of a comfort for me to believe there isn't one. I have plenty of beliefs about spirituality, the Universe, the amazing depths of beauty and goodness in people, how things can "work out," etc., etc., etc. ...but I can't mark "God" in the same category. Curse that death has affected that, too.

It helps me to hear how other people on this same shit road think about God. Thanks for sharing what you did. ;o)

And I'm so relieved for all of you that the surgery has seemed to go well, at least initially. So hard, for all of you.

Hugs, hugs, hugs!! Miss you tons!

Tonya said...

I always read your posts because I can relate so much to where you're at right now. Having lost my husband when my oldest was 3 and I was 6 months pregnant with our son. I too became angry with God and I was also raised catholic. I went through a very difficult time afterwards and didn't handle it as well as you are. I am in awe of your strength. I have since realized that he is and was always there for me and I may never understand why everything happened, I guess I have learned to live each day thankful for the next. I live each day asking God for the health of my children and as Nicki said he knows our hearts. So know that these feelings are normal and there are always going to be those dark moments filled with fear but rely on your faith and the love of good friends and family to get you through. You have two beautiful children who are the example of yours and Matts love so really he is always with you through them. I have you in my prayers always. And I will pray that your sister has a safe surgery too. Again that's another thing we have in common my sister had back surgery for bulging disks too. God Bless....

Holly Marie said...

"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

You don't know me, but I have been following your blog and have been keeping you and your little ones in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, Have you read "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" by Harold Kushner? He is a rabbi who lost his son to a fatal disease, and wrote this book with the hope of coming to terms with just this issue--how he could keep his faith in spite of his tragic circumstances. Check out the reviews on amazon--they are inspiring.

I hope all has gone well with your sister's surgery.

Jen (Waldy)

Christi said...

I am feeling very sad tonight and just typed in "are you out there, god?" and your post was there. I hope that since this post, you have become a little more whole and less sad. I, too, am Catholic and can relate to the words you chose in your post. Interesting that, so far away, total strangers are more alike than different.

Andrea Renee said...

I so appreciate the replies to this post, and so very sorry for what you've all endured that lead you to find this. Your words of comfort, understanding and reinforcement in God's love have all helped more than you can know. Xoxo