Faith. I don’t know where I (Kim) would be if it weren’t for my faith. Perhaps breath would no longer fill my lungs nor might my life be defined by hope. I certainly would have missed the story of redemption woven throughout the broken threads of my life. Broken threads I never thought would be made whole again, let alone woven into something so breathtakingly intricate and beautiful.
And all it took was twelve minutes. Twelve minutes plus a lifetime.
I remember the day I pulled into my driveway and stared in shock at the sight before me.
Smoke. Pouring from my home.
I’d just returned to retrieve something I needed for work. I was only gone twelve minutes.
Twelve minutes that forever changed my life. Twelve minutes that altered the course of my life, my heart, and my faith.
And somewhere within those twelve minutes, my greatest fear became my most tragic reality as my youngest daughter took her last breath.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11, NLT
I grew up knowing Jesus. I made a decision to follow Jesus when I was eight. I began teaching Sunday School when I was fourteen, and by the time I was twenty-eight I was on staff at a church leading children’s ministry. Faith was not only a way of life, it was my life.
When I was eight, my mom and dad gave me my first Bible. As I entered high school, I graduated from the little kids bible to one specifically designed for students. Written in my mom’s beautifully scripted hand on the inside cover was a verse that guides my life.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV
Trust was crucial for me growing up. I knew I could trust my parents; they were always with me. I knew I could trust God; the Bible told me so. Maybe it was the number of moves we’d done by the time I was eight, or perhaps it was the fear that seemed to follow me everywhere I went, but somehow fear grew bigger than my ability to trust.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of failure.
Fear of loss.
I’m not exactly sure where the fear first grabbed hold but I often felt its tentacles wrap around my soul, squeezing out any sense of calm, of peace, of comfort.
My biggest fear was death. I remember standing next to my parents’ bed in the middle of the night as a young child, sobbing in fear as remnants of a nightmare slowly trickled away. A nightmare where one of my parents died and left me behind.
As years passed and I became a mom, my fear shifted from losing my parents to that of losing a child. Deep fear. Real fear. Fear that sometimes faded as I learned to trust in the One who is bigger, stronger, and more powerful but sometimes reared its ugly head.
That beautifully scripted verse often came to mind. I thought if I trusted God enough, he would make my path straight. He would keep my family safe and my life free from death and loss.
Then came that fateful day with those twelve minutes. Twelve minutes where death stormed into my life and snatched away my precious Emma. My greatest fear now became my reality.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1, NIV
Perhaps as you’re reading your own fears are bubbling to the surface. Perhaps it’s not losing a child but losing a spouse, or feeling like you’re not enough and one day you fear someone might agree with you. Perhaps you, too, have stared death in the face through the eyes of your mom or a sibling and you silently scream, “me, too!”
Lean in here, precious one. Lean in close as I whisper this to you . . .
Faith is not about believing God enough so bad things don’t happen. Faith is believing that when those bad things happen, God is enough. He does not change. His love does not end. Neither will His grace or mercy or compassion (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Faith is believing that what Scripture says about God’s character is true, that His ways are higher than we can imagine (Isaiah 55:9), and He will do immeasurably more than we might every imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Good things. Eternity-changing things.
Faith is saying yes to God’s plan even though your heart breaks and life hurts because you believe He is working all things for good (Romans 8:28). Somehow. Someway. Faith is believing nothing separates us from God, from His love or grace or protection (Romans 8:38-39).
That’s what twelve minutes taught me about faith, faith that draws me close to my loving Father no matter what may come my way. Twelve minutes plus a lifetime of faith.