On An Honest Friday: Mustard Seed


“From me, he asks for a getting up. An invitation for the thaw. A lifting of this mustard seed faith of mine.”

By Laura Parker | Twitter: @LauraParkerblog

If my spiritual life were a dashboard in a flight cockpit, I’m pretty sure the red lights screaming, Danger! Crash-and-burn-imminent! would be angrily blinking.

Because my faith has taken a beating this year; a battering.

There’s been disappointments in ministry and a confusion of jobs. There’s been several house moves and enough goodbyes said that would make a grown man cry. There’s been money struggles and kid struggles and a community that seems awfully elusive. And then, there’s been this discussion of new theology that has rocked me to my core, driving me to ask questions and seek answers.

Which I haven’t really found.

And the result is that my faith finds itself laid-out on the mat of some cosmic boxing ring.

Battered, down, and staying that way, I’m afraid.

The past months have seen a slow chill creep in to my heart, and the voice of God has become a whisper that I haven’t taken time to strain an ear for. My cynicism–my “intelligent” wanderings–have ushered in more head than soul, and down on the mat I have wallowed.

And, this, I have discovered, is not a good thing. Especially as a homeschooling mom to three small children. Especially as a wife to a man, overwhelmed. Especially as a {gulp} Christian missionary.

But, here’s the thing I am {re}learning about this God I started following 25 years ago: He doesn’t ask for mountainous faith; doesn’t demand on-fire-perfection.

Instead, he asks for mustard seeds. And five loaves. And water in jugs where the wine’s already run out.

And from me? From me, he asks for a getting up. An invitation for the thaw. A lifting of this mustard seed faith of mine.

Case in point. My husband needed to travel to Bangkok from our home in Thailand in January. He had lined up several meetings that were crucial to our work here in Asia, and he felt like it was a trip God was asking him to step out in faith for–even though we didn’t have the money to buy the plane tickets or the funds for a hotel or a traveling partner to go with him.

But, he made calls and scheduled meetings, anyway. And then, over the next few weeks, I saw the mustard seed grow:

1. His plane ticket was paid for by another family here who heard about his meetings and wanted to encourage us.

2. Another friend has a brother who redeemed hotel points to get him to stay at a four-star hotel in Bangkok. He was planning on staying in hostels, but now will be spending the weekend in one of the nicest hotels in the entire city.

3. A friend from another city in Thailand has agreed to travel with him, attend meetings and be another ear to process with.

4. He has been able to schedule meetings with some key leaders which, honestly, were a long shot at even getting to the table with.

5. My heart is in a fresh place– expectant for the trip, hopeful for the outcomes. And ready to manage the kids as a solo-parent for the next several days, sans the typical woe-is-me syndrome I typically spout when he travels.

And, this, friends, for me is God in Action, God in the Boxing Ring who ushers me again to wobbly feet. And this Friday, as we celebrate things to be grateful for here at SheLoves, my husband works and dreams and prays, from a cushy hotel in Bangkok.

And his wife, at home with the three kids, finds her heart a little less cold, her faith a little made stronger, the red indicator lights not blinking with quite such panic as before.

And maybe both are more a miracle than I usually give credit for.


My dear SheLoves friends, I’d love to hear:

  • What mustard seed have you seen growing in your life more recently?
  • If your spiritual life were a dashboard in a cockpit, what would yours say today?
  • Any other thoughts?


About Laura:

Laura Parker is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom who currently lives in Thailand with her family. She and her husband run a travel ministry which seeks to mentor young adults and provide a greater awareness of human trafficking. She blogs honestly about a life in Asia, squatty-potties and all, at http://www.aLifeOverseas.com . She is also the founding editor for an inspirational website for educators, InspiredTeacher.net . She tweets from @LauraParkerBlog .

Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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  1. Dear Laura,

    I’m so glad to see you on SheLoves. I haven’t been to your blog for a while, but I felt a kinship with you when we were in Thailand in November and December (first trip a holiday, second trip on an unexpected visa renewal).

    Can I tell you something funny? I found your blog a few months ago when I entered in Google, “Do all M’s feel this way?”

    They do. At least sometimes. Let us keep perservering and offering up the mustard seeds and empty wine jars.

  2. I’m with Fiona. Your honesty pierces me. I love it.

    And this paragraph … wow :

    “And, this, I have discovered, is not a good thing. Especially as a homeschooling mom to three small children. Especially as a wife to a man, overwhelmed. Especially as a {gulp} Christian missionary.”

  3. Oh I LOVED this!

    “But I believe the desire to please you does in fact please you.”

    Oh, I will be using that one in the future. This was so powerful to me. Thanks for sharing it. Glad to “meet” you via blogland!

  4. I love your honesty, Laura. It is too easy to try and pretend that everything is ok. I’m too well practised at appearing holy after twenty years of perfecting the look.
    Your post reminds me of a prayer by Thomas Merton that I take a lot of encouragement from. He writes about not understanding where he is or where he is going or even what he is doing, but then says “But I believe the desire to please you does in fact please you.” It reminds me that God does not expect us to come with everything together, with all the answers, with incredible faith. Just the wish to please him, as small as it may be…

  5. “We must, Brother Lawrence remarked, trust in God and surrender completely to Him. He will not deceive us. Never tire of doing even the smallest things for Him, because He isn’t impressed so much with the dimensions of our work as with the love in which it is done.We should not get discouraged if we fail in the beginning…Many things are possible for the person who has hope. Even more for the person who has faith. Still more for the person who knows how to love. But everything is possible for the person who practices all three virtues.”

    I love you, Laura. Thank you for your open, honest, vulnerable heart. God is using you to minister to others in more ways than you may ever see or understand. He is faithful and will continue His work in you until it’s day of completion…don’t lose hope 🙂

    – Caitlin Thompson (Barber)

    • Caitlin, I loved that word on HOPE. What a powerful thing. I think you are right, the rememberance of hope is huge in the kind of people we are, the faith we have in a God who can and does make “all things new.”

      Thanks for stopping by here and encouraging me with such a great word. I love Brother Lawrence!


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