Yes, I have Faith in many things.
I have lots of faith in many areas of my life.
I have tons of faith in some and little faith in others.
I've lost faith in people I loved.
I've lost faith in myself.
I have great faith in very few people. It's the result of my crazy life. But I am working on it.
What I do NOT have is Perfect Faith. I wish I did.
What I DO have is Faith in my Heavenly Father and his plan for me.
What I sometimes lack, is the patience needed while my Faith is being tested.
And of course, Heavenly Father is well aware of the times I struggle.
The times when I think my prayers are not being answered - my faith can struggle a bit. Usually because I have the answer I want in my mind - thinking nothing else will do.
When God's answer does not match what I have decided is the best answer - sometimes I get fussy. There are moments when fussy and frustration is an easier choice than exercising faith & patience. I always regret those moments. But I usually learn from them.
I remember a time when we were first married. My husband had lost his job a few months earlier and although he had finally found a new job, it would be a bit before the first paycheck came in. It was a stressful time and on top of all that, I was pregnant with our third child. To say money was tight would be an understatement. I was one stressed out super emotional gal.
One night after the kids were in bed, we sat on the living room floor in our tiny apartment and laid out every single dollar we had. The total was $72.00. The exact amount we were behind in tithing. We had almost a week to go before any money would be coming in and although seventy-two dollars was not much, it would be enough to get through that amount of time. My husband pulled a tithing slip out of his bag and began to gather up each dollar bill in front of me. We had decided as a couple to commit to making tithing come first. Surely there were exceptions..... right?
I gave him the look.
I gave him my best "you have got to be kidding me" look.
He smiled and said he knew we would be blessed. He said he had Faith and felt good about doing the right thing.
I did not feel good at all. I did not have that kind of faith. I felt weak, vulnerable and annoyed.
I did not smile. I reminded him we had three kids and an empty fridge. I told him that I thought it was perfectly acceptable to put off paying tithing in this sort of situation.
Then he said, "Let's pray about it and then whatever you want to do, we will do".
I hate when he does that....
I already knew what would happen if we prayed about it.
And so, I did what any other worried, slightly irrational - but well intended -
god-fearing, but money-strapped, pregnant mother of two would do ---
I yelled "FINE!"
and then I told him to take the money right over to the bishop's house right then and there before I changed my mind. That's just what he did.
As we both knelt by the side of our bed that night, it was my turn to say prayers. I refused.
I knew my prayer would be very different this night. I wanted to yell out to the Lord and challenge him to prove Himself. I wanted to complain about all sorts of thing. I said I didn't want to pray because I was upset. So Brian said prayers that night. But the truth is that I was afraid. I was very, very afraid.
As a Mother, the thought of not being able to feed your children is terrifying. Maybe I was over emotional. Maybe because of my own childhood, I could not put my children in any situation where they would go hungry. My mind raced all night long. More than anything else, I could not fail at being a mother. Nothing scares me more - and that night I was terrified. All these years later, remembering that moment and the fear still brings tears to my eyes. I fell asleep going over in my mind how the next day, when this FAITH thing did NOT work out, I was going to list all the reasons we could have or should have kept that $72.00.
My husband left for work bright and early. The kids would not be up for a while and I was combing the kitchen cabinets for any sort of breakfast inspiration. He hadn't been gone no more than half an hour when the phone rang. I hurried to grab it before the ringing woke up the kids. Who could be calling at this hour?
It was my Aunt. She was in a hurry but wanted to give me a quick call before she left her house. She said she would be in my area this morning and wanted to stop by. She was my favorite Aunt. She was always kind and happy. Today - that kind of bugged me.
I remember rolling my eyes. I didn't want anyone cheery coming by on what was sure to be a bad, depressing day. I had barely said, "Sure, I guess....." when I heard her say something about owing me money. She started apologizing - I forgot all about being depressed.
I had worked at a department store over the last Christmas holidays and during one especially spectacular sale in the Liz Claiborne department, I let my Aunt use my employee account to get a discount. I had forgotten all about letting her use my credit card, and my usually organized Aunt had forgotten as well. I pulled the phone closer to my ear.
I listened as she explained how she woke up this morning and all of a sudden she remembered she owed me the money from using my discount. She was saying it was like "being knocked upside the head". She was horrified - she never forgot things like this. She was worried I had thought she had not cared to pay us back. I thought a couple of dollars saved was no big deal, and I told her so.
I told her it was fine and she said she would be over within the hour. Just before we said goodbye I asked her, "How much money was it?"
All I heard was, "It's only $72.00". After that I was sobbing on the floor. Never heard her hang up or say goodbye. I spent one of my most humbling moments in prayer, right there on that kitchen floor. That morning whatever amount of Faith I had - it doubled. When my Aunt arrived I was still on the floor, still crying, but with two little kids in pajama's sitting on my lap.
It is exercising our little bits of Faith, that takes what we have and turns it into something bigger, better and stronger. I'm lucky to have a husband who's faith I can always lean on when mine feels shaky. I have had many experiences with faith and not all my stories end like this one. What I have learned, is that when I trust in my Heavenly Father, no matter the outcome, it ends up I'm okay in the end one way or another. And I ALWAYS learn about myself in the process. Yeah, I have days when what I learn is - that I have a lot more work to do on myself! But the funny thing is that when I start by having more faith in myself - that I am stronger than I feel, I am able to keep going. Keep trying. Keep exercising that faith of mine. Sometimes it's a real workout, but sometimes I amaze even myself.
Over the years, and still today when I start to feel my faith dwindle, I remember those Seventy Two Dollars. I remember refusing to pray, being scared and making myself lean on the microscopic faith I had inside me and cling to the faith of my husband. I think about how I found myself with no other choice other than exercising faith - no matter how scary or painful it was. Little did I know that's exactly how faith grows.
The truth is - exercising faith is really, really hard at times. If faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountains, maybe my faith is a the same size as a speck of dust.
So go ahead, ask me if I have Faith. The answer is Yes. Today I had enough. If I find myself lacking, I know where to turn. I can open many books on my shelf, turn to my loved ones and friends and I am always able to pray - even when I want to refuse - I know He hears the prayers of my heart. My faith is not perfect. Far from it. It's a tiny little thing but I'm trying to exercise it regularly because it's not as big or stong as I'd like it to be. But that's okay because it's bigger than it used to be. And as far as I know, in the near future, I will not be required to move any mountains. Not yet anyway.