pick your own adventure (lessons on grace).

I’ve written about this before; this struggle with the popular idea that God has everything perfectly planned for my life. That God is so big and Almighty and all-knowing that he has every little blip of my life planned out, and He does this for everyone. The problem with this logic is pain. This would mean that every time a four-year old rape victim walks into my office, God PLANNED for that to happen. Every time a child describes hiding under his parents bed while Dad beat his Mom to a pulp, God PLANNED for that to happen. When one of my clients witnessed his Dad shoot and kill his mom and then turned the gun on himself, God planned for that to happen. In my own life, it would mean that God decided I didn’t already have enough trauma on my plate and that I needed to experience divorce too.

If that’s what you believe, I can understand why so many people turn away from faith. I’m not interested in having a relationship with a sadistic God who plans my pain.

So I was driving around south central los angeles the other day, ruminating over some of this pain (old and new) and this idea struck me that maybe God’s plan for our lives is more like a “pick your own adventure book“. You know, those really awesome books where you read a page and then if you want to jump over the river you turn to page 57 but if you want to run over the bridge you turn to page 16 and so on.

So this “pick your own adventure” theory for “God’s plan” allows for free will. For instance, about four years ago I imagine God sitting back in his cloud recliner and saying to himself  “Hmmmm okay. Really? She’s going to marry HIM!?” And then He probably shook his head and sighed really loudly and got down to work planning how to redeem my heart from this mess. He knew that by marrying this person I would be jumping to page 57 and that wasn’t going to end well for me, but He still let me make that decision.

The point to all of this is that I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, or that God plans for the most painful moments of our lives. I do believe he can redeem all pain, eventually and if we let Him. And we most certainly have free will, just like the people in our lives who use that free will to rape, abuse, and abandon us. That’s not God. That’s the ugly side of free will; of being human. But if you look really, really closely, you can see Him. Working amongst the wreckage. Redeeming the brokenhearted. Comforting the forgotten. Forgiving and loving and enduring.

I see these things in my life now more than ever. Sure, I still feel some leftover pain from the life that could have been. I think that’s normal. But I’m growing increasingly more thankful for the life that is.


Be the light in the crack
Be the one that’s been there on a camel’s back
Slow to anger quick to laugh
Be more heart and less attack

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