the author's disclaimer: this blog post is not written thinking that we are the only ones with courage, or the only ones having gone through "life" with courage, as we know many, many MANY of you have and are and will in the future. However, this is my/our story that I am sharing from my view ~ with you our family and friends. Get that cup of coffee ready, this is another long one (seems to be my trademark!)
1.the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave; valor
2.Obsolete mind; purpose; spirit
I have been thinking of courage. And in my quiet reflection I have been thinking of the times I/we have had to pull out courage from the depths of our beings, in order to get through stuff. I think I was thinking of this, as our daughter Ashley just underwent emergency gallbladder surgery (which I also had) and I watched her encouter her two attacks with courage! At the time of writing this, she is recoupering in the confines of her own home!
For me it goes back a long way:
- when I was about 10 or so, my mom was rushed into the hospital and I thought she was going to die. In hindsight, I think that the doctors thought she may too... but I was pretty young, but still remember the feeling. courage
- when I was 12 I watched as my dad lay on the trans Canada highway after being hit by a car. I remember praying.... courage in the front seat of our car!
- when I was 16 I would take the bus to go and spend time with my Granny who was dying of bone and blood related cancer. When she passed away I lost the only Granny I had...
- courage through two awful AWFUL (did I say A-W-F-U-L!) gallbladder attacks, and then surgery
- when my mom spent her last week in hospital, edging a little closer to heaven with each day. The last morning she was alive, while alone in the room with her, my conversation went like this. "Mom, you have been a wonderful mom to us... and you can go.... we will be okay." There was a little more to it than that, but I specifically remember those words spoken to her. She had not spoken to us at all since the Wednesday, but Alvin had encouraged us to keep talking to her, as she could likely still hear us. I will never forget what happened.... as I sat there and talked to her, and held her hand, when I was done talking, my mom got tears in the outside corners of each eye. I just really believed she had heard me. Within 4 hours, we watched her breathe her last few breaths. COURAGE
- when I walked through my deep dark depression... at times I wasn't sure if it was there, but in hindsight, it took courage.
- when my Dad remarried. I will be honest, it was a hard thing for us as our Mom had been his wife and companion for a week short of 50 years of marriage. It was hard to go to their house and see him sitting with someone other than my mom... courage
- three months to the day of his wedding, while visiting my dad and his wife, he had an "episode" and as I stood there talking with my dad, with my arms around him until we could get a chair for him to sit in.... and then when he began humming and then his head went back... and then when we were in the hospital family room hearing them call "CODE BLUE" I will never forget..... Courage my soul ~ courage
- beginning our walk through life as "orphans" .... c-o-u-r-a-g-e
- courage when I accepted a call to ministry as a pastor at our church (knowing I had life experience but no seminary or no degree in general!) And, I needed courage when I was told that someone wondered what I had to offer their children who would sit (with degrees) in the pews!
- going on three mission trips - knowing for the first two that we were going to encounter interesting living conditions (rats, bedbugs, very very poor community) this took COURAGE of a different kind. Me, the one who loves my comfortable bed, running water at all times of the day, only an occassional mouse, and no bedbugs! These possibilites really pushed me out of my comfort zone - but oh how rewarding!) It took courage!
- being hit out of the blue with mysterious infection, resulting in hospital stay, great pain, and test, tests and more tests... courage
- round two of the hospital stay - again out of the blue, but this time doctors knew what was happening. Unbeknowst to me - (untill it happened and I came through it) a very close call to death. After that, fighting a high fever and facing the possibility of an emergency hysterectomy... I remember those swet soaked nights. I think I was perhaps the most scared here... courage in the face of pain, and the unknown
- round three in May of 06 ~ courage as I faced surgery.
- COURAGE as we walked with Dad through his 3rd journey with cancer, which was propelling him closer and closer to heaven with each week.... we needed courage as we talked future with him, as we talked about impending death, as we talked about his funeral, as we talked about how much we loved him and he us... courage.
- little did I know that all this courage would almost feel very small in regards to how we would need courage to get through losing our litte firstborn Grandson Jay Benjamin on July 24, 2008.
- Courage as I ended a job of 7 years ~ to follow God on a vision way way bigger than I could see! Honestly it felt like jumping out of a plane and free-falling before the parachute opened. Still feels like a free-fall if I am perfectly honest, but I am not afraid.
- and most lately, Courage as we anticipated our little Grandson Everett John's arrival into this world. As I watched him sleep last night - it was such joy and peace in my heart.
I realize that my kids, in their lives have walked through much courage too... and really at the same time as mine for alot of it, they lost a Granny, a Poppa (my parents) and a Grandpa (Dad K). They served with us on one of the mission trips, and actually Ashley encountered the rat in their quarters. They also walked through my three hospital stints with me. And, of course, we walked closely alongside of Leah and Josua, a time of GREAT COURAGE when we lost our little Jay. COURAGE through pain, difficulty and great great loss and sadness.My Son in his life has walked through two surgeries (both day surgeries but none the less surgeries). He walks through many times when courage is required for his job. He has encountered many many hard things with his career. COURAGE needed often. My daughter has walked through 4 surgeries (including the one where her jaws were broken, and reconstructed and wired completely shut for 6 weeks. To me that was the epitomy of courage!) Leah has had courage through her pregnancy and her c-section. Courage that resulted in such great joy! Michael has not gone through any surgery yet. (would like to say hopefully never but how likely is that?) My husband? Well, the word COURAGE & ALVIN are synonymous I figure. (And he has also gone through times of great courage which also included two surgeries!) Often when I am a bit of a mess ~ he is the one who is the most courageous... and has walked through all of the above with me, except for the few things prior to me being 16.
God says in His word: Joshua 1 (SELECTED VERSES) NIVThe LORD Commands Joshua
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun..... As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
6 "Be strong and courageous.... 7 Be strong and very courageous....9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
18 ...Only be strong and courageous!"
Of course I have just deleted most of the portion and only used the words BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS so you will have to forgive me for that, AND read it for yourself of course!!
I have realized that COURAGE isn't always something that we intentionally "muster up" to get through things ~ I think, it just happens as we need it. However I believe our courage also is about trusting the One who is holding our lives in his hand. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For me, the more I have walked through things that needed courage, and found Him to be there leading, guiding, providing, holding... the more courage I have.
Can we walk through life with full trust in the One who holds us in his palm, the one who has our names written on his hands
Only the Lord can give us all we need in times of pain, adversity, trouble
Until we are with him in Heaven, there will be no doubt many times when we need COURAGE
Rather than crumple under the weight of it all - we can carry on, sometimes being picked up and dusted off ready to go again, other times being carried in the arms of the One who loves us most
Always present in every situation. We may not understand but we trust
God is our refuge. Our rock. The one who pulls us out of the pit and puts our feet firmly on a place where we can stand
Even when we walk through the hard stuff of life - He is sovereign. He is our strength. He gives us courage. We do not walk alone. I leave you with one of my "life" verses....
Jeremiah 29 NIV
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD....."