Pondering Trust

I never wanted to be in a position where I had to trust God. I preferred to rely on my own resources. I wanted to be totally in control of my own life. That seemed easier to do, because trusting is so very difficult. Or so it can seem.

Then one day, at a time when I was feeling rather proud of the way I was handling my life and my family, my world feel apart:
“I’m very sorry but I don’t think your unborn baby will survive after birth.”
It’s strange how everything can change with a few words. The reins of my life were instantly jerked from my hands. My life began galloping along, totally out of my control. Five agonising months of waiting passed and Thomas was born. A day later he died in my arms. I wanted to die too. How was I ever to survive the grief? I wasn’t as strong and as perfect as I had previously believed. I turned to God because I had nowhere else to go.
For month after month, grief gripped my heart tightly, refusing to let go. Again and again, I fell into a pit of near-despair. Many, many times I no longer wanted to fight the pain. I just wanted to lie down and give up.
I knew I had to trust that God was helping me, even though He felt so remote. The words Jesus I trust in You were constantly on my lips, as I battled the thought He might have abandoned me. I had to believe God would bring me through the grief, that the suffering had meaning and that joy would return to my life.
Nearly two years after Thomas died, we erected a headstone over his grave. On that headstone are the words: Jesus I trust in You. They are words of thanksgiving. God did indeed bring us through that sorrow.
There have been many other times since the loss of our son when we’ve had to trust God. Today, I’m still trusting. You see, we don’t live a perfect life. There are so many things I can’t fix on my own. I just place them in God’s hands and trust He will sort things out as they are meant to be. 
Unschoolers talk about trust all the time. Do we have enough trust to unschool? I wonder what that means. Is it a case of putting trust in the unschooling process alone? Or do we trust because we feel unschooling is what God wants us to do?  It could be both. I know there are many people without any faith who successfully unschool. It’s not necessarily a religious thing to do. But I also feel an unschooling life can be totally compatible with a life lived for God. Doesn’t God want everyone, regardless of their situation, to trust Him? He wants all of us to live in the moment, accepting His plan for our lives and not our own, relying on Him and not ourselves: Abandonment to Divine Providence. Trust is something we all have to do. 
I think back to that time when I didn’t want to trust, when I didn’t want to hand over control of my life to God. I thought I could do everything by myself. And I now wonder why I wanted to be in control. That’s a lot of responsibility. It involves a lot of worry. Isn’t it better just to follow where God leads? Isn’t it better to trust? 
I wonder why it was so hard to do this. Why did my world have to spin out of control before I was willing to place my life properly in God’s hands? I just don’t know. If I’d known the peace, the joy, and the love that was waiting for me, I’d never have hesitated. But then again, if I’d known all about those, there would have been no reason to trust. 
Is trust all about love? How much do we love? Do we appreciate how much God loves us?
Maybe my thoughts are muddled. I’m still pondering…

PS: My grief or Thomas stories can be found on my blog Stories of Grief, Love and Hope… if you’re interested.

And we’re still talking knitting over at my Sue Elvis Writes Facebook page. You see, I finally finished Gemma-Rose’s cardigan. I posted some photos of this two year long project. (Our puppy sneaked into one of them!) Now I’m wondering whether I should start knitting something else… I’ve also been posting our real life maths discoveries and a link to a wonderful 3D animation program. What else? Perhaps you’d like to hop over and find out!
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Comments

  1. Reply

    A lovely post Sue. I have always found that when I am at my weakest and most broken, scared and barely holding on, God is at His strongest, working miracles I couldn't have foresaw, piecing me back together so I am more whole, more healed than ever before.
    I am so sorry for you loss but ever so pleased you have God to hold on to and trust, whatever the future holds.

    1. Reply

      Claire,

      Oh yes! Miracles do happen when we go through very difficult times. When we are stripped of our own resources we become open to God's grace. I can look back through my life and see how I have grown through all the times of suffering. Those times are always so hard to endure but become easier when we trust God is bringing good out of them, that they have meaning.

      Thank you for your kind words about losing Thomas. It was a painful experience and still is at times, but God is good! I wouldn't change anything even if I could.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  2. Reply

    Welp, you've done it again. Written a GREAT post that is.

    I hope you don't mind me sharing a thought that just came to me. I think… God allows these things to happen to us so we WILL turn to Him and put our trust in HIM. If our trust is in anything else, it is in the WRONG thing. Everything else will eventually let us down..somehow. Only He is whole, pure, perfectly loving, and able to give us ALL. He isn't allowing these things because He is mean. He doesn't want us to turn to Him because He is selfish and vain. He KNOWS that there is NO other way…no other way…that we can be made whole. That we can experience true joy.

