Community Question: What Do You Do When You Want Faith and Can’t Find It?

I wasn’t going to write another serious piece today, because I wrote about the Ladder out of Depression yesterday, and who really needs to read another lyrical, sappy, heartfelt post so soon? NO ONE. No one is who. But then you all RUINED EVERYTHING. And by “everything,” I mean you ruined my plan to write about the One Main Difficulty in Sharing a Hotel Room With Friends, which, specifically, is Farting, because When? and How? and Windows That Don’t Open! And, frankly, I could’ve used the advice, folks, because I cannot for the life of me figure this one out, but nnnooooo…

You had to RUIN EVERYTHING by being the Very Best Momrades EVER to our friend Marian last night, sitting with her wherever you were and holding out your hands to her and helping All of Us feel Less Alone which completely DISTRACTED me from our planned discussion about natural gas and got me thinking about Loving Each Other, instead, and especially about a letter I received recently from a friend of this blog whom I shall call Not Nadia, in our tradition of Not Evan and Not Rebecca and Not Brooke and their questions about Joy and Inferiority and Failure… and now, Faith.

You have only yourselves to blame is what I’m saying, so buckle up.

Every once in a while, I get a letter from a friend of this blog that touches a tender place in my heart. Usually a place that’s been well worn or is still a little sore or takes me back to the desolation that was there before the consolation. This is one.

Dear Beth,

I have been reading your blog for about a year now, and it’s really impacted how I see a lot of things, but mostly how I think about faith and God.

I’ve been angry with God for a very long time, probably most of my life. At some point it just became easier to not believe at all, than reconcile all the awful things that happen every day with a loving and all powerful maker. But I can’t seem to have faith in anything anymore, and I’m so tired of feeling angry and helpless. I’ve made myself unlikeable and bitter because I can’t let go of how unfair it all seems.

When you write about faith, I can see that there is something more to it than a fairy tale to dampen the fear of death and justify the evils of the world. I want to believe that too, but I’m stuck in this cycle of disappointment and failure. I know I have to stop being so angry and trust that there is a much bigger game being played than what I can see, but I am scared of changing basically my whole worldview, even though my current view is dark and lonely.

Will you pray for me? I don’t even know where to begin, I just admire your faith and I would like to find something that makes me want to get up in the morning and take on challenges instead of constantly feeling angry and alone. I know you have a very full life, but I would very much appreciate if you could take a few seconds to ask for God to start to work in my life so I can be a better, happier person.

Thank you very much for reading,

Not Nadia

And yes. Yes, of course I’ll pray for you, Not Nadia, except that I’m very bad at prayer, or very good at prayer, depending on how you look at it, because as much as I love words – adore words, am enamored with words, am captivated by words – I most often pray without them, so I feel we should set our Prayer Expectations to YES, PRAYER, ABSOLUTELY, but Not Very Much “Dear Jesus, Help Not Nadia.”

Instead, Not Nadia, as the Quakers say, I will hold you in the Light, which, to be totally honest, is going to make some of my non-Quaker Christian friends want to vomit because saying I’ll “hold you in the Light” instead of  I’ll “pray for you in the name of Jesus Christ” sounds squidgy and scary and what’s this liberal, gooey Light nonsense, anyway?

Well, I’ll tell you; this Light Nonsense is the same thing to me as the Love Nonsense, which I keep blathering on about, both of which give me words for the core of God and of Jesus when the words “God” and “Jesus” are co-opted by petty politics or tiny theologies or asshat arguments. Light and Love* bring me back to the center – to the soul of my faith – when I’m lost in the stranglehold of weariness.

Here’s my main problem with my faith: I would like Jesus to be a Magic Wand for waving over the things of this world that trouble me – hatred, disease, disasters, poverty, the way my boobs keep sliding lower and lower through the years – and Jesus just never, ever is willing to play to my Magic Wand fantasies. Like, EVER. Which is SO ANNOYING because I’m pretty sure I could do LOADS of Good with a Magic Wand, Jesus, and, no offense, but your usual shtick about Learning to Love Our Neighbors and figuring out that Everyone is Our Neighbor takes too long and doesn’t always work all that well, in case you hadn’t noticed.

