I remember lying on my bed on my 16th birthday, staring at the ceiling through tears, and admitting to the wide-eyed parents standing in my doorway that I just couldn't believe in God anymore. We'd just had an argument, and somehow the conversation led to the real issue: the doubt that had crept into my heart over the past year.
The minute the words left my mouth, I felt honest and empty. The façade of a safe, "Sunday school" faith was gone forever.
I vividly recall how calm my parents were when I voiced my confession. My mom didn't yell; my dad didn't try to persuade me. They simply told me that everyone has to doubt or else their faith won't be their own. Then they told me they loved me and walked out of the room, undoubtedly heading to the living room to pray for their broken daughter.
From that moment on, I desperately sought ways to claw my way back into the safety net of the belief I'd grown up in.
I spent the next few months reading the historical facts. I read about the empty tomb and about how unlikely it was for Jesus' body to have been stolen by his disciples. I read about creation, theology, and philosophy. I read personal testaments. I talked to people I trusted, and in the end, what I'd sensed to be true all along was what I came back to: the love of Jesus. I can't see Christ, but in the same way that I know my family loves me, I know God loves me.
I don't see the love; I see the effects. The never-ceasing provision, the peace in the most difficult times, the beauty in the sunsets, the scandalously redemptive story of the gospel, and the warmth within those I know who are closest to Christ—these are the things that keep me believing. Faith came in and through these realizations.1