Woman of Faith
I have been asked how I came to have such a strong faith in God. My answer had always bee "oh my Mom." Until recently.
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”. Titus 2:1-5 ESV
My faith is strong today because of who God is. Growing up I was in church every time the doors were opened. Every single time. If there was something happening at church, I was there. Youth camp, there. Car wash, yep. I played church well.
At home, I read my Bible (some) alone in my room. I never saw my parents read their Bible. They never saw me read mine for that matter. Sunday school lessons were not read or discussed openly either. If you had asked me then about their reading habits, I probably would have answered they didn't have a lot of time for reading. (Not really true). My Mother loved to read. She read thick historical romance books. She eventually introduced them to me. Innocence prevented me from understanding all of them, but I read them (all 600+ pages-seemed they were that long at first). These books became an escape for me. I blushed at the thought of what I was escaping to.
When I reflect on my Mother, I would say she was a good woman. A woman who would give her customers and friends anything. I would say her public life mirrored a good Southern Christian woman. Behind closed doors, she was different. She could be giving. However, her parenting style involved shame and comparison. She easily made me feel less. No matter how hard I tried, I could never out shine her Son.
He shaming statements were aimed to control me. They went straight to my heart and my confidence suffered. Statements like "Crystal, you could be so pretty" or "You are so stupid" told me I was stupid and ugly. But the comparison hurt more. It started hiding in my room more. I never could do enough for her.
Suicide became my solution to escape the pain of living. I tried several times and each time failed. What should have worked, didn't. You see, each painful moment I was attempting, I cried out a prayer. Each time, I brought God into my presence. Towel bar gave way to my weight, the pills didn't even upset my stomach, and starvation was slow. I tried slitting my wrist, but I was trying to escape the pain not inflict more.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV
My Mother's testimony was different from mine. I watched hers when she gave it at church. I was not invited to hear it live, she gave me a tape of it. Hers was all about my brother dying and God carrying her through. She spoke more about my brother than of God. It hurt me to hear it. Reflecting on my testimony, well I spoken a lot about the pain I lived. But hopefully you hear God more. My focus should always be on God more than what I went through.
I am a woman of Faith because I have a God who is able to shield me from the storms of life. Or pick me up when those storms knock me down. In my darkest moments, I found my way to the cross. I laid there and cried, those outstretched arms covered me in the blood we know as love. Yes, I am a Woman of Faith, not because of anyone here on earth, but because of what God did for me through His son.
Are you a Woman of Faith? A Man of Faith? Do your actions, words...life reflect that Faith? My Mother had faith, but she missed the mark to follow the instructions of Titus 2. But it ended up that God provide what she could not, acceptance and love.