But when I discard my Magic Wand expectations – when I see that Jesus never promised to be one, and, in fact, reminds us over and over that that was hardly his point – and when I fall back into the reality that faith is Learning Love, I am less destitute. Less despairing. Less disappointed and disillusioned. Because in this life, Learning Love is all that’s asked of me.

Does this mean I’m not angry or afraid? Sadly, no. Or in less need of anti-depressants and therapy? Nope; ’cause there’s no Magic Wand, damn it!

ID-10060739

But clinging to Light and to Love does mean that when I’m sad or lonely or have a friend, Not Nadia, who’s suffering, I can stand in the deep, dark forest of my fear or my failure or my frustration, without any words at all, and cup that feeling or friend in my hands and hold us in Light which streams into the darkest places, and is even more brilliant to behold while the dust and the dirt still swirl around us.

And so I sit at my dusty desk on a misty, cold, gray day in Oregon, friend, and I hold you in the Light of Love. The Light of Love which is already at work in you, because you’re made in its very image.

xoxo,
Beth

……….

So, friends, what do you say to Not Nadia?

Community Question:
What do you do when you want faith but can’t find it? 

I know you already know this, but as this community grows, I wanted to remind us that we’re not here to try to convince Not Nadia to either have faith or to abandon it, nor to insist that our conclusions for ourselves must become Not Nadia’s conclusions. We are here to tell our own wild, weird and wonderful stories and, always, to LOVE each other, which are more powerful acts than we sometimes know. Like April wrote on our Facebook page just yesterday: “Honestly, ever since I heard from some of you amazing fellow mommas, I have been feeling so much better. Above water and even breathing 🙂 my whole family is grateful I’m sure; if nothing else, I know I am! I felt so loved and that seems so strange to receive that through blog comment-ers, but I love it :)”

……….

Sunrays in the Forest image credit dan via freedigitalimages.net

*Jesus is Light – John 8:12, God is Love – 1 John 4:8

Special thanks to my friends, Quaker and otherwise, who helped me source info on holding folks in the Light. This means you, Monica, Jere, Paula, Carol, Meghan, Phyllis, Julie, Nate, and Linda.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
24 comments
  1. […] So I thought about what I might do. And I lamented that I can’t send you all gifts. And then I remembered my artist friends who create beautiful things and fun things and deep things and light. And I asked them if they might — maybe — be interested in partnering with me to share a few of my favorite things with you. And they said YES. And ABSOLUTELY. And so here we are, and I get to spend the next 8 days giving away 8 things, which isn’t enough, but hopefully giving away to all of you, too, the reminder that someone is thinking of you and is, as the Quakers say, holding you in the Light. […]

  2. I think what’s clear here is that even though you may be in a place where you feel you lack faith…WE all have faith in YOU.

  3. For me faith is not in the all knowing, or conversely all failing, God. It’s about leaning on God in the dark times. It’s about having faith, “faith as small as a mustard seed” that He is there to see you through. Bad things happen. Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happened to me. I feel that God did not CAUSE these bad things. I just got stuck with the short end of the stick . But He is there to comfort me and guide me forward after the short end.
    Faith is difficult. You may never “find” it. It’s coupled with doubt. It’s a belief without proof. It’s trusting. But all it takes is the smallest bit … the size of a mustard seed.
    So I figure if one teensy part of me can hold the faith, then it’s there, and I will prevail.

  4. There are many books and pundits out there who will tell you all about why it is important to have faith and even a lot who will tell you their three step plan for having more faith. There are people who will tell you that if you have enough faith God is obligated to do X Y or Z. And then you feel like a failure when that doesn’t happen. But that is not what faith is all about. Faith is believing in the unseen even though it doesn’t make sense. Faith is trust that God is there and He knows the end from the beginning.

