And this is why I believe.


Ten years ago, I was 19 years old and an ocean away from my family for the summer, experiencing a homesickness I’ve never known before or since. Especially at the start, this absence from my family and boyfriend was all-consuming.

In the midst of chasing around the girls for whom I nannied (the reason I was abroad), I’d sometimes sneak off for a moment to shed a few tears of despair, before putting on my big girl panties again and going back to work. Tears seemed to be always at the ready – a cup of water on the edge of a table, ready to tilt at any moment and spill homesickness and inadequacy everywhere.

My room was at the bottom of the large home, isolated from the rest of the family. I went there pretty much only to sleep. For a homesick person, night time, alone, in bed, is like the boss you have to fight at the end of the level in Mario Bros. It’s the big one and you don’t want to do it.

For three months I went to bed alone in a little room. Alone with my thoughts. Alone missing my family. Alone with nothing to do but lie in bed and cry.

Do you want to know how many times I cried in that room? Zero. Not once.

I’d seep out stray tears all day long, but when I stepped into that solitary space each night: Stillness. Quiet. Peace. I was met there by a strange, deep-breath, emotionless, calm; bestowed on me, I’m convinced, by God, through my prayers and the prayers of my family. It was weird. Backward, even; but It took me through every single night – deep sleep and all – straight to a brand new morning.

In the tumultuous journey my faith has taken since those ten years ago, my beliefs have ebbed and flowed in various directions. But those nights in Italy in my little room have been an anchor – holding me down to a deep trust in a God who sees His children when they are most vulnerable, and meets them in that place with an inexplicable serenity, the likes of which only He can provide.

Tonight, as I settled into bed, I blinked tear-brimmed eyes, cup teetering on the edge again, ready to spill out politics and melancholy and life and injustice and nothing at all.

I clicked on my Bible app. Today’s featured verse: “The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” Psalm‬ ‭145:18-19‬‬‬ I devoured the next three chapters as both the tear-blurred iPhone screen and the cloudy skies of my mind grew clear once again.

Stillness. Quiet. Peace. The ceiling fan whirrs above my head. The dog breathes in a hypnotic rhythm. “He hears their cry and saves them.” “He hears their cry and saves them!” And even when your cry isn’t audible or even visible, He still knows what echoes in your soul, and reaches out His hand to pull you up from the current.

Tonight, as He always has, He steps out across tumultuous waters, and calms the stormy seas of my heart. And this is why I believe.


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