Thursday, October 4, 2018

Living with both fear and faith....

I lived in an almost constant state of fear for years. October is a hard month for me, not only because it was one of the incidents that I experienced, (I am reminded every time I see a fog machine,) but because it is National Domestic Violence month.

Every year, I consider wearing purple on the day of the month that he left me. I only did it once. A tiny, purple ribbon. The truth is, I don't want to dwell on what happened in the past. I don't want to be reminded. It's not really a part of my life any more. And I certainly don't want to talk about it.

But I don't have much choice about being reminded, so I choose to talk so that other people can feel a little less alone. And still more can catch a glimpse of a world I hope they never have to truly understand, no matter how much I long for understanding.

Getting out of my relationship didn't help the fear. It honed it. As with most abusive people, the loss of control made him truly rage. And that rage echoes through the years. He simply can't let it go completely, and focus on his new wife and his kids. But it's okay. Every time he tries something new, he loses a little more power. So rather than focusing on that, I want to talk about hope and faith in the midst of fear.

We all have had cause to fear. Fear not being good enough. Fear judgment. Fear loss of blessings if people knew what we were really like. Fear being alone. Fear loss of children, spiritually or physically. Fear the loss of our spouse, of being looked down on by our neighbors. Fear of not being right. Fear of sickness or death.

And often, you hear that fear cannot exist where there is faith. But it can.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ brings joy, but it is not always the type of joy that led the sons of God to shout and all the morning stars to sing. Sometimes it's a quiet joy, the joy that comes from knowing that there is someone out there, an omniscient being, an omni-benevolent God, who knows you, knows your sorrows, and is willing to sorrow with you, even if that sorrow is temporary. He doesn't tell us to buck up and get over it. He weeps along with us.

I often picture that, when I mourn with no one to hear, knowing that my mourning is really kind of stupid, after all. My kids will be fine. They are learning, in spades, to distinguish between truth and error. That's exactly what we're here for.

To me, faith is not dressed in white, holding a candle, with softly flowing hair. Faith is battle-scarred, dressed in filthy fatigues, mustering just one more smile, one more act of charity, one more attempt to drag our fellow soldiers out of harm's way. Faith makes mistakes, but keeps trying because she knows in whom she has trusted.

I can't see even the next step in front of me, and I've lived that way for years. But I keep walking, because I'd rather fall while trying to serve my God than stand still and wait for a rescue that may never come.

So for me, as hard as it is, October is a time of faith. I don't know what eternity holds. There isn't much hope in what we know so far, for me. But I know God. I know my Savior. And I choose to keep walking, whether or not I wear a purple ribbon.

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