Crunching numbers has never been my strong suit. As a word person, and not a math person, I avoid it when possible. When I reflect on it, however, I realize how important numbers have been on my personal journey to faith beyond fear.
Eleven years ago, I gave birth to my first daughter.
When she was three, I left her overnight for the first time. It wasn’t easy being away, but it was necessary, seeing how I was at the hospital giving birth to her sister. When the second bundle of joy was just two years old, I left her overnight for the first time. Not for a romantic cruise with their father, or for a fun girls’ weekend, but to give birth to her brother. For five years after the birth of my third child, I never left my children overnight again.
I’d like to pin these facts on and wear them like a badge of honor.
I’d like to hold my head high and claim undying devotion to my children as the reason I’ve not taken a vacation with my husband, just the two of us, in over eleven years. But that’s only part of the equation. I’ve feared something would go wrong in my absence. And I’ve worried about just missing them too much.
Sure, the oldest two have been away a few times, sleeping over at their grandparents’ house. And the eleven-year-old even went to sleep-away camp last summer. (Because her father went with her and texted me regular updates.) But it wasn’t until recently that I pushed through my fear, with the help of the Lord, and left them at home with their father overnight, to sleep somewhere else, in another city, for a purpose other than childbirth!
It was a writer’s conference two hours (more numbers!) from my home that pushed me into uncharted territory, and I loved every minute of the experience. It was liberating! But here’s the thing. I only stayed one night. One night of a four-night conference. While everyone headed to the evening keynote on Monday, I headed to the parking lot to leave. That’s how I planned it, because I couldn’t imagine being away for any longer than one night.
Even though I limited myself, one night out of over 4,000 nights since I became a mother was enough for the Lord to allow me a taste of freedom from fear. (I wanted to convert that to a percentage, but I’ve already told you I’m not a math person.) The Lord has been gracious to this mother’s heart. He has been so lovingly patient with me about my worry and my anxiety over letting go of my children just the slightest bit. And he allowed me to take a baby step of faith instead of a giant leap.God allowed me to take a baby step of faith instead of a giant leap. -Heather Norman Smith Click To Tweet
In Matthew 17:20 (NKJV), Jesus says, “… if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
A mustard seed is smaller than two millimeters wide. But God says with even tiny sized faith in Him, we can do the seemingly impossible. So, really… how big is a mustard seed? I think it’s one night out of 4,000. Maybe for you it’s one phone call to a loved one after twenty years of silence. Or it’s one step toward Him after running a hundred miles away. Perhaps it’s just one testimony after countless missed chances to witness. Whatever fear you are facing, maybe a baby step of faith is all you need to take right now.
I’m sure I’ll still worry about my children, although God is helping me with that daily. But I believe if I go another eleven years without leaving them overnight, it will be because I enjoy being with them. By God’s grace, fear is no longer part of the equation.
About the Author
Heather lives in the Piedmont of North Carolina with her husband, Alex, and their three children, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Daniel. Along with devotions, she writes fiction novels that present the very real redemptive love of God. Her debut book, Grace and Lavender, is scheduled to be released March 2019. She enjoys writing songs and singing about Jesus, and sometimes blogs about family life on her website, too. You can visit her at www.heathernormansmith.com.
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