“Faith refers to a strong belief or confidence one has in something or someone. This faith is what helps us get through the major problems and obstacles we experience in life.” UNKNOWN

Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life-we buried my father. But, my father’s homegoing was a beautiful and befitting ceremony. It was truly a celebration. My father was laid to rest as he lived-lovingly. I spoke at his repast on faith and those words will serve as this week’s blog in honor of the man we call daddy.

Anyone breathing knows that life can be overwhelming and sometimes downright frightening.  It’s filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, and joys and pains, which often make it seem like when we take 4 steps forward, something happens that makes us take 5 steps backward.  But is that true? or is it just the way we CHOOSE to view our situations?                      

I believe life is about perspective.  Because  in reality, life is a wonderful journey. And those twists, turns, ups, downs, joys, and pains exist to make our journey an exciting and eventful adventure.  It’s just life, testing our faith, if you will.  Having faith changes our perspective which in turn changes our situation.  Websters defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something” and for our purposes, we will call that someone or something Jesus Christ.  If we’d change our mindset and focus on the good in every situation and if we simply exercised our faith, we would unleash an infinite amount of unlimited possibilities.

My father exercised his faith when over 60 years ago, he allowed faith to carry him- a country boy from Oakman, Alabama to Inglewood, Ca.  My father used faith to comfort his heart when after losing his parents and siblings, he became the very last member of the original Lathern clan. For the past 20 years,  I can only imagine how often he used faith to get him through the realization that he was NOW the only Lathern (besides us) in the entire world.  My father infused his faith into a high school relationship (let her tell it she was in elementary and  he was in high school) that resulted in a marriage that spanned 63 years. My father reiterated his faith by instilling in his children, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends to ALWAYS trust GOD and to keep the faith. My father constantly reminded us that where there is faith, there is a way.

GOD knew life’s circumstances would cloud our minds with fear and doubt. GOD knew that faith would NOT be our first option. GOD knew that during difficult times,  our minds would automatically focus on our lack and  limitation.  GOD knew because, in Matthew 17:20, Jesus said, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

Let me be clear, faith doesn’t always take you OUT of the problem, faith takes you THROUGH the problem. Faith doesn’t always TAKE AWAY the pain, but faith gives us the ability to HANDLE the pain. Faith won’t always take us OUT of the storm, but faith will calm us in the MIDST of the storm.  Because where there is faith, there is a way.                         

As I take my seat-I want to say 2 last things. First, I want my mom, my sister, my brother, and myself to remember that our faith WILL move those mountains we now face-our heartache, our loneliness,  our pain, and our grief if we continue to believe, trust GOD and keep the faith, those mountains WILL move.  Lastly, in honor of the man- my mama called honey, and the man we so proudly called daddy,  Mr. Johhny Lathern, I’d like us to recommit to our faith.     

So in your pouch….pull out your envelope, its arts and craft time. On the flap of the envelope, write today’s date: 2/29/2020.  On your table, you have a container with a few mustard seeds in it. The Mustard seed represents the smallest of all seeds, but when it is watered, nurtured, and grows, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nest in its branches. Let’s exercise that kind of faith.  So when we grow, we’ll be the biggest tree in our gardens. Would you pour 1 mustard seed in the palm of your hand?

Examine the size and know that if you would muster up enough courage to believe in yourself and GOD that much, you can move the mountains in your life. Now place your seed in your envelope. Seal it and keep it in your wallet and when times get tough, pull it out and always remember to trust GOD and Believe that where there is faith, there is always a way.  Let’s read the envelope together:

Trust in HIS timing, Rely on HIS promises, Wait for HIS miracles, Rejoice in HIS goodness, Relax in HIS presence, and TAKE HIM with you everywhere you go, Because you are going to NEED HIM!!!  

SHIP TALK: Have you seen the size of a mustard seed? Do you believe that faith changes things?

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  1. You are my hero. Beautiful tribute to your dad; you are a living testimony of his love and grace.

  2. Beautifully written, and a lovely home going service befitting of a lovely man who loved life well. Thanks for this beautiful reminder. Love you!

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