Somewhere on the continuum between doubt and trust, I have discovered a place where truth has taken root deep inside and begun to grow toward the surface - but doubt, like old layers of skin, still clings to the outside. It is weakened and thinned out, but still there, a shell that covers me.
I still react to life in the old ways. When I have a bad encounter with someone, a voice inside my head still tells me I'm worthless and talks destruction into my ears. I'm cagey with people I'm just learning to trust, welcoming them one minute and putting up walls the next. On some days I feel a darkness leaning on my shoulders. I want to give up, quit fighting.
When you don't have any reason to hope, these reactions make perfect sense. I would never tell someone who was in a place of real doubt and fear that they just have to hold on, believe, stay strong. I was at that place for many years. The right thing, at that time, was to admit exactly how terrified I was and do whatever was necessary to protect myself from life and God. And God took care of His side of things, began the discussion, came and reasoned with me, told me stories and worked miracles, spoke my language and showed me love.
So now the evidence all points to something very different from the evil universe in which I previously existed. I truly believe in something and Someone better. Gradually that fragile belief is becoming stronger. I have a sense that I'm crossing a great divide, that I'll never go back.
But in the meantime, I'm still crossing. And I'm learning to carry myself through the old emotions. I'm realizing that even if I feel afraid or circumstances are repeating horrifyingly familiar patterns, that doesn't mean the story is going to end badly. I can't stop the emotions, but I can identify the truth that I know and I can believe it, even if I don't feel like it is true.