    We look at evil and we blame God for it, but what He created was not evil, it was Good… and when He created humans, they were called very good. It is like a politician who comes into office and blames everything on his predecessor or opponent even after he has been in power for twenty years. When God placed people in the garden of Eden, He gave them the opportunity to trust Him (ironically, they had to trust who they could see, which is something we cannot experience) and they failed miserably. As soon as He was out of sight they did the one thing they were told not to do and in doing so got themselves separated from God. They couldn’t see Him any more, and neither can we. The thing is that we cannot go back to what it once was. Like broken china, we can glue it back together but we still see the cracks. The thing is that when the first people became separated from God, not only did that separate everyone else, but that allowed evil into the world, and evil became boss in the world.
    I believe that through Christ and Easter we are able to lose the separation we have from God and, one day, be with Him in perfection again. This takes another kind of faith — the same kind that the first humans didn’t have when they were walking with God in Eden. The way to regain faith is to get to know God by reading the Bible and allowing it to affect your life.
    Through reading, we learn that God considers Himself to be our Father. As a parent He has the right to answer our requests with Yes, No, or Wait (basics, I know). We tend to get in the mindset that if the answer is not Yes, then there was no answer, but this isn’t so. We ask about suffering in the world, and I think there is a purpose in suffering… but we may never fully know what that purpose is. To try to figure that out leaves me more confused than satisfied. There are unanswerable questions. I wish there weren’t, but I guess it wouldn’t be faith if all our questions were answered.

    Sorry for the rambling thoughts… I guess the short answer is the more we know about God and his character, the more faith comes. And, yes, I will pray… 🙂

  5. Not Natalie, Sometimes music gives me at a temporary hold on or a glimpse into the faith I search for. Have you heard the song “Held” by Natalie Grant?
    Two months is too little
    They let him go
    They had no sudden healing
    To think that providence
    Would take a child from his mother
    While she prays, is appalling
    Who told us we’d be rescued
    What has changed and
    Why should we be saved from nightmares
    Were asking why this happens to us
    Who have died to live, it’s unfair
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We’d be held
    This hand is bitterness
    We want to taste it and
    Let the hatred numb our sorrows
    The wise hand opens slowly
    To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We’d be held
    If hope if born of suffering
    If this is only the beginning
    Can we not wait, for one hour
    Watching for our savior
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We’d be held

    This and other songs can deliver me to that place of light that is in me and outside of me and around me if I can just stop turning away from it and embrace it.

    1. Sorry–Not Nadia, not Not Natalie!

  6. Not Nadia, I will pray for you. I thought I was angry at God for a long time, but I think really I was just disappointed in some of his people. Now we are tight, and I still struggle with faith. Here is one of my favorite bible verses:
    Ephesians 3:16-19 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Man, that knocks my socks off. Peace.

  7. How I WISH I had a Magic Wand to take away your bitterness and disappointment and anger then replace it with happiness and contentment and joy! Sadly, I don’t – and I don’t think anyone else has one either. All we can do is empathize with you because we’ve all been there – at some point in our lives, something has happened to all of us to make us angry at God (even if that’s not how we refer to him).

    As the others leaving comments have said, “You’ve taken the first step.” It takes so much courage to admit we can’t do it alone and we need help or support from others. GGGIIIRRRLLL – you’ll get BOTH here!

    While I’ve not been in the “easier to not believe at all, than reconcile all the awful things that happen every day with a loving and all powerful maker” place in many years, I can so very easily remember the absolute desolate FEAR of that feeling. I’m not the Pollyanna who smiles demurely and says, “Everything happens for a reason.” I’m the beyotch who wants to KNOW the reason and WHY was that reason chosen and who chose it WITHOUT ASKING ME first! (Can you say “control issues?”)

    This sentence in your letter brought me to tears:
    I’ve made myself unlikeable and bitter because I can’t let go of how unfair it all seems.

    It’s a vicious circle, isn’t it? I don’t like me because I’m bitter and angry and blah blah blah so nobody else likes me or wants to be around me and why-does-it-matter-because-the-whole-freakin’-world-sucks so I get more and more bitter and more and more angry….on and on and on.

