What My Faith Means to Me #2

I’ve mentioned that my husband recently retired, and we’re both sorting through “stuff.” All kinds of things we’ve kept in file folders because they seemed important, at least at the time. In in a previous post, I published the confirmation essay one of my daughters wrote —What My Faith Means to Me. I wasn’t sure which daughter wrote it. I’ve now come across the second one, which I can tell was written by my younger daughter. I often tease her about her constant cry when she was little — “It’s not fair!” This was usually uttered in frustration when her sister was allowed to do something she couldn’t. So, in the interest of “fairness” here is Kate’s essay.

In my life, my faith means very much to me. It helps me to get through hard times, and find joy in the happy ones. To me, it’s like a journey, beginning at our birth and ending when we reach heaven. It is not always an easy path to take–it is filled with rocks and mountains. Jesus picks us up when we fall, and helps us to keep going. Often throughout my life, I have found faith to be a boring thing, and did not want to be involved in it. Church was boring, and I would much rather spend Sunday mornings sleeping. When confirmation classes started, I wasn’t any happier. It was an hour long class in the middle of the week. It felt like I was having an extended school day, with homework and memorizing work to go with it. But I went anyway, because my parents wanted me to. I did the work, but refused to let myself get deeply into it. I had better things to do, and church was not on the top list of my priorities. It was during the second year of confirmation class that my feelings toward my faith life started to change. Going to class on Wednesdays didn’t seem as bad anymore, and I found myself praying and looking to God when I needed guidance.

A major influence on my life was one of my best friends, Kati. Until I met her, I didn’t really talk about my faith. She’s Catholic, and encouraged me and my other friends to talk about and be honest about our faith. Through her, I learned that faith isn’t a burden–but a blessing. I shouldn’t be afraid to talk about my faith, and I shouldn’t worry about what people will think of me because of it. This caused a big change to occur in my life. God became a key figure–my friend that was there when I needed Him most. I have found that most times my faith has caused me to be a better friend to others, just as God is a friend to me.

While it is still hard to pull myself out of bed on Sunday mornings, church has a larger meaning to me. It is a way to touch ground with God, and a weekly revival of my faith in Him. I have visited many of my friends’ churches, and learned a lot about them that I never knew before. I am not afraid to discuss my faith life with my friends anymore, and I depend on God when I have a problem. It helps to know that whatever happens, God will always be there for me. He is the best friend that anyone can ever have, and I am reminded daily of that. By watching my friends and my parents act, I have learned some very important things. The most important thing I have learned is that God loves me and will always love me. That is what my faith means to me.

For some of Kate’s more contemporary writing see:

In a Sea of Princesses, Be Batman!!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Obey Your Husband

What My Faith Means to Me

My husband recently retired, and we’ve been sorting through old papers and pictures, trying to decide what we want to keep. I came across this paper in a file — it was written by one of our daughters (although I’m not sure which one, maybe they will both read it and let me know!) when she was confirmed. She would have been about fourteen. I found it touching, and maybe you will, too. If only we could all keep that accepting, childlike faith throughout our whole life!

Wouldn’t it be a good journal question for each of us? Think today about what your faith means to you, and if you have time, write it down!

I have faith in many things. They range from very small things to something as large and important as Jesus. I have faith that He will be there for me when I am in trouble, listen to me when I have no one to talk to, and forgive my sins.

From the time I was baptized I have been accepted as one of God’s children. Being accepted into His family, I have been given a path to follow in my life. It is a path that will eventually lead me to his kingdom. To follow this path, I need to trust, and have faith that He will help me climb over the mountains of sin and carry me over the ruts and ditches that block my way in the path.

Many things cause me to stray from the path in my everyday life, but with God’s help, I am constantly being put back on the path, becoming stronger in my faith than I was before.

I sometimes wonder where I would be without Jesus. The answer is nowhere. I would have nothing to live for and nowhere to go.

Having faith in God makes all my problems seem easier to overcome and all the work in my life worthwhile. That is why what my faith means to me is EVERYTHING.

For more on the topic of faith see:

Victorious Faith

The Right Kind of Faith

This Is Your Brain on Faith

Confirmation Songs

Confirmation is a special day for most Lutherans;  the day when, as an adult (or someone close to adulthood) you reconfirm the baptismal promises made for you by others.  When our daughters were confirmed, they had to write and read a speech to the congregation on the topic, “what my faith means to me.”  They also got to choose a Bible verse and a song.  Since my daughter, Kate, is one of our authors, I thought I’d share her confirmation song — we’ll see if she remembers it, and maybe will post about why she chose it.  It’s called “On Eagle’s Wings” and is based on Psalm 91. Maybe some other authors would like to share their confirmation song, if they chose one or one that was chosen for them.

 

Generous Words

Image result for images of luther's small catechismMy granddaughter is currently in her second year of confirmation classes.  In looking over her copy of Luther’s Small Catechism,  I came across this explanation of the Eighth Commandment:

The Eighth Commandment You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What is this? or What does this mean? We are to fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are to come to their defense, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do in the best possible light.

I added the bold highlighting of the final words, because they really struck me.  How generous am I in the thoughts I have about others, and the words I speak about them?  I may refrain from telling lies or spreading gossip, but am I generous enough to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially when their actions seem questionable or even wrong to me? Do I refrain from speaking about something that may be true, but is still damaging?  I have to admit that no, often I don’t.  This isn’t right and it isn’t how God expects us to behave.  Nobody knows everything about another person.  We don’t know what trials they are going through;  we don’t know if they are dealing with mental or physical distress;  we don’t know what kind of childhood they had or what pressures they’re under.  There is so much we just don’t know, and so we should always try to be understanding and generous in how we judge others.

Here’s another good piece of Biblical advice from the book of Matthew:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”  Matthew 18:15

Instead of stewing about what I think is wrong with someone’s behavior, or mouthing off about him to another person, I need to go directly to him and confront the issue.  Maybe I’ll find out that I’m the one in the wrong because I misunderstood;  maybe I’ll give him a chance to apologize;  maybe he’ll even change.  Maybe I’ll just be glad I gave someone the benefit of the doubt — don’t we all want someone to extend us the same generosity?