As I was driving to work today, the radio hosts were talking about a question that came in from someone asking “what do I do when I start to question my faith?”
They talked about how important it is to answer questions like that, and that we all go through periods of doubting our faith – but I felt like none of their answers were personal…they weren’t able to go in depth about a time in their life when they really started to question their faith in God.
So I want to talk to you today about mine.
To give you some background, I was basically born into the church. I grew up going to church, was baptized as a Christian when I was 11, went to Christian schools for middle and high school, and continued going to church in college.
All that church-going surely set me up for smooth sailing in the faith department. Right?
Doubt and fear and questioning creeps up on all of us. Every single one of us. Your pastors, your leaders, your friends, your parents. We all come to a point in our lives where something shakes us to the core of what we believe – and maybe we realize that the answers weren’t as clear as we thought they were.
About two months ago, my husband was called out to three SWAT calls – back to back. It was the most number of SWAT calls to ever happen in that short period of time since he had been on the team. It was the longest week of waiting, praying, and hoping that I didn’t hear a knock on my door informing me that he had been shot on duty.
And then the news had come in…an officer was shot during one of those calls. But who? Why haven’t we heard who the officer is? It’s been 5 hours since I’ve heard from my husband, and it was probably him.
Fortunately I wasn’t the wife that got the call that night. But it could have been me. And it started to feel like it was going to be me, it was just a matter of time.
My anxiety went through the roof, and I started thinking about death and what that means.
What does heaven look like?
How do I get there?
Does it even matter if I’m not ready?
If I’m not ready for Heaven does that mean I’m a bad Christian?
I found myself hiding in the bathroom from my kids while I sobbed through panic attacks. How could I even call myself a Christian if I was afraid of death?
It doesn’t matter that I’m afraid of it – it’s inevitable! It doesn’t matter that it scares me, it’s going to happen – whether I want it to or not.
I’ve never felt so trapped.
My husband was at a loss for words. Not only was I reacting to him potentially dying, but I was more-so reacting to my own mortality. My head was spinning, and I just couldn’t fathom why God would create us to live on this earth just to have us die and leave it a few years later.
What’s the point? Sometimes I still find myself asking that same question.
With the onset of these panic attacks, I went back to counseling (with two different counselors, mind you) and started therapy as well as EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). I kept taking my medicine. I fell asleep listening to Lauren Daigle’s beautifully raspy voice sing praises to the God I was desperately trying to rely on. I used my essential oils. And I opened up to a few friends about what I was going through.
I was the most desperate for answers that I’ve ever been in my life.
I had come to a point of questioning my whole existence, and it wasn’t pretty. Whether it was coincidence, or divinely set out before me, I soon came across a woman on Instagram who opened up about her own struggles with anxiety.
I reached out to her, and in very plain terms told her that I was well acquainted with the darkness that she was writing about. The conversation went back and forth, and soon she was sending me devotion after devotion that she had written that spoke straight to my heart.
One that really stuck out to me was a picture of a sticker that she had designed that said, “faith can move mountains,” based off of Matthew 17:20 – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
I had heard that verse before, but it struck me because here and now, I found myself with faith as small as a mustard seed…except now, I felt a little relieved.
Evidently, that was just enough. My faith was small, but it was still there.
I went to work and confided in a close friend there – with tears in my eyes – that I was really struggling. I told her about my panic attacks, but that I had felt touched recently by that devotion that was sent to me. She agreed that the Lord was speaking truth to me through this new friend.
A couple days later, my family went on a little trip together. On our way there, I scrolled through my phone while my husband drove.
I heard my phone chime and realized I had gotten an email. I saw a message from a company that I had bought jewelry from before, and the subject line caught my eye:
“Have you seen our NEW Mustard Seed Faith Bracelet?”
I clicked open the email, and sure enough there it was: a bangle bracelet with a mustard seed encased in a small glass circle.
I couldn’t believe it. What were the chances? God, is that you?
It was like God was trying to communicate to me through a series of different ways that it was ok. He knew my faith was wavering, but He was making himself known to me and let me know that even with my wavering faith it was possible for me to do great things.
Great things like:
- move through having panic attacks every hour
- quit falling asleep with a panic
- starting to build my faith from the ground up
One of my best friends and I now both wear our mustard seed bracelets as a reminder that our faith may be small some days, but it can still move mountains.
Small faith is still enough faith. That’s all it takes. Move forward with that hope today!