”For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” 
I keep a notes tab on my cell phone where I can jot down prayers, thoughts, and scriptures as they speak to me. My tabulation of faith-related verses is extensive, with reminders like “The just shall live by faith.”  For some time now I have been analyzing and assessing my level of faith. Do I truly live by faith? How has my journey been additionally arduous because of my lack of faith? I cry out, “I believe, help my unbelief.” 
A mustard seed is quite small — so small, in fact, that I cannot see it on the stone tiles of my kitchen floor. If my bundle of faith in such a diminutive package can move a mountain, where is the fruit that would also move mountains?
I am reminded of Moses leading the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land — 40 years they traveled. Scriptures are redolent with believers who had prophetic words which were not answered in what I would call a timely manner. What one notices in their journey is the childlike trust in the Father. He said He could, therefore He will; however, not necessarily how we envision the answer.
As a child, I thought my father was the most brilliant, capable man in the world. My dad could build anything, think through and process ideas in a highly analytical manner, and if he said he’d do something, he did it. I had no doubt whatsoever that if he said God was leading our family to a new city or state, he had heard from God and it would be a wonderful adventure. I believed in him, I trusted him, and never looked back. The new opportunity would be amazing. I loved and believed in my father.
”…unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven..” 
As an adult, it would seem that I’ve lost some of the child-like faith with which we are called to pursue Christ. Daughters and sons of royalty move in realms of extraordinary privilege, protection, and provision. It’s too easy to forget who we are and what has been provided for us. Are my prayers begging and wishing, or am I speaking to my Father with confidence and authority? Are my prayers operating in perfect love or fear? Even more so, do the words which come from my mouth undermine my walk of faith—words of complaint, fear, doubt?
To truly live by faith we must have a revelation of who God is—His character, promises, and history. I assessed my time in the Word. Having been raised in a strong Christian home and having been to seminary, even studying Greek, I assumed that I knew the Bible—all the stories, the laws, even the words of Christ. Why keep reading them? Conviction of my un-childlike attitude led me back into the Word—every book. I meditated on what God says about Himself, how He calls me to live, His promises, and more intimately, who the Word says I am in the kingdom. I reflected on what I had been called to do. I’ve been asking myself, “How do I reclaim my rights as a daughter of the most high God by first of all operating through the power of His perfect love, then living in active vibrant faith?”
If my faith is vibrant, I will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am loved. I will use my mouth to declare the promises of God, to speak the Word over my circumstances, my fears, failures, frustrations, even hopes and dreams. I don’t have to ask if it’s God’s will to financially provide for my family. He tells me that gold and silver are His, that he owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  He feeds the 5,000 and there are multiple baskets of leftover bread. Yes, He provides the wood and may ask me to make the bookshelf or fruit bowl which can be sold, but He never leaves the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.  My husband and I have been reflecting on the past 24-plus years in ministry together, including seasons of not trusting God and carrying great anxiety, and newer seasons of believing by faith for provision for every one of our needs. I have been selling my artisan jewelry on Etsy for ten years, and since we left California, I no longer offer live shows. It’s the primary revenue stream in our portfolio. The recent SVB failure hit home since they were Etsy’s bank. I had extraordinary peace with the delays of released funds—recognizing that my source is not my business, but the hand of the God who said He would provide. My prayers have been ones of thankfulness and thanksgiving to Jehovah Jirah. Our freezers are filled with beef, pork and vegetables from this summer’s harvest, the hen house is filled with faithful birdies, unexpected supply discoveries—so many opportunities to praise God.
By faith, similar prayers for the hand of God to work in my children’s lives—thanking Him by faith for surrounding them with dynamic, sold-out believers who can be a witness to the awesomeness and delight of God Almighty. If I look at every careless choice, rejection of Truth, or even the rebellious attitudes, I take my eyes off the promise that they will serve God, a confirmation God gave me when they were young. It may be years before these promises are fulfilled but I can trust God’s perfect timing.
If He’s intimately in touch with the feelings of my weaknesses and knows the number of hairs on my head,  He can truly lead us through the wilderness, all 40 years, and into His promised land.
Same with my health. I am walking better today than I did ten years ago when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and needed crutches. I have known for some time that the day would come when I would be completely healed. I am now thanking God for leading me into a healing journey through fitness and food. No instant miracles in my case, but wisdom to build up my strength. I’ve seen these miracles and have no doubt at all that God can instantly heal, but I use my mustard seed-sized faith and hit the gym daily. I deny myself ice cream, cookies, yummy scones, cheeseburgers and fries. I trust Him. This ten-year trial of my faith has strengthened my walk with God. If I focused on my periodic numbness, or the friends who were not healed, I have taken my eyes off of Christ.
I can’t shake the sense that the fruit on my tree must become so ripe and juicy it’s palpable to everyone around me. Is my fruit green, diseased, or flavorless? What would the horticulturist say? To truly live by faith, I am not swayed by the unexpected snows, ice storms, floods, winds, or locusts, but know that God is working all things together for my good and His Glory. 
Do I dismiss the wee mustard seed because it’s so small? Am I expecting to see a pumpkin-sized measure of faith before I step out? My challenge to each one of us is to consider the degree to which we truly live by faith and not fear. Do our words and actions cancel or support our prayers of faith? James tells us that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”  When I lift up prayers of faith yet my mind tells me another story I have made my very foundation unstable.
I hand-stamped a mustard seed dot on a distressed antiqued brass disc with the words By FAITH to remind me every day what a small measure is needed to move that mountain and the challenge of this journey. By Faith.
 Matthew 17:20 (ESV).
 Habakkuk 2:4.
 Mark 9:24.
 Matthew 18:3.
 Psalm 50:10.
 Psalm 37:25
 Matthew 10:30.
 Romans 8:28.
 James 1:8 (KJV).
The featured images of the “By Faith” necklace are courtesy of Mary Campbell Miller and used with her kind permission for Cultivating. This necklace and other beautiful selections can be purchased from her Etsy shop.
Mary has cherished life-long literary dreams coupled with a passion for ministry, all of which lead her to study English literature and later theology and counseling in seminary. She has been designing artisan jewelry for nine years while homeschooling son Ian and daughter Julianna. After 14 years of ministry in San Diego she and her husband Mark Miller, along with their teenagers and cat, Lord Peter Wimsey relocated to Charlottesville, VA where they enjoy farm life, chickens and all. Mary enjoys off-the-wall humor, gardening, cooking, and curling up with anything penned by Dorothy Sayers, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, or Jane Austen.
A Field Guide to Cultivating ~ Essentials to Cultivating a Whole Life, Rooted in Christ, and Flourishing in Fellowship
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