Sometimes I Wonder ……

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…… if Jim would be proud of me.
Of our family.
Of how I’ve done.

I wish that I could answer in the affirmative. 100% yes, of course he would.
But I can’t.

Our children were all at such vulnerable ages when he died. I think they’ve questioned so very much since that day almost 8 years ago.
I myself have had my fair share of questions. And my fair share of shifts in beliefs.

I don’t pray the same way I used to.
I don’t believe some of the things I used to.
Fundamentally, I still believe that I am a follower of Christ.
But I no longer pray for specific outcomes. Instead, I pray for peace, strength and love to surround people who will need those things.
I don’t believe that prayer changes the outcome.
If I believed that, then I’d have to believe that God sees some people as better than others.
That some people are worth saving, while others are not.

I can’t, and I don’t, believe in a God who thinks that way.

If some of the beliefs I used to hold have changed, then how can I not think that my children’s beliefs have changed?
Of course they have.
I just wish they hadn’t changed so much.

I can understand the changes.
Truly, I can.
Our life was one way.
And in a matter of hours, it was not.
I can understand how that can change a person.

I just wish that these changes didn’t scare me.
Didn’t make me feel that I, in some way, have failed my children.
Because I do.
100%.

Maybe if I hadn’t grieved so long and so hard, their beliefs wouldn’t’ have changed.
Maybe if part of me wouldn’t have died the day Jim died, they’d still hold on strong to their faith.

Or maybe none of this would’ve mattered anyway.
My children are individuals, with their own thoughts, their own beliefs, their own faith.
And maybe, if Jim were still alive, they’d still be struggling with their own individual beliefs.
Maybe.

I’ll never know.

All I know is that one day we seemed to be a family of one faith and one belief …… and now we are not.
What could I have done …… what should I have done …… to avoid this?

What would Jim say?

I wish I knew.

Or do I?

13 thoughts on “Sometimes I Wonder ……

  1. Terry

    Janine you loved and did the best that you could, when you could. Forgive me, but if you had died, I believe Jim would have been asking the same questions and feeling the same doubts at this point in time. Scripture talks about two becoming one, but not so much about the one being the only one…just rest in the truth that NOTHING can separate you from your heavenly father…Jesus took care of that….and you and Jim taught your children that truth, so where ever the little lambs wander the shepherd will search for his wanderers…I hope that I have not interjected too much into your sharing but, you are doing your best and that is all any of us can do…..the rest is Grace….

    Reply
    1. mysecondplana Post author

      Thank you, Terry. The tears are falling so quickly that it’s difficult to read your comment, but I think I get the point And I thank you. Your words are a comfort to me …… and I need that.
      Much love. ❤

      Reply
  2. Wendee

    Many young people question their faith during the years when they’re discovering themselves. I was an atheist from 16 to 21, which seems short but when you’re young it feels like a lifetime. And those years were crucial for the strong faith I have now. Some of the most inspiring Christian authors went through a period of agnosticism/atheism including CS Lewis, St Augustine, Thomas Merton, M Scott Peck (author of The Road Less Traveled, which helped me back on my path to faith) and others. Questioning beliefs can make faith ultimately stronger because it becomes your own. One can’t look at a persons professed faith in any slice of time & know where the trajectory will lead. But the kids were raised in Christian faith & love, and as the bible verse goes, when they are old they will not depart from it… You & Jim planted seeds. Gods word is living & active & wont go ungerminated. You’ve also prepared the soil of their lives. We often don’t see the flowers of the seeds we plant in people’s lives. But I don’t think your grieving of the deep beautiful love you shared with their father, and your humanity in that time, had an impact on their faith. The event itself, sure. But faith is a mysterious thing. It resurrects when people fall in true love, have their own children, and other life events. Defining faith in ones own life is an integral part of maturation. They’re still young. 🙂

    Reply
  3. oakhoopscoach

    oh my dear friend, how I wonder the same thing. It hurts to see that my oldest 2 have such different faith levels. D#1 nothing, D#2, as you know, has joined that almost “cult” like church. I can forgive myself a bit on those 2, because I wasn’t involved in their “formative” faith years. But I know deep down Dave would not be pleased. The younger 2, all I know is that we, like you and Jim, planted the seeds and provided a foundation. I think young adulthood is when many sway from their faith anyhow (I think I was the only one in college who went to church regularly). And yes, I can’t help but believe that when children are praying so hard for an outcome, and know so many others are too, they can’t help but be disillusioned when that outcome doesn’t happen. I remember one of the first conversations I had with you in person, was at a workshop you ran in Camp, on faith, and talking about how we prayed how changed. I still can’t pray for someone specifically to be healed. Only for wisdom for their medical staff and strength and peace for all involved. Does that make me a bad Christian? I don’t think so. SO many unanswered questions. BUT i DON’T think Jim would be disappointed in you. I think you gave all you had when you could. Your level of grief showed to them what a true level of love and commitment to one another you had And how special that form of love is. And you continue to be a role model to your kids for being a faithful servant to Christ, including how to spread that love and faith to others in their time of grief. And I agree with the comment above. Had Jim gone first, he would most likely be having the same doubts and questions. Love you my friend.

    Reply
  4. mtsipp@gmail.com

    In a million years I could not tell you how much this hit home with me today with thoughts I too am having……..thank you…..Maureen(NY)

    Reply
  5. Linda

    It’s amazing to me how many times I read things that you have written that sound like you are reading my mind. I have asked myself that question about a million times since Rich died 8 years ago. Would he be proud of me? Would he have done things differently? And I guess there really is no answer for that. My kids were teenagers at the time. I know I made a lot of mistakes but know I did the best I could. My son totally turned away from God after and my daughter went the complete opposite way, totally embracing her faith to get through. My son had a rough road the last 8 years but recently recommitted his life to Christ. I tell you this to give you HOPE. I also totally agree with you about pray. The way I pray and what I think of pray has totally changed since that day 8 years ago. I still believe in pray (although I didn’t for a few years after) but I now just pray for God’s will in every situation and prayers to trust his will. Thanks again for this blog and for speaking what so many of us feel!

    Reply
    1. mysecondplana Post author

      Linda,
      Thank you so much for your kind and loving words. I’m so glad that you can relate to my words. And I’m glad that you took the time to tell me that. It means more than I can say. As much as it helps others to read my words …… it helps me enormously to relate to yours. ❤

      Reply
  6. Marilyn

    You really are not alone in this. I recently met a pastor whose adult children no longer follow Jesus. Very heartbreaking for him, but shows that it really is not in our hands. I thank the Lord daily for “loaning” me my children (really His children) but at this time in their lives, I am really out of my league and ask Jesus that as their Father, could He please take over their care and lead them back to Him? It’s way out of my expertise. And you know what? As soon as I admitted out loud to Him that I felt under-qualified to do this job anymore, I see where Jesus has taken over and is slowly working on their hearts. And I think I can imagine Him smiling and saying “I got this.”

    Reply

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