Category Archives: Doubt

Series: College Life | Firsts…

I’m in my last semester of college for my BA in English. I have five, yes five, English courses this semester…and a husband, three kids, and a dog. And four of those classes have long book lists so needless to say, I have little time for anything.

With all that said, I miss being here. I am trying to make time to blog but honestly, I’m exhausted. Physically and emotionally. Especially since my last blog which told of another huge loss I’m dealing with. It’s still hard. It’s going to be hard. It’s life. Anyway, a professor from one of my writing classes gave us a writing exercise in class a couple days ago and I wanted to share it all with you…

The exercise: Write about a first or firsts…

“It was ice cold and stark white in the delivery room. Even though I hadn’t started pushing yet, I was already exhausted. It’s indescribable how those sharp, stabbing pains in my stomach and back had stolen any umph I could muster up. It was all I could do just to breathe through them.

Speaking of breathing, I hate that word. I hate focusing on breathing. There was a time in my life when holding my breathe was normal. It was safe. Here was this doctor standing beside me telling me to breathe. Frankly, I wanted to rip his lungs out and say, ‘You try breathing!’

Not to mention my husband standing there with an empathetic look. All I could think was he’d gotten me into this mess — he better figure out a way to get me through it. I wanted to stab him every time the knots got tighter inside. I felt like my body was attacking me, which I’d felt many times before, only this time, it wasn’t my body. It was this strange creature growing inside my body causing this crazy whirlwind of physical and emotional feelings.

I screamed at the doctor, ‘Just get him out!’

I was twenty-two. I wondered what God was thinking letting me have a kid. Didn’t He know how screwed up I was? Why would He trust me with an innocent little kid. I couldn’t even keep a cactus alive, but God expected me to keep a baby alive?

‘Push…’ I hear the nurses say, ‘You can do it…breathe, just breathe.’ I swore if I heard one more person say breathe I was going to smother them all with the extra pillows they’d stuffed behind me.

And then…

I saw these tiny red toes and heard this wimpy, pitiful cry. It was the first time I’d given birth…the first time I’d really known what love was…the first time I had a reason to breathe.”

So there you have it. That’s my creative story of firsts. Though portions of the story may be somewhat exaggerated, when I write, I write from my heart. So yes, that little creature that turned my world upside down…he gave me purpose. He gave me a reason to fight. We’ve had our moments. I’ve had my really crappy mom moments and he’s had his drive me crazy moments. He’s seventeen now. He’s a senior in high school. He’s a volunteer firefighter. He’s training to be an EMT. He’s a good boy. I’m thankful, but still surprised God trusted me to raise this kid…and his two siblings.

Through all the hard in life, in marriage, in parenting, in loss, in grief, in darkness…through it all, I depend on beauty like this to help me breathe again.

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Three T’s for Tuesday – 10/23/12 – Doubt

**What works for my family, may not be the right thing for your family but I have learned a lot through trial and error, mistake and prayer.  I am no expert on families, but I am an expert on mine.  My opinions and suggestions are simply that, opinions and suggestions.  Take from them what works for you and put aside the rest :)

Today’s Three T’s for Tueday:  Tackling Tough Topics is…

Doubt

What are your thought on doubt?

All my life, I remember having doubts.  I doubted the stability in my family.  I doubted love.  I doubted my worth as a person, as a wife, as a parent. 

I doubted people.
I doubted the Bible.
I doubted God.

Even after being sure I had become a Christian and learning to walk a closer walk with God, I didn’t escape those doubts.  They still found their way into my mind. 

As a Christian woman, who had a new found desire to teach, speak and write about God, how could I have doubts?

My very human mind allows things from the world to creep in.  There are many temptations around us that can easily take our eyes off God.  Things as simple as a commercial, a new book, movie, friends, our past…the list goes on and on.

What I find most reassuring now is God’s word.  For a couple years now, I’ve been reading my Bible.  Not just carrying it with me to church or sitting it on the book shelf, but actually reading it, digging into the words, researching words I don’t understanding, and being open to what is being said.  I am doing my own research and not just taking people’s word for it.  Through that, I’m finding I have fewer doubts, especially about God’s word.

You may be reading this and thinking, “Christians are crazy!  There is no proof in God.  How do you know he’s real?”  

If that’s where you are, that’s okay.  I’ve wondered that myself before.  The difference now is I can truly say, whether or not you believe in the Bible, I am living it.  Reading it has helped me.  My life has improved.  I am able to deal with situations now that in the past, would have turned my world upside down.  Things aren’t magically perfect and they never will be.  In fact, we have faced some pretty big doozies around here but through each challenge, I find myself drawn closer and closer to God.

I spent years filled with doubts, mocking preachers, believing I could be a Christian at home without going to church or being preached to.

What I failed to realize was being a Christian didn’t mean just giving myself a name.  It wasn’t just being from the south, growing up in the Bible belt. 

It was more.  

It was a relationship – not with other people, not with a church, but with God.  It was believing that my life could change through His word, by soaking in the lessons, living them.

