Archives for posts with tag: courage

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Maybe “sassy” looks like a 3 inch bird who stares down a 5’6″ human. Maybe it looks like diving into the whole cup of birdseed rather than teetering on the edge and reaching for a few kernels. Maybe it sounds like the song …the beautifully loud and clear tune from a tiny little bird that boldly breaks the silence and fills the air with a melody.  Maybe “sassy” is attitude that looks beyond stature and circumstance. Maybe sassy is a really good thing.  Because this kind of sassy sure sounds a lot like ‘faith’ to me.

… a few thoughts that came to me as I came eye to eye with this sassy little thing  just outside of my window.

 

“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?                                                                 The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”                                                Psalm 27:1

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Wordless Wednesday

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Elisabeth Elliot, Christian author, speaker passed away yesterday.  But she always knew she was just passing through.  Decades ago, she wrote a book called Through the Gates of Splendor . It is a book of courage.  It is a story of tenacious and compassionate faith that moves people to serve Christ and go to the “ends of the earth” even if it means never coming back.  It is a story of missionaries who love well, serve well, and do not cower  and give in to pity regarding the pain and struggles in life.Through the Gates of Splendor is a book written by a woman whose courage, tenacity, and love of Christ compelled her to live a holy life both publicly and privately and to share her wisdom in a straightforward manner with women like me.

Elisabeth Elliot went through the deaths of 2 husbands- one a violent death when she was a young woman with a ten-month old baby.  She was in Ecuador, lands away from the Eastern part of the United States. She grieved, stood her ground, and continued ministering to the people there, ultimately sharing the gospel with those who had taken the life of her husband.  She went through a lot. But she knew that she was not alone.  She states that when she learned of her husband, Jim Elliot’s death, the scripture that came to her mind was “When you pass through the waters, i will be with you.” (Isaiah 43:1)  Boldly and humbly accepting with both hands what God had allowed in her life.  She would say “Where He leads me I will follow, What He feeds me I will swallow.”  I’m certain the quote was about a lot more than trying new foods on the mission field. Another quote that I have so held on to through the years is, “In acceptance lies peace.”  Her focus was not on herself and her needs, but on serving Christ.  Period.  God used her mightily as she trusted Him to lead her through whatever circumstance He allowed. He used her mightily on the mission field.  He used her mightily in the comforts of her own home as she shared her wisdom, stories, and insights on the radio with women like me for so many years.

As a young mom, I would so look forward to hearing her words.  She always came on the radio during my children’s nap time.  In my early “mom” days, I had up to 3 sleeping preschoolers along with a nursing baby. (We had 6 children by the time my oldest was 8 years old….Life was full, to say the least!) Knowing that Elisabeth Elliot was coming on the radio for 15 minutes was motivation for me to ensure that the children were fed and in their beds for napping well before the time when she came on the radio, because I intrinsically knew that I needed her wisdom.  I so appreciated her straightforward but caring way of saying it like it is.  She didn’t sugarcoat the gospel.  There’s a cost for serving Christ.  She didn’t sugarcoat or blur the lines of what it means to me a woman.  She knew that life was not easy but did not make excuses for laziness or watering down the Word of God.  She knew the Word through and through, for it was the foundation that had led her through so much of her life.

I can remember her saying things like “pick up the socks.”  In a world that was demanding equality between men and women and was making constant cries of women not being “subservient” to men, Elisabeth Elliot had the wisdom and courage to know that in a Christian marriage, it is all about being subservient… to each other.   That a woman who picks up the sock?  Well, she may help motivate her husband to love well more than a woman who nags and whines about the sock.  I  can remember many internal debates I had with this Godly woman as I sought to find my way through the words of the world to the ways of scripture, and it wasn’t always an easy or pretty process.  But her wisdom helped me through so much.

I could literally write a book on the way that her words impacted me, both as a college student at Urbana Mission Conference in 1984, and as a young mom listening to her on the radio on a daily basis.  Now as an older woman with grown children, I am so thankful for the beauty of the way she lived her life.  I have missed her on the radio, but was aware that she had her own battles with dementia…another life struggle that she was not immune to, but lived through.  Through.  

