OLW - Faith

It is Spiritual Journey Thursday for January, and we are writing about our One Little Word for the year 2020. Visit Margaret Simon's Reflections on the Teche to get the complete list of our little first Thursday of the month group and read about the words they've chosen.

I remember once thinking things like "How could someone not go to church if they had such a heavy burden?  That's what God and prayer are for."
And then it happened to me.

I picked the word "Faith" for me this year.
I was almost afraid to have this word...maybe I still am a little.There were times this past year that I felt like I was too far away from God.  That things were too heavy, and I was too burdened to have the strength to bring the burdens to Him.
What a ditz.

But here's the thing.  If you ask God for patience, he will give you trials to test your patience so you can get better at it.  How can you learn patience if there is nothing to be patient about?  The same with faith.  Did he give me more things to test my faith when I asked him to grow my faith?  I asked him to do that... and then I was given trials and worries to put in his hand and LEAVE there.  That was hard.  I kept taking them back.
I'm still afraid that I will take them back.

I have been working on - or letting God work on - me and my faith.  I am relearning my leap and relying on Him to catch me.  I contemplated changing my word when I realized I may have brought all this on myself by asking to grow in faith.  But I'm going to be brave and have faith that all that God has been doing is for my good.  I've seen some evidence already, and it makes me smile to see the worrisome things that have been turned around with nothing I've done on my own.
What a ditz.
So yes.  Faith is my word.  I'm going to embrace it... I'm not going to be afraid of it.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Hebrews 11:1


Faith is knowing
what I can't see
is there or very
soon to be.
It's pushing worry
to the side,
a steadfast stance
no backward slide.
But everyone
has times of doubt
a season of
"What's this about?",
a time we wonder
what will be,
a time we wish
that we could see
what lies ahead,
to see the rest,
to understand how
we'll be blessed.
In all the chaos,
seasons bleak
we sometimes mutter
and faith is weak.
But by and by
when we attend
we see his work,
the woven end.
God always knew
his work was good,
and hoped we'd
trust him as we should.
Faith means we're
keeping step and walking;
praying, asking
ever talking
to the Lord through
smiles and tears,
awash in love,
assuaging fears,
though climbing up
another hill
to swallow yet
another pill.
But then when all
may seem its worst
The rains abate
and sun rays burst.
And even when you've
paid quite dearly
for quiet times
and very nearly
destroyed your faith
and walked away,
just stay the course,
have faith to pray.

by Donna JT Smith, 1/2/2020

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  Hebrews 11:6

May your faith be gently tested, may you remain strong and steadfast in it.


  1. ooooh, faith is a bit of a scary step to take in 2020. You've had so much change in the past year. There must be so much to get used to still. I think paying quite dearly for quiet times speaks volumes. I hope and pray for your faith to grow.

    1. It can be scary letting go. But I've done it before. I guess it didn't seem to be so many things piling up at once though, in the past. I will hopefully keep growing my faith at the same time I am staying in it!

  2. <3 Sending you love and best wishes as you step out in faith!

    1. Thank you, Ruth! I hope your year is filled with lots of goodness and light!

  3. Faith only needs to be the size of a mustard seed, you know. You don't need much to pull you through. I've seen this happening to you from afar, this faith seed. It's doing the slow work of God. It may not bloom this year, but leave that up to God. Faith is the opposite of fear, and I am sure that God loves us too much to let us feel fear. Rest in that love. Thanks for sharing yourself with this community.

    1. You are so right...I always need to keep remembering all the things I know in my heart. And so true about faith being the opposite of fear. Fear overtook a few times, and it is a lonely place to be. I'm feeling a bit more "gathered" (hmm, that word seems oddly appropriate). Thanks for this message - it's a blessing to me.

  4. Donna, thank you for sharing your heart with all of us! Faith is a personal journey and rarely a straight line... you are exactly where you need to be. xo

    1. I've not thought of it as "rarely a straight line"... that is a comfort! Thank you, Irene.

  5. Donna, you have weathered many storms this year and faith has coming knocking on your Pennsylvania door to bring you more strength. The line that resonated with me is "It's pushing worry/to the side..." That is what faith does when we are totally immersed in it. There are so many tempting moments that want to whisk faith aside but faith is a beautiful gift and you captured it to lead you on. I have been thinking a great deal about faith. Sometimes, I feel my mind wanders when it should be mindful and faithful. But I learned from the yoga teachers not to be harsh with myself but gently come back to my breath. It is in these cases that faith is powerful. It assists us to remain present (which is a very hard thing to do). Stay strong, be bold, and let continued faith take you far.

    1. "Not to be harsh with myself"... I will take that to hold onto also. Thanks for your kind and helpful words.

  6. A powerful, powerful word. How well your poem captures the essence of faith. Sometimes we simply rest in it. Sometimes we hang onto it for all we’re worth; sometimes we are sharpened by it. I believe faith is always rewarded:
    “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

    1. Words I want to hear someday - "Well done, good and faithful servant..."

  7. I believe faith is always rewarded too. Just not always when we want it or expect it. Love your final two lines -
    "just stay the course,
    have faith to pray."
    May your year be filled with faith.

  8. Hi Donna: Thank you for this brave and heartfelt message. I agree that we all struggle with faith, I know that I certainly do. There is a story in Mark 9 about a man who says, "I believe, help my unbelief." I sometimes need to pray that prayer also... help my unbelief. Our faith journeys go through some deep dark swamps. May God be with us, and help our unbelief.


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