Which of my women friends are courageous?
One of my friends was diagnosed with Cushing's Syndrome, a health issue that affects not only her physical wellness, but also her appearance, emotional stability, and ability to perform daily activities. She has had an increase in symptoms and questions that are not being answered by medical professionals. On top of her mounting fatigue and difficulty handling any stress (Cushing's syndrome directly and adversely affects hormones responsible for helping us manage stress), she's developed chronic hives that have allergists, dermatologists and endocrinologists all baffled. And yet she smiles. And yet she prays and praises. And yet she reaches out for opportunities to connect with others. She continues working with seniors even on days that she feels exhausted beyond normal and miserable in her own skin. She keeps pushing forward and talking with her is not attendance to a pity party. She blesses me with her quiet perseverance and servant's heart.
It takes courage not to allow your pain or your struggle
Another woman I know has adopted two beautiful teenage girls through the foster care system. How she adores her children! She is always affirming their inner and outer beauty, their individual gifts and strengths and the positive choices they make. Let's be real here. Parenting teenagers can be very hard. Parenting teenagers that you did not raise from childhood presents additional challenges that are completely unforeseeable and innumerable. Parenting teenagers with extremely heartbreaking trauma in their past is . . . Quite frankly, a task most of us are not cut out to do. But this woman, let me tell you it is like she breathes love, hope and encouragement. When she wakes up in the morning, I do not doubt that God may add doses of grace and mercy in liquid form to the water that flows from her shower. To say that she has been mistreated by individuals regarding their family situation is an understatement. She has risked her own personal safety over and over for the benefit of these girls God has placed a firm and unshakable love in her heart for. Please, do not misread this and think she fails to discipline them or to be a mother-figure. She may have been an "official" mother for a shorter duration than I have, but I learn lessons of forgiveness and edification from her regularly.
A lady I know was in the midst of homeschooling her high-schoolers when her husband suggested moving several states away. The new state had no family ties, no friends waiting, and a different set of homeschooling laws and requirements. I would have tried my hardest to talk my husband out of it. Then, after that, I would have offered to pray about it. (Not something I suggest... I am not perfect.) This lady had the courage to pray first, talk calmly and patiently with her husband, and ultimately work with him (rather than against him) in his decision to accept a job offer and their new joint duty to relocate their family. He didn't make her move and they did talk through the decision. She just handled the situation so maturely compared to what I imagine myself doing (umm... panic!) Their family is better off for having a trusting, safe home environment with good, respectful, kind and gentle communication.
We can often be inspired by other's courage. I think every good book or movie should portray a person you'd be proud to aspire towards imitating- at least some facet of their character. Perhaps their kindness, their generosity, or their courage. The trailer below has caught my eye as I've pondered women of courage. The Zookeeper's Wife is a true story that will be in theaters March 31, 2017. Two time Academy Award nominee, Jessica Chastain, becomes an unlikely heroine in World War II.
The more I think about this topic, the more I see courage in other women I know. Very different women, in very different life circumstances, all showing courage. One thing I believe firmly is that to be consistently courageous, a person has to find a source of motivation outside of themselves. There can be great strength and bravery found in the urge to protect and care for others, as well as in the desire to maintain a healthy, peaceful relationship. I think eventually, though, many of us would run the risk of "burning out" if we did not have a source of replenishment. This, I think, is equally as important as having external motivation- having a vast resource of affirmation, encouragement, hope and resolve that is independent of our actions and situations. I am so thankful for Jesus and for His Words of hope that are truly like a life-giving water that quenches the deepest thirst and offers rest for our souls. It saddens me to think that His grace is not as elevated and enjoyed as His justice has been promoted and misunderstood. He is our good, good God. The One and only... and He loves you, where you are now, whatever you've done or failed to do. He can offer you strength, hope, and courage if you'll allow Him to guide your path.
Keep checking back to see what I've got planned for you... this one's exciting!
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I am not much of a blog reader. There's only a couple I check on occasion:
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!