In a world that screams “I’M THROUGH” when times get tough, Elisabeth Elliot was a strong voice of conviction that cut through the ridiculous self-centered ideologies and called Christians to walk THROUGH life’s challenges with courage knowing that it is so not about us, because we are all just passing THROUGH.  Passing through.

Passing through ….to?  TO the Gates of Splendor.  To the Full-on Presence of God. To the eternal Presence of God.  To the Place and Person that we were created to Serve and Worship and Adore.  This life can be lived with courage when we know that no matter what we go through, we are all just passing through.  I am thankful for the beautiful convictions that this Godly woman shared and for the way she has helped women like me to become more tenacious in our faith as we cling to the hope that only comes through Christ, no matter what we must endure or go through.

Elisabeth Elliot’s life here has ended, but so not her influence.  I cannot imagine what it is like to pass through the gates of splendor, but it just brings a smile to my face to picture what must be on the other side.  She lived through so much with hope because she knew that it wasn’t the end of the story.  I  love this quote by her, “Of one thing I am perfectly sure ~  God’s story does not end in ashes.”  Knowing that allows us to walk through our  struggles, our ‘valleys of the shadow’, with hope, heart, and conviction.

One more thing.  As I said earlier, I did have a few little debates with this Godly woman over the years. (She always won, by the way!)  But one of my little tiffs with her was that she ended the radio program with a scripture that said, “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. ” (Deuteronomy 33:27)  I can remember wondering why that was the scripture she chose.  As a young woman I can remember thinking there must be a better scripture she could end with. But as an older woman?  It is now one of my favorite verses that I cling to on a daily basis.  Why?  Because of what I have been through. I have seen life come crashing down in so many areas that I could not hold up on my own…but…..”BUT…..UNDERNEATH are the EVERLASTING ARMS”.  When everything falls apart, underneath are the everlasting arms.  When there is nothing and no one to hold on to, He helps us THROUGH because ‘underneath are the everlasting arms.’  Elisabeth Elliot knew that, well.  And now? Now, I know that too.

May His amazing love for you and me en-courage us to love well with conviction, stand firm, and walk through whatever His grace allows into our lives. For our God?  Our God will walk through it all with us.  For the Eternal God is our Refuge and Underneath are the Everlasting Arms. (Deut. 33:27)  And like this precious woman of faith, we are all just passing through.

Blessings ~

Heather

“We are women, and my plea is Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is” 

~ Elisabeth Elliot, December 21, 1926-June 15, 2015

“Of one thing I am perfectly sure – God’s story does not end in ashes.”

~ Elisabeth Elliot

Photo taken in Cemetery at Beaver Dam Baptist Church, Shelby, NC

Sunrise

courage

Living life takes courage.  Period.  It just does.

And I see examples of courage everyday.  I see them at home, at work, in the community.  And a few nights a week in the Spring?  I see them on the baseball field.

When the bases are loaded, your team is down by one in a game between rivals that has been anticipated for months, and it’s the last inning? Yep, it takes courage to stand at bat and swing for the fences.

And miss.

But in baseball, you know that’s all part of it.  Someone has to be the last man out.

Last night as we were at a high school baseball game between two talented county team rivals, and our team had it’s last turn to bat.  We were down by one.  It was a high scoring game…11 to 12.  There were two outs, 2 runners on base, and ….my son ……………wasn’t up.  Phew!  Relief.  But….he was up next.  (Yikes.  Prayers flying heavenward…) So if this batter got a hit and made it to the base, it would’ve been the scenario of : team down by one run, 2 outs, bases loaded, last inning, high stakes game, and my son up.  And in that moment, he’d have the chance to be a hero, or the last man out.

