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Addie Ink Slingers Last Rites/Anointing of the Sick Offering your suffering

Faith Like a Mustard Seed… or a Vinca

 

I’ve never been much of a gardener, but I do enjoy keeping a few potted plants on my back patio during the summer. I love the process of picking out colorful flower combinations, planting, and nurturing them throughout the growing season; I’m a farmer’s daughter, so I suppose it’s in my blood. Usually a couple of my planters die, but at least a few of them make it through the season in their full glory.  

 

This spring, I experimented with a combination of pink vincas and orange marigolds in a vibrant green pot.  The vincas were fairly big, so I stuck them in the middle of the pot, surrounded by a ring of small marigolds. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but over the next couple of weeks, the marigolds slowly choked out the vincas until they were almost completely shielded from the sun.

 

The last few weeks have been difficult for my family. Tomorrow, I undergo major surgery to replace my damaged jaw joints and reconstruct the lower half of my face.* Because of doubts, busyness, Satan’s influence, etc., I eased up on my usual religious pract. I wasn’t reading the Bible as frequently or praying as fervently as usual. I had been attending mass three times a week, and now I only went on Sundays. Like my vincas, my faith was still there, but it was slowly being overtaken by the marigolds of doubt, fear, and insecurity. Did I make the right decision to have this complicated surgery?  What if I never woke up from anesthesia? What if I was one of those people who developed an infection or a rare complication from surgery? What if my pain was actually worse after surgery than it was before?

 

Something deep within me knew I needed to make a change. So, I reached out to some trusted friends and prayer warriors, admitting to them that my faith was faltering and that I needed some support. These folks have surrounded me in prayer and non-judgment over the last few weeks. Since then, I’ve taken part in the sacraments more regularly, including reconciliation and anointing of the sick, in preparation for my surgery. Although I am in the midst of the storm, I have never felt such peace, resting in the love of Jesus.

 

I held out little hope that my vincas would survive; however, like my faith, vincas are small but mighty. I kept watering them, added a little fertilizer, and pruned the marigolds. Slowly they are beginning to rise above, reaching toward the sun.

 

*I had bilateral TMJ joint replacement and reconstruction on June 15 (this post was written prior to surgery).  My TMJ joints deteriorated due to complications from scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disorder. Over time, this caused severe pain and dysfunction in my jaw joints, neck, and head, hindered my chewing and nutrition, and halted my career as a classical singer and teacher of singing.

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Amy M. Domestic Church Ink Slingers Motherhood Parenting Prayer Vocations

The Mustard Seed

mustard_seeds

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the story of the mustard seed. “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ The Lord replied, ‘If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.’” Luke 17:5-6. This week I had the opportunity to reflect on the Gospel for Sunday prior to going to Mass with our bible study group. I was excited as I read the above verse. “Yay! An easy one to interpret,” I thought. But the next part of the Gospel was more perplexing.

“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'” Luke 17:7-10

The servants did what they were supposed to do and shouldn’t expect thank you or a reward? Tell that to my children… Truthfully, tell that to me some days. I can become so caught up in what I do for my family that I lose sight of the fact that it is an honor and blessing to have my family to serve!

Jesus is pointing out the importance of attitude to his apostles. We can pray for something all we want, but unless we act on our belief that God will answer our prayer, it will go unanswered. We don’t need Him to give us more faith. We need to act on the faith we already have. God can use us with faith only the size of a mustard seed to fulfill His plan for our lives – if we but believe and let Him.

Our attitude will make all the difference.

Let us pray: Please, Lord, when I am caught up in garnering recognition for tasks I am obliged to do, please help me to adjust my attitude in realizing all I need is You, and You see all I do and will give me all I need.

I’d love to hear how you are doing today! How is your attitude as you start your day? What tasks do you have before you and how can you tackle them with a grateful heart today?

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