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Jan 24 2014

Friday Night: Thank God for C-Sections

By at 11:27 am

thank god for c-sections

I was born a contradiction. On the Sabbath, the day we are commanded to rest, I prompted my mother to labor and deliver me into the world. So it’s fitting that I struggle with the God thing still.

Soon after we gave birth to our first kids, one of my dearest friends confided in me that pregnancy and childbirth made her feel closer to God than ever before.

Huh. Not me.

I tried to figure out why.

From early on in my pregnancy, I needed to see it to believe it. I waited until I saw the results of the home pregnancy test before embracing the possibility. I waited longer still for the first ultrasound to feel like it was actually happening. It wasn’t real until I had proof. Some have faith; I wanted certainty.

Childbirth also called my beliefs into question. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 9 2013

Getting Over My “Not Enough” Syndrome

By at 2:03 pm

shutterstock_99633347

“Please God, help me sleep!” That was my prayer, my urgent plea, while lying in bed wide awake three days after the birth of my son. I was beyond exhausted and I knew I only had a short window before I’d have to wake up again to feed him. My baby boy had just fallen asleep after his middle of the night feeding, and I desperately wanted to fall back asleep before he woke up again. My body ached with exhaustion and the pains of a still-healing episiotomy.

The problem was, I was wide awake. And in this state of being wide awake, I found myself contemplating the worthiness of bothering God with my desperate plea to sleep. I’ve asked for, and received, a lot of things over the years, big and small: a good job; a husband; a short line at the airport so I don’t miss my connecting flight; warm weather for my week of holidays. I had prayed like crazy for a child. At the age of 38, there was no way I took for granted a healthy pregnancy and now, the arrival of a healthy, eight pound baby boy.

I admit that over the years I have suffered from what I like to call the “not enough” syndrome. I’m not pretty enough; I’m not talented enough; I’m not ambitious enough; I’m not spontaneous enough; I don’t earn enough. There are even competing “not enough’s” such as: I don’t work hard enough and I don’t spend enough time with my family. I relate to this as a syndrome that disproportionately affects Jews, kind of like lactose intolerance (yes, I am lactose intolerant) although I’m sure we Jews haven’t cornered the market on feelings of inadequacy (or on lactose intolerance, for that matter). Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 1 2013

After Years of Infertility, I’m Losing My Faith in God

By at 3:33 pm

where was god?

Well, that was a colossal failure. Months of planning, 10s of thousands of dollars, two trips to Cyprus, a really promising early pregnancy–and we have nothing. We have no donor embryos left. Our last cycle resulted in my seventh pregnancy, with fantastic early signs, but I miscarried at six weeks. We’d already been tested for every cause of recurrent loss, and honestly believed the genetically tested donor embryos were the answer.

Apparently not.

What do we do now? Nothing has changed on the adoption front (we are still on the years-long waiting lists for domestic adoption here in Israel, and international adoption remains out of reach financially). We could try a gestational carrier, but both in Israel and abroad the costs and logistical hurdles just seem insurmountable.

For now we wait. We are in shock. We really thought this approach, and this pregnancy, would bring us at least one baby (and possibly a sibling in a few years). Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 31 2013

My Daughter’s Beautiful Day

By at 2:15 pm

sarah tuttle-singer beautiful day“Mama, do you know why today is so beautiful?” my daughter asked me while we walked to the pool.

It took me by surprise, her question. Because I didn’t think today was so beautiful: Today was freaking hot–like, sumo-wrestler-sweaty-armpit hot. The air shimmered in the afternoon light, clinging to my skin, and I was lugging my purse, a bulging laundry bag, a Princess Tiana doll, and small plastic bag with the remains of three snails. The hair that wasn’t frizzing like an 80s porn star was matted to my forehead, and about halfway between the gan (kindergarten) and the pool it dawned on me I had forgotten to put on deodorant.

I swallowed a sigh, and tried to see the world through her eyes. The pools of sunlight. A bedraggled butterfly that was still beating its wings against the turgid air. A crop of flowers that had just sort of perked up out of nowhere in the middle of the relentless summer.

“Tell me why today is beautiful,” I said.

“Because God is amazing.”

My mind skipped a step, because we hadn’t gotten down to the real nitty gritty when it comes to the God, because I like to use a wide brush when describing things that I’m still trying to understand.

“Mama, do you believe in God?” she asked before I could react.

“Yes, I do,” I said. And I mean it, I really do, even if I haven’t figured out all the nuts and bolts of what I believe, and even though admitting it out loud on a secular kibbutz is sacrilegious.

