What does it mean to believe something? Is it just something we say, or is it something we do? Something we act on? In the standard trust exercise of falling backwards, I can say that I believe you will catch me, but if I never fall, does what I say mean anything? What we believe shapes our lives, our every choice…but only if it is something more than just words.
I have spent the past 3 years being shaped by my belief. When my husband left me I had to face the hard question of, what do I believe? and what does that really mean to me now? What I believe is that my God is a big God, who can do miracles and change peoples lives. I have seen this; I have evidence to support this belief. I also believe marriage is sacred and I don’t believe adultery always has to lead to divorce. But what do these beliefs mean if they don’t change the way I think, the choices I make, the way I live? What does that even look like?
For me it looks like the wedding ring still on my finger. I made a choice to say, “If I really believe what I say I believe, then …” I have to believe that God can work a miracle in this situation; I have to believe that God can change my husband. But at the same time, I also had to wrestle with the very real reality of free will. He had the free will to make the choices he made, and God wasn’t going to stop him. There were no guarantees. But I also had the freedom to make my own choices, and I chose to honor my end of the vows. Just because he had broken his, didn’t give me the right to break mine. Two wrongs do not make a right. I told God I would wear my wedding ring until the day I held a final divorce decree in my hand, and to this day I do. Not as a symbol of love, but as a reminder of what belief means.
It has not been easy. Time and time again, I have been done with it all, wanting to throw in the towel. And time and time again God has asked me “Do you really believe?” and each time the choice was harder. Heart wrenching; gut level crying out to God, wondering why he kept asking this of me. And the answer always came back “Do you trust me?” And that always ended up bringing me back to where I started, asking myself “if you really believe what you say you believe…” Do you really believe God has your best in mind? Do you really believe he has a plan for you?
I am by no means perfect. But as this chapter of my life comes to a close, I can look back and say I did my best to take my belief out my head and mouth and put it in to my heart and actions. By honoring God it has given me time to heal, time to become someone who knows what I believe. I may get impatient and I may worry and want to know when, but deep down I KNOW God has a plan for me. And when God releases me into the next chapter, I look forward to seeing where my belief leads me.
Part Two to come.