Faith of a Mustard Seed
Growing up, I always heard the scripture verse in Luke about a mustard seed. Faith that small seemed so easy… and in some ways, it still does. But, on the other hand, when I think about certain facets of my life… of hope and dreams being met with heartache, I think… that kind of faith is the hardest thing to have. Even if it’s as small as a mustard seed.
I don’t live on a rainbow of sunshine, but I feel like in my adult years, I’ve been pretty optimistic about life… not getting upset over small stuff, showing gratitude for the life I have… and for years, believing with more than a mustard seed of hope that we would get pregnant. I remember thinking and even telling my husband that it’s all about our attitude. We have to go into this fertility stuff speaking as if it was going to happen. My mom would say, “Pray believing”. And I did. I did for what seemed to be a really long time. I really tried to give thanks in the middle of needles and blood work and exams. I tried to focus on the good, to focus on the one who had gone before me. And then, we were told No. No, No, No, No. Devastation.
Somewhere in the midst of the last five years, my faith… which was at one time more than a mustard seed, was diminished to nothing. I remember after our second failed round of in vitro, I was talking to two different girlfriends in the course of a couple weeks. Both were trying to encourage and uplift my spirit in our situation. And, both referred to me as being a mom by saying things like, “When you get pregnant… or when you have kids…” and it made me angry. I literally rolled my eyes on the other end of that phone convo. “Yeah, that’s easy for you to say because you got pregnant in five seconds… or you’ve got a full house of little ones,” I would think. My heart was hardened towards hope, because all hope had done the last sixty months is break my heart.
I’ve always struggled my entire life with believing God’s truth for myself. I believe it for you, and I believe it for other women in a situation similar to mine. I’ve been able to see several girlfriends get to the other side of heartbreak. And, it truly is glorious. But, for me… no. it’s not gonna happen. I would listen to lies and deceit and begin to believe that God’s goodness was for others and not me…that I wasn’t good enough or holy enough or just enough… for one of the greatest blessings God gives… children.
What really does faith of a mustard seed mean though?!? I mean Luke 17:6 says, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’ and it will obey you.” Well, listen… I ain’t tryin’ to uproot a tree. All I’m trying to do is be fruitful and multiply… to have a baby. To do something my body was created to do… and God won’t let me. But, he’s totally able. He can heal my womb and give me a baby without effort. Without blinking or batting an eye. I did have faith. I had it once. I believe his word and I believe his promises to his children, so why when I had faith… did he not follow through?!? I simply don’t know the answer. I just don’t. But here’s what I do know. That verse doesn’t have a timetable attached. It doesn’t say that if I have faith for x amount of time, then he will do it. It just says to have faith.
My niece, Everly, is almost eight years old. Cue the tears of her childhood slipping away. She has been my ride or die homie since she was ittie bittie. Seeing life through a child’s eyes is one of life’s most awesome miracles. The curiosity, the questions, the hilarious and awe-inspiring innocence of a sweet little human is one of my favorite things about kids. You know what that little girl does? She prays for me to have a baby. Every. Single. Day. Without prompt. Without ceasing. I’m a hairdresser, and I have a client who is Everly’s Sunday school teacher. And one day, while doing her hair, she told me that Everly prays for me every Single Sunday in class. Every single one. It was all I could do to hold it together through the rest of that haircut. She has child-like faith… because, well, she is one. She believes God will give me a baby and she’s not gonna stop praying for me to have one until I do. THAT is faith of a mustard seed. That is someone who has stood up for me… when my faith was gone.
I quit praying for pregnancy after our last failed attempt of IVF. I just stopped. I got to a place where I thought… God knows I want babies. There’s no need to keep asking him for them. I’m not saying this is the biblical thing to do. But, it’s what I did to move on. I just couldn’t keep begging and pleading. But during this time, I’ve had a handful of people in my life, who have stood before the Lord, begging… on my behalf when I just couldn’t. People who have hoped for me, believed for me, and who have never stopped praying. People who have carried the faith for me when it was too much for me to bear. These are the people who refer to my future as a mom. We all need those people. That army… that goes to battle for you when you simply can not.
A few weeks ago, in a super sweet conversation, Everly said to me, “Cici… you’re just not ready yet. God is gonna give you a baby when you’re ready.” I think she’s right. The truth is, my story isn’t over. It just isn’t. On days I am faithless, God is still faithful. My attitude or hardened heart doesn’t change who he is. Praise him for that. He is still good, and he only wants what is best for me. I’m sure those Israelites lost faith when they were in the desert for forty years. But the whole time, God knew the ending. He just wanted them to trust him. I think that’s what faith is. It’s trusting that God is gonna do it. He’s gonna work all things together for good. He is, because it’s WHO he is. He is goodness. He is faithfulness. And what’s so amazing about our lives and sin and struggles and frustration… is that he never waivers through any of that. He isn’t scared of your doubts. He doesn’t sway because your faith diminishes. He is God. When I lose my faith for a season of life, he doesn’t run away. He carries me through. When I lose hope for babies after years of heartbreak, he becomes my hope. And how else will I learn to trust him… to have faith in his promises… if I’m never in a position where he is all I have… where my world is crumbling down around me, and he is the only thing standing in the rubble? That’s when we learn faith.
2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful. He can not deny himself.” I think the truth is… sometimes we’re living a life in Luke where we have faith of a mustard seed. And sometimes, we’re in the valley… clinging to the words in 2 Timothy that even though our faith is gone, God is still God. He is ALWAYS faithful. This is life as a believer. Hardship is promised, but so is his presence. So is his relentless love for his children. He’s not done yet. And when we fall in love with Jesus and let him do the redeeming in our hearts, trust happens. And with trust, comes faith… if only the size of a mustard seed.