Sunday, May 24, 2015

For the Days When You Feel Like a Coward.....

On this weekend set aside to remember the brave ones, I'm feeling anything but brave.

One of the things that I want to instill in my children is bravery, courage, intestinal fortitude, guts.
I desire for them to be willing to face the difficult, to endure whatever comes their way.
I want them to think, eat, breathe, play this truth.
I read them Bible stories and truth stories of women who didn't run when faced with hard things: Esther, Ruth, Hannah, Deborah, Abigail, Sarah, Mary;
of men who fought for something greater than themselves: Joseph, David, Ehud, Joshua, Caleb, Jonathon;
of those who seemed weak, but knew with all their being what they must do and did it: Lucy Pevensie, Jane Eyre, Sarah Crewe, Gladys Aylward, Sarah Noble, Laura Ingalls, Heather Longtreader.
I yearn to raise brave daughters, those who don't shirk from God's call on their lives.

While reading my girls the best stories about bravery, I desire more to live it.
I want to live an undaunted life, unafraid of what lies ahead, refusing to flinch when I face the hard places, willing to step out by faith when God asks much of me for His glory.
But THIS, this is much harder than reading rousing stories of heroes and heroines.
Being really brave requires action, not just imagination.
While it's easy to dream of being courageous, it's much simpler to live as a coward.

Most of my weekdays are spent inside my home, with my church family, and in my surrounding community.
Here I'm known not just as a foreigner, but as a neighbor, an acquaintance, a customer, a friend.
Yes, I face battles on a daily basis, but these are the ones where I usually understand the enemy and know the rudiments of the fight.

When I wake up on Saturday mornings, though, I feel it deep ~ fear.
Weekends are my call to war.

Saturday mornings are a blur of activity as I feed the family and help John out the door for visitation. I do my best to mark through the list of things that must be ready for the weekend:  clothes ironed for Saturday and Sunday, lessons prepared and packed for Kids' Bible Club on Saturday and Children's Class on Sunday, reading lesson thought through for Sunday afternoon, lunch made, supper decided on, meals planned for Sunday, school lesson plans for next week finished, and my bag packed for the day.
My first test comes as I head out the door for Bible club with four kids in tow ~ will I be able to hire a car easily, or will it be an ordeal?
As we hurry to the junction, I pray for God to give me courage.
I don't like hiring cars, bargaining over prices.
It is not something I enjoy, but then again, being brave isn't always enjoyable, is it?

My next trial arrives when I reach Bible club.
My helper isn't able to come today, and I have twenty or so rowdy kids who may or may not want to listen.
I try to rehearse the story in Twi in my mind, hoping I can remember any odd words or phrases so the lesson can be clear.
The clearer the story, the better behaved the children are.
I beg God for help to stand and teach, though at moments I feel like running away.
The last thing I feel is brave.

After Bible club I head out on visitation with a church member.
Inevitably I will be faced with more than one language failing, someone whose accent is quite thick, a person trying to trip me up, a Bible question I've never thought of, an overly friendly man, or a parade of children who want to follow the white lady.
I ask God to help me endure being made a spectacle, instead of lashing out in anger or frustration.

Sunday is another long day, and by evening service, I'm weary.
Some Sundays the babies sleep at the right times and are manageable without a nursery, but this Sunday is not one of them.
From the moment church starts I know this is going to be a trying evening.
The crying and whining starts almost immediately and doesn't let up, even when I half drag both my 3 1/2 year old and my 20 month old out the door.
There is nowhere to go but outside.
Both of them want to be held, and both of them want to sleep, but neither of them wants the other one to be in my arms.
I feel the resentment and anger simmering in my belly.

And now, I must choose: am I going to be brave in the face of attack {though this attack is in the form of two tired kiddos}, or am I going to lose the fight to endure a hard thing?

Though I often make the wrong choice, by God's grace, today I chose courage.
I chose to speak quietly when I wanted to yell.
I chose to hold my fussing babes close when I wanted to push them away.
I chose to live out the hard choice of courage when I wanted to be a coward.

As I write, the Holy Spirit slips this truth into my mind ~
tribulation works patience,
patience works experience,
experience works hope,
and with hope,
I know I can choose to be brave again.

*Though my days may look different than yours, there is truth for all of us here.
God, help us be brave when we most feel like cowards!


  1. Thanks again for such a beautiful post! I know that feeling of being a coward, and it is my enemy! Thanks for reminding me to lay hold on what's important in my life!

  2. thanks needed this,,,,,I am praying for you.

  3. These pictures are awesome, Patty! So is your story. Bravery comes from the Lord. It did for Esther, for David, Daniel, and for all the rest of our Bible superheroes. Sometimes we forget the Jews fasted and prayed before Esther went before the king, that David went boldly because he was filled with the zeal of the Lord, that Daniel also faced the lions, because he prayed all the time. Our prayer backers back at home are sooooo important to our bravery on the field. God bless you! Great post.

  4. Your words are always such a blessing. Love you friend!

    1. Thanks, dear Aggie! I'm quite sure you've had your share of these days! Keep living the brave life the Lord has called you to!

  5. Indeed! Bravery has many faces, and so do cowardice. May I find myself wearing my brave face a lot more often! :) Thanks for the words of encouragement, Patty!