Practicing a habit of Courage

2013 Family Day Mueller 036

Sarah and Joy, my inner circle BF's

A while back, my two girls and I were on my bed talking of dreams and adventures we hope to experience together as a family. I was covered up–my two girls were tucking me in! It was a bittersweet time for me to listen to their hearts--most of their dreams have not been fulfilled in reality, YET!

There are many dreams I have held all of my life that have not yet come true … but I still dream them. And of course, I know that some of my girls' dreams will lead them far from me. But how precious it was to hold this time close and hide it in my memory; this night when hearts are opened and deepest desires shared and we all snuggled together as I fought to keep my eyes open.

God’s will originally was that all women would have the opportunity to get married, to have children, and to do their work in harmony with their husbands–to leave a legacy of righteousness, beauty, productivity, and tradition. They were intended, through the family structure, to pass on righteousness and a loving relationship with God to every generation.

Yet my girls find themselves in a broken world where few have their values, and many children of their generation have ended up with broken hearts because their mothers lost the heart of God’s call on their lives. Every day, I pray that my girls will have the opportunity to meet godly, righteous men who have a dream of building family influence in their generation.

At the end of a conference one time, a sweet woman asked me through tears, “How long do you keep praying for some of your dreams to come true? When do you just give up and accept God’s response as ‘no’?”

Well, I can’t fully answer because I don’t know God’s will for her life. But I do feel the older I get, the more childlike I seek to be. There is a temptation to become cynical and crusty as we make our way through life. Yet, in studying verses about God’s will this year, I was impressed again to pursue child-like faith–to keep believing my God can do anything; to believe in His goodness; to believe in prayer.

So I continue sharing my own dreams with Him! I pray for miracles, and for Him to do great things in and through the lives of my children, Clay and me. I ask Him to knock down walls, to stretch our sphere of influence–because I want everyone to know how personal, responsive and gracious He is. I want to live with anticipation like a child; to not measure my life by what I can provide for myself, but by what He is able to do as I believe in Him and trust Him.

The Lord has brought me through many difficult, busy, trying seasons. When I’ve come into His presence and spent time in His word, He has been there for me. I didn’t always feel His presence, but took His word and promises at face value and rested in them, and then practiced taking steps of faith--one day, one issue at a time. Now, I can look back and see that He has used each part of the journey to shape me–my character, my love, my humility, my compassion—and taught me to rest in Him.

My heart and mind must be guarded so that I don’t spend unnecessary energy and time on worrying, but rather give everything into His hands and picture him taking and working it all out on my behalf as His daughter.

I need courage. Courage is the ability to face difficulty, danger, fear or pain without being overcome by present circumstances, but instead acting with resolve; with strength of mind and behavior. I have made a decision of my will to take courage–to practice being strong, to put one foot in front of the other, to believe in a good outcome from a Father who is good. Courage lies in believing and behaving as though God will indeed be faithful. These habits create a life of faithfulness and are the foundation of a life well-built and well-lived.

Growth in character has been the result of walking in God’s ways. He has stretched my capacity to work as well as my capacity to love, and also my ability to resist “down” feelings, to cultivate a content attitude, and to practice being joyful in front of my children and family.

 If you have the desire to go deeper in your study today, complete the reflection and application below.

  • “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6.  What are you anxious about today? Make a list, and then in prayer and supplication--with thanksgiving!--make those requests known to God. Enjoy His peace!
  • “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Have you embraced the simple fact that in the world tribulation will come? In what areas might you need courage?
  • “… for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-14. What dreams are you holding on to? Spend some time with these verses in Philippians and see what the Lord might say to you about the reality of holding His hand tightly—and your dreams lightly.