Choosing Faith.

by

2011-12-24_21-01-03_380

Today the world spun out of control. Things that shouldn’t ever happen, did. Children lost their lives, families were shattered and in the aftermath, thanks to facebook and twitter the whole world grieved together. Posts about praying, poignant photos of lit candles and angles with bible verses popped up everywhere. This afternoon as news of the Newtown Connecticut elementary school shooting poured out of our televisions, twitter feeds and facebook timelines it seems that everyone was choosing faith and showing it.

Just like the facebook “Happy Birthday” post from the kid you punched in 3rd grade, who probably friended you to see if you had become morbidly obese, when we see bad news and offer up our prayers you have to wonder if we really mean it. I freely admit the times I have typed the words “I will pray for you/your family/your dog” does not equal the number of times I have actually taken the time to do the praying. I also admit that while I love the idea that every time I hear or see an ambulance with lights on taking the 30 seconds to pray for whoever so desperately needs help, I forget to do it or just don’t.

I’ve said it before and I will say it a million times over again. I am not a good Christian. I swear and drink and judge and do a majority of the seven deadly, sometimes all at the same time.  But the part of being a good Christian that I am really working on right now is what I feel is the most important, prayer. Communicating with my chosen Savior. Listening for his word and will. It’s hard, I am busy and I often let myself believe that thinking good thoughts about someone is really the same as praying for them. “Boy, it sucks that my friend is going through a divorce, I hope she’s ok” is not the same as asking God to comfort her, provide for her and her family and allow them all to heal. A haphazard thought does not make a prayer. I am a perfectionist, as much as my ADD will allow me to be at least. I often feel that I don’t have the words to express what I want in prayer and I let that hold me back from praying. Stupid to be afraid of what God or Jesus might think of my word choices when I reach out to them. Stupider to let it stop me from praying.

Today I posted my own facebook post about the shootings. I basically said that when I am at a loss for the right words I find that the Lord’s Prayer always covers my thoughts and I shared the words for others who were struggling to find the right words to pray with. Many comments and likes lead me to believe that maybe those words helped others and I was happy for that. Soon I was back to posting about my poor miserable dog’s attempts to remove her “Cone of Shame” and I thought nothing more of my post. A little while ago I got a message from my friend Darin. He is a man of great faith and is in general a really good guy. We’ve had several really good chats about life, blog numbers and on occasion faith has been a topic as well. His message to me was simple but it really made me feel good. He said…. “I don’t know how to say it, your faith is an incredible encouragement to me. It’s a difficult time for me, it would be hard to explain in a Facebook message, but my faith in God is stronger than ever. My frustration and disappointment with much of the “Christian” community and leadership is very high. We see an awful tragedy, I saw all kinds of mentions of payers.. but prayers for what? The Lord’s prayer just seemed to fitting when I read your post.” He went on to say that he felt that I was a very authentic Christian. WOW… to me that’s one of the highest compliments I think a person can get. Considering I am still fairly sure that I am doing it wrong 90% of the time, to have a man who I respect and knows far more about what the bible says than I will probably ever know, I was really blown away that my little post could effect him.

As we chatted back and forth he said that he felt many of the people who are certain that they know the right way to God are often not the ones who are actually following Christ’s example. True ‘dat.  I have a theory that sometimes those who grew up in church and grew up with Jesus may have never really had to question if they believed or why they believed, they just did because that’s what they did. Those who decided to become Christians later in life, like myself had to ask hard questions and come up with Jesus as the answer. It gives a different perspective when the easy way is to decide to not follow Christ but you choose the hard way because you see the hard way leads to something that is missing in your life. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not knocking those who have had faith their whole lives nor am I saying that I am stronger than any of those who grew up in religion. Nor am I saying that those who grew up with God as part of their lives never asked hard questions. But it is different.

