Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17:20).
My heart loves control. I like to keep my schedule predictable and I prefer to be prepared in advance for anything (I have a freezer full of meals in case I happen to die).
It is difficult for me to step out of my schedule and my comfort because I fear unpredictability. This comes from a deeply woven thread in my story; because my mother passed away when I was a teenager, I try to protect myself from the pain of losing again with human effort and control. I have a distorted belief that if I can keep everything in its neat little box and stay within the five-mile radius of my suburban bubble I can protect myself and the ones I love from pain.
I have lived this way for as long as I can remember. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was only seven years old. But now as an adult woman with four children of my own, and as a woman who professes faith in a completely in-control God, I have to take my thoughts about human control and my neat little boxes captive.
I wonder. Am I limiting my faith by staying inside of my predicability and control? How can I grow in my connection with God and my trust in His provision if deep down I am limited by fear of the unknown?
This deeply woven gospel issue is difficult for me to unravel. It takes baby steps and small ounces of faith—little by little and day by day.
A month ago I went on a church trip with my husband to Croatia. In the months of planning and preparation to leave my four children there were many moments I was arrested by the fear of the unknown. I wrote a twenty-four page guide for my children and sister-in-laws to reference while I was away. In the months leading up to the trip, I experienced several sleepless nights worrying over what may happen if I die, how my children could drown while I wasn’t right there watching them, and how my house could catch on fire. One particular afternoon I spent several hours sobbing and writing letters to each of my children upon my death.
From January until mid-June all I did was dream up all of the horrible, most terrible things that could happen when I stepped out of my suburban bubble and predictable schedule. From January to mid-June I was a slave to my fear and anxiety, instead of a faithful, trusting follower of the Good God I claim I trust in.
In preparation for the trip, I went one step at a time, and God provided for me with each and every step. I asked for help with my children and two family members committed to helping me right away. I wrote letters for financial support, and though the body of Christ, ninety percent of the money for my trip was raised.
On the day of the trip, getting in the car was the hardest part. Then getting on a plane, and another, and another. But one step at a time I went, trying to embrace faith over fear, and fighting to remember that I do not control the world.
It is Satan who wants me to be a slave to my fear and cling to my neat little boxes and my five-mile suburban radius. It is Satan who wants me to be tangled up in the wounds of my past. But God wants me to thrive as I learn to leave fear and control and trust Him. God wants me to have faith that when I step out into the unknown, He will hold me up because He cares for me. And He will hold up my children too.
It is the one step at a time, faith of a mustard seed that made the mountain of fear in my heart move and slowly unravel away.
And the one step at a time, faith of a mustard seed yielded greater blessing than I could have ever asked for or think up. I made dear friends in Mačkovec, Croatia. Friends who I would have never met tangled up in slavery to my fear. My children thrived while I was away and were cared for by so many friends, family, and church family.
And thankfully, no one died, drowned, or caught on fire.
On the other side of my trip to Croatia, I have a little more faith, and a little less fear of the unknown. I am thankful for the faith of a mustard seed that can move a mountain fear within my heart. And I am thankful for a God who wants to unravel me from my neat little boxes and predictable schedule. He really holds up the world. Even when I fail to trust Him.