The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


August 17, 2013

Ann Leach: Parable about a small seed preaches big possibility

JOPLIN, Mo. — According to my long-deceased mother, I would have had an older brother.

My parents had a stillborn son on Christmas Eve more than 50 years ago. Mom said that when my dad picked her up at the hospital, he brought her a silver bracelet with a mustard seed charm attached and proclaimed, "I know that if we have faith like the mustard seed, we'll have another child soon."

He was referring to the Bible's (American King James Version) parable in Matthew 13:31-32 that reads "And Jesus said to them, because of your unbelief: for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you."

That parable of possibility has been a sometimes subtle, often times prominent source of guidance for my life. I was made aware of its impact when I went to the family Bible to search for the exact passage to read at my mother's funeral in 1987.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that she had the same verse read at my father's funeral in 1964.

This message of faith reminded me of my connection to my parents and shored me up for my remaining life journey from that 31st year forward. The years have passed, and my life has included multiple losses: Every male relative in my life was dead by the time I was 21.

 I have lost valued pets, a college friend to AIDS, a best friend to a location change and my heart to two men that I thought deserved to have it. I've lost a home to the tornado and weathered another storm when given a false diagnosis for an autoimmune disease. I've taken big risks, launched a business and programs and managed moves across the country.

Through it all I have relied on faith, prayer partners and mastermind groups to get me through. I've changed how I work with faith, from a plea for help to a silent expectation and act of trust, so that nothing has been impossible to me.

A strong claim, I know. And one that has me thinking of a story I read recently.

A grandmother took her 6-year-old granddaughter to see fireworks while on vacation. The grandmother was amazed at the spectacle and shared her enthusiasm with her young guest.

"I think those were the best fireworks I've ever seen," Grandmother said. "How about you? Weren't they the greatest ones ever?"

The 6-year-old nodded her head in agreement and replied, "Yes, so far."

That simple statement from a 6-year-old sums up faith for me on so many levels. In her agreement, she is still open to the possibility of even more good. She has total willingness to consider there could be something even better later, and she now has a new benchmark for what "great" is.

She expects more of that great to come into her life, without limits.

And like the moving of mountains, none of these possibilities are impossible to her. So while I'm not a minister (just a healer of hearts) or a religious scholar (simply a student of truth), I look forward to exploring faith and how others are moving their own mountains by using it too during my time with you on this page.

Ann Leach is a life coach based in Joplin.

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