Tonight during my prayer time at the Watch of the Lord, a dear friend came up to me and said... "courage is a part of your portion on this earth, a part of your calling".
When I heard it, I thought to myself... hmmm. that portion sounds scary and painful. hmmm. don't know if I want that portion. Uh. yeah. let me think that one over.
Here's what the dictionary defines as courage:
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc.,
without fear; bravery.
So basically that means having to face fears, having to face danger and pain. um. so that means HAVING fears that need to be faced and HAVING danger that needs to be faced and HAVING pain that needs to be faced. yeah. doesn't sound fun. but I guess it's better to have the portion of courage then the portion of cowardice.
It was interesting that my friend gave me that word, because I had been pondering courage all day. In another post sometime, I'll share my last few months of dealing with a very difficult miscarriage. It was definitely a season that I was faced with my absolute worst fears. Here I am on the other side, still alive, but definitely changed. Even now I can feel the tears welling up with the countless unspoken and yet repeatedly thought, poignant epiphanies I ran head first into during the last 2 months... but again, it's for another time. Back to courage. Okay, so earlier today I decided to get the little one out for some fresh air, I walked and she rode her bike. We were only about 10 minutes into our walk in a direction we usually don't take, down a relatively busy street in downtown Redding. All of a sudden the sidewalk ended and gravel/lumpy grass ensued. There wasn't even a shoulder on the street to walk on, nor was there a chance to cross. I decided that the gravel/lumpy grass wasn't too much for Aliyah to ride her bike on and told her that she'd need to get a little speed up and not mind the bumps to keep the bike from sliding. She started to ride, but then angled her bike toward the street while at the same time telling me that she couldn't do it and that she wanted to ride on pavement. I was probably about 10 feet behind her, as it was a narrow path, even on the grass. In that moment I didn't have the patience to be calm when I thought that she was going to wind up in the busy street so I commanded her to "ride on that path or you're gonna get paddled"... as soon as I said that she sped up and stayed steady and got to the end in a matter of minutes. I talked to her afterward about the danger that she was facing and her need to listen and obey immediately. As I was pondering what had just happened, I realized a very very key reality for me and what I had just been through over the last months. I even shared it with her, but kept it in terms of her situation. I explained to her that when she was facing a situation which might have been a little scary for her, it helped her to have something that she was actually more afraid of (being paddled in this case) for her to choose courage and go for it. This really rang true for me and here's how; I have been faced with, like I said earlier, pretty much all of my worst fears over the last 2 months... I had no option ahead of me that was a good option. I had no "escape route" from facing some really scary things. It took me the whole time I was going through the situation to come to terms with the only options I had. I had 2 options, both really not fun, but I couldn't control how things wound up, only God could. For over 6 weeks I waited, praying and hoping that I would have the lesser of the 2 evils, but coming to terms with possibly having to have the worse of the 2. In the end, God's plan was to supernaturally give me the lesser of the 2 evils, but not before that became, not just the lesser of the 2 evils, but actually something that I would be SO SO GRATEFUL for. After all was said and done, I thought to myself, WHO WOULD BE GRATEFUL for that to happen??? but yet, God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me a grateful heart to face a very scary situation. I was actually PRAISING HIM through the whole painful and messy ordeal... what a strange feeling... and what's even stranger is that it made the WHOLE THING BARE-ABLE. Thank you Jesus that facing so many fears made some of those fears completely OBSOLETE. You are a good God. Such a faithful God.
So yeah, I was pondering courage today a lot. I don't want to go through painful and scary times, but if I have to go through them (which seems to be how life goes), I'd love for God to give me a strong and courageous heart. One that will not fail in hard times. One that isn't afraid of "bad news".