As I sit here and think about what I want to say, I struggle to find the right words. I think that I have started this about a dozen times. I wonder if anything I have to say even matters? Will it make a difference in anyone’s life? Will someone think I am crazy? I have so many ideas running through my head. It just seems to be a jumbled mess. So, I have decided to take a little bit of advice from my brother-in-law. He said just pick one thing, and use the rest for next time. So, I am going to pick one thing. Well not really me, but God is.
As I was getting ready for work one morning, I asked God, “What do I write about?” I don’t really think I was expecting His answer to be quite like it was. I had already started writing about my childhood and much of the struggles I have faced in my lifetime. I even had some things written about the pandemic and some difficult decisions there, so I completely expected Him to say something on those lines. But the answer was “faith”—really? Faith? There is no way I can write about faith. I completely feel like a failure when it comes to faith. So, after a long argument in my head about why I CAN’T write about faith, here goes.
I am Alisa, the very proud mother to Michaela and Rebekah, loving wife to Chris, daughter-in-love to Mike and Sarah and Kelli, Aunt Alisa (the crazy cat-scared aunt) to the niece and nephews, and sister to everyone else. This is my tribe. This is my family. One that I wasn’t born into, but one that I choose to keep no matter what. These are the people who know me better than myself, who love me unconditionally, and seek my highest good. Without them, I am certain I could not get through these difficult times. God uses them each and every day to speak to me and to teach me about love, family, devotion, trust, and faith.
God has really been working on me to understand faith, so I suppose that is why He wanted me to write about it. Boy, have I learned a lot about the subject lately, and I have really been tested to see what my faith is in. It seems like every day I am reminded of little things that help me grow my faith. One Sunday during praise and worship, I was praying and God said, “I am here, open your eyes and see me.” When I opened my eyes, I saw my family, each one from the youngest to the oldest, praising God. God said, “I am here in each and every one of them even though you can’t physically see me.” I can’t see Him but I have faith that He is here.
So, what is faith? What does that really mean? I am by no means an expert or great philosopher when it comes to the idea of faith. So, I am going to attempt to put what faith is to me in words. The Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). I have faith that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Not because I have seen Him, but rather because I believe it and hope for it. I have faith that God is here even if I can’t see Him. He is in the midst of us. He guides all things. He is in control.
Some people say, “faith over fear”. But I think it is more like faith in the presence of fear. Fear is a feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined. It can be driven by the unknown. It can be completely irrational or even rational. For me, fear happens when I don’t know what is going to happen, what to do, how to resolve a conflict, or when I feel out of control. I don’t think that if you have a feeling of fear that you have no faith; but I do however think that having faith will lead us through our fear and get us through the valley to the other side, a better side. The Bible says in II Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” So, through faith in God, the word, and the Holy Spirit we are able to move past our fears to find peace and understanding.
I am no expert. I definitely struggle. There are days, I rock along and think, “God’s got this.” Then there are days, I feel overrun by fear. My anxiety of the unknown gets in the way. My ideas that I have to control this because no one else will causes me more fear. Thoughts of being a failure take over. My mind races out of control, and I feel like I have no faith, how could I be so weak. I feel like Lot’s wife, who wasn’t willing to give up the comfortable, familiarity of Sodom and Gomorrah. She wasn’t able to look forward and know that what God had waiting for her on the other side was more than she could have imagined. It was for her good, if she only had faith in Him.
I look back and ask myself, when has God ever let me down. Maybe He let me down when I was a child living in a volatile, inconsistent home? No, I grew stronger and into who I am today. Maybe He let me down when I had no way to pay for college? No, He made a way through someone else’s generosity. Maybe He let me down when I had high blood pressure in both of my pregnancies? No, I have two beautiful girls stronger and more faithful than I can ever be. Maybe He let me down when my husband and I struggled at work. No, He made a way for us to see Him and to show others who He is. He has never let me down. He has always provided a path through the valley. He has always guided my steps, and He will not stop now. My list could go on and on and still through all the seemingly darkness, I can see that He is there. So, if He has never let me down, why would He start now? I have faith that He will not.
So, all that I know about faith relies on what I know and believe to be true based on the word of God. To get through struggles, I have to know what the word says. What does the Bible tell me? What is true about God’s ways? I use His scriptures to combat my fears. I turn to Him and pray. I read my Bible daily, and I use that as an anchor to ground my thinking. God’s word is infallible. It is true yesterday, today, and forever. It is relevant in every situation and all answers lie within in it. I have faith in God’s word and know that the Bible is the foundation for all my thinking and my decisions. God’s word is true.
There has been so much uncertainty. We live in unprecedented times. Things have changed around us so quickly, and I believe that they will continue to do so. When things are difficult and uncertain, I choose to believe with faith that my God is in controls He loves me, He will never leave me, He will not give me more than I can bare, and He will lead me through the valley. Those beliefs guide me, comfort me, and keep me focused on the Lord. When a struggle is placed before me, I choose to believe Psalms 118:6, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”
I pray that you may see God in all things, seek His word, and have faith that He has a purpose for your life if you believe in Him. Matthew 17:20 says, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
— Written by Alisa