Take away the churches, the traditions, the divisions between Baptist, Catholic or Lutheran. Take away the things that drive people away from being in the pews on Sunday and still when we face tragedy we overwhelmingly choose faith. Because faith is none of those things. Faith is more than any of us. So today I chose faith. Tomorrow I will choose faith because the answer for me in light of today’s tragedy is Jesus, and as Darin reminded me, the answer is always Jesus.

Edited to add this song by The Departed, recorded in remembrance of the souls lost at Sandy Hook Elementary.

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39 Comments on Choosing Faith.

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 10:02 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you for reading Lesa

  1. Ty and Scout
    December 15, 2012 at 3:06 am (6 years ago)

    What an amazing, honest, and fresh-air post. I think that took a lot of courage, and I commend you for it. Through your words, I think I was able to sum up a lot of my own internal struggles with Faith, and how I choose, (or not to) deal with things I just have no better answer for than to just trust. Thank you, Carrie.

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 10:00 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks Ty, I’m glad I could help.

  2. Jennifer
    December 15, 2012 at 8:35 am (6 years ago)

    Carrie, that’s one of the most open and honest things I’ve ever read. As a person who maybe keeps their faith too quietly, I’m inspired by your ability to share your faith with others. Your post yesterday touched me as well; the Lord’s Prayer when said with ones whole heart is so powerful. I think if you keep praying, the right words will find you, like they did here.

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 10:01 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks Jen. Appreciate your comment.

  3. Julie V.
    December 15, 2012 at 9:05 am (6 years ago)

    Carrie,
    I enjoyed your post. I too didn’t grow up in a church and have come to my faith in my adult life. I did see your prayer on facebook and I often say it when trying to fall asleep or in turmoil. I believe it was appropriate. Thanks for sharing this, it has some good quality in todays world.

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 10:01 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you for commenting Julie.

  4. MNGobbleGal
    December 15, 2012 at 10:32 am (6 years ago)

    I very much appreciated your post, Carrie. While I grew up attending church pretty regularly with my mom, I have never really felt like being in church = being faithful. For me, it’s about the individual ways I celebrate my own faith, most of often of which (for me) is through playing piano. That’s when I feel closest to God and Jesus. I saw your post on the Lord’s Prayer on Facebook yesterday and it was calming to me, it really was. Sometimes the simplest, purest prayers – whether we have known them forever or have come to rely on and believe in them later in life – are what really help, especially during this terrible, terrible time. Thank you for reminding me of that!

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 10:39 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you Laura for reading and commenting.

  5. kolson2687
    December 15, 2012 at 11:09 am (6 years ago)

    Thank you, reading this post was a lot like reading many of my own thoughts

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 11:22 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I appreciate it.

  6. Liz Gartman
    December 15, 2012 at 11:17 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for your post Carrie. I too have troubles with prayer, and feeling like the words/thoughts just don’t come out right. However, in a situation like yesterday, there are no answers, and the simplest words that I grew up with in my Catholic family were the most comforting. The Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary give us words when we cannot find our own. I too grew up saying them because that’s what we were taught. As I raise my own kids I find that my faith has grown, as my kids have opened my eyes to the miracles that God performs every day. I count my blessings that my 4 year old is home safe with me today. God’s blessings to you.

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment Liz. God bless all of us.

    • zweberfarms
      December 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm (6 years ago)

      I was going to leave a comment, but Liz your words are exactly what I would have said. Thanks for this post Carrie!

      • dairycarrie
        December 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm (6 years ago)

        Thanks for reading Emily! Liz has a great point!

  7. Mike Davelaar
    December 15, 2012 at 11:26 am (6 years ago)

    Carrie,
    Your last paragraph may be one of the most insightful things I’ve read in a long time.
    Love your heart.

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 11:28 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks Mike. I think you know where I’m coming from 😉

  8. Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard)
    December 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm (6 years ago)

    Thank you, Carrie. As someone who has kind of been on this journey to find faith, this truly and deeply resonated with me. Thank you for putting words to these thoughts.