Well in this moment?  I had a bit of a self-revelation.  I’m a bit of a wimp.  I didn’t want my son to be the hero or the last man out.  I secretly hoped that the guy in front of him would get the out.  And when he did?  Well, I just felt ashamed of my wimpy lack of courage. I knew that my son…well,  he would’ve boldly stood in that place of hero or last man out.  No my moment of self-revelation was not a proud moment for me at all.  And when I later confessed the scenario to my son, he told me what I already knew…that he wanted to be in that situation.  He wanted to have the chance to be the hero, or last man out. He wanted to have the chance to swing for the fences and to stand in that place of risk, that place of courage.  He wanted to help his team and have some control of the destiny of that game, win or lose.  Team players want to stand in the gap and do their part for the team.  Love that.  (Their moms on the other hand?  Well, that may be a different story…)

And here’s another self-revelation.  I think it’s a whole heck of a lot easier for me to have courage for myself than to watch and endure my kids having to stand in the gap.  It’s so much easier for me to risk and fail, to be ostracized or ridiculed, to be rejected or hurt, than to watch my kids endure the pain and loss that comes with risk, the hurts and aches and growing pains that come with courage. It starts when they’re young.  It’s tough to not reach out and rescue that stumbling toddler to keep him from falling as he learns to walk.  But sometimes what parents may see as ‘helping’ can be providing crutches that only make the growth process harder.  As we grow up with our kids, the arena of what we want to guard or ‘rescue’ our children from changes.  But, cushioning those we love from pain can often be a deterrent to their growth, to their success, to their development of courage.

Facing failure with a good attitude is an incredibly important life skill. When we are afraid to fail, we are afraid period. We may feel that failure defines us or our children.  It so doesn’t. It shapes us, and equips us to learn, rise above, move on.  Those of us who experience failures early learn to rise up and not wrap up our identies in the great successes and failures that we face.  For in life, hopefully, there will be many of both. I’d rather have my child be willing to step up to the plate and strike out, than to not be willing to step up to the plate at all. (Most days, anyway!)

As a mom, that’s one of the lessons I’ve felt is so incredibly important.  To help our kids know that it is so very okay to fail.  Courage means picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying again. (and again, and again, and again). Courage also means not rescuing those we love from situations that demand courage.  That’s the tough part as a parent, but also an incredibly crucial step in the development of courage.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is “Where courage is not, no other virtue survives except by accident”, (Sam Johnson).  Developing courage begins in the little steps of learning to take a step even though we may fall, literally and figuratively.  It continues as we encourage our kids to use their voices, their gifts, their talents even though they may not be appreciated.  It continues as we encourage them to not place their identity in failures faced, but in the way they face them. It continues as we as parents allow them to risk and stand in the gap and wholeheartedly support their desire to swing for the fences when it may mean risking them being the last man out.  It takes courage to encourage courage in our children. And for me?  It takes faith in a God who has a purpose and a plan for us all.  For my children as much as for me.  Tapping into that Truth not only comforts and encourages, but inspires confidence that allows me to risk and fall and rise and keep trying.

Faith and courage go hand in hand.   So, here’s to standing up for what we believe in.  Here’s to living life out loud with the voice that you’ve been given.  We have one life to live, and it’s a gift not just for us, but for those around us. And here’s to encouraging our kids to do the same, no matter how hard it is to watch. So here’s to being willing  to swing for the fences when the bases are loaded and there are two outs. If we are destined to be the last man out, so be it. But, then again,  we just never know when we might bring in the winning run that’s a game changer for us all.

We’ll never know until we try.

P.S. One more thing…. Babe Ruth?  He’s known as one of the all-time best in baseball.  And he struck out  1,330 times. That’s a lot of standing in the gap, swinging for the fences, and missing!  He even held the Major League record for 30 years until Mickey Mantle surpassed it in 1964. But homeruns?  He had 714 homeruns.  So one of the greatest hitters of all time had almost twice as many strike outs as homeruns.  Am guessing that the two go hand in hand.  The success, the failures?  Yes, they go hand in hand. Maybe the thing which holds them together like glue is the courage to rise from failure and stand in success and be willing to do it all over again, knowing that ultimately these are not what define us.  Success doesn’t define.  Failure doesn’t define.  How we face them both, with or without courage?  That shapes and defines and impacts our world, not just for us, but for those in our world, on our team, who are watching to see our next “swing”.