    He knows the beginning and the end. I am so thankful I have Him to trust so I do NOT have to rely on myself, heh.

    I also think…and very strongly BELIEVE…that you WILL see and be with Thomas again. Our God loves us too much for that not to happen. 🙂

    I hope you don't mind my sharing. And even more, I hope you feel the HUGE hug that I am mind sending to you right now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are wonderful. And I hope you never feel alone.. <3

    1. Reply

      Virginia,

      You understand perfectly! I am so glad you shared your thoughts. Yes, I agree that God allowed the suffering so I would turn to Him. I was so stubborn and proud, and unwilling to trust. Actually I thought I was rather good when it came to my faith. I did all the right things like saying lots of prayers and getting to Mass… but I just refused to place my life totally in God's hands. So He did it for me. He put me into a situation where I had no choice but to turn to Him. And I am so glad about that.

      Why couldn't I trust in the beginning? Maybe it was fear. If I trusted God He might take that as an invitation to send me suffering. Well, He did that anyway! I always think that when we are afraid of something God steps in and helps us confront that fear.

      With unschooling, why do we find it difficult to trust? Maybe because we feel we are responsible for our children and if we make a mistake we will let them down. I think it makes such a difference having the feeling that unschooling is part of God's plan for our family. He will ensure its success. We can trust Him. Success? I've been thinking about this too. Too many thoughts! I'll mull that one over another day!

      Virginia, I could never feel alone when I have friends such as you. I know I have God and I still have Thomas. So many good things have come from this experience. Your huge hug feels so good. Thank you!

  3. Reply

    Hi Sue,

    I think 'trust' and 'love' can into two different categories. One can love someone, but not necessarily trust them. But I find, generally, if I trust someone, I love them. So, with me, it can work one way but not always the other.

    It can be difficult to put all your trust in God. Especially as He doesn't appear to us as a physical being, like when you're talking to your friends, it can seem strange silently speaking to someone, when we don't always hear a response. But, without Him, I'm sure we would be lost. I know I would be!

    I actually find it easier to trust God than I can trust people. I'm not sure why, it just is. But, I have experienced the difficulty of completely trusting in Him, and letting go of the human desire to complete things on my own. I guess it's just how it is, but I'm the happiest when I put all my trust in Him!

    Thank you for this post, I was thinking about trust a lot this past week!

    1. Reply

      Helena,

      You make a good point about love and trust. Maybe love even blinds us as far as human relationships go. With God though, I think the more we love Him, the easier it is to trust Him.

      Not hearing a response from God… Oh yes! Sometimes I wish He would just boom an answer down so I am clear about what to do. Instead we need to take time to listen. I find this hard when life is busy, but something that is very necessary. Usually I can feel what is the right thing to do. Sometimes I know what is the right thing to do, even if I don't like it or am scared about it.

      I think we all like to do things on our own. I suppose it's best to work hard doing what we think God wants us to do, but leave the result in His hands.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on trust. I have enjoyed chatting with you!

  4. Reply

    What a beautiful and brave post. I think about my own lost little ones, and it really is all about trust, trust in God's plan for me, and His plan for them.

    I think the opposite of trust is fear, and having these very difficult experiences really increased my trust in God. I think the thing I feared most was losing my children, but when it happened, I found myself suffering with Jesus instead of alone.

    My last child was conceived Easter Sunday and died on the vigil of Pentecost (on our wedding anniversary, no less!). But all the readings, all the parts of the Mass spoke about joy for weeks. I won't say I felt joyful at the time, but I did feel that God was telling me that this child was a cause for joy instead of sorrow. We named her Mary Pascha Joy.

    I think that sorrow changed me – that I have more trust and less fear. It does affect my home schooling. I think I understand more now that parenting (let alone home schooling) is preparing the kids for heaven.

    I read somewhere that every interaction we have with others is an expression of our relationship with God, and I think it's easiest for me to see that in home schooling.

    1. Reply

      Wendy,

      I have written a lot about my losses previously, but never in conjunction with unschooling. I guess all the experiences of our lives are intertwined. What we learn from one experience we take to another.

      Fear… yes! I was afraid of suffering. I wanted to do the will of God but was afraid of what that might entail. Once a friend told me that the biggest suffering a mother can undergo is the death of her child. She said now I have nothing further to fear. I am not sure if she is right, but I do know whatever happens in the future, God will be there to help me and bring me through the pain. I am not afraid any more. Suffering can be a real blessing when it takes away our fear and shows us how much God loves us.

      Thank you for sharing the story of your own lost children. What a beautiful name… Mary Pascha Joy. There is so much sorrow attached to child loss but at the same time, great joy too. It is good to share with you. We both understand!

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