Each year as the world prepares for Christmas, I think back to the greatest gift I have ever received—my awareness of the Christ within and the crisis of faith that led me to discover it anew.
Faith helped me pull myself out of the depths when the life I knew began to fall away.
Seven years ago, my world fell apart when several crises happened in succession over a six-month period. I would have been able to cope ably with any single one, but not so many all at once.
The first was the accidental death of our family pet, which devastated my children and me. The sudden, unexplained departure of my boyfriend, the love of my life, was next. After that, I was left to face my son’s scheduled surgery alone, as my ex-husband was absent even though we shared custody. I felt the weight of prolonged financial strain. My health was tanking. I was spent emotionally and no longer able to cope with any part of my life.
Everything was changing, and I didn’t have control over any of it.
I spiraled into an abyss. I was stressed-out, desperate, and angry. I cried all the time. Unable to focus, I felt as though I was failing at everything. I felt alone. Worse, even though I was active in my spiritual community and received its support, I found myself unable to grasp the spiritual tools I had spent years learning about and putting to use.
I knew faith would be the bridge that would connect the life I had known to the life I was being called to create.
I prayed, asking why so many painful things were happening to me: I’m a good person, and I’m trying so hard. I share my abundance, practice forgiveness, meditate, and pray. I’m doing everything in my power to live a spiritual life, and I can’t catch a break. Why, God, why?
I felt as though my faith was the only thing I had to rely upon, and even it felt dim and far away. But somewhere deep within myself, I knew faith would be the bridge that would connect the life I had known to the life I was being called to create.
Finding Myself in the Christmas Story
When the life I knew fell away, faith was the light that led me into a new way of being. I thought of Mary and Joseph and the faith it took to journey to Bethlehem under unfamiliar and challenging circumstances. I found parallels in my journey back to myself.
If someone had told me then that I would look back on this experience as one of the best things that ever happened to me, I wouldn’t have believed it. But feeling so irretrievably broken, so hopeless and defeated, opened me and made me receptive to my guidance, the voice of God within me.
Like Mary and Joseph, I listened. I embarked on my healing journey when I went back to counseling and tapped into early life experiences, the roots of my current troubles. And, like Mary, my labor helped me birth something divine.
I could have stayed broken. I could have repeated dysfunctional patterns again and again. But following the light of faith, however far off into the unknown, helped me understand the power was within me to create a new life of security, serenity, and love.
These days, my life overflows with gifts—connection, prosperity, and unbridled joy. But none is so great as the gift I received in my darkest hour—the gift of faith restored and awareness of the Christ within reborn.