This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.
Oh, this word. It’s a hard one sometimes. Part of the reason is something that has happened in popular Christian culture, where having “faith” has been tied into somehow controlling God, as if that’s possible. We’ve gotten it into our heads that having enough faith will make everything turn out the way we want it to. But it’s not about God giving us everything we ask for – instead, I have come to realize that faith brings us to a place of asking for and desiring most the things God is already giving to us. Sometimes, that journey will break your heart.
My moment of greatest struggle with this happened the day we learned our daughter would die. I had driven by myself back to Health Bridge, a kind of nursing home for children (and yes, it’s as sad as that sounds). I struggled alone to pack up everything we had there, from cards sent with get-well wishes to our clothing and laptop computer. The thing I remember most clearly was a pile of pennies. I have no idea why it was just pennies – maybe we had raided the change for the vending machine? But there was this big pile of pennies, not quite a dollar’s worth but close. And I could not handle one. more. thing. So I threw them away.
I know it’s such a waste, but it was too much to find something to put them in to carry them away in our car, which was already far too full. Of all of the lonely moments in my life, those few hours are easily in the top five. I had no help, because my husband was at the hospital with our daughter and everyone else was too far away to get there in time. And through the whole thing, I kept thinking, “if we just pray, together, over our daughter, she will be healed,” or, “if we believe enough, God will make her better…” The thoughts just kept swirling, like somehow I had the power to stop the path we were on. As though faith and prayer were parlor tricks to manipulate the creator of the universe, who held us in His hands, and in that very moment was holding onto my broken heart and also holding my daughter and husband and millions of others in His creation, giving each of us the full, undivided attention we most needed. Because He’s GOD.
That was the day that I learned what faith really is. It’s trusting that God will not let go, no matter what. Even when the worst things happen. Even when children die. Even when life turns everything upside down. God is holding onto us through it all, and in the end, nothing in this life matters. Those pennies, virtually worthless, have come to represent how fleeting everything in this life is for me. Useful in the moment, but we cannot take it when we leave this world.
So let it go. Let go of the stuff that holds you back from trusting in God to hold onto you. And thanks for sharing the journey with me.
Next post coming tomorrow.
Jessica Sauer said:
Steph – you are a beautiful person. Thank you for being so transparent. Love, Jess
Sharon R Zehnder said:
I LOVE your writing! Thanks for sharing so from the heart too. I can’t imagine the feelings you go through to write what you do, but it ministers God to us.