Just a few thoughts from a wimpy mom whose goal is to be a bit more courageous at the next rival game.

Blessings ~

Heather

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Love when a ‘flower’ blooms where it’s planted.

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi

“Where courage is not, no other virtue can survive except by accident.”

Samuel Johnson

I sit on the couch and watch the images on the screen as my husband flips through the channels.  The news reporter speaks of ice and snow,  traffic accidents and a plea for people to be safe and not venture out if not necessary.  I sit in my warm home with a blanket and a cup of coffee after a full day at work. The channels flip some more.  More talk about the movie “Fifty Shades of Gray”.  Flip.  A train derails in West Virginia, oil leaking into the river, huge flames fill the sky as the trains go up in smoke.  The news speaks of evacuations of two towns because of the oil leak from the trains.  Another sip of my coffee.  Flip.  A rehash of last night’s hilarious SNL celebration with comedians and entertainers all coming together to celebrate, entertain, and enjoy. Flip, Sip…

And then…

Then comes the line of men in orange.  The line of Christian men in orange on their knees.  They have been marched to a beautiful beach, of all places, to kneel for the last time.  Their faces are not full of fear.  They are men of courage in the face of the biggest challenge of their life that will lead to their death in a few short moments.  Courage that does not cower in the face of pure evil.  Courage that stands in spirit although kneeling in posture.  Courage that breathes life and hope into the air which the enemy only fills with despair.

It is no longer flip the channel and sip the coffee.  No.  I’m awake now and the tears are streaming down my face.  Too much.  It is just too much. I just don’t want to admit that evil at this degree exists.  It’s just too much.

And that’s when one of my favorite quotes comes to mind loud and clear as the tears stream down my face.  “where courage is not, no other virtue can survive except by accident.”

Evil DOES exist.  It just does. Denying it exists, flipping the channel, won’t change the truth.

Courage stands when all else falls.  Courage calls for conviction, commitment.  Courage weeps and feels but does not waver, come what may.  Come what may.  Come sickness, health,financial distress, come comfort.  Come peace or war, courage allows one to walk in the strength of their character.  Seems to me, the greater the conviction, the greater the courage.  And courage does not come easily.  It comes with determination.  It is developed over time, like a skill, a talent that is exercised in the small things to be used in the big.

It comes with facing the day, the moments that we’re in with the gifts we’re equipped with to impact our world.  Evil cowers, evil seeks power that destroys.  Courage is not a conquest.  It is a strength that stands no matter what falls.  It sacrifices the momentary loss for the long term gain.  It has a goal in mind.

I don’t have any earthly idea what the 21 men were thinking during their last moments on earth.  But I wonder….I wonder if they had moments in the months before being kidnapped of sitting in their homes, drinking a cup of coffee and relaxing with their families when the news showed clips of the evil atrocities of ISIS.  I wonder if they did.  And if they could have ever conceived that within a short period, they would be the next ones on the news that make the world shake with terror and weep with grief.  I wonder.  Because it seems to me, in this ever changing world, we must  be people of courage. And courage doesn’t just live on battlefields.  It seems to me that it is fostered in our very homes, our communities, our world, and our will.  Courage must be fueled by a belief that there is something that is greater that is worth fighting for.

I love and appreciate the time in my family.  But I hope and pray it is not taken for granted .  I don’t want to be passive and comfortably  numb , unaware of the battles going on around me…in my home, in my community, in this world. Courage is forged in the little battles  of the day.  In choosing to rise when we want to sit, in working when we want to rest, in confronting when we just want to be still, speaking when it would be so much easier to be silent.  Courage is forged in the little moments, the choices in a day.  The heart of a courageous warrior must be willing to fight for His commander.  He must believe in something bigger than himself.  And in fighting the battle, there is only victory.  I love how the Bible says, “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.… Matthew 10:28.

