Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Year of Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 

The year of COURAGE.  I was afraid of my word at first.  Why do I need to focus on courage.  It’s probably natural for the human mind to find all the scary scenarios that would require this word for a year.  Divorce. Death. Sickness.  Just to name a few big ones.

But homeschooling?  Ok. Honestly?  Did. not. see. that. coming.  And yes, much courage is needed for this adventure.


When the Chef and I made the decision randomly in our kitchen just days after the Lord gave me this anxiety-ridden word, I was delighted, elated, walking on cloud nine.  Because I’d been praying for an educational direction for our children, asking the Lord to work out all these convictions I had.  I was okay either way but He had convicted me so strongly about homeschooling and I didn’t know what to do with it at the time.  And I had prayer warriors approaching His throne of grace with me.  Helping me to work this out with the Lord.  To hear clearly. To wait patiently.

But when the Chef and I agreed to move forward with homeschooling, I had some hard decisions to make.  You can’t pick up something like homeschooling without setting a few things down first.  And besides discerning the things that needed to be left behind for this new season, Bubbs was getting ready to go off to kindergarten.  And I was looking at 3 hours to myself, five days a week!  That’s 15 hours of alone time.  And for some reason, the Lord made me to need an inordinate amount of me-time.  So while I was surrendering my heart and dreaming of how I’d spend my 15 hours, the Lord was moving mountains… crushing my fifteen hours to pieces.

COURAGE.  To lay down my vision of what the year ahead would look like.  And take hold of His.

So, here I am at the end of my year of COURAGE.  It followed the year of RELATIONSHIP.  And I find it absolutely incredible how this God of song and science strings these things together so meticulously, not skipping a beat, a detail, a heartstring.  Because I needed to dwell in relationships to understand the courage I would need to invest in them. 

This year of COURAGE has been multi-faceted.  There are many reasons He has shown me, asked me to take His courage.

Courage to surrender my days and open my hands and bend in humility to educate the next generation for the glory of Christ.  Courage to walk away from things and say no to things that my soul yearns to participate in.  Courage to isolate myself to the company of children, with little to no adult interaction in hopes that He can shape these little sticks into mighty arrows for His kingdom.  Courage to hope and trust in God’s plan.  Not only for my life but for theirs. 

This isn’t a small task He has called me to.  Yet this is the work He has given me.  And there is always a need for courage to step into His calling.  And for me, my personality, I need a ridiculous amount of courage to do this.  And, I don’t know about next year.  I can only see right now. Right here.  This is what I need to focus on.  The courage needed for this moment.  The courage to focus on Him alone. 

Now, I feel behind the scenes. On the bench.  Sitting in the front row of my children’s lives, investing in our relationships.  Why?  Because He has called me to do this.  And He knew I could do this no other way.  I’m not a multi-tasker.  Well, not a good one.  And this… this raising the next generation, these two children that are on fire for Him, that have gifts and talents beyond my comprehension, that are a well of compassion for His people and His creation, that have wills as strong as an ox, He knows it will take focus, all hands on deck, all eyes on Him. 


“Follow Me. Just Me.”   

This is my God-sized task.   And it requires more courage than I can fathom. I will need to take it.  Take Jesus’ courage.  No. other. way. Because God-sized courage does not dwell within me, without Him.  Apart from Him I can do nothing.

That’s the obvious application of courage.  Some insurmountable task that is full of unknowns and challenges our capabilities.

There is another courage I’ve learned much about this year.  The courage to be quiet. To be silent.  Held. Sometimes when I hurt, when I ache, I want to groan… to people.  But there is a quiet courage in taking refuge in the Lord.  Maybe that is an oxymoron.  Having courage to take refuge. 

This season, this year has presented a multitude of opportunities to cry out… to whoever will listen.  To complain.  To ache.  A large part of my first few months of homeschooling have been lived in isolation.  I’ve dropped everything because I just did not know what our days would look like.  And as I’ve nestled back in the dark corners, still dreaming my dreams, I’ve watched others, those I love, living a reality that is only painted on the walls of my imagination, the curves of my heart.  And I dream on while those around me are moving on.  And it takes courage to stay. To be quiet.  To stay focused on what the Lord has for me.  To cry out to Him alone.  And to keep dreaming.

The courage it has required surprised me.  I learned I am afraid of being left behind.  Being left on the bench.  But God has been very clear.  He does not waste one moment.  Not. One.  And this time, this season… it is preparing me.  It is part of my sanctification process.  It is what I need to be more like Him. And there will be a day that this season will be the foundation of the work He has prepared in advance for me to do.  And He will use this time in my children’s lives, too.  Mightily. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who He is. 

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

Thank you Father, for this work You’ve so graciously given.  For this opportunity to serve You, to present You in the lives of my children. For Your courage in this assignment. For never leaving me or forsaking me.  For Your unfailing love, your unfathomable peace, Your unmatched patience.  You are amazing.  Thank you for holding me, guiding me, covering me in wild grace.  May this year to come not be a new beginning but an opportunity for You to finish the work you have started.  Not to us but to Your name be the glory, Jesus! Amen.

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