Faith as a personal decision

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Editor’s Note:  Today’s guest contributor, Eileen Doud, shares how an experience as a child visiting her mom’s church launched her faith. From this early experience, Eileen has nurtured and expanded her faith over the course of her life, often turning to it in her day-to-day decisions. She is currently in transition after the loss of her beloved husband to a rare cancer. She is moving from their long-time home in Prince Georges County, MD to one that’s closer to her daughter in Annapolis. Her Christian faith gives her strength and guidance through these big life changes.

Second day of fall, the rain has pelted my hometown. I had an appointment with the auto repair shop and, since it was raining furiously, I wore a waterproof Helly Hansen jacket; and brought along a waterproof backpack, courtesy of Eddie Bauer. Neither helped.  Drenched to the bone, I reluctantly left my car at the shop and walked to the aquatic center to swim! Clearly, this was a morning of “iffy” decisions!

So what does this have to do with faith? Pretty much everything. No, not the external symbols of the cool labels on my coat and backpack; but actually, more my interior life and personal beliefs. The me who wakes up each day and sees the cup half full, not half empty. Call it grace. I could have been that person who wakes up grumpy and not ready for the day to begin.

Grace. God’s free, unfettered gift. No questions asked.  Just given. So if grace is free – what is faith? The apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters to the Galatians that “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” In other words, Paul put his entire confidence and trust in Christ.

And that, in a nutshell, is what I attempt, each and every day, to do. You see, for me faith is an active verb, one where I have the chance to walk through my day-to-day events knowing that a sovereign, omniscient, faithful, loving God has my back. Not just once. All the time.

How did I arrive at this belief, you may ask? It came upon me, as a very small child. One day when I was five, my mother asked if I or any of my three siblings wanted to accompany her to an evening of devotions at our church. Why did I say yes? There was a bribe. If I went, I could watch Rin Tin Tin the next day and have an ice cream cone with peanuts and chocolate on top! I was in. So there I was, with my momma, in a quiet, dark church when suddenly all the lights went on and this huge procession began! I was overcome. Then, I saw him. A little boy in a wheelchair. My young heart went out to the boy and I looked at the altar and saw Jesus on the cross. I looked at Jesus and whispered, “I can take his place, Jesus.” to which the king of the universe smiled and told me, “I have him. It’s okay.” From that moment on, Jesus and I have been fast buddies. I was given, in that instance, the gift of faith.

Throughout my life, through many trials and losses, I have been blessed to carry Jesus in my heart. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us: “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”. I would humbly suggest that if you would like to have the gift of faith, ask Him.  Just ask Him. He is open, ready and able to give faith to all who seek Him.

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