How many layers of cotton in my mask will keep me safe? Will I miss a year (or two years) of everyone’s lives that I love? If I die of COVID, will people know who I was and what I lived for? Why do so many Christians seem to have different beliefs than me?… Do I even want to be a Christian?
I can’t think of a time in my life where I may have had more questions. Even when things were really difficult or really sad, at least I had my feet on solid ground. The pandemic pulled the rug out from under us. Some of my questions have been answered (2-3 layers of cotton are great, but staying home is best). And some of my questions have only become louder.
And then there’s this. I just learned about neuroplasticity, the malleability of the brain. That our brain physically changes with every new experience, every moment from when we are born until we die. So, if I’m constantly evolving, who am I today? Who will I be tomorrow?
Hold on, I’m spinning.
Someone who grounds me in my anxiety is my husband. And when it comes to my faith, it helps that he doesn’t believe in God, at least not exactly. He supports me and attends church with me despite not feeling like he needs it. We both have no desire to “change the other’s mind” because what is important to us—our values of equality, compassion, and generosity—align.
So seeing an example of a loving person who doesn’t believe in God, you would think it would be hard to explain why my faith is still important to me, or why I still have faith at all.
But I just have faith.
I’ve felt it. I feel my great-grandpa in heaven smiling down. I feel a piece of Jesus in my heart, and a desire to make the world a better place for people. I’ve felt a warm hug on the darkest day after crying “God, please help. I don’t know what to do.”
So how do I move forward? That’s a good question.
I guess one cup of hot tea at a time. One more good laugh with a friend. One more flower. One more therapy session. One more act of service. One more prayer of “Thank you, God, for this day.”
My brain will do its thing and evolve, and hopefully, my heart will grow too. I don’t know who I will be tomorrow, but I think it will be grounded in love for others. I just feel it.
Written by Sydnie Mares
I collected stories about how faith kept people moving forward and put them together as a devotional for this Lenten season.
You can download the entire devotional here: