“I don’t like being in this place.”  I share this thought with my friend Cheryl where we sit at the edge of an empty retreat room.   All these months together, we have nourished and encouraged each other in our faith journeys and now I sit here feeling like a hypocrite.  It seems that in my quest to expand my understanding of God, I have landed in a place where I am questioning my faith.  How can I discuss overcoming failure and obstacles in the context of faith when I am plagued with questions about God and Christianity?  I want to feel grounded.  I want to be able to provide some nugget of wisdom or inspiration.  And, yet, doubt keeps disturbing my comfort.  What if Christianity isn’t the only way to know God?  What if all that I know to be true is not the Truth?

I keep turning these questions over in my mind and out loud, hoping that my friend might say something to make all the questions disappear.  And, God love her, my friend knows better.  She sits and listens.   She remains present.  No judgement.  No condemnation.   When there is nothing more to say, she simply makes the comment that there are some things that we have to just “sit with” for a while.  For when we allow ourselves to be okay with not having the answers, we come-out with a stronger understanding in the end.

Later that afternoon, Cheryl and I pull our chairs up to a table, bits of cloth and embellishments sprawled in front of us.  We set-out to create prayer flags.  Flags bearing reminders of our intentions for the summer ahead with our children.  After sorting through the selection of cloth and trim and arranging a few chosen pieces onto a small rectangle of muslin, we begin the process of sewing our prayers.  I move the needle in and out of the soft fabric and notice the quieting of my mind, once in turmoil with questions.  Conversation flows gently and easily  between my friend and me.  At one point, I look-out the large window across the room to see the sky darkening, heralding the coming of a Spring thunderstorm.  Trees bend in the wind and rain patters on the roof over our heads.

I sew prayers and God washes away my doubt and confusion.  In its place, he offers grace.  Gratitude fills my heart.  Gratitude for a God who allows me to question Him.  Gratitude for my friend who sits with me in my questions.

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