Faith is an element in my life, which I have questioned from time to time. What exactly is faith? Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” If I pray for something in faith and it doesn’t happen, is that a lack of faith? I have come to realize over the years that it is not. We need to understand and be thankful that God sometimes says, “No.”
I grew up in a godly home where examples of faith surrounded me. On the family farm, there was a great deal of work, but there were also lessons of faith. I watched year after year as my father planted the seed and had faith it would grow. The seed needed to receive the right amount of rain, sunshine, and nutrients to produce a crop, which provided food for his dairy cattle and an income for his family.
I observed my mother, who was definitely a Proverbs 31 woman. She had the faith necessary to stretch Dad’s income to provide for their five children. Her faith showed her how to be a farm wife, gardener, seamstress, nurse, cook, and mother. As a young wife and mother, she had faith in herself and God through many of life’s challenges. Faith God would give her strength for each new day and help her provide for the needs of her family.
As a very little girl, I remember my Grandpa Robinson quoting scripture to his grandchildren. I didn’t realize it, but he was teaching us the importance of knowing God’s Word.
I have fond memories of my Grandma Conklin, who invested in my life. She not only spoiled me like any grandma does, she showed me what it was like to be active in her church. She invested herself in the lives of others by teaching Sunday school, preparing dinners at the church, and many other activities with the ladies. No matter how tired she was, she always saved the end of the day for prayer and reading her Bible. As a young child, I observed her, and remembered all of this information. She molded me, and left a huge imprint on my heart by her examples.
We attended Sunday school and church every Sunday. I knew the Bible stories like all the other children at church. It just didn’t take root in my heart as a tangible part of my life. In spite of all this wonderful upbringing, I had to find faith in God on my own. It wasn’t until I came to the end of myself, that I found a lifeline to sustain me. Christ became my hope and my future.
After my divorce and struggling as a single mother of two, I found myself looking back to my roots. My bad choices in life had piled on top of one another, until the only place left to look was up. I sat on my sofa one lonely evening and cried out to God. I found myself wrapped in His loving arms as I asked Him to give my life new purpose and direction. It was a private time between God and myself, as I rededicated my life to Him that tearful night. The following morning, I had a new confidence in myself and my life, because it was now in Christ’s hands. I knew from the faith examples of my family that God would not let me down. The path ahead may be rocky, but it would be the right one, because God was leading for the first time in my adult life.
Unknown to me, following his divorce, my husband, Jim, was praying for a companion in his life. God heard our prayers and set us on a path to meet one another. The rest is history, as we have now been married for thirty years. He is the love of my life, and he took me back to my roots—the farm. Of course, there have been rough days, squabbles, and hard work on the farm. In spite of any problems we encounter, we never lose focus of the fact that God brought two lonely, messed up lives together. God took what we called a mess, and made it something beautiful.
I was blessed with more Christian roots as well. I was given a mother-in-law who taught me more lessons in faith. No matter the circumstances, problem, or decision we faced on the farm Leah would say, “We just need to have faith and pray.”
Her faith in God shined as she walked daily with the Lord, and was a faithful prayer warrior. She went home to be with the Lord many years ago and Jim often says he misses the daily prayers his mother said on his behalf.
My faith has taken me full circle in life. Our sons were raised on the farm. They are both in the agriculture business, and are also involved the family farm. Jim and I have tried to instill in their lives the importance of faith in God from the smallest decision, to the biggest one. I thank God that He took my messed-up life, and set my feet on the right path. As a result, my children were surrounded with the same godly foundation and roots by which I was raised.
As life goes full circle, I look forward to being a mentor of faith to my daughters-in-law. I pray that one day my grandchildren will see me saving the end of every day for Jesus, or hear me quote a Bible verse. I want to plant seeds of faith in their hearts as they grow. I pray that I have successfully planted seeds of faith in my sons which will sustain them. One lonely evening, they too may journey to the sofa, and Christ will become a more tangible part of their lives. My hope is that the circle of faith will continue for many generations as we continue to share Leah’s familiar words, “We just need to have faith and pray.”
Please share your faith story! How has God been there for you in the past? What small step of faith impacted you this week? I would love to hear how Jesus makes a difference in your life.