Struggling With My Faith

Struggling With My Faith

A little bit about my struggles with my faith and return to it.
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On the surface, I may appear to be a good, practicing Christian. I attend Mass as often as possible (work prevents me from going), I'm currently trying to join the Knights of Columbus, I pray often. As I said, superficial. However, for a long time, I have struggled with my faith immensely at times, even going as far as to have doubted His existence at points. I'm very much the Doubting Thomas of the Gospel at times.

Why have I struggled? A few things. One is the immense amount of pain and suffering we see around us in the world. How could this continue to occur as often as it has? The shootings. The conflicts. The attacks on civilians. So senseless and depraved that it seems... random. Not divine. It's difficult. Another big reason for my struggles involves my sister. No matter how hard I had prayed and pleaded with Him, it seemed to all be futile. She passed, and all of my begging was apparently useless. It shook my faith to my core.

One other main issue is that I find myself partaking in the same sinful acts over and over again. Now, I will not list them here. The fact of the matter is that I strain my relationship with God and continue to make that divide larger at times, as well as prolonging the time I spend away from Him. Sometimes, it makes me feel as if God is just farther and farther away from a speck called the globe, rather than being actively involved with me. It feels... empty. Not enjoyable. Whatever word you could use to describe it.

I do not know exactly how I managed to bounce back and resume believing as I have. Maybe it was hoping to see my family that had passed before me like my sister. Maybe I found it to be intellectually satisfying. Maybe it was the church. Maybe it began with me reading the Bible more. All I know is it changed. I had attended church for awhile, but that was more due to my mom taking me. However, something clicked; I read the Bible far more often, I prayed, I began to actively participate in the church in some form. I enjoyed it as well. Some switch from before, when I could barely muster up the desire to go.

Today, I still practice my faith, albeit with the acknowledgment of those same struggles. I still have my questions regarding God. I still have my issues with my faith at times. However, my faith lies deep inside, hopefully, unaffected by other issues plaguing the world or my personal life. Though I may at times find myself beset by doubts regarding Christianity, I still maintain my belief in the eternal somehow. And that is enough for me at the end of the day.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Where Is The Good In Good Friday?

The million dollar question: why is it called Good Friday if what happened to Jesus on this day was so gruesome?

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The name of this holiday and what happened on this day all those years ago just don't seem to add up. Jesus was beaten, mocked, and scorned. He hung on a cross with nails driven through his hands and his feet. He had to struggle for every breath of air up until his last one. This doesn't seem to fit our definition of good, So why do we call it Good Friday?

Perhaps the reason for the name of this day is not because what Jesus had to go through was good, but because what was to come was. When Jesus died on the cross, nobody who loved Jesus at that time perceived that moment as good. There was so much sorrow and hurt and darkness literally fell over the earth. They had no idea that on the third day Jesus would conquer death and raise from the dead.

Good Friday is good in the eyes of Christians because without that gruesome death Jesus went through on the cross, we would never be able to experience life with Him. When Christ died, the veil of the temple was torn in two, thus erasing the separation between God and man. We wouldn't have His holy spirit living inside of us without His death.

Another reason Good Friday is good is because His death had to occur in order for the resurrection to happen. The resurrection happened on the third day, the day we also know as Easter. This is a day of great celebration because we perceive the fact that Jesus defeated death and came back to life as a good thing. It makes you wonder why it's not called "Good Sunday". This celebrated resurrection could not have happened without the gruesome death, which Jesus knew as He was hanging on that cross.

While it's difficult to give a definitive answer to the question of why Good Friday is, in fact, good, I hope this provides a little bit of perspective. On this day, let's remember Jesus' death and celebrate because of what it means. When Jesus died, so did our sin and shame, but unlike Jesus, they did not come back to life. The death of Jesus means the death of sin and the death of the shame that accompanies it.

Let's celebrate Jesus and that good news on this Good Friday!

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