I have discovered something recently.
I used to think of courage as being this grand, heroic gesture.
And it certainly is that.
However, sometimes, courage is revealed just by showing up, by choosing to get up and face another day when life is hard, by making the choice to believe God’s promises with all your heart and soul when circumstances mock those words that ring with the authority of eternal truth.
As I write this, my area of the country is getting yet another giant snowstorm. The world outside my window is blanketed in suffocating white and gray. There have been times over the past three months that my heart has felt like that.
Just yesterday, we were treated to a preview of spring: bright sunshine, blue skies, and temperatures in the mid-forties. It was glorious, a foretaste of the wonderful season to come. But twenty four hours later, winter has come roaring back and I am over it.
This has been one of the worst winters in the life of my family, for a variety of reasons. Not only were we walloped with storm after nasty storm weather-wise, but an ugly betrayal by someone we trusted came to light in early January, leaving a lot of wreckage in its wake.
I have been angry, heartbroken, and sad. It has been a time of unprecedented wrestling with Jesus, as I deal with the fact that He has allowed this to happen (we really can be that honest with Him, you know), and as I ask Him fervently for His power that will allow me to forgive. (That will be the subject of a separate post).
I have discovered that He listens and He answers. He empowers and He provides. He protects and He guides.
I have discovered that in Him, I am strong. I am brave. I am courageous.
Peace I leave with you; My own peace I now give to you…do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourself to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled. —Jesus (John 14:27, Amplified).
So, in the midst of the mess, I face what is happening head-on. No denial. No pretending. No cowering in fear. I refuse to allow this circumstance to defeat me or define me.
I just keep showing up. I go to church and lead Bible study. I meet a friend for lunch. I go on a date with my husband. I shoot a wedding. I make dinner. I celebrate our daughter getting her driver’s license and our son’s 18th birthday. I do my volunteer work. I write on this blog. I take lots of pictures with my beloved Nikon. I take a photography class.
I choose to trust His heart and His kind purpose even when I do not understand.
I make the decision to not surrender even one inch of ground to the enemy of my soul, who daily hopes for my collapse and defeat. When fear or anger rear their ugly heads, I refuse to dwell on them. Instead, I focus like a laser beam on the truth of His Word.
Not. One. Inch.
And that is what courage looks like.
Just like this seemingly endless winter will one day melt into spring, so this season in our lives will end and it will be a brand new day.
When that day comes, I will not limp across the finish line, barely able to walk. Instead, I will run across it, undefeated, free, and closer than ever to my Savior who constantly sustains me and gives me beauty for ashes.
Whatever you may be facing today, choose courage.
Fear not (there is nothing to fear), for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties; yes, I will help you; yes I will hold you up and retain you with My victorious right hand of rightness and justice. (Isaiah 41:10, Amplified).