Baby Steps of Belief {Chara Donahue for #wholemama}

A note from me: I had the joy of meeting Chara at a writer’s conference this spring. It’s one of those rare times in the blogging world when you meet a person before you read their words. Her deep thoughtfulness is obvious in both arenas and I’m so glad she shared her words with us here today! 

And now Chara. 

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Free association tests are no longer exclusive to psychotherapy offices. We find them on social networking sites, and play them for fun because the premise makes for a great party game. We engage in this humorous recreation to see if we can make others reveal some of their weird idiosyncrasies. I enjoy these games. They act as a simple exercise to awaken the creative parts of my brain, sometimes bogged down by the gift of lethargy given me by a frightened preschooler the night before.
It usually goes something like this:

Chocolate…Yes, please

Dog…Rover (I don’t know why. I’ve never had a dog named Rover, but it is what it is.)

Journalist…My granddad.

Belief…Help, my unbelief! Always, it is always – help, my unbelief.

I feel like this is a constant prayer of mine, a mental whisper that suddenly and audibly explodes when I behold the brokenness of the world, my city, and my home. When I am forced to see the misery and am tempted to give myself over to sorrow.

There is no one I trust with my unbelief more than God. I know this seems counterintuitive, but like the Father in Mark 9 who sought healing for his boy, I listen to Jesus when he says “All things are possible for one who believes.” My response comes out as a beggars prayer, “I believe; help my unbelief!” It is also a prayer I freely let my children see me plead.

I have never held one of my babies without my belief in a gracious, just, and loving God. I cannot even imagine what that would be like. The amount of trust it demands of me to not be anxious for their lives is something that insists upon supernatural strength.

Sending them off to school for the first time, letting them begin to cross the street alone, or allowing them to attend their first sleep over – the only thing that keeps a sense of panic from overwhelming me is the truth that God loves them more than I do, and He knows the plans for their lives.

I know their little eyes are watching me. They are observing and critiquing the life of their mother. Sometimes I wonder, which will they see and remember, my belief or my unbelief? Will they understand the beauty of how they intertwine? Do I have the guts to teach them?

I believe the only life worth living is one empowered by authentic, Jesus-centered faith. Peace that passes understanding, repentance, and perseverance are superior to a perfectly polished façade that can’t admit it’s own inability to save.

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Recently, I was looking up new flatware, I saw sets that looked appealing and seemed functional, but before I would purchase any of them I would read the reviews. I wanted to know if they would bend or break under pressure. Did they have what it took to stand up under the trials they would inevitably face? I feel like sometimes my own life is the review my children are reading about walking with Jesus. Though their salvation is not on my own shoulders, I was chosen to be their mother, designed for the opportunity to daily unveil the greatness of God to them.

I let them witness conviction that drives me to my knees, and profound hope in impossible circumstances. I let them see me cry over the broken and lost. I allow them to witness me stand up for what is right, and I go to them humbly and share the grace I experience when I don’t. I refuse to dress my faith up as something shiny or pretty, but have it be something that rusts and bends when real life hits. I want my faith to be my life, and offer life–something that feeds my soul and delivers nourishment to the soul of my little ones.

I don’t want to pretend it’s easy: I want them to see that it is an authentic hike towards glory, with peaks and valleys, and a view that makes it all worth it. That the race set before them is worth persevering in, worth sacrificing for, and worth giving their all.

I know that Jesus is the only one who can answer their vexing questions that are bound to come. Yet, I hope that they would have a white-knuckled grasp on the robe of Jesus that looks up with a seeking heart longing for His face of love.

So this is the call I long for my kids to have, that when the moments come and they can’t stare the hardships in the face dauntlessly, that they too will pray the prayer they heard their mama utter a thousand times before, “I want to believe; Help my unbelief.” 

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Chara Donahue is a wife, stay at home mom of four, and a teacher/counselor at her church in Oregon. She holds a MSEd from Corban University and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She can often be found with her nose in a book and coffee in hand, but enjoys freelance writing and speaking to women when the kids are out playing with dad. You can find more from Chara at Anchored Voices or on Twitter @CharaDonahue.
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We also have our #wholemama facebook group and would love to have you there!

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12 thoughts on “Baby Steps of Belief {Chara Donahue for #wholemama}

  1. Funny how we call our journey a “walk” when, yes, it is so much more an “authentic hike.” I agree our children should see both our belief and unbelief; God has certainly filled his Word with story after story of people’s failures and doubts and hurts. May our children see God even more in our times of unbelief. Great post, Chara.

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  2. Beautiful reflections. Our children are definitely watching how we live out our faith. I love this: “I refuse to dress my faith up as something shiny or pretty, but have it be something that rusts and bends when real life hits. I want my faith to be my life, and offer life–something that feeds my soul and delivers nourishment to the soul of my little ones.” . . . I believe just by being so deliberate about how you live out your faith, the soul of your little ones will be nourished. – PS I so LOVE all these continued connections from the Faith & Culture Writers Conference!!! – cornelia

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  3. Beautiful post, Chara! I’m finally getting around to blogging again after nearly a month. I love your thoughts and this stood out to me: “I don’t want to pretend it’s easy: I want them to see that it is an authentic hike towards glory, with peaks and valleys, and a view that makes it all worth it. That the race set before them is worth persevering in, worth sacrificing for, and worth giving their all.” I agree wholeheartedly.

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  4. I’m struck too by the difference between a “walk” and a hike. Different journeys, different rewards. But figuring out how to let our children see that as they grow, in ways that are appropriate for them, that’s hard stuff!

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    1. Indeed, their hike will look different than our own and we get the joy of trying to help them navigate. Thanks for reading, Amelia. :)

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