I grew up believing it was wrong to question things but now, I find answers through those questions.  Are you unsure of what to believe?  Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  One of the best places to turn is right to the Bible.  There are many references, to doubt, found in the Bible.  It’s not something new and so many have faced and worked through their doubts through the help of God’s word.

Do you find yourself filled with doubt?  What do you do to ease those doubts?  Do you believe God’s word can have an impact on your life?  Are you willing to test it out?  To give God a chance to prove himself to you?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.  Proverbs 3:5-8

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Forgiven…

For years, I felt like I was nothing.  I doubted God’s love for me.  I turned away from Him.  I was angry with God.  I felt abandoned by Him.  I felt unworthy.  I felt worthless.  I had no hope.  I had all these “feelings” and yet for the most part, I couldn’t feel anything.  I was numb.

I lived in darkness.

I tried to read my Bible – I physically saw the words on the page but they just weren’t reaching me.  I put away my Bible, time and time again.  I was convinced God just wasn’t for me.  How could He love someone like me?  Why would He waste His love on me?  Why would He bother with me when I was just broken and bitter?

Darkness is crippling.  
Darkness is scary.
Darkness is like sitting on the edge of death without the ability to just die.

Many emotions, thoughts and memories haunted my mind.  I hated the thought of facing another day.  I lived without hope.  I ached for freedom from this life.

I prayed for an escape.  I prayed for the pain to go away.  I prayed for peace.  With every prayer, I really thought God would give me the strength to end it all.  He answered my prayers, but not at all in the way I ever would have imagined.

He cleansed me.
He washed away my pain.
He wiped away my tears.
He held me in His arms.
He assured me of His love.
He promised me a future.
He gave me hope. 

He forgave me.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

————————————————————————————————————————–
When I don’t fit in
And I don’t feel like I belong anywhere
When I don’t measure up to much in this life
Oh, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ

‘Cause I’m forgiven
Oh, I’m forgiven
I don’t have to carry the weight on who I’ve been
‘Cause I’m forgiven 

Sanctus Real – Forgiven   (official video here) (Sanctus Real website here)
————————————————————————————————————————– 

I am a treasure in the arms of Christ?!  What a wonderful thought!  What a blessing!  I never imagined I could be anything even close to a treasure, much less to God.  He has given me the wisdom to seek Him, the ability to trust Him, and desire to share with others, the work He has done in my life.  He has given me peace.

Psalm 34:17-19  The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;  He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 29:11  The Lord gives strength to his people;  the Lord blesses his people with peace.

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you;  my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16  Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with all of you.

John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have over come the world.”

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Keep on reading…

John 3:16  “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.”

So this was a verse I heard over and over this morning at church.  It was the verse we focused on in the 2nd grade Sunday School room as we talked about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It was one of the verses preached by a missionary who visited our church today.  As he read John 3:16 and talked about what a beautiful verse it is, he also mentioned how we tend to stop there but when we read further, we learn more.

So, reading on, John 17-18 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only son.”

As usual, I had to scroll down the page of my NIV Life Application Study Bible and read the notes.  I love trying to learn what I can from the verses but most of the time, it takes me reading the notes to really understand what the verses are saying.  With that said, I *adore* my Bible and couldn’t live without it.  I definitely recommend it to anyone searching for a new Bible :)

The notes go on to say in verse 18 that when Jesus talks about unbelievers, he means those who reject or ignore him completely, not those who have momentary doubts.

I am thankful for that little addition.  Many times, I have worried that my doubts are unforgivable or unacceptable.  Based on the above statements, I am reassured that my doubts just show I am human.  I know as I learn more and grow in my faith, my doubts will lessen.  That statement also makes me sad for those who reject Jesus.  I know there were times in my life when I turned away from God, when I sought bad things, whether it was in spite or to punish myself, either way, I see now how much it damaged my life and how much I have grown putting my faith and trust in God.

Diving further into these verses, in John 3:19-21, Jesus says, “This is the verdict:  Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, sot that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

You hear John 3:16 all the time.  It’s one of the first verses I remember memorizing.  It’s printed on shirts.  It’s displayed on automobiles.  It’s in commercials.  It’s probably one of the most well known verse of the Bible.  I admit, before today, I had never read past John 3:16.  I never knew I needed to, but today, it was exactly what I needed to read! 

John 3:19-21 spoke to me in several ways.  In my Bible notes, it says, “Many people don’t want their lives exposed to God’s light because they are afraid of what will be revealed.  They don’t want to be changed.  Don’t be surprised when these same people are threatened by your desire to obey God and do what is right, because they are afraid that the light in you may expose some of the darkness in their lives.  Rather than giving in to discouragement, keep praying that they will come to see how much better it is to live in light than in darkness.”  Further on in my notes, it says this about verse 25, “Some people look for points of disagreement so they can sow seeds of discord, discontent, and doubt.”

Having come out of the darkness and into the light, I strongly believe that it is so much better to be open about all those ugly secrets than to carry them around.  I have been in positions where I made decisions that were right but was condemned and criticized for my decisions.  That left me with doubt – did I really do the right thing or were these people right to criticize me?  Reading John has eased that doubt.  I know right from wrong and when others have issues with me making the right choices, it’s simply that – their issue, not mine.  

