God first became real to me during my freshman year of college and first felt fake to me about six years later. I was raised around Christianity as a kid but nothing ever stuck. I tried my own versions of God in the form of boys and alcohol and pride and a million other things.

When I went away to school I knew I wanted something more but wasn’t sure what. And six months into my first semester, through sovereignly placed friendships and the holiness of scripture, I encountered Jesus for the first time in a nasty, dorm room bathtub. There was no huge event, rock bottom, or road to Damascus, just the grace of the Holy Spirit and an eternally cleansing shower.

The years that followed were beautifully ordinary. I finished college, went to grad school, moved away for a job, and tried to find myself in a thousand tiny moments. I fought and floated through my faith, depending on the day. I wept over grace and waded through doubt. I learned who Jesus was and is and who I was and am in light of Him. And I paid bills and bought groceries and went on some really bad dates.

I can’t tell you when things started to change because there was no dramatic event. I’d struggled with depression before but never in this way. This wave was different. It was sneaky and silent. It crept up through the cracks of a few failed relationships, a few mediocre jobs, a few too many days of choosing sleep over scripture or lies over truth. Until one day, I suddenly found myself lying in savasana in an outdoor yoga class, staring at the sky, knowing that God wasn’t real.

This season was long and deep and dark. My days were marked heavily by doubt, and worse, apathy. I made many dumb decisions, dark moments, and a numbness that made it hard to breathe.

So I booked a plane ticket to Seattle. At the time, I worked from home and had the freedom to travel. I joined a house sitting program online and found a sweet couple that needed someone to housesit for two weeks and care for their two Labradors. Sold.

The house was beautiful. Walls full of windows looking out to the water with a stunning view of Mount Rainier. The first week was quiet and a little lonely. I took the dogs for long walks along the water and found unexpected solace in the trees of the pacific northwest. Each morning I sat on the back porch, coffee in hand, staring out at the mountain, trying to wrap my mind around its size.

The second week it rained. Incessantly. I kept the morning ritual but the mountain was gone. Hidden entirely by clouds. Occasionally it would peek through, allowing me a glimpse at it, but those times were few and far between. I knew it was there but only saw grey. The thick kind of grey that makes it hard to believe clouds can float.

I continued peering, searching for the beautiful mountain peak until the day it hit me. This revelation happened quietly, much like the shower in the dorm, and piercingly, with all the ferocity of God’s great mercy. The metaphor was right there in front of me – behind a wall of clouds, waiting to be seen.

My life changed in that moment and also didn’t change at all. I left Seattle and went home to find that my job still wasn’t fulfilling, my relationships still weren’t healed, my depression still lurked in the corners of my mind. But I saw beyond the clouds. In His unimaginable grace, God reminded me of His ever-present help in trouble. He taught me that faith is the assurance of the unseen. He restored my hope in what lies beyond the grey.

It’s been a few years since that trip to Seattle and life is still a string of beautifully ordinary days. Faith is still a hard and undeserved journey. I still wander through seasons of struggle and weep over the grace of the lessons learned therein. But oh, how thankful I am to worship the God of the mountains and seas. The One who finds us in showers and strangers’ homes in Seattle. The One whose mercy never fails.

How has God changed your life? How has he changed how you see yourself?
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