    I won’t give you advice – I just want to tell you that you ARE loved….you ARE valuable….you ARE precious…..God sees the “you” that He created – and that person is loving….and caring….and thoughtful…..and generous….and the list goes on. How do I know these things about you? Because if you WEREN’T loving and caring and thoughtful and generous, then the awful, bad, terrible, sad things of this world wouldn’t matter to you.

    I pray for your burdens to be lifted and your joy to be full…..God has already started a good work in you and He will be faithful to complete it (Phillipians 1:6).

  8. I love that you wrote about his and I relate to so much of what you say. I have been a Christian all my life but my faith has changed greatly as I’ve gotten older and especially after my son was born with spina bifida (a spinal birth defect). I don’t feel angry with God, but I do feel like I’ve lost some of my trust that everything will be okay. Maybe that’s a good thing but I miss the kind of faith I had before. I miss feeling like God would protect my family from bodily harm and that “magic wand” faith that I used to hold. I still believe in God and that he will carry me through difficult times, but I see how much of God’s work is done on a spiritual/emotional level. I think I’m still figuring it out– but I worry sometimes about how I will talk to my children honestly about faith. Kids are so black and white but faith is a fluid/growing/changing thing. I don’t know how to simplify, ya know?

    And when I can’t find my faith, I recite written prayers. I am an Orthodox Christian and we use written prayers during our services. It helps me feel centered and forces me to focus and ponder my faith. It takes the pressure off when I can’t find the words. My favorite is:

    “O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who are everywhere present and fills all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life – come and abide in me, and cleanse me from every stain, and save my soul, O Good One. “

  9. I love the story in the Bible where a man brings his son to Jesus disciples for healing. The disciples couldn’t do it (and if they, who walked daily with Jesus failed, why should I beat myself up when I fail?), so they brought the man and his son to Jesus. Jesus tells the man that if he believes anything is possible. Here is the part I love. The man responds (to me it is a prayer) “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” – and Jesus healed his son. The man didn’t have to have perfect faith – Jesus met him where he was. This prayer has become my own so many times whether for faith, forgiveness, or whatever I am struggling with at the time. I just take out the word believe and fill it in with whatever I need. I see it meaning that I choose, as an act of my will, to have faith (or whatever I’m dealing with at the time). I acknowledge I’m lacking in that area and ask God to meet me where I’m at, to help me grow in that area. And just like the man in this story, God fills in where I lack. It is usually a gradual process.

    I listened to a speaker last night who said a couple things I found exciting and might be helpful here. He told a story of a class he taught where students were to share what they had done during the week regarding an assignment. One student told about a situation he had been in and how he did not do anything regarding the assignment at that time. There had been a little polite applause for the person sharing. The speaker said no, you don’t get it. A month ago, this guy wouldn’t have even known it was a missed opportunity! This guy is doing great and he applauded him hugely. We don’t go from no ability to a ten skipping everything in between – awareness is the first step toward doing something. He also likened faith to risk and said God rewards risk not our results. Just like we as parents praise our kids for making the attempt (the speaker used the example of first year soccer players trying to defend the goal and missing) God is pleased with our attempts, whether we succeed or not. Like one of the other responses, he also likened it to a seed, which needs watered to grow. And when seeds first begin to grow, we don’t always see the results, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. So, not Nadia, know that your prayers (and requests for prayer) are heard. Know that the risk you took to ask for that pleases God greatly. Know that you are loved. Keep encouraging the tiny seed of hope that is in you (coming here is one way to do that).

  10. Sometimes the most inspiring verse in the whole Bible, to me, is Mark 9:24. A desperate father came to Jesus begging for healing for his son, IF Jesus could do anything. When Jesus raised an eyebrow at the “if,” the man immediately cried out “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!” I can almost hear him thinking “Oh, crap, I’ve betrayed my doubts and now he isn’t going to help me!

