Last week, my best friend Elaine sent me a donation to help fund my role at The Refuge. Jotted at the bottom of the sheet she only wrote four words: “We believe in you.” I immediately started to cry. I’ve been crying a lot lately; the past 8 months have been some of my hardest. I have been so vulnerable, scared, straining to listen to God but struggling with the din of the Enemy’s voice that always tells me that I really don’t have what it takes to be a pastor, that I’m all washed up and should just go try to find a real job.
“We believe in you.”
In the same group of mail was a donation from an outside friend of The Refuge. He wrote us a letter and said “Kathy and Karl, we just want you to know we believe in you and what you are doing at the Refuge.”
“We believe in you.”
A few days later I had coffee with my friend Brenda and she gave me a belated birthday present. The card said “I believe in you” across the top with some beautiful thoughts about God’s heart for me. I was a little surprised. I’m not a big believer in “signs”, but I know there was something here I wasn’t supposed to miss.
“I believe in you.”
It’s not hard at all for me to believe in YOU, my dear and faithful friends at The Refuge. That’s not a stretch at all. I can see God all over the place, at work in your life. I can see the hard work you are doing to try to find Him, God’s healing happening, changes being made, that He has a great plan for your life and wants to give you a hope and a future. I see all of your gifts and talents, all the things that could be. The beauty despite your pain. Believing in you is a piece of cake.
Believing in me isn’t so easy. I have great faith for you and little faith for me. I am realizing this more and more lately, how difficult it is for me to really believe God is going to take good care of me. Wouldn’t I live a little different if I really believed that? I would trust more. Risk more. Doubt less. Fear less. I am tired of feeling afraid. Aren’t good Christians supposed to be confident? Aren’t we supposed to have prayed our way toward perfect peace? Isn’t God’s will supposed to be more clear?
But then I think about most every character in the Bible and quickly arrive at a helpful reality–they were all afraid, too. Maybe even more afraid than me?????? They didn’t believe they could take the next step, go any further. They were often paralyzed, tired, ready to give up. But God kept pursuing them, calling them to listen and obey the crazy things He asked them to do.
He always has the bigger picture in mind. I can never see the bigger picture; I want to so desperately. I struggle to see something that I am starting to realize is impossible for me to grasp. I can only live for this moment. Do my best to stay in when I want to run and strain to listen for God’s hope, help…please, God, just something that I can hold on to.
I think God is speaking to me through my friends. I think He is reminding me that He believes in me. That He knows my life feels hard, that it’s been confusing. He understands I have doubts, fears, that I want to give up. But He doesn’t want me to miss the beauty that exists in this desert. He doesn’t want me to forget the amazing people He has put into my life that love me no matter how small my faith is.
My friends help me believe.
That’s why we need each other so desperately. I want The Refuge to be a community that believes in each other the way God believes in us. Where we see in each other what we can’t see on our own because we’re too messed up. Where we call out God’s plan in each other’s lives and remind each other that this journey is worth it. Where we show up for each other and send little notes out of the blue that say “I believe in you.”