I believe in mermaids because I saw them at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Florida, and I have the t-shirt to prove it.
My grandson does not believe in mermaids; he’s never seen one and thinks I am ridiculous to make such a statement. When I mentioned that I am a truthful adult and couldn’t he just believe me when I said that I’d seen them, he laughed at me. Trying to make a point, I asked him if he believes in platypuses even though he’s never seen one. He replied that of course he believes in platypuses because they are real. I asked him how he knew that and did he have a t-shirt to prove it. He replied with a tone of justification that he knows platypuses are real because he learned about them on a cartoon called Phineas and Ferb, at which point the conversation ended because we were cracking up. It was a silly conversation from start to finish. He can’t go by faith that mermaids exist because he’s never seen one. On the other hand, he believes in platypuses because he received the information from a believable source. Don’t even get me started on defining believable sources.
I believe in God. I believe that He lives in my heart because I had the indescribable experience where my heart opened and God flooded it with absolute faith that He exists. I could type page upon page explaining what happened to me, but there’s a good chance that while my experience would resonate with some, it wouldn’t resonate with everyone because their experiences are different. That doesn’t change the fact that so many people have the same belief system no matter what path they took to get there.
My heart opened, God came in. It would be unthinkable, life-destroying, to try to kick him out.
2016 has been a difficult year for me. It’s been life-changing, marriage-destroying, heart breaking and more painful than any time I’ve ever experienced. I’ve cried more tears this year than maybe my whole life up until this point. I’ve been angry and resentful at God at times, and I’ve told him so. In the middle of my situation, I’ve cried out, “Why me?” and not received a satisfactory answer. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe I have to experience this year, get to the other side of my personal tragedy so that I can move forward on a path that God wants to lay before me. I have to walk it in faith, which is, at times, pretty darn sucky. (I am not sure I should even say that word in a church blog but I think God values honesty over pretty word choices.)
But here’s the thing: though I have not been the perfect Christian during my difficult times, God has been a perfect, loving God despite my angry outbursts, my resentment and tears, my demands for explanation. New people have come into my life with experiences and advice that I would not have sought or understood before. New experiences have shown up at my doorstep that I wouldn’t have considered before. I have grown in ways I couldn’t have before. Though I have anxiety attacks regularly, I breathe through them with the surety that good things are on the horizon because I know absolutely that God is swirling within the mix.
I don’t know how to tell another person how to walk in faith through difficult times. But I can say that throughout this year, God has been in the middle of my struggles. Miracles have happened. Because God lives in me, I have been able to slog through the mud of my life and still appreciate that the rain that makes the mud also provides life to the earth and to me. The tragedy and blessings walk hand in hand, and I wouldn’t be able to see them without God allowing the bad experiences so I can appreciate the good experiences. I believe that I am capable of seeing the blessings because God lives within me. He provides the nuance and color to my life. He gives me faith.
Written by Kathy
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.