    But the awesome part is that Jesus DID help him. He gave him exactly what he asked for. He took the man’s desire for faith and let his doubts go. Which REALLY helps me when I can’t seem to find my faith–I know God will honor the fact that I’m looking for it. He will for you too, Not Nadia. I think faith in this broken world always exists beside doubt. The important thing is which one you choose to reach for.

    Love from another faith-seeker.

  11. Not Nadia, you said “At some point it just became easier to not believe at all, than reconcile all the awful things that happen every day with a loving and all powerful maker.” I read that and cheered. I had to stop believing that God was All Powerful and Let Bad Things Happen on Purpose because it just hurt too much.

    Eight years ago, two days after Thanksgiving, I stood beside my sister and watched as they buried her daughter Gwendolyn in a pine box so impossibly small it kicked my heart into nothingness to see it. In the weeks after we buried my niece some of the people in my sister’s church turned on her husband (he was the pastor) and forced him out. So then they had no child, no job and fewer friends than they started with to help them make it through.

    Today, eight years later, my sister has three amazing kids, and my brother-in-law is a youth pastor at another church (in another state). But this Thanksgiving-time, that grief still always catches us up. My sister will call me next week. She won’t say hi, she’ll just say “Gwen” and then we’ll sob together for several long minutes until we can catch our breath.

    Here’s what I think: there is no all powerful maker. There is evil and tragedy and injustice and betrayal. And then there’s Love and unexpected generosity and hope and Light. And it just is all mixed up together.

    Today when I pray I still sometimes talk to Jesus, but mostly I talk to Mama God. She is nothing like my mom — which is to say, she is not neurotic or emotionally manipulative or a martyr or needy or judgmental. Mama God is patient and loving and doesn’t need anything from me. She just strokes my forehead and lets me sob uncontrollably and shhh shhh shhhs me in a soothing kind of way. I don’t know if I made her up just to make it through, but I don’t think so. I could tell you more about how I met her and what it has meant to my life to finally let go of the fear of the Big All Powerful God and embrace a God Who Really Deeply Knows and Loves Me… but I’m tired and out of words at the moment. Like everyone else, I’m still finding my way.

    Thank you for writing. Thank you to Beth for this community. Thank you to this community for the sacred space you hold for all of our stories.

    In love and light,
    Liz

  12. Not Nadia, just letting you know I’m standing with you, too.

  13. This was the question I pondered over and over again during the first part of this year. In December of 2012, we put our whole selves into pursuing the adoption of a three-month-old baby girl whose name, chosen by her birth mom, was Faith. We said “no” to all of our other options and chose to put our hope in bringing this baby into our family. Then, after we invested everything we had into her adoption, we didn’t hear anything from Faith’s birth mom for two months. Two months of radio silent during which I vacillated between stupid reckless hope and self-preservation and fear. The Bible says “Faith is the certainty that what we hope for will actually happen.” Every time I would say that baby’s name, I would think of this verse and try to be certain that what I hoped for would actually happen. But, living those two months was torture. I often wondered why we had said yes in the first place, wondered if we were idiots to be holding out hope for a baby whose birth family had ceased contact, wondered if we mis-read the signs and mis-heard the Voice of God.
    I wanted faith, but I couldn’t find it. So what did I do? I told God that I was scared. I confessed that I was having a hard time trusting and believing that we would have a happy ending. I confessed that I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t end up hurt in the end.
    The Bible says that Jesus is like a shepherd leading his sheep – they recognize his voice and follow it because they trust him. I began to learn to hear Jesus’ voice among the other “voices” of fear and doubt.
    And to my surprise, his voice wasn’t stern. It wasn’t condemning. It wasn’t irritated or frustrated by my lack of faith. It was sympathetic. It was kind. It was gentle.
    Every time I would find myself giving in to fear and attempting to protect myself from hurt and disappointment, I would “hear” the voice of the Good Shepherd saying, “I know, Little Lamb. I know. In your weakness I am strong. I will be enough for you. I will increase your faith. Do you trust me?”
    And I realized faith was a choice. I could choose to believe that what I hoped for would happen. I realized I had a choice to either say, “If I don’t protect my heart from the possibility of being hurt, no one else will” or “I trust God to carry me no matter the outcome. I trust that he has led us here and that he will either fulfill my hopes or repair my broken heart.” There is a quote by Martin Luther King Jr that says “Faith is taking the first step, even if you don’t see the whole staircase.” Faith is scary. It is risky. To the world it seems unwise and foolish at times. So what I have learned in my own faith journey is that when I can’t find faith, I can trust that I have a Shepherd who sees the whole staircase and who has promised to guide me, to lead me beside quiet waters, to restore my soul, to walk with me even in the valley of the shadow of death. When I want faith and I can’t find it, I remember that “the author and finisher of our faith” is Jesus – and he is trustworthy.
    P.S. If you want to read more, here is a link to the posts I wrote during that season of waiting: http://babykautzi.blogspot.com/p/faith.html (Spoiler alert: After two months of hearing not a word, her birth parents called us on a Saturday and asked us to drive 7 hours to pick her up that Tuesday. We finalized her adoption at the end of April and she is the best!)

