Whenever I hear the word faith, George Michael’s song “Faith” plays in my head, for the most part. Unless it’s been a challenging day, then it’s Limp Bizkit’s version of the song. Regardless of which rendition is going through my head, or the situation that I may be experiencing, the one thing that remains is I have faith to get me through the day.
What does faith look like?
For me personally, I have learned that it’s all about perception. Knowing that whatever way a situation, experience, or lesson plays out, is just the way it is supposed to give me a sense of solace. Obviously, we cannot SEE faith, which can make it difficult to embrace at times since it is not tangible. However, when you truly believe and are able to reach a state of having “blind faith,” staying reminded becomes just a tad bit easier.
“Faith does not make things easy, it makes them possible.” – Luke 1:37
I have not always been a believer in Christ. In fact, for so long I questioned everything. Thinking to myself, “If God was really real, then why would He allow me to go through so much suffering and trauma?” along with a slew of other negative thoughts. But here is what I have found out: God never intended for any of those bad things to happen to me, or anyone else. And I now know that despite all of the pain and suffering that I have endured, He uses that for His glory and to fight the good fight.
What does that mean?
All I can do is provide examples from my own life because that’s what I know. On June 3rd of 2014, my life was dismal and close to its end. Sitting in a cell, alone, in a city far from my family, and having nothing, I had finally reached my “rock bottom.” I decided to do something that I had never intentionally done before. I got down on my knees and prayed. I prayed to “whoever you are” to help me, guide me, and give my life meaning. Two days later I got the news that I would not be going to prison, and would be released after serving my remaining jail sentence.
Upon getting released I was scared. I was in a foreign place, with no money, food, or shelter. I only had the clothes on my back and some miscellaneous items. With that, I knew that I needed to figure something out, and quick. I had no resources or idea of how to do that. But I had this feeling inside of me, directing me and guiding me where to go. So I just kept going and doing what it was telling me to do.
Within hours I had found a place to stay - a faith-based transitional home and a support system to match. Within 2 weeks I was baptized in the Rogue River, and a week after that I had gotten re-enrolled in college. All of this was new, exciting, and slightly terrifying. But one thing that remained was this faith that I was doing the right thing, and it was working.
Fast forward to today, in 2017, and I am one term away from graduating with my Associates of Arts Oregon Transfer degree. I am a Life Coach at a homeless youth shelter. And have done a tremendous amount of work on myself. Most importantly, I have my family back and they get to have me too, as the person I was always been meant to be.
Faith for me…
Is knowing that no matter what I endure in life, I will be able to manage and conquer the complexities that arise… SUCCESSFULLY. I don’t always know what that looks like, and that’s half of the battle with faith - believing in what you cannot see. It is knowing that regardless of the pain and suffering I have endured, it is not for waste, and will be used in the most beautiful way. It is letting my faith be so much bigger than my fears could ever be. I feel like having faith is the simple most effective way to aid in combatting those fears that tend to cripple and defeat so many of us.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7
With that being said, I challenge you. I challenge you to believe in SOMETHING if you don’t already. Whatever God you believe in, who or whatever your higher power is, latch on to that and believe with all your heart that it will guide you. All you have to do is listen. Listen to your heart, your feelings, and your senses. Wholeheartedly dive into your faith, because I can attest, that when you do, life becomes much more tolerable. And when confronted with the unexpected, unimaginable, unfathomable situations, you will already be prepared and ready because the battle will already be won. All that will be left is to navigate those situations, and when you are listening to your inner guide (gut instinct) life becomes a little bit more doable.
I’ve learned that God is just a prayer away. No matter what time it is, day or night, He is always there. I have that faith and that’s what I believe. What do you believe?
Shannon Redline is a full-time student and works as a Life Coach at the homeless youth shelter, Hearts With A Mission. Shannon is a member of A.C.T. (Abolish Child Trafficking) of Southern Oregon, through which she has taught The Prevention Project curriculum to local high school students. Shannon is a survivor of sex trafficking and other traumas, which has given her a passion for helping youth and sharing her testimony whenever possible. Shannon is an advocate, volunteer, mentor, dog mom and lover of the Lord.