I haven’t always been joyful. A few short years ago it wasn’t even on my radar. Life is just..wild. I know there’s a lot of people hurting so let’s talk about faith today.
I went from talking to Him every day and trying to live the life He calls us to live to not speaking to Him for over a year. To be completely honest, I hated Him. And not the kind of hate where you’re yelling and screaming, still caring enough to ask why (I went through that phase, too.) The kind of hate where you’re just numb — no energy left to care, no desire to fix it. I didn’t even realize I had stopped associating myself with Him until six months had gone by and then I still didn’t care enough to change. I hated Him.
Tragedy and trauma will do that to you. I know I’m forgiven for how I felt, how I acted. I was forgiven before I ever even asked to be forgiven. I don’t deserve that kind of grace but I’m glad He doesn’t hold things against us the way we tend to hold things against ourselves and others.
That was a dark time in my life. I lost the batteries to the light He’d given me and I refused to accept His help to turn it back on. Instead, I just kept hitting it, shaking it, yelling at it for not working. I didn’t stop believing — although I did question it. A lot. But I didn’t want anything to do with someone who would allow me, or anyone, to go through so much pain and misery. I hated Him.
I wish I knew then that all I had to do was open my eyes to escape the darkness. I know trauma changes you physically and mentally and the journey is different for everyone but I was painfully self-aware throughout mine, I feel. I refused to let go of my pride and anger. It was all I felt I had left. If I let go of that then I would have to accept what I was running from and face the rest of my life. Knowing you have to move on and live the rest of your life with everything you’ve been through is one of the scariest things to acknowledge.
It wasn’t until I asked Him for help that I found the answers I’d cried and begged for. I had no where else to go and still — I asked out of spite, with my teeth clenched, like He owed it to me. Still undeserving.
I read scripture daily and tried to find insight and meaning to what I’d gone through and how I felt but it wasn’t helping. I was hearing what He was trying to say but I wasn’t listening. They were just words. Was He not seeing the effort I was putting in? Why was He ignoring me? There I was — blaming Him again.
Then I started writing the Word. I would think about what I was feeling, what I was dealing with, and find scripture that addressed those issues. From there I would just write. Every day. Writing takes a lot more effort and much more time than just reading — especially when pen and paper are so rarely used now that everything is digital. When I wrote the Word, I had to think about it. Marinate in it. Really be mindful of what I was reading and what I was writing — take in every letter, every word.
Sometimes it’d be a lot. I’d write for what felt like forever. Other times it’d be a sentence or two. I let him talk to me for as long as he wanted to talk. Afterwards, I would pick the piece of scripture that spoke to me the loudest (oftentimes YELLING at me) and memorize it — repeating it throughout the day. It wasn’t until then that I let myself be vulnerable again and let God back into my life. Slowly, the Word started soaking into my heart the way the ink soaked into the paper.
I’m not telling you this will help you the way it helped me, but may I ask you to try it? We have to start by making ourselves available. We have to want to change — to want to be better. My hope is that it changes your life in the way it changed mine.
It takes time and effort to renew your faith. I don’t want someone hurting to read this and think they can perform this like a robot doing a task and be “fixed”. This is what lead me back to the cross. It helped me feel again and see that I wasn’t alone. Most importantly, it helped me realize that I was worthy — of forgiveness, love, and living.
If you need help getting started with having these conversations with yourself and with God, I created a free devotional for you to print and use. It’s short and simple. I know a lot of people love full-blown bible study devotionals but that isn’t what works for me. This worksheet keeps it simple and gets straight to the point. It will help you be mindful of what you’re feeling and what your goals are as well as help guide you towards the scripture you need to read. I also added a matching card you can print to write down those passages that seem to be yelling at you the way mine often did.
The devotional and scripture cards are listed below. Just click to open! The devotional will open as a PDF. To save the cards, just right click and select save as!
I’m not a perfect Christian. I never will be. But my faith in God has never been stronger. Before my faith was tested I just walked the path that was paved for me. I did the things I was told to do — thought the way I was taught to think. I had very little understanding of what having real faith was like. I had no idea what a real relationship with God meant — what it felt like. I believed in Him but I didn’t trust in Him. I will always have the trauma to live with but despite that I’m an entirely new person — He didn’t care that I was broken. My soul was renewed along with my faith. I got a 2-for-1 deal.
- Be mindful of how you’re feeling or where you need to place your focus. (Do the devotional to help guide you.)
- Find scripture that relates to where you are for the day. (My Bible has a topic resource in the back but Google works too!)
- Write the Word. Whatever speaks to you. Write a little or write a lot — just write.
- Marinate in His Word. Take in every word you write and meditate on it throughout the day.
He’s always talking to us. All we have to do is listen.