A couple of month's ago I started a new series called "Keeping Faith" with a post entitled "Why I Believe". Now as we enter the new year and I look back on all we have come through in the past, it makes sense to expand on this with a post on how this faith helps in times of need.
It doesn't matter who you are or how perfect your life may seem to an outsider, there will always be times in your life that inner turmoil reigns over inner peace. It could be the loss of a loved one, a change in careers or even a new relationship: the things that shake us do not have to be negative to cause us to lose balance inside.
I remember when I first started my relationship with Tim. The strength of the emotions I felt in connection to him was so overwhelming that I panicked. At first it was visible as "I like him, but I don't know how much I like him", and eventually turned into, "I like him, but I don't know what to do with these feelings". Such was the intensity that I actually became physically ill and it took Tim's wisdom in saying "we can go back to being friends if that's what you want," for my heart to finally conquer the fears of my mind and scream "don't you dare lose him!"
Such times can be as baffling as other times are painful. Your whole world can be torn apart by fear, confusion or anger. When it feels that life is spiralling out of control and you have no idea where you are headed, that is when faith can help you find meaning.
Earlier this week I wrote about the time, seven years ago, that I re-found my faith and it brought me back from a very dark place. Although such a huge shift in perspective doesn't happen every day, the smaller comforts of faith can be just as helpful.
Over the past few years, for example, I have had to come to terms with Endometriosis and the effects it can have on my life. Faith helped me to realise that I didn't have to hide this side of myself, that I didn't have to act as if nothing was wrong and that, in fact, I was stronger if I accepted this aspect of my life and learnt to live with it as opposed to despite it.
Without faith I would have found it meaningless pain, but with faith I began to see the blessings within it. Endometriosis, for all the pain it causes, teaches me so much about life, compassion and awareness of self and others. I am more passionate about seeing the burdens others have to overcome, and I am grateful for the insight this gives me into the strength of the human spirit.
But it is perhaps, when my faith is failing, that I realise just how much I rely on it. Only when I lost the ability to see beyond the present challenge and find the meaning within it did I truly value the power of faith. Without it, I fell into a pit of despair and depression.
It has taken me a long time to find my way back beyond the anger, jealousy and fear that tore my spirit apart, and yet now I have I realise just how much meaning faith can bring to life. With faith, no matter what form it takes, even the biggest challenge has a role to play, and although it may not ease the physical pain it can certainly ease the ache in your heart. But more that that, the greatest gift it can provide is this: the courage to keep seeking, and facing each challenge, with the hope that one day it will all have been worth it!