Just like that it came into my head one morning last October, “There is no God.”
It was a weekday morning, a Monday or Wednesday or Friday... I was running late getting Jade to preschool. All of the little ones were packed into the van, ready to go. All except Kimani who was refusing to be strapped into her carseat.
We had just returned from seven weeks in Ukraine. After our long absence, we brought home with us two strange children. Kimani’s response to this was to refuse to be “put” into anything. She would not sit in her highchair. She would not go in her beloved jumperoo, and she would not allow herself to be put in her carseat.
I joke around that changing Kimani’s diaper is like wrestling a crocodile, “Krikey, she almost took my arm off. Ayyye, she’s a beauty.” But for real, when Kimani fights you, you lose. Ok, so we could forgo the highchair and jumperoo, but the carseat was non-optional.
Kimani was thrashing around, stiff-legging, back-arching, screeching... I would get her body bent into position and she would shove off from the seatback, jetting herself up... She rolled to the side, she swung at me, scratched me, bit me... and then, crack! I slapped her.
She froze. Silenced, she slumped into her chair. She did not cry. Instead her face stretched long and her bottom lip jutted out. Her sightless eyes bore through me, surprised and questioning. Her silky cream skin turned pink where my hand landed. That is when I heard it loud and very clear, “There is no God.”
For a decade or so I had sought Him out. I read, I listened, I studied, I prayed. I gave up drugs, voodoo, and hating the world. As my beliefs strengthened, I left my corporate job and went to work for the church. I joined a small group. I started a blog and wrote about God. I was obedient and got baptized, accepted my special needs daughter, and then adopted two more. I had done all I could to be close to God.
And there I was, godless... a rotten mother who had just slapped her mentally retarded two year old. For me there was no other explanation... nothing other than I was alone in this world, alone with my faults and weaknesses, alone with my impatience and anger. Alone with my black heart. Alone without my faith.
I was pretty sure that nothing could change my mind about this. Yet in November a friend suggested that I spend some quality time with God. I was on a retreat and had the time to myself so I opened up the hotel desk drawer and pulled out Gideon’s Bible. I couldn’t remember where I had left off in Isaiah, so I skipped ahead to Jeremiah. And the message was, “O my sinful child, come home to me again, for I am merciful; I will not be forever angry with you.” Jer 3:12
I was moved but not convinced. Back then, I had expected to feel a blessing of some sort, maybe have my secret prayers to be a better person answered. And a guilt trip through Jeremiah wasn’t going to fix everything.
Then at Christmas, I asked for what I thought would be impossible. I asked the God I was no longer sure about to give Anya a family. I knew Anya was a hard sell. She wasn’t photogenic like so many children with Ds. She was not as advanced as the others... No one had ever asked about her and her time in the babyhouse was up.
When the Haddicks stepped up to adopt Anya shortly after Christmas, I was overwhelmed. And just like that I heard it loud and clearly, “Yes, TUC, there is a God.”
(The Haddicks are over in Ukraine right now getting their girl. Check out their exciting story.)
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