“Good. Because when you believe in God, God gets bigger and bigger and bigger and can do everything in the whole world. But when you don’t believe in God, God is very very small and just sits in a corner waiting for you to believe so He can come back to work and make things beautiful for us.”

And as I stared at the miracle that is my daughter and as I marveled at what she had just told me, I know this to be true: Today is beautiful.

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Jun 7 2013

The Stranger Who Spoke at My Father’s Unveiling

By at 12:39 pm

stone on jewish gravestoneI don’t believe in God.

I am uncomfortable admitting this here and I mean no disrespect to those who do believe. If anything, I’m envious. I have books on meditation stacked by my bed. I have a gift certificate for yoga classes burning a hole in my wallet. I’ve read studies and I’ve witnessed the effects of a strong spiritual center. There’s security, sometimes there’s even peace. I wouldn’t mind some of that.

And yet, I don’t believe in a higher power that calls the shots. I don’t believe that things happen for a reason (though I’ve repeated this cliché in an attempt to comfort friends). I believe that when bad things happen to good people, it breaks your heart and all you can do is get up each morning and try to be good to the people you love who are still here. I often fail at even this. It would be helpful to have a little faith. And yet. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 3 2013

The God Poll: The Results Are In

By at 12:20 pm

pie chart from god pollLast month on Kveller was “God month,” in which we featured all different voices exploring how to talk to kids about God. One thing we learned was that the hardest part of talking to kids about God is often figuring out what you yourself believe. So, we posed a simple question to you, our readers: Do you believe in God?

The results are in, and they’re a little bit surprising.

In our (admittedly unscientific) poll of Kveller readers, 60.7% say they believe in God. 18.6% say they do not believe in God, and 20.7% claim “it’s complicated.” The poll included responses from readers in the United States, Canada, and Israel, all the way to Oman, Czech Republic, and South Africa.  Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2013

Tell Us, Do You Believe in God?

By at 5:02 pm

do you believe in god chalkboardWith May coming to a close, so is Kveller’s month-long God series. We’ve heard from all different parents about how they’ve handled talking to their kids about God, including a mother who obsessively prays, a scientist who’s also a devout believer, and an ex-Mormon father who’s still figuring it all out. Read all of the posts here.

One thing we learned is that often the hardest part of talking to kids about God is figuring out what you yourself believe. So we’re curious: how many of you believe in God?

Luckily for us, the internet is magical and has just the thing to satiate our curiousity: a poll! Please take our one-click, anonymous poll below.


What God & Sex Have in Common

By at 9:37 am

let's talk about sex salt-n-pepaThis post is part of our month-long series featuring different ways that parents of various religions have talked to their kids about God.

God and sex have a lot in common.

Yes, you read that correctly.

God and sex have a lot in common. They are both topics that aren’t to be mentioned in polite company. They are both topics that make us uncomfortable to talk about with our kids. And they are both topics that are not one-time lectures, but ongoing conversations.

That’s right; there is no such thing as “The Talk” when it comes to God or sex. Read the rest of this entry →

May 29 2013

We Can’t Talk About God, We’re too Busy with Autism

By at 10:03 am

knife and forkThis post is part of our month-long series featuring different ways that parents of various religions have talked to their kids about God.

A week or so ago I was contacted by one of Kveller’s editors telling me about their month-long series on talking to your children about God and was asked if I wanted to perhaps write a piece for it. Being the mom of a child on the autistic spectrum might add an interesting voice to the series. “Sure, I’d love to.”

Hold on a second.

I’ve never talked to my daughter about God.

Why haven’t I done that?  Read the rest of this entry →

May 28 2013

Since Leaving the Mormon Faith, How Will I Talk to My Daughter About God?

By at 3:22 pm

heath wilcock god seriesThis post is part of our month-long series featuring different ways that parents of various religions have talked to their kids about God.

Fold your arms.

We say this to our 3-year-old daughter whenever food is about to be blessed at my parents’ house. She never folds her arms nor closes her eyes, but instead maintains her energy while everyone else stops conversations and becomes reverent. By this age, she should be well-trained in the Folding Arms & Bowing Head procedure, and maybe even saying the prayer, with some parenting assistance. Everyone finds this adorable. You see, we’re Mormon and Mormons typically teach children early on about how to communicate with their father in Heaven.

After a couple of attempts to get our daughter to fold her arms, we would look at my family, act frustrated, and say something like, “Ah well, she does her own thing. Can’t make her.”

But the truth is: we never taught her. Read the rest of this entry →

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