Have you ever had to describe what faith is to another person? It can be quite difficult. The dictionary defines faith as:
“A firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”
For me, my personal religious faith is so much more than that, although I find that I am at a loss of words to describe my feelings. Instead I would like to tell you a story about reaffirming faith.
Faith can be tricky for some. Like the sea, it can ebb and flow.
If things aren’t going the way we want them to, faith can diminish for some.
This past year my faith has been tested in ways that literally brought me to my knees.
In one split second life can change. I know this. I fully understand this.
Like so many others I am not a stranger to tragedy, pain, heartbreak, deception, greed…
All of these experiences can change our thoughts on our faith IF we let it.
We may cry out:
But here is what I have learned during this past year:
He is always there.
God has given us free will and it is our choice on whether or not to have a relationship with Him.
But He is always there.
I have known my entire life that “Bad things happen to good people.”
I was born to a mother who’s husband was violently taken from her when she was just three months pregnant.
Yet she remained faithful.
Shortly after my birth it was discovered that she had a form of cancer that would ultimately take her life.
Yet she remained faithful.
Her choice to have faith even in the face of adversity had a profound influence on my life even though I was just five years old when she entered heaven.
Until a few weeks ago I thought my faith had remained pretty strong through a difficult time.
Even WHEN my prayers were answered in a way I didn’t like.
But it took the wish of one boy to show me that my faith, in even a simple matter, was lacking.
My son has always been just a bit different. He was an in vitro baby, born a month early with the cord wrapped around his neck. He is, by all accounts, a walking miracle in and of itself.
He is kind, sensitive and wears his heart on his sleeve.
He is happiest when he is being helpful.
When I point out that he needs new shoes because they look a bit raggedy he generally responds “They’re still ok mom, they still fit, I’ll tell you when they don’t” and he does.
For his eleventh birthday when I asked him what he would like he said “Maybe a pack of batteries to use on some of my good toys that need them.”
Yes, he is a horse of a different color.
Now I don’t tell you this to brag or boast. I tell you this to give you an idea of who he is.
I tell you this so when I share what he asked for for Christmas you know that as a mother I want to make his wish come true more than anything else because of who he is.
In early November when asked what he wanted for Christmas he said, “I would really like one of those Wii U’s or an X Box.”
My heart fell. Such a game was NOT in our budget.
I inquired as to what else he might like. Unlike other kids whose list is a mile long the only other thing he could think of to ask for was “Socks and pajamas.” God love him.
I had to gently tell him that we could not afford such a game.
“That’s ok mom”, He said “I’ll ask Santa.”
Yes, in our house the spirit of Santa is alive. The spirit of Santa is put into action.
The spirit of Santa is believed in.
So as a mom I had to make this happen. I decided to get busy crafting. I had one singular goal: my Etsy shop would be busting with Christmas goodness I could make for others that in turn would help me make my sons wish come true.
I crafted until my fingers were bleeding and blistered. As I began to photograph my handmade treasures a voice whispered to me: “You’ll give your earnings away.”
I whispered back “Yes, of course, 10%.”
The voice whispered back “No.”
Ugh. I had a sinking feeling. Frightful even.
“100%?” I inquired.
Now I have wisely learned that it is better to listen to my inner voice, my conscience, my Jiminy Cricket.
So I did as I was told.
I was rewarded immeasurably.
In recent days darling daughter graduated from college and sweet boy was named “Student of the Month”. Christmas for me came early, it was bountiful and complete. But there was still Sweet Boy’s wish…
My husband took matters into his own hands.
Now I also need to tell you that darling daughter lives in an apartment complex close to ASU. At the end of a semester ~ end of a school year, the dumpster right across from her becomes an Ali Baba’s cave of sorts. Indeed we have furnished a good portion of her apartment with treasures rescued out of that dumpster. College kids getting ready to go home throw away really good stuff.
Mr. Décor said just one thing, “Keep an eye on the dumpster for an XBOX.”
I scoffed and belittled his comment. Yes, I did. I was totally not supportive. I had NO faith.
The Fashionista had the same bad attitude. “Yeah, right.” she said.
Mr. Décor’s reply was “Just watch. Please.”
This man, who out of all of us has suffered the most this past year, had more faith than all of us combined.
Now you know what happened don’t you?
I got a call from the Fashionista, frantic, excited. “Where is Dad??? I have been calling and texting him ALL DAY! Where is he???”
I replied, “I think he has work meetings all day, why?”
“You are NEVER going to believe what happened this morning, but I have to tell dad first.” Then she hung up.
I instantly knew the source of her happiness and excitement.
First I smiled. I was overjoyed!
Then I began to slowly realize that I had had NO faith.
Oh boy. Gulp.
I should have known better. Because He promised.
He only asked for faith the size of a mustard seed.
Nothing is impossible with God.
But because during this past year, when prayers I asked were answered in ways I did not like, I chose not to have faith.
But blessfully for Sweet Boy his dad did.
Blessfully every day his sister sat at her desk studying and looking out her window which has a clear view of the dumpster.
Until the day came that a young man set an XBOX not even in the dumpster, but beside it.
Which in garbage talk translates into “This is still good.”
She had swift feet and carried her prize home to her father.
He, possessing electronic genius, made a few quick alterations and now:
A Christmas MIRACLE will occur.
To say that the three of us cannot wait for Christmas morning and Sweet Boy’s reaction is an understatement.
We also know that eventually the day will come when Sweet Boy will realize that indeed a miracle did occur and it will be with great joy to share with him this story and to talk about faith.
What I have learned since then is that every day small miracles happen all around me. It is my choice whether or not I choose to see them.
A packed parking lot and one driver showing goodwill to another by giving way.
A harried store clerk who still possesses a beaming smile.
One last box of favorite cookies still being on the shelf.
A final college term paper lost and an understanding professor.
Are you ready to experience a miracle today? You just need to open your heart.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~ Hebrews 11:1
“Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” ~ Romans 10:17