Shattered Faith, Part I

This is going to be weird. I’m going to open up about some stuff that will make you judge my faith, my strength, my mental/emotional stability and question whether you will keep reading this site, or even talk to me without looking at me differently. I just ask that you read with an open mind, without judgement and with love.

Faith, shattered.

Faith, shattered.

When Jax died everything changed. I used to pray every morning in the shower. Almost every single day I’d end by asking for God’s protection for my wife and kids. I prayed the same thing on June 24 when Jax died. On June 25 I stopped praying.

What’s the point? I was just wasting my breath. You know when your spouse gets so mad at you that they ignore you for a couple of days? That was me towards God. Except it lasted months. He was around, but I didn’t want to talk to him. I know, we live in a broken world, yadda yadda yadda. Shit happens. I didn’t care. I was beyond pissed. Now, I know there’s human element involved with life and death, and consequences occur, and it’s not all on God. I’m not discounting any of that. But if He can’t protect my kid, then what’s the point of any of this?

A few days after he died, or after the memorial service – I don’t remember which – I started to question heaven’s existence. What if there is no heaven? Will I ever see my boy again? I grew up in a Christian family and attended a non-demotional Christian church all of my life. I was raised to believe that you died and went to heaven if you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. What if the Bible is just a book of mythological stories, and when we die, nothing happens? I felt alone. Everything I believed in before 6/24 shattered like a glass bowl on the kitchen tile. Tiny shards shot every which way and I’m walking barefoot trying to pick up the pieces. But it hurts. I keep stepping on the shards. I’m bleeding. And I’m overwhelmed.

Thirst for Knowledge

I started to read Heaven Is for Real in which an evangelical pastor writes about his 4-year-old son’s encounter with heaven while undergoing emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix. It didn’t help. Call me skeptical, but it’s written by a pastor. As much as I wanted to believe it’s all true, he has too much to gain from a great story that sells.

My therapist recommended 90 Minutes in Heaven, a book written by a man who displayed no signs of life to EMTs for 90 minutes following a brutal car wreck. Some of his accounts of heaven were completely different from the kid’s in Heaven Is for Real. But I guess a grown man won’t see a rainbow-colored horse in heaven or a pink-jeweled crown on Jesus’ head.

I bought a third book, To Heaven and Back, which chronicles an orthopaedic surgeon who nearly drowned following a kayak accident and her experience in heaven. I don’t even know where it is.

Found Peace

And then I found comfort in an unexpected place. I felt peace for the first time in months. Peace that I would see Jax soon and that he was still with me. Peace that he is okay and in God’s hands. I’ll explain more about that unexpected place soon.

The “Christiany” thing is to seek God’s comfort and know that Jax is with Him, he’s safe and the Bible tells us I’ll see him again. But remember, I’m still picking up those sharp pieces of faith on my kitchen floor. I’m pissed at God that this happened. Or perhaps my faith was never strong enough to begin with?

Rebuilding Faith

I’m back to speaking with God. Not as often as I used to, but those lines of communication, at least on my end, are open again. The line on his end was always free. I’m sure of it. This morning I prayed that if this unexpected source of comfort is of His will, that I may have peace with it. I still doubt whether it is, because really, it’s weird to me, too.

Tomorrow (hopefully) I’ll explain WTF I’m talking about. In the meantime, if you pray, pray for my wife and I tonight, even though you don’t know what you’re praying for. Things will get weirder tomorrow. I promise.



23 thoughts on “Shattered Faith, Part I

  1. Seth I questioned a lot of the same things after. My dad had to talk me down from questioning everything. He didn’t give me any answers he just listened. No judgement just love. I’m proud of you guys.❤

  2. Good stuff, buddy – it’s good to get it out there and talk about it. You can’t be faulted for questioning. Just know that you have lots of love and support to walk you through it.

  3. Seth, after Larry died, I ignored God for 4 years…a really difficult dark 4 years. I still had to show up, to be a mother to our son, but I did not want to. I was pissed. It took 4 years…the shards of a broken life are painful, I did not lose my child, so I am not saying I know what it is like to walk in your shoes…I will be praying for you and your family…20 years after Larry’s death…God and I are finally walking together again…

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone. It is so honest and courageous to admit your struggle. I will be praying for you guys! Love you guys!

  5. Praying for you and your beautiful wife. Faith, shattered. you were able to reach out from these words on a page and made your thoughts real and felt. Love you guys.

  6. I don’t know if this is encouraging or not, but I think anyone that knows your family had their faith shattered last June. Obviously the depth of your family’s pain is more than I can fathom but we’re not alone in our questions & doubts.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I have been struggling with shattered faith, a shattered image of God, since Jax died, and am just now realizing the impact it has had on me, my family, and my whole life, everything I do every day. It’s a long road ahead for all of us, but I too am back to talking to God and making small steps to seek truth. I support you in your quest for truth and please know you are absolutely not alone. Love you so much! “Truth is truth no matter where you find it.” -Rob Bell

  8. Hi, my name is Jenna and i use to work with Kristina and the nicu gang. I have read all your posts and have never responded, but i felt inspired tonight. I dont think your feelings are weird at all, we all have questioned gods plan at some point. Im not a regular church goer, heck i havent gone in years, but i believe that Jax is still with you, Kristina and your family! I cant begin to imagine what you guys have gone through, but you both are great parents and you have to keep believing that Jax is with you, reminding you how much he loves you and that hes your number one fan. Do you think you would have made it this far if he wasnt in some way giving you that love and strength to keep moving forward? He is such a handsome boy and now hes your beautiful guardian angel! Jax will be there to brighten even your darkest days and remind you to keep your faith. I will keep praying for you guys and thank you for your posts. I have laughed, cried and found strength through your story. Thank you for sharing! Take care!

