Monday, September 5, 2016

Of God's Will, the Effects of People's Choices, and Sprinkles....

"God doesn't just sprinkle children on the earth as if it's a giant cupcake and hope they land in a good spot on the frosting.  
He knows where He's sending them, and 
God has a plan for ALL His children." 
--Merri Cox--

There is an insurmountable amount of suffering in the world.  In order to cope with all the sadness, people have to turn it off in their minds and maybe sometimes even in their hearts, because if they don't, they might actually go crazy.  So they compartmentalize each terrible headline in the news, and they try to forget about it in some way.  It's not that they're NOT affected - they might send up a prayer for an individual who was hurt or abused, they may send a card or money to a fund for someone who needs it, they may be sad and think about it, or share the story with another, but in the end, they still have to compartmentalize the sadness so they can focus on their own family and responsibilities.

When you choose to become a foster or adoptive parent, you choose to open your heart and home to the effects of suffering.

When you're faced with a potential placement, you have to open your heart to the story of that child, and whether or not they get placed with you.  Your HEART is on the line FOR THEM because they COULD be the child you were meant to help heal, or maybe they are going to be one of the children who needs a home forever - you just don't know for sure, yet.  The problem is that many of these children are affected by the choices of too many other people.  The process is so slow to get them what they need because choices of the adults in their lives send them here there and everywhere.  Sometimes these kids can't rely on anyone - not the home they came from, not the home they were sent to, not the people involved with all the laws made...even if laws were made with good intensions, heartbreak still happens in many situations because it's a broken system.  There are so many instances where the choices in this large line of adults scatters these kids to and fro.  The scattering creates within them a feeling of hopelessness, loss, grief, fear, attachment issues, and an ever so fleeting childhood....  I've come to feel that it's CHOICES that scatter these children across the earth like sprinkles on a cupcake.  

At least that's how I was feeling last week.

THAT PART of all of this (the part of innocent children who are abused and neglected, and then sent to new homes, who learn to bond, but then are forced to let go of the next person they love, and maybe the next, and maybe the next, and then maybe back to their families)...THAT PART of all of this has been trying my faith lately.  I have felt like God's will is so easily thwarted by our choices.  A few months back, I posted a quote from Dallin H Oaks on my Facebook page - it says that God WILL NOT intervene on someone's agency for the benefit of another one of His children.  As you think about that you realize God will not intervene for even babies, and not even for helpless, tender, and fragile little children.  I know that God has the power to move mountains and create the Universe, and calm storms, and work mighty wonders, but why WILL HE NOT INTERFERE with someone's choices even for the benefit of the most innocent and helpless of all His children???  It just hurts my heart so much to try to understand this concept while I'm watching events unfold that cause suffering to someone else who may be one of MY future children, whether they're "mine" for a season as a foster child, or eventually going to be one of my children forever through adoption.

I think that it is very possible that God has His will for certain situations, but our choices & our own will can affect the outcome of what He wished for us, and our choices really can mess everything up.  That is one reason why it's such a gift for us to give God our will and our hearts - it is such a gift to strip ourselves of pride and turn our will over to Him - it's actually the ONLY thing we have that we can give back to Him.

I know that Jesus Christ can heal every broken heart, and He can heal every poor mistake that's ever happened on this earth.  It's just really hard in the mean time, though, in the moments where it hurts.  Sometimes our own choices or the choices of others cause so much distress to ourselves and to others that it takes years, or a lifetime to heal.  Some people on this earth may not ever be fully healed until it's all over.

Someone asked me if I'm trying to save the world by going on this journey.  I absolutely know that I cannot.  But I have noticed as I have been "mourning with those that mourn" in the situations that have been presented to me that I may potentially have a positive influence with that I have been so emotionally drawn into some situations of children that I'm worried about, that it has actually had a physical effect on me - certain situations - especially the ones where I knew someone was in current danger, caused me to start cycling through grief.  It is so exhausting. Especially because I'm supposed to be able to be one of the people who can "help" these kids, but because of the choices of others, I am still in a position of absolutely NO CONTROL - no ability to help alleviate their pain, or to help ensure their safety.  The overwhelming greif and sadness can get better in a moment when you know the imminent danger is over & the kids and birth families are safe & healing.  And then when it's over, I feel ready to open my heart again.

This journey has opened my mind and heart to a greater sense of awe at God's ability to love.  If I have felt this way over just one or two situations that I have been asked to open my heart to...and if my heart and being were almost to burst with emotions I'd never felt before, then HOW on earth is our Father in Heaven able to cope with the suffering and wrong choices made across the world - every day - among BILLIONS of individuals - His heart is open and concerned with the INTRICATE DETAILS OF ALL HIS CHILDREN.  How is He even able to handle the pain?  Day in and day out?

