A woman recently asked me, “How do you remain joyful?” A similar question or remark often follows people learning of my story. For new readers, I’m a survivor of two suicides—my son and then later my husband.
My response to the question is always, “By sheer faith, it is not of myself. Christ alone helped me to survive. I couldn’t survive once and certainly not a second time.” The woman gently probed further seeking something more concrete and less cliché despite the truth of my reply.
She waited as I gathered my thoughts of tangible “how tos.” After a few moments, I shared three things that helped me through the lowest, roughest parts of my life. Perhaps these can be useful tools when your faith is tested.
Having a Support Team
I was connected with supportive people who prayed for me when I couldn’t find words to pray myself. These people were invaluable to my recovery. We had established relationships that existed before the tragic events occurred.
I chose to speak truth over myself regardless of how I felt. I listened to lots of online sermons and read books trying to make sense of what I was going through. Both activities were in part a minimal form of distraction from my pain. Yet in my mess, the Holy Spirit used one tidbit noted below. Somehow the truth resonated as being more real than my pain. With a dry erase marker, I wrote the phrase on the corner of my bathroom mirror. I declared the statement out loud several times each day, often while sobbing, tears streaming down my face and gulping for air, knowing it was true even though I wasn’t feeling it. It was on my mirror several years, until it was rooted deep in my soul.
In Christ, I am
and deeply loved.
If you’re a Christian you know this is foundationally true. But we don’t always feel it. Our emotions can be out of sync with the truth when we are in crisis.
“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One” (Ephesians 1:3-6, CSB).
Do you see it in my bold emphasis? In Christ, I am greatly blessed with every spiritual blessing. The passage says nothing about material, physical, or financial comforts rather a spiritual blessing. In Christ, I’m highly favored because He chose me in love to be adopted into His family. In Christ, I’m deeply loved by the grace He lavishes on me. The blessing, favor, and love are despite the prevailing circumstances.
Repeat Truth in Honesty
I chose to be authentic with God. To do otherwise is self-deceptive, I can’t hide anything from Him. God knows and sees all. After my husband’s death, a cousin shared a lament that helped him through a faith crisis. He cried out, “God I don’t understand you, but I will trust you.” He told me he would say that phrase as often as needed, maybe one hundred times per day. I began to do likewise. The sincerity of those simple words was like a balm to my aching soul.
This song speaks of the same truths. May you be encouraged through Christ’s blessings, favor, and love.
Dear Readers, do you have a phrase or scripture that has helped you through a crisis of faith? How do you maintain joy despite trials of life?
Dear Father God, I have accepted the salvation offered through the shed blood of Jesus. Therefore, I am blessed beyond measure. I am given favor because I am deeply loved by You. Holy Spirit, help me to reject enemy lies and to flood my mind with righteousness. Help me walk in obedience to You. I will not let my emotions dictate my thinking. You have conquered the enemy—the evil one. Victory with You is cause to praise Jehovah for all eternity. Hallowed be Your name!
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About section if you want to read more of my story.
Copyright © 2020-2021 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.
Two mugs on a wood table with autumn colors. Photo by Kiy Turk on Unsplash.