    1. “I trust God to carry me no matter the outcome. I trust that he has led us here and that he will either fulfill my hopes or repair my broken heart.”
      Thank you for that. I can certainly relate.

  14. faith is so scary. stepping out to say that no matter what happens, i will trust God? it’s easy when things are going great. but when trials and darkness come? it’s hard. it’s giving up control and trusting that God will make all things right. it’s knowing that right to God might be completely opposite of what i think is right. it’s feeling like life is not fair, but knowing that God has a great plan for my life. it does not mean i can’t be angry at God because of my circumstances. it does not mean things will be perfect. it just means i don’t have to walk this path alone. even in my anger, God is still holding tight to me. and you are not alone, not nadia. we are all on this journey of life together. if you don’t mind, here are some promises from the Bible that help me in my darkest hours.
    a reminder to take it one day, one moment, at a time. matthew 6:34 “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. each day has enough trouble of its own.”
    a reminder of the Light at the end of the tunnel. romans 8:18 “i consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
    and my favorite, for those times when i have no words, only fear, pain, darkness. romans 8:26 “in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
    sending you Love and Light

  15. Hey, Not Nadia. I see you sister. And I remember the angry, lonely, bitter place. My place was probably not your place, so my journey will probably not be your journey – that’s how these things usually work – but I remember my whole heart walled up in fear and anger, and the taste of bitterness in my mouth that I couldn’t seem to get rid of, and not knowing how to make it better, not knowing how to make anything better. But I had a few people show me that real love was possible, and that peace could exist, even in times of trouble, and that joy could live alongside pain. And I WANTED that. So much that I was terrified to look for it, or ask for it, or even name it aloud (see how brave you are, Not Nadia, doing all those things at once). So, sometimes, when I was alone, I would read, and if I would see a glimpse of it, of the faith that I wanted, I would write that bit down on a post-it, and I would put it next to my bed, so in the morning I could wake up to it. And I started to call what I was writing Truth – deep, love-filled truth that was so good I would forget to be afraid for a minute. And eventually I took the leap and started to read about Love in his book, and I met Jesus, who says all sorts of love-truths, and I started writing those love-truths on my bathroom mirror. And I started to believe them about myself, and having faith days mixed in with the anger days and the fear days and the bitterness days. I started being thrilled about the changes I was seeing more than I was afraid of them. One day, I realized that peace had been creeping into my heart, and joy, and gentleness (quite a miracle, that one). I couldn’t pinpoint when I really started to claim to have faith, but it’s there now, even on the days that I feel like Love is far away, or the days that anger seems easier than patience, or when I think I might be able to take a bite of bitterness and stop at just one. None of the journey has been easy, but I think it has all been good, because it has filled my life with Love. I don’t know what your journey will be, Not Nadia, or exactly what your place is, but I am thinking of you. And I know that Love can find you there.