So here’s the thing.  I am not on the front lines in the Middle East.  I am not in a major battle in my life. I do not have any idea what it takes to muster up certain levels of courage. But I am so aware that there is a spiritual battle going on for the souls of men and the darkness is fierce.  It is evil and heinous and more destructive than what we can imagine.  Even when we are not on the front lines of a physical battlefield, it is so important to know we’re in a battle.  Courage is crucial.  We can battle courageously in prayer.  We can bathe our minds in Truth.  We can open our eyes to the atrocities and speak with wisdom and discernment.  Courage counts.  It counts for the man about to face his last breath, for the woman battling cancer, for the child whose parents are getting a divorce, for the housewife who is trying to juggle all the details of raising children. It counted for those men on the beach and now for their families.  Courage counts. And it matters no matter where we are….because you know, you  never really know where you will be an what it will cost. Or….who will be watching and the impact it will have.

The 21 Egyptian men of the Coptic Church had a Hope so much greater than what we can imagine.I pray comfort for their families.  And courage for us to stand.

Just one more thought.  One of my very favorite verses is this  John 1:5.  It says,

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Thanks be to God.  We aren’t that Light, but we are surely called to reflect it, reflect Him.  May we fuel the fires that will be a light that helps dispel the darkness.  Like a million little candles that make a bright light, courage matters, collectively and individually.  Courage counts.  Just a few thoughts, rants, hopes as I process these senseless losses….

Blessings,

Heather

tanner courage

“Where courage is not, no other virtue can survive except by accident.”

~ Samuel Johnson

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/prompt-fear-factor/

Any given moment of
Any given day
Of
Any given hour
Any given lifetime
Everything can change
Everything

Any given time
Any given place
We could open up our eyes
From our dreams arise and
see our world’s a different place

But when we stop
And breathe
We will stop
And see
And when we look
We’ll find
We will overcome
Adversity
In time…

As we stop
We see
We remember
We move on
We believe

Any given moment of
Any given day of
Any given hour
Anything could happen
Everything could change

Everything.

Any given time
Any given place
We could open up our eyes
From our dreams arise
and see our world’s
a different place

And as we stop
We breathe
We remember…
We move on
We believe

A tribute to the resilient human spirit that transformed NYC from the nightmare of 9/11 to the beauty of the memorial. This poem was written on that day…September 11, 2001, as I watched in horror with the rest of the world. But I love that that was so not the end of the story.

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Any given moment of

Any given day of

Any given hour

Anything could happen

Everything could change

image

Everything

image

Any given time

Any given place

We could open up our eyes

From our dreams arise

And see our world’s a different place

image

But when we stop

And breathe

image

We will stop

And see

image

We will look

And find

image

We will overcome adversity

in time

image

As we stop

We see

image

We remember

image

We move on

image

We believe

image

Any given moment of

Any given day of

Any given hour

Anything could happen

Everything could change

image

Everything

image

Any given time

Any given place

We could open up our eyes

From our dreams arise

and see our world’s

a different place

image

As we stop

And breathe

image

We remember

image

We move on

image

We believe.

image

Note:
Photos all pulled from Internet. I usually use my own, but obviously these are not originals. The poem, however, is written by me.

Superman

A sea of business suit-clad men were walking on the busy sidewalk during rush hour on a New York City street. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the serious business world emerges a father holding the hand of his son. Bright reds, greens, blues, and the Signature “S” on the back of a cape stands out in the sea of black and brown. He had a spring in his step and yet held tightly to the hand of his Dad. “Super-Man!” unleashed in our midst. Innocence mixed with courage mixed with color and a tenacity to stand out in the crowd…that’s a picture of what is vibrant in my eyes.

The supermen of the world were once super-boys with the zest for life to dream of being superman in their own worlds. I so applaud the father of this little boy who let this young son wear his cape in his own little corner of the world! Let him dream of saving the world and flying and conquering evil villains. We were made to live, dream, and be courageous…and to encourage those in our lives to do the same.

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