Finding Faith

There have been countless times over the last year that I have sat down to write, and I’ve heard a familiar voice say “no one cares what you have to say” or “you’ll be judged for this” or “don’t be so self-consumed”.

I listened to that voice, and I stopped writing.

Funny thing is: I thought I had dealt with that voice. That I had learned to silence it.

Isn’t it odd how we *think* we are further along than we are? And how disconnected we can come from reality?…

Kind of like the social media images we post of our perfectly decorated houses and just out of the frame of the shot there’s unfolded laundry that we pushed aside so it wouldn’t show up in the picture.

Or the scripture we share about how Jesus wants us to live, and just seconds before we hit “share”, we yell at our kids for spilling cereal on the counter.

I felt disconnected from reality because I thought I had dealt with that voice telling me to stop, and that it was gone for good.

I thought I had overcome the fear of man and worrying what others think.

Friends, I had not. And it’s haunted me.

But then I had a beautiful realization… that this time when that voice crept in, life was very different.

I was grieving and vulnerable to rejection, and to be honest, I was afraid.

The level of fear that has been swept over humanity has been painful to endure and witness. And while I have never been afraid of getting sick or losing my life to a virus (including this one), the collective fear was felt. Frankly, it is hard to escape.

Please hear and believe me when I say that I am not insensitive to those who have lost family and loved ones and I am not minimizing those that had a hard time when they became ill.

But what I am saying is that we must acknowledge the emotional impact the last year has had on our lives, and we must be willing to give it credit for altering our perception of the world.

We’ve grieved. And to be honest, we’ve been traumatized.

“If grief is what comes after loss, what have we lost?” you may ask.

We lost familiarity. We lost hope. We lost faith. We lost loved ones. We lost routines. We lost jobs. We lost rights. We lost our joy.

But I think if we all take a step back and think about it all and really reflect, WE ALSO GAINED.

For many of us, we gained precious time with our children and spouses while we were “stuck inside”.

We gained a new pace of life that to be honest, maybe we didn’t want or even know we needed.

We gained an ability to adapt.

And whether or not we realize it, we gained a unity that frankly I think we are often unable to see.

We shared in an experience. Albeit it looked different for everyone, we went through it together.

Personally, I find that to be a beautiful thing.

On the flip side of this, I also recognize that many were alone and isolated and have suffered greatly because of this. My heart wants you to know that you were never alone, even if you felt that way.

Somewhere, someone was thinking of you. Praying for you. Wishing they could hug you and wipe the tears as they fell.

It’s taken great faith to get through the days, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t realize this. But faith is a tricky thing, isn’t it?

You can’t see it.

You can’t touch it.

You can’t tell if it’s working to change anything.

So you just keep on believing that it’s enough and do your best to put your eyes above what you see and trust that having faith is enough.

This tiny, fingerprint-laden jar sits in the windowsill of my office. Can you see what’s inside?

It’s a mustard seed.

Although tiny, when planted, it grows taller than the other plants and eventually becomes a tree.

Did you know that the Bible mentions mustard seeds a couple of times? This tiny seed can be compared to the kingdom of heaven. When it began, that kingdom was small, but is now much, much larger and continues to grow every day.

But my favorite reference to this tiny seed is when Jesus said in the book of Matthew in the New Testament, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We don’t need much, friends.

But that tiny bit that we muster up can do more than we realize.

We can have faith that our bodies are strong and capable of healing.

We can have faith that our circumstances are temporary.

We can have faith that our spouse can grow out of that bad habit.

We can have faith that our children won’t rebel when they grow up.

We can have faith that our nation’s leaders make good decisions.

We can have faith that our bank accounts won’t run dry.

We can have faith that that pregnancy we’ve been praying for will finally come.

We can have faith that God is in control of all things and that He is still good.

Let faith change the way you look at life. And if you need a tiny jar with your own mustard seed inside, I’d love to bless you with one. Say the word and I will get one in your hands and on your desk or in your windowsill, and together we can plant seeds of faith and watch them grow into miracles.

Anchor.

How do we get there? To the place of break down, cave in, and give up?

I read somewhere recently that lack of faith doesn’t happen all of a sudden — it happens gradually.

Slowly.

Little by little.

Like a ship that becomes untethered to its anchor and then just starts bouncing about between the blows of the wind. It isn’t grounded anymore, and it has no choice but to go from one gust to the next.

That’s what happens to us, too.

Little by little, circumstance by circumstance, we lose our footing. And our faith drifts off and we can’t help but wonder if we ever had any at all.

Back in January, when we booked this vacation, if you had told me that our world would see what we’ve seen this year, I wouldn’t have believed you.

On most days, I’ve been grounded and hopeful and faith-filled, standing firm on the promise of God that although we have trouble, there can be (and there is!) peace.

But on some days, I felt like a ship, floating along without direction. No sign of a lighthouse on shore in sight, and hopeless.

It’s in those moments, I think, that God is giving us our footing, we just don’t believe that it’s there. What we see causes us to forget what we know. And those light houses we go looking for, well, they are covered by clouds and fog and we don’t see them at all.

Being out on this beach this to watch the sun rise is kind of like resetting my perspective. Wiping the dirty lens I’ve looked through on so many days lately that kept me from seeing what was really there.

And what do you do when you get to this place of reset and awe and wonder?

Well, you play How Great Thou Art, look at the ocean, and let the tingle of peace wash over you.

Tiny Wins are Still Wins

Both of my girls have Oh the Places You’ll Go books that I have their teachers sign. I started them when they were teeny tiny. Everly’s first note was from Ms. Pam at PCC. She only wrote three words: “Little, but loud.”

Ms. Pam was our favorite teacher. She loved Everly the best of all the teachers. And considering Everly was only 11-months old when Ms. Pam wrote this three-word note, she hadn’t had much time to make her assessment. But, she was right. Continue reading

It is Finished.

Two years ago today, I did something. Something some of you know. Something some of you’ve wondered. Something some of you may be surprised to learn. And something some of you will question how and why I could choose share.

Two years ago today, I packed my bags and walked out of my house and I left my husband. I was only gone for 10 days, but I know wholeheartedly that those 10 days needed to happen in order for us to get where we are today. Continue reading

Sometimes.

Sometimes I get these urges to write that stop me in my tracks. Like now, when I should be studying but I can’t. Because there are words and stories in my head begging to be let out.

Questions I wrestle with, like should I say yes to that thing I haven’t answered yet? Have I been a good enough wife? Why did I bite my lip and talk through my teeth at my kids this morning? Continue reading

Experience the things.

This summer while in Barbados, Reid and I were inspired when we heard someone say they gave their kids an experience for their birthday, rather than buying them a gift to unwrap. With Sadler’s 7th birthday right around the corner, I put a plan in motion. Continue reading

One More Day

I took a trip to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market today. If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know that because my feed and story were flooded with it (sorry…not sorry).

I forgot about this place. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and midweek I decided I’d go early on Saturday. Continue reading