  16. One path that often helps me is to practice thankfulness. And I MEAN practice because it does not necessarily come easily. I’ll just start listing every possible thing I could be thankful for and challenge myself to keep going. It often helps me find a path out of the darkness and frustration.
    Tonight, for example, I am thankful that my feet don’t hurt as much as they have the past six days back from maternity leave, that I remembered my hat for recess duty, or Kraft Mac and cheese for the easy dinner win, that my math nerd son loves math even though he refuses any help or advice from me, that my baby didn’t yell TOO long at his daddy after his bath, and for fleece pants,
    Ya know?
    I feel a bit better now.
    Thanks

  17. Just the fact that you’re reaching out, hoping for something better, already means your heart is leaning toward the better. I have recently, in the past few months, heard a song that really made a big impact on me, and I don’t know at all if it helps or if it just speaks to me. It said that Jesus set us free for freedom. I know that sounds kind of simple and silly, but it hit me hard, Not Nadia. Really hard. In a good way. He didn’t set me free to do something for him but to be something in his presence–free. I can be free for the very sake of making him happy because I’m free. He loves me, you, that much. It’s like when you watch your kids play, and they’re so happy, and it makes you so happy just to see them loving life. God loves me, you, us, like THAT. I can’t make it all work out with all the answers, but I am learning that God’s love is big and generous like that, and that makes me want to be big and generous, in my way, too. If there is any kind of magic wand, it’s the magic that love breeds in others when it’s given freely to anyone. That’s what I’ve learned recently, Not Nadia, and I’m lame at it and still figuring it out. Plus, I get anxious all the time because I have such a stupid short memory about everything, but then I remember again, and it melts my heart again, and I want to spread it again to others around me. If I spread that kind of love and freedom to my kids, for example, what kind of ripple effect could that have? In my own childhood, my parents didn’t do that for me, but one of my aunts did, and that was just a little bit when I would see her, but just that little bit still sustains me years later. I want to wish you all the best. I’ll pray for you… for me, it’s with words. <3

    1. “If there is any kind of magic wand, it’s the magic that love breeds in others when it’s given freely to anyone.”

      ^^^ YES. THIS. ^^^

      Gorgeous.

  18. Just BE. Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t try to fix it or change it or understand it. Faith isn’t something you can find in a book or a sermon or letter. Faith just IS. If you stop searching for it and just be still, faith will find you. You will find yourself believing in “something,” and will feel Its presence. Be strong, momma. We’ve got your back.

  19. This is faith. The asking, the hope, the desire. This is the faith of a mustard seed that starts the journey. I will be holding you in the light, praying, and thinking lovely thoughts about you, Not Nadia:).

    Even now when I’m neck deep in faith I can be on the banks in a moment full of doubt and questions. Doubt is not to be confused with ‘no faith’, for me. Doubt is sometimes the only proof I have that I believe. Because I cannot doubt something that does not exist… Sometimes I just carry my doubt around with me and treat it like a precious gift and then, suddenly it transforms – in a sunrise, kind smile, good parking space….and it is back to being my all encompassing faith.

    1. I like this: “Doubt is not to be confused with ‘no faith’, for me. Doubt is sometimes the only proof I have that I believe. Because I cannot doubt something that does not exist…” That speaks to me because what it does for me, doubt I mean, is offer me the chance to choose faith again…and again. It’s a choice, faith is. I believe it’s faith IN something real, a real God, a real Jesus, but it’s still a choice. I have friends who see it differently due to their apologetics–some are Lutheran, some Presbyterian, some Reformed–but my personal feeling is that it’s a choice. It is not irresistible, but resistible yet available and possible and totally the only thing worth anything.

  20. I think the most uber important, and really really brave thing to do, is just what you’ve done, Not Nadia. Send out a plea for help to somewhere you know you’ll get it. Shouldering an impossible load alone is impossible, but when a whole bunch of us cram up under there, sling our arms around each other’s breaking backs, make bad jokes and share a glass of wine (or beer if you’re next to Beth), it may just become bearable. So, Not Nadia, you have been heard. You’re not alone. I’m sure that those of us who pray will do so, and those who don’t will send you good thoughts, and please please hang on until light comes. Because I know it will.

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