Heather Norman Smith, Faithbeyondfear.com, Faith Beyond Fear, Baby Steps of Faith, Mustard Seed, Contributing Writer

A Baby Step of Faith

Heather Norman Smith, Faithbeyondfear.com, Faith Beyond Fear, Baby Steps of Faith, Mustard Seed, Contributing Writer

Crunching numbers has never been my strong suit. As a word person, and not a math person, I avoid it when possible. When I reflect on it, however, I realize how important numbers have been on my personal journey to faith beyond fear.

Eleven years ago, I gave birth to my first daughter.

When she was three, I left her overnight for the first time. It wasn’t easy being away, but it was necessary, seeing how I was at the hospital giving birth to her sister. When the second bundle of joy was just two years old, I left her overnight for the first time. Not for a romantic cruise with their father, or for a fun girls’ weekend, but to give birth to her brother. For five years after the birth of my third child, I never left my children overnight again.

I’d like to pin these facts on and wear them like a badge of honor.

I’d like to hold my head high and claim undying devotion to my children as the reason I’ve not taken a vacation with my husband, just the two of us, in over eleven years. But that’s only part of the equation. I’ve feared something would go wrong in my absence.   And I’ve worried about just missing them too much.

Sure, the oldest two have been away a few times, sleeping over at their grandparents’ house. And the eleven-year-old even went to sleep-away camp last summer. (Because her father went with her and texted me regular updates.) But it wasn’t until recently that I pushed through my fear, with the help of the Lord, and left them at home with their father overnight, to sleep somewhere else, in another city, for a purpose other than childbirth!

It was a writer’s conference two hours (more numbers!) from my home that pushed me into uncharted territory, and I loved every minute of the experience. It was liberating! But here’s the thing. I only stayed one night. One night of a four-night conference. While everyone headed to the evening keynote on Monday, I headed to the parking lot to leave. That’s how I planned it, because I couldn’t imagine being away for any longer than one night.

Even though I limited myself, one night out of over 4,000 nights since I became a mother was enough for the Lord to allow me a taste of freedom from fear. (I wanted to convert that to a percentage, but I’ve already told you I’m not a math person.) The Lord has been gracious to this mother’s heart. He has been so lovingly patient with me about my worry and my anxiety over letting go of my children just the slightest bit. And he allowed me to take a baby step of faith instead of a giant leap.

God allowed me to take a baby step of faith instead of a giant leap. -Heather Norman Smith Click To Tweet

Matthew 17:20, Heather Norman Smith, Faith Beyond Fear, faithbeyondfear.com, Alynda Long, Baby Step, Mustard Seed

In Matthew 17:20 (NKJV), Jesus says, “… if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

A mustard seed is smaller than two millimeters wide. But God says with even tiny sized faith in Him, we can do the seemingly impossible. So, really… how big is a mustard seed? I think it’s one night out of 4,000. Maybe for you it’s one phone call to a loved one after twenty years of silence. Or it’s one step toward Him after running a hundred miles away. Perhaps it’s just one testimony after countless missed chances to witness. Whatever fear you are facing, maybe a baby step of faith is all you need to take right now.

I’m sure I’ll still worry about my children, although God is helping me with that daily. But I believe if I go another eleven years without leaving them overnight, it will be because I enjoy being with them. By God’s grace, fear is no longer part of the equation.

About the Author

Heather Norman Smith, Faith Beyond Fear, Contributor, Mustard Seed, Contributing WriterHeather lives in the Piedmont of North Carolina with her husband, Alex, and their three children, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Daniel. Along with devotions, she writes fiction novels that present the very real redemptive love of God. Her debut book, Grace and Lavender, is scheduled to be released March 2019. She enjoys writing songs and singing about Jesus, and sometimes blogs about family life on her website, too. You can visit her at www.heathernormansmith.com.

Redefining Fear by Jennifer Cotney

Flying Through the Air with Faith by Amy Merritt

Faith, Fear, and Fire Hydrants by Chip Mattis

The Dreaded F Word by Norma Poore

His Hope in the Darkness by Alynda Long


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23 thoughts on “A Baby Step of Faith”

  1. Great post, Heather. I can totally relate. It’s hard as a parent to entrust the care of my kids to other people: babysitters, grandparents, etc. Good job taking small steps of faith as they get closer to leaving the nest. God is faithful and worthy of that trust.

  2. God will be faithful as we take baby steps in our faith. Prays for more nights away for you in the future. God bless

  3. Great post. I can totally relate. Maybe it’s being a writer? I envision every terrible thing that can go wrong if I leave my babies to go focus on myself. It’s so hard sometimes. I love the vulnerability in your post. Thanks for letting us know we’re not alone!

  4. I did the same thing when my kids were younger, but it was primarily because we lived far from any family members that we could leave the kids with, and we didn’t feel comfortable enough with friends to take care of our kids for an overnight. (I think I’ve read too many bad stories that caused me to not trust others much with my precious children.) One thing suffered in all of this… my marriage. After 26 years of being married, we’ve only been on one vacation together away from our children. We are happily married, but I think we would have enjoyed our younger married years had we spent a least a little more time away from the kids, just the two of us. It’s all good now, but I’m glad that you’re taking the mustard seed of faith, and trusting God with it.

    1. Wow- thanks for sharing your story!
      Every anniversary we toy around with the idea of spending a night away. But we haven’t done it yet. Maybe for our 13th coming up in January!

  5. It’s so hard to take that baby step! And more will be required down the road. I remember those early days myself, going nowhere away from my tinies when they were small. Now they’re all adults and even bigger steps are required. But we can’t get to those without all the baby steps that go beforehand. Thank God for his grace and his power that grows our strength and trust in him, for they are his more than ours. God bless you, dear momma.

  6. Dear Heather!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I appreciate your post. I can relate to how you feel about giving up the control of being a mother. It’s not easy, and often a fearful experience.

    Love what you said here: “By God’s grace, fear is no longer part of the equation.” That’s how it is to be a Christian.

    Edna Davidsen

  7. Heather, taking baby steps reminded me of playing “Mother May I?” as a kid. I guess when it comes to faith and charting new territory we ask, “Father may I?” And then we trust Him with every baby or giant step we take along the way. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I do understand your journey. We have five children and have been married for twenty years. I can count on one hand how many times the girls have spent a night away from home. Of course, the son a little more since he’s the only boy. I believe it’s our God-given duty as parents to ensure the safety of our children. After all, we have approximately eighteen years before they are ready to venture into their own journey.

  9. Heather, thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. You make such a good point about how in order to move forward we just need to start with the smallest of steps with the smallest mustard seed of faith. Once we get momentum and some traction each baby step contributes to moving us forward. It is interesting how in this era of “supersizing” and efficiency we think things have be done in grand and noteworthy ways. Yet, oftentimes it is the baby steps that get will in actuality get us where we need to go. God just asks that we commit to something, take even a small step and walk with Him in his strength and power. Thanks again for your article.

  10. Thank you for reminding us of the baby steps we take in faith. I know that raising my three children required little steps of faith every day, especially as two struggled with addiction. This was so encouraging.

  11. Raising my three children really did require baby steps of faith every day. Two of my children struggle with addiction and one is on the autism spectrum. I did not have the knowledge necessary to face these situations, but I did have a little bit of mustard seed faith. I am grateful for your encouraging words. Thank you for sharing. Very inspiring.

  12. Thanks, Heather, for reminding us that God allows us to take baby steps of faith. Thanks also for sharing your heartfelt desire to be a devoted mom. This is relatable. We are new empty nesters, and yet our kids vist weekly–because we need them to. I totally relate, sister, as I’m sure other parents do as well.

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