Shaky Faith? Hang on Tight

Over the last two decades, my faith has been shaky. I went through periods of severe anger and frustration. I couldn’t comprehend why others around me were getting everything I thought I wanted and yet I felt left out in the cold. I wanted to be the recipient of real love. I wanted to have a family. I wanted to have a great job with a bright future. I wanted and wanted and wanted. It took a while to work through the anger and self-doubt. Depression is a very unforgiving beast. Once it grabs hold of you, many people don’t understand what depression is and they think you can just shake it off. Depression is something that when it takes over, it’s not just a mind over matter issue. Getting that mindset is virtually impossible. It’s important to stay in communication with your doctor and let them know what you are dealing with. You may need to seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people won’t do it because they believe they can’t afford it. Some places work with a sliding scale and even free counselors available. You just have to be willing to reach out and grab available help. Don’t allow the depression to sink you into such a depression that you can’t get out. You aren’t alone. I can guarantee you that there are a lot of people who are fighting the same illness that you are.

I met a young woman who recently was dealt with a miscarriage. Her faith is strong but she doesn’t have a home congregation. She’s from overseas. Her story resonated with me. I’d never met her before but we started talking and an instant connection was made. I’ve never had a child to survive but she shares many of the same interests that I do and we have both encountered many of the same medical problems along the way. I believe God made that connection possible. Her husband and three-year-old son were a delight to meet and an inspiration that I believe God works in ways that we don’t always understand.

Sometimes days are so difficult to get through because I combat depression and anxiety daily. Having faith helps me to understand that I’m not alone. What’s difficult is doing things to keep moving when I don’t feel like getting out of bed. Conversations can be challenging when I want to throw the covers over my head and go back to sleep. Dressing to impress has become challenging too. COVID has cooped up so many of us that we are getting back into some normalcy, only to have states like NC go back into restricting places to 10 people or less. I do my best to stay motivated and positive. It helps me to fight those days that feel as if I’m being weighed down. I would be remiss if I didn’t add how difficult it can be to get through those obstacles but that it can be done. My doctor has me on meds that help and I’ve started working out more. I’m watching what I eat and my diet is getting stronger which means that I’m feeling healthier. Diet and exercise make a world of difference in helping to combat mental illness. They aren’t the only factor though. There is a regimen that I follow and it helps. Communication is a must. Holding in emotions only adds more layers to complex feelings. Don’t wear the weight of the world on your shoulders. It’s a difficult lesson to learn but necessary to have a healthier life.

When I was going through my divorce, I felt my world collapsing. Everything that I thought was real had been based on a lie. I couldn’t figure out what the truth was and whether everything had been a lie or if I had fallen prey to one of life’s cruel circumstances. The person I trusted with my life was not the person I believed him to be. He was a master of telling people what they wanted to hear and not being forthcoming. I had blinders on with him. I didn’t want to divorce him. I begged him to make changes which he did to a degree but when it came to our relationship, it was too late. After the divorce, I thought we were going to try to start over. That too was a lie. He’d met someone else and I had feelings for someone else. I was deluding myself. When he got his girlfriend pregnant, I found out on Facebook. He didn’t have the courtesy to give me a heads up, even though I had given him the courtesy of sharing important news. That was my mistake. I should have known he didn’t owe me anything. I just never thought he would announce things on Facebook that way. It also took the wind out of my sails when he said he’d never been happier than he was with her. Eventually, I blocked him. I don’t hate him. I learned that in to move on, I had to stop seeing what he was doing. I think when you’ve been with someone for a long time, it’s hard to let go. I meant my vows when I said them to him. Walking away from that relationship was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It tormented my soul for years. I’m pretty sure the outcome of that marriage affected future relationships.

After that relationship, my faith in God became stronger. That is until I found out that my ex was having a child and I wanted that so badly. At least, I thought I did. Miscarriages are a difficult topic for anyone. It’s even harder to go through one and feel that sense of loss. It never goes away. I will never get to see my children on the earthly plane. I’ll never hear their laugh or see their smile. I won’t be able to play with them and experience the joy that parents get to share in. I won’t be able to comfort them or watch them grow physically and in faith. What I can do, is remember that my path isn’t the same as those with children. It’s a path of discovery and influence. It’s a path of self-reflection and courage. It’s also one of enlightenment and peace. I have the power to change things for the better and to present opportunities for others who may be going through similar journeys. That power is by sharing my stories. This blog is a journey in faith. I put myself out there regularly fearing rejection and yet been embraced by so many of you. Thank you for that. It helps more than you know.

I have friends who are struggling with their faith journeys as well. Faith is not something that can be bottled and sold. It’s within. It can start as something so small that you can’t see how big the rewards will be at first, but as faith grows and matures, it can be a steadying force when the rest of the world feels wobbly. I’m not going to tell you to believe in God. That is something that is a personal journey. You have to find what feels right for you. But I can tell you that I believe God is constantly working in my life to give me strength when I feel weak, courage when I’m afraid to be brave and hope when I feel despondent. That is a blessing on many levels for me. It’s normal to question faith. It’s understandable when it seems that the world is falling apart. The beautiful part of faith is when all hope is lost, faith often intervenes with something unexpected.

I remember when I was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. I was homeless for months. Not many people know that fact. I was with a man I shouldn’t have been with. I was confused, frustrated, and felt that my parents didn’t know anything, nor did they understand me. The man I was with – well, let’s just say that the only reason we meshed was that the relationship was completely physical. We did that well. But we didn’t know each other. We were together four years and yet we didn’t know what was important to the other one. That relationship would never have survived had fate not intervened. I found out that he had developed a $1500 a week cocaine habit that was robbing us blind. I broke it off and went back home. Starting over wasn’t easy. Earning trust back wasn’t a simple task. But when I decided to let God back into my life, things got a little easier to deal with. Life still wasn’t simple. Yet, I was able to not feel alone anymore. That has made my faith walk a little easier to handle. Even when I can’t feel God with me, I know he’s carrying me through massive storms and that it doesn’t matter what happens to my body as long as I believe he has my soul.

Faith hasn’t been easy. But it has taught me many things. There will always be people who tear you down for believing what you do. What’s important is that you believe in what’s right for you. This is your journey and your story. Use it to help others who may be struggling as much as you are.

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