Where Does Your Faith Come From?

Faith means different things for different people. People may say they have faith and it means something terribly different from what faith means to me. I have been warned not to talk about religious aspects of my life, but I can’t avoid talking about faith and religious topics because so much of who I am is because of my faith and it was how I was taught to live and grow. 

Definition of Faith-1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2. Strong belief in God or in doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. 

I believe in faith, and to me faith is based on a belief in God. I do have a Doctrine that I believe in and have tried to stick semi-close to it. To me faith and doctrine are different but they go hand in hand at times. I was raised in a doctrine that I forever seemed to be fighting against. There were so many rules, and rules I just didn’t understand. As the years changed so did some of the rules of our doctrine. This left me feeling even more confused. It was almost easier for me to accept the rules than to accept that over time they would change. After all, who can believe and be taught one thing but 20 years later the church changes the doctrine. This left me asking why quite a bit. This is where I come to believe in faith.  Faith in my God. Faith that my beliefs in him and his word versus what the church tells me would be better for me. 

The last time I was in Church was at least 3 years ago, probably 4. I was a married woman, and we were attending a church in our denomination, but it was not our church. I spend those services that we attended at the end praying for an answer, a change, or a miracle. I did not receive one. What I did receive was strength and courage to leave my marriage. A rule of the doctrine that I broke. Our church believes we should do all we can to fix our marriage, and that a risk to one’s life or cheating are the only reasons for divorce. Both of those applied to me, but divorce seemed so wrong. We both wanted to prove everyone wrong about us so badly but we didn’t. 

Faith was for me holding on to the idea God had a plan for me and he knew better than I did. Even now I lean on faith in God to know what my life needs. To answer my prayer that my fiancé would one day believe in God.  As the song goes – leaning on the everlasting arms. One day his plan will play out. I believe that. 

Over the years I was not always at peace with my faith. I think a lot of us go through really dark times without faith. I completely shut my back on God in my early 20’s. I was positive he had forgotten me and/or forsaken me. I was so angry at God. I asked him why so many times. I cursed him; I didn’t want to hear about God. I can tell you the exact moment things changed for me. I was watching Meg Gibson’s The Passion. I had heard the stories of the crucifixion many times. Until I saw it visually, I had no reality of what the crucifixion was like. That year I was 26. I had already begun to be sober and drug free. I restarted trying to lose weight. I started praying. My life was not perfect and I did many things I am not proud of in the next two years but at the end of the day, it was the beginning of my return to my faith. 

My childhood and teen years I lived with my grandparents and mom. We attended church every Sunday: morning, night, Wednesday and any “extra events”. Like the old saying goes, If the church doors are opened, we were there. My grandfather was a pastor, and my Nana was his prayer warrior. I can remember her talking to God, praying people into heaven it seemed. Their faith was beautiful. It carried them up to the day they passed away. My nana loved the lord. She was always faithful and knew her path so much so she convinced my Papaw to switch religions and not only that –  he became a pastor because of it. I have never been that sure of religion, I just knew that I wanted what they had. I just never seemed willing to sacrifice my desires for what they had. What I was sure of was that I wanted to follow the same doctrine as they did. My Papaw was very much a believer that until you know your faith and can understand not all religion is the same that you should not attend other churches. I in fact was not allowed to attend any of my friends’ churches until I was a teenager. I am thankful for that actually. It helped me a lot when I would be targeted to define what I believed. Even today I would say if you don’t feel like you can stand up for your doctrine then you should stay within the same church structure.  

When I moved to NY, I was sure of one thing – I wanted to go back to church. That shaped my entire time on Long Island. Without the church I would have never found my group of friends. We had a strong bond right up till my ex and I began to fall apart. I learned so much in my time with my forever family. My pastor was so patient with me and I loved him so much. Pastor J was this amazing, kind, modern thinking holy man. I was his secretary for about 3 years. That time was the best time of my life. I felt like I had a purpose and reason to go on. The pride I had in my job I can’t even explain. I felt like God had made this job just for me. During that time, I came to terms that the doctrine did change and I had to figure out what I believed was right and wrong. For a long time, I struggled. 

Between the time on Long Island and now, that is how I found my faith. I can not look to people to keep my faith alive. I can not look to a domination/doctrine to keep me holy. I can’t just make up the rules as I go – which was what I felt the church was doing. I learned you can’t depend on the church, the people to keep your faith alive. Of course, the church and the people are normally an extra boost but you can’t depend on those like you can God himself. 

I believe that God is doing something right now. I can’t sit here and tell you what, but I feel him working in me. My faith is strong, and as I try to bring myself back to who I once was and more, I leave the door open for my God. I am trying my best. I like to listen to my church on Long Island on Sunday Morning via YouTube. I like to listen to praise and worship at least for a little bit each day on the radio. I am in constant conversation with Jesus. My prayers may be just simple and right to the point but doesn’t God know what you’re thinking before you do? My faith in God to help me get back to a healthy place, to be loved and to love wholeheartedly. Yes, my faith keeps me pushing on here the great big internet. One day being able to support myself, even if I don’t have to, is my great ambition. To do this I can’t blanket parts of me – I can no longer keep my faith hidden. I am a broken woman but my faith pushes me forward.

XOXO, Evie

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