Gritty Faith: Above, a note from our editor

Gritty Faith: Above, a note from our editor

From the Editor

By Jessy Paulson, as published in Gritty Faith: Above (v19)

In life, there aren’t many constants. Seasons shift, progress moves forward, the people we love fade in and out of our lives, even our bodies and minds stretch, grow and evolve. Yet, despite the continuous changes around us, when we look up, we find one steady — the sky.

The brightest blue sky I’ve ever seen stretched above us as we watched a local Jamaican catapult himself into the water from a dangerously high makeshift diving platform. The music was bumping loud, echoing off the cliffs, fueling the high energy in the air. My body shook with nervousness as I waited for my turn to cliff dive from a much lower point, still 25 feet above the water. 

The line moved quickly, and the directions were swift in a thick accent, “Keep your body like a pencil, the water is like a rock when you hit it from this height.” Before I could change my mind, I set my sights on the horizon, said a quick prayer and stepped off the cliff. 

I felt as if I was in the air forever. Finally, the water hit my feet as I plunged deep into the bay. I had never jumped from a point that high, nor had I ever been underwater at that depth before. Adrenaline rushed through my body reminding me, I was alive.

As I climbed out of the water, my heart beating in my chest, I could feel a massive bruise spreading across my thigh, a consequence of my less than perfect form. I didn’t care because that trip to Jamaica was the first time in a very long time, I could feel myself coming back to life. 

Four months earlier as I sat on the edge of my sister’s hospice bed, I made a promise to her and myself. I would live and I would do everything in my power to keep her memory alive too. That night in Nigril, with adrenaline still coursing through my veins, we experienced the most beautiful sunset with intense blues, against dark clouds and the most brilliant rays of sunshine illuminating the water along the horizon. I felt her right there, with us. 

This year will mark seven years since my sister went home to heaven, and yet I still feel her everyday. Recently, she’s been guiding me to lean even deeper into her mantra, faith over fear. 

It was faith over fear that we screamed at the top of our lungs as we fought back alongside Ang in her war against stage 4 cancer. It was faith over fear that became the rhythm of our hearts as we held tightly to the promises of heaven as she slipped away. And it was faith over fear that became the breath in our lungs when it felt so hard to breathe after she died.

After Angie’s address changed to heaven, our family clung tightly to the mantra she left us with. We published a book titled, Faith Over Fear: Walking Angie Home. We printed hats, and t-shirts, window clings, and journals all in the name of keeping her story alive. We even tattooed her handwritten mantra on our bodies as a reminder to hold this phrase close, to keep her voice in our heads. 

Over the last six years I’ve learned a lot about living with faith over fear... in crisis mode that is. For me, as for many of you, the last few years haven’t exactly been a walk in the park, they’ve just been hard. But, lately God has been talking to me a lot about a shift that is happening within my life, a shift from hard to easy, and the work that I must do to get there.

It’s a shift in my heart, an acceptance of goodness and it also takes faith over fear to receive it.

It looks like, trusting in faith over fear, that I am worthy of rest.

Knowing with faith over fear, that I do not have to fight for my place.

Guiding with faith over fear, when I lead others.

Living with faith over fear, because God’s got my back.

Choosing faith over fear, when I simply do not know the answers.

Having certainty in faith over fear, that God already has the problem worked out.

Apparently, living with faith over fear is not just for crisis mode. (Who knew?) For me, it takes tremendous amounts of faith over fear to just relax, receive, and respond to the goodness this world already has for me.

The message is clear. It’s time to live, to truly accept this gift of this one beautiful life I’ve been given and embrace it to the fullest. To receive this gift in its entirety, takes bravery. It takes faith over fear.

This edition of Gritty Faith, just like every edition before, is filled with the stories of the fighters, the survivors, the dream chasers, and the determined warriors. We’ve designed this edition for the sky watchers, the ones who seek hope, encouragement, comfort, and joy by looking up. It is my greatest hope that this publication gives you encouragement, strength, and hope to bravely show up in your own life. 

We invite you to join us in our 2024 challenge on the Gritty Faith Facebook page where daily we will ask our readers to share their snapshot of the sky as a reminder to look up.

May we always keep our eyes on the sky, searching for the goodness coming from above. Let’s make 2024 the year we embrace this life fully, living with faith over fear, everyday.


As published in Gritty Faith: Above (v19). For more, purchase our hold-it-in-your-hands physical version of our gorgeous full-color magazine on Amazon at this link or download the free digital edition here.
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