Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trust in God

The one thing I did get from my Fourth step was a realization about my trust level in God.

I have been thinking about this a lot these last few days. I consider myself a spiritual person and both the Muslim and Christian faiths are very important to me. But I realized that I have not been trusting in God. I think somewhere I have this belief that God will not completely take care of me, and I know that goes back to my childhood.

I have depended too much on my husband to take care of me. I wish I would have taken back the reigns to my life sooner. I think what they say about turning the alcoholic into our god was true for me.

Life was often unpredictable and scary for me. I would stay up all night worrying about what he would do instead of praying to God for guidance and help. I can remember very few times when I prayed and asked God for help. The Serenity Prayer has always worked for me, but I often get out of the habit of using it.

Having my own children was very healing for me. I went to a therapist during my entire pregnancy with my son, and got a lot of issues resolved from childhood. But having children also taught me tremendous grace towards my own parents. I realize now how hard they worked and appreciate their many sacrifices.

I think both of my parents are wonderful and kind people. I believe they truly did the best they could throughout my childhood (sometimes much more).

I had some resentments prior to having my daughter toward my mother that I have since resolved. The conclusion that I have come to on both parents is that they both married way too young and, once divorced, married again way too soon.

After being a single mom, I can understand now why they both remarried again so quickly. It is very, very hard to suddenly do everything (well) on your own. Every day, I feel I have failed my children on some level. I don't believe that raising children is a one-person job.

I do not blame my parents anymore. I do not think I would not make the same choice however.

My relationship with both my step parents was difficult. I do not speak to either step parent anymore, and I have no desire to. Any abuse I suffered as a child was at the hands of a step parent. I used to blame my parents for not protecting me better, but I now know that abusive people conduct their abuse in secret. Silence is their weapon.

I do think that the abuse you suffer as a child sets you up to attract further abuse. I don't think that had my parents stayed together, I would have made the same choices in my marriage. (Neither of my parents were abusive people.) That said, I accept that things are now as they are. I used to dream as a child that my parents would get back together, but as an adult I see that they were never right for each other. I would not have wanted my parents to stay together for my sake and be unhappy. I hope to make good choices from my experience so that my children will have a different experience.

I made the decision long ago that I did not want to have step parents for my children, and that I also did not want to be a step parent myself. I think it is a nearly impossible job. You will never replace the parent, no matter how hard you try. I do have empathy now for both of my step parents and I have forgiven them. But I am also not in a place now where I want to have contact with either of them. I do not want the negative energy in my life.

I realized the other day that I have been very closed-minded about all of this. Even my father-in-law told me several times when things were very bad with my husband that I should remarry and find a nice stepfather for the kids. I told him emphatically that I did not want to do that.

I think I have been living in fear about all the what-ifs that could happen with my kids. They are so precious and I want to protect them - but not smother them.

I think that is one reason I have tried so hard to protect my children and control the outcomes of who can be around them and in what regard. I have this gnawing fear about letting anyone who could possibly hurt my children around them. I know from experience, that unkind words hurt long after they are said.

I think I somehow had the feeling growing up that if I became more and more religious (Christian at that time) that God would protect me. I went to church nearly every day and was always reading my Bible and praying. I thought that the better person or Christian I was, the more God would favor me and protect me.

That did not happen, and as I went into my 20's, I hit a wall with my faith. I could not believe at all. I cried and prayed about it, but I could not believe anymore. I became an atheist for a time.

It was not until I met my first husband that I regained any spirituality. I was so taken with Islam - (secretly at first, as I took pride in being an atheist and not needing God anymore). But as time went on, I decided that I wanted to study Islam, (only intellectually at first) and then it became deeply spiritual for me.

As life progressed, I realized that I was also free to go back to some of my Christian beliefs and services. I do not have to be in a "Muslim" or "Atheist" box. I began to feel very good about my spirituality. I did not feel trapped and I did not have that worry of going to hell that I did growing up.

Children have an innocence about them that is so beautiful. There is no fear in their love or their belief. As life goes on, sometimes that is tainted, and we lose our faith. Or we believe that we have to be "just so" for God to love us. (Or even for us to love ourselves.)

What I like about my current beliefs is that I don't "try" to be a Christian or a Muslim or anything. I just am. And that is good enough.

While I think I have come a long way in my spiritual journey, I have never regained that complete trust in God that I had when I was a kid.

I want to get that back.