A Mustard Seed of Faith

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published Jun 09, 2024
A Mustard Seed of Faith

If I could encourage you with one thing, it would be to plant and plant again. Don't lose hope. Hold onto those dreams. Keep praying those prayers. Because He hears you.

"He said to them, 'Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.'" Matthew 17:20 (ESV)

I'm not a huge fan of jewelry. Fancy beads and diamonds have never been my jive. But when I was in third grade, I thought the "I Love Jesus," cloth bracelets you clipped together were all the rave. I've worn mine for the last twenty years. 

As I prepared to attend the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I felt led to wear a necklace my best friend got me last year. Embarrassed, I unhooked the clasp from the still-sealed package and secured it around my neck. It looked a little wonky with my other necklace (you better believe I didn't take it off!), but the gold circle shimmered in the sun. Pressed between the two small clear glasses reflected two things:

  1. A mountain.
  2. And a mustard seed.

I smile now, looking back on the decision to wear it. God is always up to something...

Small Beginnings

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand." Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

May was a big month for me. I formally resigned from teaching. Endured surgery for endometriosis. And, as mentioned above, attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

I almost forgot about the necklace God told me to wear earlier that week. But God didn't.

After deciding to leave teaching, I felt freedom and fear. Freedom to finally pursue a career I felt called to, but fear of the unknown. My husband and counselor encouraged me to trust God a little deeper—to rest in a place I didn't know but someday would.

With all the bravery I could muster, I pulled the plug. Not only was my boss supportive, but he shared a similar story when he felt led by God to pursue his calling. It was comforting to know he supported me in this new adventure. Staff and students alike were also encouraging. I was planting mustard seeds.

"Small beginnings," whispered in my ears.

My surgery was also successful. The doctor was able to excise the endometriosis, adhesions, and cysts. I've been healing fairly well, and we pray I'll see a difference in three to six months. Again, I planted seeds. Faith in the doctors and surgeons who completed the excision, and trust and hope in the Lord guiding their steps.

Finally, after both of these adventures, I arrived in Black Mountain, North Carolina. My goal was to continue planting seeds, making connections, building a network, and gleaning as much information from the sessions as I could. God had other plans. More specifically, the Gardner was planting and watering mustard seeds long before I arrived.

A book I read once said that though the mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds, it grows and develops into the largest trees. I think this is true of our faith. Our job isn't to have a huge amount of faith. Though that's wonderful, Jesus tells us even if we have a mustard seed of faith, we can tell mountains to move, and they do (Luke 13:19). Seeds were being planted at this conference, but it's evident the seeds I planted long ago were also now developing and bearing fruit.

With the most humble spirit I can present through words, my first writing conference experience was incredible. It was beautiful, and much more than I ever anticipated. I was shocked when every agent, publisher, and author I spoke with was interested in my work and requested materials, or referred me to another client. I received a contract offer on the spot and won 1st place in the BRMCWC Foundation Award for Young Adult Nonfiction. All praise be to God. I say these things not to boast, but to boast only in Christ within me who made these things possible.

When I was in college, one of my favorite English professors used to tell me, "Cast your bread upon the waters, Amber." I've been casting my bread since I started taking my writing seriously. Like sowing seeds, I've even felt like Oprah: "You get a piece of bread, and you get a piece of bread, and you get a piece of bread."

Are You Tired of Sowing Seeds?

That bread is now starting to produce even more bread. Those seeds are starting to sprout and grow. My small beginnings haven't been in vain. But I've definitely grown weary and tired of sowing seeds along the way.

Kia Stephens, a speaker at Blue Ridge this past year, said it this way: "I was tired of blessing and pouring into others when I wanted to be a published author. I'd see their accomplishments on Instagram and cringe. I kept asking God why I wasn't there yet."

Perhaps farmers have the best understanding when it comes to planting and sowing seeds. Digging holes into the ground for crops you hope will grow. Praying for rain and some sanity that all your hard work isn't for nothing. Asking God why the weeds and wheat have to grow together and why those annoying birds won't stop eating your corn!

Can you relate?

Three years ago, I almost quit my dream to write full-time. I’d pitched and failed. I didn’t write for a month and felt lost and confused. I desperately believed God called me to be an author, but I thought maybe I heard Him wrong. I was tired of sowing seeds. I'm not even sure I had the faith of a mustard seed. But God.

God doesn’t make mistakes.

God doesn’t speak things that won’t come true.

Plant and Plant Again

After I failed, I eventually began to write again. Words filled my veins like fire. God led me to The Author Conservatory, and Brett Harris challenged me with a paradigm shift.

  1. Focus less on publishing now and more on learning the craft so I could publish later. 
  2. Focus less on writing one book and more on making authorship a sustainable career. (I agreed.)

Looking back, I see God’s faithfulness. I see the seeds I planted, and I've learned to plant again. There have been seasons of harvest and seasons of rain. There have been periods of famine and drought and periods of abundance and fruition. And after attending Blue Ridge this past month, I see His answers written in the waiting. The time wasn’t right then. The time is right now because I've been faithful in planting my seeds and waiting for them to grow

Friend, I’ve never felt more affirmed in my calling. I’ve never felt more loved by a group of people who have the same dreams and desires as me. 

My mission as an author is to use words to show the love of Christ to those who are hurting—specifically, individuals wounded by mental and physical suffering. I’d never experienced the affirmation of God for something that seemed impossible like this. Now, I have. 

If I could encourage you with one thing, it would be to plant and plant again. Don't lose hope. Hold onto those dreams. Keep praying those prayers. Because He hears you. He loves you. He cares. But His answers may not look like what you want or arrive when you expect them. Your job is to keep praying, keep planting, and keep gripping that mustard seed of faith.

The future as an authorpreneur will not be easy. It promises me nothing. But God’s Word will not return void. That’s a promise I can count on. And you can, too.

Pray for me on this new journey, friends. I'm nothing without Christ within me, and I'm thankful to have you along for the ride. 

Agape, Amber

Photo Credit: ©Sparrowstock

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at amberginter.com.