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Choose Courage

Happy Labor Day! I hope you guys are enjoying a nice, relaxing weekend with family and friends. We are over here working on home repairs. The water damage found back in February wants to hang out with us:

All.

Year.

Long! 

Yep!  You read that right!

Six months later, we are still in process. Who knew restoration would take this long?

I think, choosing courage over fear takes time and patience, too! Be gentle with yourselves, Dear-Hearts. We are on a journey towards courageous living – works in process. I’m pretty sure my work needs more processing than yours (wink). 

It takes time to overcome fears and insecurities that have tormented us for so long. With Courageous Women of The Bible launching this year, I have realized, all the more, my personal need for inner healing. With the house in disarray, I’ve felt as exposed and undone as the walls and floors. But, in the best way possible. You see, friend, when everything in our comfortable, little lives is stripped away, we begin to understand our need for choosing courage over fear.

When: 

_the house is destroyed by water damage

_the life we’ve known, suddenly, turns on its axis

_our kids leave the nest (for the last time)

_our aging parent’s health takes a turn for the worse

_we hate our jobs, seeing no way out

_marriages are tested 

These are only a few of the many stressful situations warring against courageous living.

Whatever restoration process we are facing, we can be sure we are not facing it alone.

Finding strength to choose courage happens as we diligently take notes from the real-life experiences of others. And, with that said, I’d like to introduce you to Sally Ferguson. Sally has been a real help in marketing Courageous Women Of The Bible and I am ever so grateful.

Read on, as Sally shares about the importance of choosing courage. And, don’t forget to take notes!

 

Picking my way along the shadowy forest path, courage was the farthest thing from my mind. As a college freshman turned summer camp counselor, it was my job to be brave for my campers. Yet, my struggle with fear of the dark plagued me night after night. I cried out to the Lord for help as the panic rose in my throat. A verse began to replay in my mind like a song, familiar, yet distant. “God is not a God of fear, but of…”

Now, what was the rest of that passage? I turned it over and over on my tongue the rest of my trek to the dining hall. It wasn’t the whole thought, but it was enough to keep my mind off the night noises and the leaves crunching under my feet.

I wonder what character traits are essential to become a courageous hero? At the time when Gabriel visited Mary, did she have thoughts of fleeing? Who in her right mind would have a calm conversation with a heavenly being?

“Oh, hello. Nice day we’re having.”

Right. A common, everyday event around here!

In Courageous Women of the Bible, LaTan reminds me courage isn’t a birthright, but a choice-right. I have the choice to surrender to God’s will and to seek His courage. My choice affects my frame of mind and my mindset affects my responses. When I combat fear with faith, I walk differently, because I’m no longer relying on myself for courage.

I wonder if that’s what happened with Mary? She chose to trust the angel when he said, “Don’t be afraid.” (Luke 1:30)

She chose to trust God’s plan, brought through a baby boy.

Maybe, when God birthed the dream in Mary, He also birthed the courage she would need along the way, one day at a time. Mary’s simple faith reminds me of a friend. Ann Smith has an uncomplicated way of looking at the things of God. Her authentic faith digs deeper to find the heart of God, and to lean into His wisdom.

As a scared college student, I often came to her office door at our church’s Missionary Board, seeking advice.

“What does God want me to do?”

“Where does God want me to go?”

“How can I know God’s will?”

Ann’s soft answers rang true to my heart and settled my nerves. She birthed courage in me and in many others, as she listened, affirmed, and loved.

How did Ann come to be one so wise? I imagine it was through the hard seasons of life.

  • The youngest of five children, Ann’s life turned upside down when she was 16. Her father drowned, and she went to work in a steel mill. Not only did she face the trauma of losing a parent, Ann entered the work force at an impressionable age.
  • She spent nearly three decades as a missionary in Japan with her husband, Nathan. There, they faced life in a different culture, with language and social barriers and miles separating them from friends and family.
  • Ann survived the passing of her husband. I’ve been told, when one loses a spouse, it’s like losing your arm; you can never do things the same way again.

Yet, instead of becoming bitter in any of the circumstances she faced, Ann’s sprit became sweeter. I wonder if that’s the kind of response that came from Mary, too. Luke 2:51 says she treasured things in her heart. Maybe, pondering the things of God helps them settle into the bones and marrow, so we will have the reserves we need, when we most need them.

Now age 93, Ann Smith models what it means to be a lifelong learner and a student of God. She ponders the gems in His Word and shares those nuggets with others. Ann speaks to large audiences and mentors those willing to ponder along with her. She doesn’t put on airs as former Director of Church Relations or a member of our university’s Board of Trustees. She doesn’t look over your head for someone more important for her next conversation. No, Ann looks you in the eye and communicates, “You matter,” just as Jesus did when He spoke to the woman with an issue of blood (Mark 5:25–34). Ann owns her tomorrows with a humble heart, just as Abigail did when she prepared a feast for the future king of Israel (1 Samuel 25:14-35). And Ann has found a safe haven in the Lord, just as the Shunammite woman did, who offered her home to Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-37).

In Courageous Women of the Bible, LaTan conveys the reminder: God will use your weaknesses and turn them into places of strength. He will deliver more courage to a life surrendered to Him, and He brings the assurance of His presence in dark paths.

Oh, and the verse that comforted me in the night at camp, those many years ago?

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV.

Sally Ferguson

 Sally loves organizing retreats and seeing relationships blossom in time away from the daily routine. Her coloring book, What Will I Be When I Grow Up? (Warner Press) and ebook, How to Plan a Women’s Retreat are both available on Amazon.  Stop in for a chat at www.sallyferguson.net

www.sallyferguson.net 

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