Day 8 ~ Courage

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One of my all-time favorite movies is the Wizard of Oz. As a kid, I would wait all year for the one time it would show on TV and ooh and ahh when the black and white scenes of Kansas exploded in color as Dorothy and Toto woke up in Oz! Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion…..all in search of something that they hoped the Wizard could provide. Each had a need that they couldn’t meet on their own, and some pretty big needs at that. The Scarecrow wanted a brain, the Tinman a heart, the Lion, some courage, and Dorothy just wanted to go home. We soon learn that the Cowardly Lion was in search of courage because….well, because he was scared of everything! He kind of outs himself when he sings, (and I dare you not to hear the music in your head):

“I’m afraid there’s no denyin’
I’m just a dandy-lion
A fate I don’t deserve
I’m sure I could show my prow-ess
Be a lion, not a mow-ess
If I only had the nerve.”

I’ve had courage on my mind all day, and I do hope I can find the words to share what’s on my heart, because I know when God speaks to me it’s hardly ever just for me.  =)

On this day six years ago, when the phone rang and I heard Tom confirming the make and model of Kelsey’s car and telling the person on the other end that yes, he was her father, I knew something was very wrong. A highway patrolman told him that there had been an accident, Kelsey was being air-lifted to a hospital that specialized in trauma, and for us to get to Texas as quickly as we could. The last thing on my mind as I threw together a couple of day’s worth of clothes while Tom booked the next flight out of Fresno was courage. But looking back, I can see so clearly how that was the beginning of the many, many times God would give me things I could IMG_3628

have never possessed on my own, among them….courage. The days, week, and months that followed were the hardest we had ever faced as a family, but there was such sweetness and power in the palpable presence of God. We clung desperately to His grace and found His faithful love carrying us as we were called on to make decisions every day that we didn’t know how to make – it was moment by moment faith and though we didn’t know it at the time, it was preparing us for times to come.

I arrived in Houston first, Tom the next day and Brett the day after. He flew in from South Carolina, having been granted emergency leave from the Navy.  When I picked him up at the airport it finally felt like we would be able to handle whatever would come. We were together, and somehow it just had to be OK. It was during those first few days that Brett bought me a gift from the hospital gift shop. It was a small, wooden Willow Tree angel, similar to ones he had bought me before (his standard birthday/Mother’s Day gift!) She had short, brown hair and her arms were locked straight in the air with tight fists that seem to defy whatever it was that she was up against. Each of these little angels come with a name, and when I turned her upside down, my eyes blurred with tears as I read hers…….Courage.

Courage

I eventually brought her back home and set her on my desk at work. It was a reminder that no matter what, God was going to give me all I needed and that little Angel named Courage reminded me to be strong and also that the battles we were facing weren’t ours alone – they belonged to God and together, we were a formidable, courageous force.

When Brett died just over a year later, once again, the last thing I felt was courage. But as before, I can look back now and see that all we had been through served to lay the path for this new dimension of need. And once again, God somehow helped us to find the courage to keep breathing – to keep taking the next steps even when it seemed impossible.

There’s no way that Brett could have known when he so thoughtfully gave me “Courage” that she would continue to speak to me about not giving up through even darker days. She still sits on my desk at work – one of my most beloved reminders of so many things; the love and concern of my son for me, his love for his sister and the power of family. But most of all she reminds me that courage is forged in the fires of adversity, and that God has kept us close to one another and close to Him. We didn’t know what we would need, but God did. Oh, how I love Him for that!

At the end of the WiIMG_6992zard of Oz, after the four had been granted their requests, the Cowardly Lion turns to Dorothy and says, “I never would have found my courage if it hadn’t been for you.” God has designed us to experience life in community not just with Him but with one another. I don’t know where this late-night, far too long blog post will find you at this moment. You may be facing your own “wicked witches” and can’t fathom where you will find strength and courage to stand and fight. Dear ones, I want you to know two things….you don’t fight in your own strength – God will provide every drop of strength you need for the battle and then some. And also this…..no one fights alone. I’m not going to say that it’s easy and that we can predict the outcome of every battle. But I do promise you that God will give you the courage you need when you need it….just not always much before. =)

In a few moments the calendar will flip to March 15th, but that doesn’t mean we leave behind the lessons of today – that’s true with every day, really. Our lives are an accumulation of many, many, many moments, some ordinary, some beautiful, some painful, but in each and every one we are guided by a loving God who holds us tight and goes before us into every battle. I don’t know where these days will lead us, but I know God is still at work and I am firmly confident that there is nothing that will separate us from His love and mercy.

Our story is still being written.

And so is yours.

Thank you for being part of mine!

Love,

Shellie ♥

Finish What He Started
Mercy Me
I don’t have to know you
To know that you will go through hard times
It’s just part of life
Don’t let that moment blind you
And don’t let it define you
Take heart, that’s not who you are
Our God is able, more than capable
And to be faithful until the end
And finish what he started
No matter what you’ve done
Grace comes like a flood
There’s hope to carry on
He’ll finish what he started
No matter what you face
His mercy will not change
He’s with you all the way
He’ll finish what he started
Remember you’re forgiven
So there’s no need to give
Into the lie, you’re disqualified
Our God is able, more than capable
And to be faithful until the end
And finish what he started
No matter what you’ve done
Grace comes like a flood
There’s hope to carry on
He’ll finish what he started
No matter what you face
His mercy will not change
He’s with you all the way
He’ll finish what he started
This work he started in you now
He is faithful to complete it
The promise was sealed when he cried out
It is finished
He’ll finish what he started
No matter what you’ve done
Grace comes like a flood
There’s hope to carry on
He’ll finish what he started
No matter what you face
His mercy will not change
He’s with you all the way
He’ll finish what he started
What he started (What he started)
What he started (What he started)
Oh, He’ll finish what he started
Songwriters: Barry Graul / Bart Millard / Ben Glover / David Arthur Garcia / Mike Scheuchzer / Nathan Cochran / Robby Shaffer
Finish What He Started lyrics © Music Services, Inc

About Shellie

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
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1 Response to Day 8 ~ Courage

  1. CYNTHIA CAY SWIFT says:

    As always, truth from the heart. God’s Mercy and Grace is seen and heard in you my friend, and because of that, many find courage to go on at the point of giving up. Blessings!

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