I learned a lot about faith recently in the form of one tiny 99-year old woman named Blanche Jackson. Blanche is the indomitable mother of Joy, a dear friend and soul sister of mine. Blanche became my prayer warrior when I was struggling with cancer.
Whenever we talked on the phone, she insisted that God, who was in charge of healing me, would not let me down. She added my name to the prayer list at her church and never stopped believing that I would be healed. Though not a church member, I was happy to take all the prayers I could get because my own faith about my return to good health was pretty shaky. Of course Blanche was correct about my healing, for here I am, free of disease, writing another book.
Although we had talked on the phone during and after my cancer experience, I had not seen Blanche in person for many years. So it was a great delight for me to surprise her for her 99th birthday with a visit to her home in Newark, Ohio. In the few days I spent with her, I witnessed the strength of her faith.
Blanche greets each morning with an out-loud prayer of gratitude for the dawning of a new day. Not only does she thank her God for all the blessings in life, she thanks God for any aches and pains. Strange as it might seem, she tells me that those pains soon disappear, and she is left with her blessings.
This amazing woman doesn’t just believe in her faith – she lives it on a moment by moment basis. Fear and worry have no place in her life because she knows at heart level that she has God’s protection and love in all things. She accepts what is there before her, whether good or bad, and blesses it. Most of all, she and God are friends – really good friends.
I couldn’t have been more moved by her approach to life. She lives large and laughs often, plus she prays for everyone – loved ones close to her and those she’s never met. When asked if she had any words of wisdom from her long life, she said, “Everyone has to live their own life, no matter what anyone else thinks.”
Watching her caused me to think about my own faith in relation to my path in life. All the messages from Spirit have been pointing to the direction I’m meant to take, yet I have been hesitating. I have felt small and wondered, “Who am I to take on such a mighty task?” I have been fearful about my ability to make the kind of impact that I believe I’m destined to make.
While at Blanche’s, I came across a book title that struck a chord: “If you want to walk on water, you have to step out of the boat.” For most of my life, I was afraid to rock the boat, never mind step out of it! But I guess that’s where faith comes in – that we have enough faith to step out, even though we’re not sure of the outcome or our ability. We also need faith in the fact that we’ll be supported as we take those first shaky steps. It’s an odd combination of both surrender and action.
In my early days of reading the bible, I came across a verse that’s worth repeating: “…Jesus told them “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Everyone at some point or other has a seemingly insurmountable mountain to move. Blanche had hers in her life, and I have had mine. Yet, she nurtured her tiny mustard seed long enough for her faith to move mountains, many of them not her own. I am so grateful for Blanche’s reminder of the power of faith. Now let’s talk about you – how has faith sustained you, and what are you doing to grow it?