I asked my friend Merri if she was really SURE that God doesn't just sprinkle His children on the earth and then just hope for the best for them, as our destinies are left up to choices. I asked her, because she has walked the path of adoption, both as an adoptee, and as an adoptive parent, and she's the one who came up with the cupcake and sprinkles analogy anyway to explain how God works to her kids.  She promised me, and affirmed that she is ABSOLUTELY SURE.  (So I have been leaning on her testimony and her testimony alone these last few weeks so that mine can grow in this area.)  She says that even though people's choices mess everything up, that God KNOWS the end from the beginning, and He has a plan for all of His children.  He knows the choices we're going to make before we make them, and He is there to help us get through them.  She says that He sends us on a path where we're meant to be and He helps us so that we can learn what we need to learn. He knows the choices we're going to make before we make them. He KNOWS.

I know that ultimately she is right.  I want her to be right - even when I know God's will isn't being done (because I do not believe for one second that it's God's will for people to hurt helpless children).  But I have to believe that someday, somehow, His will will ultimately guide these kids that I've come to love to where they can heal.  I have to believe that He has a plan for all His children (not just the ones who were born into happy homes).  I know I just have to discover what part I can play in His plan, and I know that His will can happen easier if we use our choices to make good things happen in the world.

I have been pondering and thinking about why God will not interfere with anyone's choices (even if someone is making evil choices) when such intervention could benefit another one of His children (even if they are perfectly helpless and deserve to be helped).

As I've been thinking about it, I have thought that God will also NOT intervene with our positive choices - for the benefit of anyone.  If God intervened with Jesus Christ's choices, then Jesus wouldn't actually be WHO HE CHOSE TO BE.  If God intervened and told Him He couldn't do it, or stopped Him for any reason, then that pivitol moment that saved us wouldn't have happened!  Jesus' choices DID benefit other children...ALL of God's other children.  How I wish that the evil choices of those who hated Him, and persecuted Him, and crucified Him could have been reversed.  I imagine how much our Father in Heaven must have wished He could have stopped them.  How much His heart must have agonized.  I am sure it was unbearable, but God did not intervene to stop the choices of anyone involved.  He allowed them to choose for themselves, and that is the ONLY reason we have any reason to hope, because Jesus Christ CHOSE to do something He didn't actually have to do, but He did it for us.  He did it because He loved us.  And I'm so grateful God didn't intervene.

So - now I need to apply these concepts to myself, and remember these things even in the moments when it hurts.  I have to remember as I open my heart and home to children who have been suffering that God has a plan for them, and that God CAN heal them, and I am going to continue to do everything I possibly can to try to use my choices in the best ways I can so that I can help make a difference.

My faith is getting stronger that we're not just thrown on this earth like sprinkles (and my faith is strengthening that not even SOME of us are tossed to the world as sprinkles).  I am leaning on the faith of my friend, Merri, that God KNOWS where ALL of His children are sent to on this earth, and He KNOWS how to help them.  I believe that HE WILL help them by opening up pathways for them, and also THROUGH the good choices of others.  I believe that even in well wishing, Heavenly Father knows that we have NO CONTROL.  I believe He knows that feeling, too, because He chooses to NOT CONTROL our choices - even though He wants us to choose well.  I know that He's always there to help us choose well, and He's always there to help us even when we don't make the right choices. He can help us to fix the things that are broken.  He knows what we'll choose before we choose it, because He knows the end from the beginning. He knows how to help us even when we mess things up with our choices.  He has a plan for each and every one of His children, and He can help us get where we need to be, if we just turn to Him and ask.

Within the past couple of weeks I was asked to help with a musical number in church - "Consider the Lilies" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Because of the sadness of a situation that I am not allowed to share publicly, my heart was hardened towards God in some ways, but my heart has been softening - because each time I had to practice for church, I had to think about the sermon in these words.  I feel this message was not a coincidence, and it wasn't for the congregation that week -  it was actually for me to help my faith & to help heal my heart:

"Consider the lilies of the field,
How they grow, how they grow.
Consider the birds in the sky,
How they fly, how they fly.

He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky.
And He will feed those who trust Him,
And guide them with His eye.

Consider the sheep of His fold,
How they follow where He leads.
Though the path may wind across the mountains,
He knows the meadows where they feed.

He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky,
And He will feed those who trust Him,
And guide them with His eye.

Consider the sweet, tender children
Who must suffer on this earth.
The pains of all of them He carried
From the day of His birth.

He clothes the lilies of the field,
He feeds the lambs in His fold,
And He will heal those who trust Him,
And make their hearts as gold."