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks for reading and sharing Kelly. I appreciate it. We will all get there someday.

  9. NebraskaWheatie
    December 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm (6 years ago)

    This was so visibly written from the heart! I can also mirror your thoughts about prayer, faith, and religion! I know I’m not the perfect christian and that’s ok with God – I’m sure! He sees me for who I am and yet still continues to use me in ways I just don’t understand! In the end, it’s the words, ” ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:23 that I look so forward to hearing! Well done, Carrie, well done!

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. I agree, it’s amazing to me how I end up doing His work despite myself.

  10. carolyncares
    December 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm (6 years ago)

    Beautifully written. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and still struggle with trying to find the “right” words to pray. Many times I’m not sure I am a “good enough” Christian, but then I have to remember that Jesus isn’t asking for perfection.

    Posting the Lord’s Prayer yesterday felt more honest than most of the other statements I read. Thank you!

    • dairycarrie
      December 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Carolyn for reading and commenting. We demand perfection of our selves but He doesn’t. Which is good, because I am far from perfect!

  11. Mandy
    December 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm (6 years ago)

    Great Blog today Carrie!

    Prayer requires that we take time to do it and practice it. Too many times we push our relationship with God to the side. Oh, I’ll do it later. Or, I don’t know how. I have found myself in that situation far more times than I would like to admit. Our society has become one of go,go,go and we forget to stop.
    God cares more about our relationship with him then how we think we should be praying! Shut the tv, i-pad, i-phone, FB, twitter, ect. off and make time. It will feel akward at first but it’s a habit that we all need to make time for. Makeprayer your first reaction!

    • dairycarrie
      December 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Mandy. Working towards prayer being my 1st thought not an afterthought!

  12. Robyn
    December 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm (6 years ago)

    I love your honesty, Carrie. The description of your imperfect faith fits me also. I don’t attend Church as much as I need to, but I have more than a mustard seed’s amount of faith. I try hard to pray and communicate with the Lord and know the love I have in my heart.

    Great job with this post.

    • dairycarrie
      December 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Robyn. I appreciate you reading this and taking the time to comment. He know’s what’s up 🙂

  13. Elizabeth
    December 16, 2012 at 12:57 am (6 years ago)

    I believe God knows our minds as well as our hearts and when you say you will pray – you just did. Merely wanting to pray for someone is enough for our God. Simplistic perhaps but I believe in that. It’s about Faith not saying it outloud for anyone to hear.

    • dairycarrie
      December 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks for reading and commenting Elizabeth. Wanting to pray is probably good enough for God but I want to put more thought behind my prayers to make them more meaningful and reflective of what I think prayer should be about.

  14. Anna Wagner (@AnnaJWagner)
    December 18, 2012 at 12:21 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for writing this. Growing up Catholic, faith seemed more about reciting things in church than having a personal relationship and I still have a harder time being comfortable with open prayer. I’ve sometimes felt like I don’t fit in with some church groups because I struggle with knowing what to say when everyone else seems to be so sure of everything. It helps to be reassured that others sometimes struggle with it as well.

  15. Darleen
    December 18, 2012 at 12:44 am (6 years ago)

    Perfect timing and perfectly said! I am still struggling in finding and believing in my faith. I completely related to your whole post! Thank You for sharing and being so open and honest!

  16. Jan VanDine
    December 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm (6 years ago)

    Carrie, God knows our thoughts before we ask. Therefore, if you say to someone, I’m praying for you. God knows what you are thinking and he knows that you mean you want prayers. I don’t think you need to say a very long prayer to get him to listen. He is there for all of us and when we are concerned about someone, he knows it. God Bless you, Carrie. God bless your farm and keep up the good work. I love farming and have been blessed to return to the farm I started in 1974 to live with my daughter and sons and their families. I’m very thankful, especially this year when I’ve just lost my husband two days after Thanksgiving. A big part of my life is being there raising the calves and milking the cows……Jan

    • dairycarrie
      December 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Jan.