  9. Thank you so much for your honest reflections. No one will judge you for your feelings. When I was left by my 1st husband for another woman, I was so angry at God, that I completely turned away from the way I was raised. I cannot compare that to losing a precious child, but we often question what happens in our lives and a lot of times it makes us stronger. Losing Jaxson was shattering to my faith. We were all praying. How could God let him die??? We as a whole are still reeling individually in our own walk with God. Our prayers, however sporadic, are with you and your family. We love you.

  10. I am glad you’re coming back. I know what it feels like to be bitter and angry at God. It’s funny how everyone seems to blame God for everything… thank God God is not human or he would have killed us all by now… But because he’s NOT human, he knows how natural it is to go to hating him for it all, I suppose. And he forgave us for it before it even happened. Just think of that love He has for us. Try and take comfort in that love. I know it took me years to get back to that, too.

  11. My Dear Seth- I have had enormous struggles and challenges in my life too. Both with my mothers Alzhiemers plus much more. I remember the evening that Jax left us was a surreal evening for me before I came home from church. It was one of the rare occasions that I can remember being filled with the spirit during mass and speaking with Father after. Driving home I felt that peace had finally come and that I could really do this thing called “life”.

    When I arrived home, John told me to sit down because he needed to tell me something. He then told me that your mom had called to tell him what had happened and that Jax had been taken to the hospital. That we didn’t know yet.. My world came shattering apart. I became a ‘mad’ women running through the house and then outdoors to our neighbors crying so hard but asked that they could pray. I called every person I knew to pray that our Jaxson would be ok and asked them to put him on their pray chains asap. As I sit and write this the memories come flooding back with tears running down my face. What the “bleep” was this about God? Why would he give such peace just to turn around and put such anguish in our lives? I’m not sure I’m back either.

    But on the other hand I have been given so many blessings too. I like to believe that Jaxson was so pure and innocent that he did not have to endure this hard life of ups and downs that we have to struggle through. That he was granted the privilege of already being allowed to be with our Lord. Know that I love you and your family beyond what words can say and that I am always behind you praying.

  12. Thank you for sharing your heart. The shards on the kitchen tile is a perfect example to me of what pain is like and how it keeps returning. You are a remarkable young man and I do pray for you all and will continue to do so. I am with you and your family in this journey in my prayers.

  13. Oh, Seth… I have some sense of what you described. Anger, doubt, and confusion enveloped me after Bryan was killed. I shut God out. After many months I was able to pray on behalf of others, but I could not (would not?) pray for any issues of my own. As you know, our trust in anythng is blown up when we lose our child. It will be 2 years on July 11, and these days I do pray for myself and others. On most days I don’t feel anger toward God, and I now understand that I won’t understand a number of things until my own death. It’s just the shitty truth. I will pray for you and ask God to continue lighting the path that you didn’t choose to travel. <3

    • Maureen,
      I am Seth’s mom and I just want to say thank you for your response both to this post and the next. You “get” what my son and his family are going through and I AM SO SADDENED to hear of the loss of your son, so sad that that is why you “get” us. I totall understand the praying for others but unable to pray for your self or your family………I am there so often. Thank you for taking the time to read my son’s blog and respond……it means so much.

  14. You have a right to feel that way. No matter how God blesses you it can never add up to what you lost. That’s the way I feel about my son too. At 9 months old he lost his sight and has a serious brain syndrome which leave him unable to talk or walk, and he has uncontrollable seizures. Sometimes I wish God would just take him now so he doesn’t have to suffer. It helps me to think about Job.

  15. Pingback: Picking Up The Pieces | The Weekend Mom

  16. Right after Jason died, I could literally feel the prayers of others. It felt like they were all around me…and then it seemed as if I could tell when they stopped. We walked through some terrible times after Jason died, much of it alone and some of it at the hand of “Christians.” It wasn’t easy. God and I quit being “friends” for quite a while. I questioned everything I was taught and everything I believed. I wanted so much for Jason’s life to be meaningful, for his life to have mattered, and for there to be some meaning why he died. I mean, he was the greatest kid ever! I prayed and prayed for my family and their protection. I didn’t understand why God didn’t protect him. I guess I still don’t. It’s not been an easy walk, but I would say I’m headed back to “being friends with God” again, although I seem to have somewhat of a problem with trusting that he hears and cares. I always knew my faith would grow again…I’ve been a Christian too long and my roots of faith go deep…but I also knew that it would not look the same as it did. I want my life to be pleasing to God…and for Jason to be proud of me. I just keep on trying, one day at a time.

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