Courage when things go bump in the night

Courage

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “take courage, I am here.” Matthew 14:27

Recently, we moved out of the house we had lived in for nine years. For those years we were comforted and secure inside its walls. We had time to get used to every noise. The environment around us. Every creek. Every dark corner. Every creepy cranny.

Then we made the decision to move. Not an easy one. We had our little monster to consider. The one that doesn’t handle change very well. While we were blessed with a house that was on the same bus route, we worried about this new transition. What would these new surroundings do to our boy’s overwhelming anxiety? Our finely established and well-tuned routine?

For a couple weeks, it seemed we had made it through unscathed. Excitement of having rooms of their own assuaged any doubts. New routines were put in place. All was well.

New home. New noises. New environment around us. New creaks. New dark corners. New creepy crannies. New curly-headed boy fears.

“Mommy, It’s cweepy in here.”

This. The second night in a row. During an already exhausting week? Really? I just want to sleep. And, at first I tried to. Sleep alone that is. I had that “discussion” about needing to be a “big boy.” Needing to handle this one alone. So, I went to bed. Certain that once I put my foot down, he would heed this and try to be a little brave.

Until, I heard it. Soft whimpers. From his room. Whimpers of loneliness. Whimpers of fear.

“Honey, remember what we learned tonight. Jesus gives us courage.”

Yet, the room was still too “cweepy.” And, as I heard the soft footsteps. Saw the tiny shadow along the wall, walking along to Mommy’s room. Heard that tiny voice at the end of my bed once again reveal he was scared. I knew I had to be “it.” I had to be his courage.

Do not neglect to do good, and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16

He has been my courage. He, Jesus, has sat with me and comforted me in dark corners and creepy crannies. So, I sacrificed some sleep, and I shared it. I shared some of mine. My courage. To ask Him for help. To let Him lull us both to sleep.

And, as he pressed his warm little back against mine, I knew that for him to have a little peace tonight, I had to give him a little of mine.

For him. For his protection. Because, right now…Mommy is his courage. Until he has the grown the wings to look for and rest on those promises on his own.

Out of the Valley of Fear

The Lord is my light and my salvation-so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1

Fear. It is the one word I said I was going to overcome this year. That one word I chose to ditch at the beginning of 2014. That one word I just can’t get over. That one word that keeps me from living the life God has planned for me. My purpose. My assignment.

Fear and courage. Two completely separate armies, and in between the two lies one deep valley. And, if I am going to get to the promised land. Live out the life God has planned for me. My purpose. My assignment. Well, then I have to be willing to get out of the valley. The Valley of Rejection. The Valley of Enough. The Valley of Failure. The Valley of the Unknown.

But, fear is the army I can’t seem to leave, simply because I am scared of most EVERYTHING. I have mentioned the typical fears like snakes, sharks, roller coasters, and spiders. Most of those I am happy to admit. I am not so happy to admit that the brave face I put on to hide my fears, really isn’t hiding a fear of sea and land monsters, but rather all those other monsters that have me reenlisting in the Army of Fear.

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. Psalm 27:10

I’m terrified of people. I don’t have a social phobia or anything, rather, I am terrified of being rejected by people. Which means I am terrified of their feelings. Hurting them if I speak up. Hurting mine in the process. Afraid of what will happen when the words do come, and even afraid when they don’t. Terrified I will say the wrong thing. Write something too convicting. Speak the truth a little too harshly. Embarrass my teen. Expose myself too soon. And then watch people walk away. Bruised. Hurt. Confused. Ashamed.

I’m afraid of the “enoughs.” The good enoughs. The smart enoughs. The pretty enoughs. The fast enough. The enough of a mother, wife, friend. The Christian enough. The strong enough. And, even when God tells me otherwise-that I AM good enough, I still have this paralyzing fear that somehow, someday, and someone will find out that I just don’t measure up to be “enough.”

Failure? Oh yes, I frequent the Valley of Failure. It is this place in the valley where I beat myself up every time I get less than a perfect score on a test or paper. The valley I stay in when I pull an all-nighter because I can’t stand the thought of failing to turn something in on time. It is also the fear of failure that keeps me from facing my Goliath’s like David faced down his. That keeps me from taking risks. Taking chances. Making mistakes. Making a change. Because, what if I fail? Miserably? What if I have to admit, “Man, I really messed that one up?”

And, oh…the “what-ifs!” The fears of all of those unknowns. Those dark places in the valley that we just can’t see.

“God has a stunning vision for your life, but if He showed it to you all at once, it would be too much to handle. In His grace He gives small glimpses at a time, and His unimaginable vision for your life can only unfold as you have the courage, like David, to move into the unknown.” -Derwin L. Gray, Limitless Life

Small glimpses at a time. Glimpses I can’t see in the Valley of the Unknown. The Valley of What-If. The Valley of the Why. The Valley of the When, Where, and How.

Small glimpses of the army on the other side. The one I can only see if I get out of the Valley of the Sheep named Rejection, Good Enough, Failure, and Unknown.

A glimpse of my purpose. My assignment. What I was born to do. To be fearless. To step out of my comfort zone. Speak up. To have faith even if I cannot see the result.

To move from the Army of Fear to the Army of Courage.