I was consumed by the darkness and I have hidden for many years, the dark, ugly secrets of my past.  I believed that was all that was possible in my life…that I would forever be burdened by shame and guilt, I would always live with fear and worry, I would stay consumed with memories and nightmares of a tragic life.  I don’t know the exact moment all of that changed, but at some point, I gave up – I turned it all over to God and he freed me from my chains.  I give him all the glory because without him, I wouldn’t be here.  The only way I can comprehend my existence today is to believe that God does have a purpose for me.  When I read the notes above about the darkness, I am reminded of all the years I spent in the dark and how that is a place I wouldn’t wish on anyone – a place I pray I never have to visit again and yet it’s a place I don’t want to forget.  I want to remember where I came from so that somehow, someway, God can use my pain to help others who are where I was.  Forgetting or denying where I’ve been would give me nothing to show how God has worked in my life, but being open about those years, admitting my guilt, my faults, my shortcomings, my choices, my suffering – all of that and showing where I am now – that is proof of God’s grace, His redemption, His love!

I am thankful today that this missionary pointed out for us to read further – past the pretty verses we tend to memorize and get the whole story.  It was a gentle reminder to me to keep going, to really soak in His words and apply them to my life.  He speaks right to the things we need to hear – but we have to be open to hearing what He has to say.  I am amazed daily at the way He answers the questions in my life!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Letting go of doubt and holding on to faith!

1 Corinthians 2:1-5  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

When I first read that verse this past Sunday and even now typing it out, it nearly brings me to tears.  This is something I have been struggling with.  As God has opened doors for me to lead others, to teach others and to share His word, I have struggled with inadequacies, insecurity and doubt.  I have feared that my lack of knowledge would be a huge downfall in this area.  I have wondered if I am qualified to be in this position.

I have even doubted God.  

Through all of that He continues to reassure me time and time again that I am where He wants me.  Verses like the one above from 1 Corinthians are where I find my comfort.  Paul did not come with fancy words and superior wisdom, he simply came and shared what He felt God leading him to share.  He admitted his weaknesses and fears.  Being a brilliant scholar, Paul had all the knowledge to share intellectual arguments.  Instead, He relied fully on God.

Paul’s statement doesn’t give me an excuse not to study.  I still have to read and learn as much as I can and thankfully, God has given me that desire but I also know that the wisdom and knowledge doesn’t come over night.  It’s something I will have to work at for the rest of my life.  What a blessing it is to me, though, to know that I don’t have to know all the big words or have the fanciest presentation for God to use me.

I do mess up – just ask the ladies from my Wednesday night class about emnity, which I now know means “The state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” HA!

I still don’t know many of the stories.
I am weak when it comes to memorizing verses.
I struggle to make sense of some of what I read.
I doubt.

But…

I keep it real.
I make people smile.
Others have found their voice in my presence.
I have also found my voice.
I have shared my own weaknesses and doubts.
I am learning.
We are all learning.

Psalm 31:3  Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

I am nothing more than a testimony to how God can impact a life and how He can bring someone to a place of hope and faith.  By His grace, I am saved! 

Ephesians 2:8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Relying on God…

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Today, as I read a devotion from Renee Swope, author of A Confident Heart, I’m drawn to the verse above and her version of it – “Instead of giving in to the whispers of worry spoken by our enemy, let’s listen to God’s promise of peace”.

It’s so easy for us to get dragged down by worry and doubt.  Satan creeps in, dose by dose, fueling the worries.  He finds his way in through the tiniest openings – into our hearts, into our minds, into our souls.  We have to work and fight really hard to keep him out.

How do we overcome these strongholds of doubt and worry?  How do we fight back against our enemies?  How do we move forward in good, Godly ways, without compromising our beliefs, our hearts and our minds.  How do we keep from sinking into the pit of despair brought on by Satan’s attack with worry?

We turn to God!  

Psalm 46:1 tells us, God is our refuge and strength,  an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 91:2 says, I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

And in Psalm 18:2 we read,  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

The LORD is…

My REFUGE
My STRENGTH
My ROCK
My FORTRESS
My DELIVERER
My SHIELD
My SALVATION
My STRONGHOLD

Satan certainly doesn’t make things easy.  I have my moments when things happen and I just want to shout how absurd things are or share my hurt feelings or point out others faults.  I have done those things in the past and it didn’t help the situation at all – in fact, I think my quick mouth often made situations worse.  I have learned and am still learning to be careful with my words and my thoughts.  I have to constantly remind myself that God is bigger than every situation that I face and that He is in control.  I am reminded through His word to pray continually.  And so I do, for all those hurting and struggling, for those affected by disease, distress, depression, for those wandering and lost,  and for myself, to continue to walk in His guidance, step by step, seeking Him, loving Him and leaning on His word, His truth, and not relying on the world.

Does that mean Satan won’t still attack me?  Of course not!  The closer I get to God, the more Satan wants to jump in my life.  I have a choice to make – I can either let Satan win or I can follow my heart and my beliefs and live for God because God has loved me, has forgiven me, has carried me and has promised me truths.  Satan cannot compete with my God – my God is so much bigger!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com