What I Mean When I Talk About Faith

What I Mean When I Talk About Faith

No one should have to defend their faith to you.
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I am not here to instruct you on how to conduct your most meaningful or rewarding life. I am also not here to tell you that it will always be easy to have faith. However, what I can promise you is that my relationship with God gives me more strength than I can express in words and I wasn’t always able to see that.

For a long time, I questioned my faith, I wrestled with it, denied it and ran away entirely from it. I closed my mind to what faith could bring into my life and how it could impact the way that I acted with others. We could discuss the politics of religion, the corruption of some churches and the flaws that exist in every religion. I am not going to pretend that these are not real issues. However, I believe that too many of us have stepped away from our faith entirely because of the flaws of organized religions or belief systems. You are allowed to accept certain parts of a religion and to disagree with others.

Your moral code and relationship with whatever higher power you believe in is designed by you.

Faith and how each person decides to practice is incredibly personal. I believe that you can be a spiritual person whether you attend church or not, so long as you practice your faith in prayer and act with good intentions toward others. Ultimately, from where I see it at least, the basis of all faith lies in love. If we can practice love with our whole hearts and commit ourselves to serving those around us and improving the world that we all live in, we are boundless and full of grace.

No person should be afraid to identify themselves in their faith, to talk about their faith or to be proud of their faith. To have such a personal and meaningful aspect of one’s identity be up for scrutiny, questioning or shame speaks volumes about the person who is passing such judgement.

This piece is not to condemn those who do not believe, but it is to invite back into faith those who left because of fear, confusion or whatever else. Sometimes we leave our God(s)/Ultimate Power when we need them most and we resort to unhealthy or unproductive coping mechanisms. Our hardship does not define us and our past traumas can be overcome so long as we do not look to unhealthy behaviors to numb our pain.

Do not run from faith, let it hold you when you fall, motivate you in times of hardship and bring light into your darkest corners. I pray multiple times a day and I remind myself that I am here for a reason. Faith brings me comfort, hope and resilience. Through God, I know that I can do all things that I work hard at. I am no longer afraid to speak up about my faith and I hope that you aren’t either.

Cover Image Credit: Vicstyles

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A Letter From God To Help You Finish The Semester

God sees your struggles and He's here to give you strength and motivation.
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My Child,

The lack of motivation towards the end of the semester is normal. You are mentally and physically tired, but you are almost at the end. Don’t stop walking down the perfect path I have for you. When you’re going along and you come upon a speedbump, I want you to go over it and keep driving. The paper you have to write and the test you have to study for are just small speedbumps I have given you to make you wiser. You can write that paper and you can gain motivation to study for that test. I am here to give you strength, and am here to open up your mind and give you motivation.

You are so loved. You have such a beautiful mind. The light of Jesus shines through your eyes and your smile brings comfort to the world. There’ll be times you feel like you’re carrying a heavy load. There’ll be times you feel like the task I have given you is impossible to perform. But remember this: I would never put anything upon your shoulders that you cannot carry. If I put you in a certain situation, it’s because I know you are strong enough to go through it.

When you feel like crying, cry to me. When you feel like a failure, remember how much I love you. You are not a failure and you are not going to give up. I will hold your hand through every second of your life. I will seek your heart through your darkest moments. I see you, I see your heart, and I see your burdens. And remember that I have your heart which means I also have your burdens. Follow my footsteps and you will be free from the doubt. Remember Mark 4:40-41: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I have the power to calm any storm and wave. I have the power to calm YOUR storms and waves. Set your doubt, anger, and tiredness in my hands and simply be patient.

Romans 8:14-15 says,“For those who are led by the spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again, rather the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” Nothing can separate you from my love. Not even your lack of motivation. You have no motivation because you do not feel good enough. You are more than good enough. You were perfectly made by me and when I look down at you, I think of how proud I am of your heart.

Throughout the last few weeks of this semester, you will stumble upon speedbumps. But hold the hand of my son Jesus and you will be able to go over that speedbump with ease. Go write that paper, go study for that test, and go get an A in that class. I know you can because I have given you power.

Love,

God

Cover Image Credit: Margaret Carnes

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The Notre Dame Cathedral–Such A Loss Of History And Beauty, But What A Gift It Was To Experience It

Reid shares her story as she is saddened for Paris and the church.

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After the massive fire that devastated large parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the 850-year-old cathedral's spire fell. French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to share in the nation's sorrow but gave hope for the future. This includes the rebuilding of the cathedral together and making it more beautiful than ever. "The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our story never ends. And that we will always have challenges to overcome. What we believe to be indestructible can also be touched," Macron said.

Tyler Reid

Among many others, Tyler Reid is saddened for Paris and the church. Although, she counts herself blessed to have seen it such a short time before it was destroyed. Reid, who was lucky enough to visit the amazing structure this past spring break, remarked:

My trip was filled with so many wonderful sites. Although, because Notre Dame carries the title of most-visited monument in Europe, my expectations were high. When I first walked up, there isn't one specific feeling I got; instead, it was more of a million thoughts running though my head. Once inside, looking at the massive stained glass windows combined with all the details in every crevice, it was hard for me to imagine people actually building this without the technology we have today. This hand crafted masterpiece really is so influential considering people still went there to worship, even after so much time has past and so many other cathedrals had been built. This proves how special the Notre Dame Cathedral really is. Due to my experience here, hearing about the fire hurt my heart, especially thinking about how some of the irreplaceable artworks and all of this history may be gone. This place truly influenced people, including me, and for it to be gone is a true tragedy.

Like Macron, Reid shares in the sorrow; although, for her, it was just from one visit. This proves the amazing impact the Notre Dame Cathedral had and hopefully will continue to have even after this devastation.

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