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I believe that faith grows stronger when it goes through doubt and crisis. I believe that it’s possible to question and wonder and doubt without it being rebellion against God. I believe that coming out on the other side of it with faith in tact is a beautiful thing.
(See also the stories of Peter and Thomas.)
A few weeks ago, I felt that crisis. I was giving into fears and past hurts. Everything was triggering to me. I felt like my hold on God was so weak, and I wondered if I could keep believing at all.
I did a lot of crying and freaking-the-crap out. I was being swept away and I didn’t know how to fight the current.
It took some writing, soul seeking, talking with a trusted friend, and finally my husband firmly guiding me into a place where I could not only express what was really going on, but also deal with it, before I was able to rise above the waters and come out of the crisis on the other side.
“You’ve gone through so many things where something you thought about God or relationships ended up being wrong, and it’s been hard and scary. And you’re afraid that it’s just going to keep happening and that you can’t believe anything,” was the loose paraphrase of what he said that finally got my attention.
Because yeah, that was it. Exactly that.
“You have to believe something. You have to start somewhere,” he admonished.
And as I sat there on the bed across from him with mascara-laden tears streaming down my face, the clarity was there, so strongly.
“I just don’t know how to really believe that God loves me.”
“Then that’s where you need to start,” he says. “Right now nothing else matters. Just focus on that.”
And so that night I laid in bed listening to music that reminded me that God loves me. Just letting the music pour over me. Letting go of the questions and the doubts and the pain because it’s just all too much for this weary mind and heart to handle.
The next morning I felt the urge to open my Bible. My old Bible…the KJV I won in a competition that walked with me during the years that I thought I was earning God’s love by reading it. I opened to Ephesians…I’m not really sure why.
And as I turned the first page, I found this note from one of my old friends from five years ago:
And in that moment I did. Even for the briefest moment I did, skipping over words that didn’t make sense or brought up questions and just focusing on the words of love in the book.
Last week, the encouragement just kept coming…this time from Katie:
“For now, you’re going to focus on God, that He is love and that He loves you, and just focus on that. To focus just on those three words, that God Is Love…It feels like such a huge concept, but in reality it is so simple. That He is pure love and desires to love us. And I wouldn’t even think about the part of you loving Him. I would just think about the part that He loves you. And not think about how you have to reciprocate that love and act on that love and follow a list. But just to focus on those three words and the fact that he loves YOU.”
I’ve been trying for a long time to start over, but just couldn’t seem to sort through the mess and confusion to find a starting place. Now I have it.
I’ve talked to enough of you who read my blog and know my story who have similar stories, similar struggles. So I know that you few, if only you few, get this. This post is for you.
Here’s my current song list. I’ll be adding to it whenever I can or a song comes to mind.
How He Loves by David Crowder Band
You Never Let Go by Matt Redman
By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North
Loved by JJ Heller
Open Up by The Brilliance
Nothing Ever (Could Separate Us) by Citizen Way
Drops in the Ocean by Hawk Nelson
He Will Not Let Go by Laura Story
One Thing Remains by Jesus Culture
Your Love Never Fails by the Newsboys
How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle
Just Be Held by Casting Crowns
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
1 John 4:18
Readers, I would love to hear from you in the comments about your favorite songs that remind you how much God loves you!