Sunday, July 28, 2013

Faith, Courage, & Joy

Soar, Believe, Love, Hope, Faith, Courage, Joy.  That is what my bracelet says today only I think I've read them backwards.  I think I am supposed to read them in reverse as far as the order they would be when laid out before me.  I would have to say I like the way I read it better.

I was contemplating these things at church today while we were in between songs.  Mostly the last three were my focus.  Faith, Courage, and Joy.  I was thinking about how those three are connected.  Being the big chicken that I am (as evidenced by the fact that I waited for grey hair to go down a water slide for the first time) I was forced to take stock of the fact that I don't think it is an accident that Faith comes before Courage in this case.  In fact, I think that is how it works.  I think with great Faith comes great Courage.  I'm not sure you can have one without the other.

With GREAT Faith comes Great Courage would be how I think it should be written.  I then had to take stock of my own faith.  I have faith in my Great God.  I believe that He can bring great change in a broken world.  I believe that He can move mountains and move hearts.  I believe He can bring down mountains that form barriers across hardened hearts.  The reason I believe this is that He has done this for me.  I have run away, I have hidden away, some may even say that I checked out for a bit.  I shut down a couple of times, not knowing that even though I had built up mountains to close off my broken and hardened heart in an effort to never feel pain again; He would come knocking on my door and break down every barrier I had built to teach me to love and feel again. 

I'm a person of great faith in my Great Big God but I also am a person that has trouble letting go of fears that have formed so long ago they feel as much a part of me as the two hands that I use to write this message to you today.  Just as I was scared to go down a water slide until this year, I wonder how many other things I have feared that I would find out were actually good experiences if given the chance.  I am now forced to wonder what else I'm missing out on.  How much more God has planned for me if I could have more faith in Him to show me things I am too afraid to give up.  What if I gave up on all the fears I have held on to for so long and just trusted that everything would be OK?  What if like the water slide I tried it and said "OK, I survived that, let's go again so I can try it knowing what to expect."  I went down two different slides but I went down them a combination of seven times.

I don't know why your mountains were built around your heart.  Maybe you don't have any.  If that is the case, I am so happy for you and I would ask you to find it in you to pray for those of us who have had not only walls built from bricks but entire mountains built around our hearts.  It is a terrible tragedy to live in fear of  I don't know any other way to express it.  I have not done things and used my age as an excuse not to do them.  I'm a great excuse maker.  If you need an excuse not to live life to the fullest I'm the girl you want to help you with making that excuse.

And then I read a bracelet.  Faith, Courage, Joy.  With GREAT Faith come Great Courage.  "Courage is not the absence of fear only the realization that something else is more important."  That is a quote from the Princess Diaries but I think it applies.  If we have Faith in our great big God we can have courage to pursue any path that He lays out for us.  Would the God that created you in His image lead you to a path to fulfill His purpose only to let you go it alone?  I don't think so, and with that we find the final word in the three, Joy.

When we follow our God and we take that leap we not only bring Joy to our God, we find our own Joy.  I found the joy in riding a water slide.  I found the joy in experiencing life with my husband and children instead of missing out and reading a book alone.  I have found Joy in letting go of another mountain and trusting in God.  With GREAT Faith come Great Courage which brings about Great Joy.  Isn't that cool?

So maybe for me it's reading a bracelet that gives me pause to wonder.  Maybe I'm slow on the uptake and you are already far beyond what I can teach you from what I'm learning.  If that is the case that brings me joy too.  I hope you will continue on your path with our GREAT Big God and keep me in your prayers as well as I will keep you in mine.  I hope if you are learning daily like I am, you will continue to allow God to continue knocking down the mountains and walls to your heart so He can live there and protect it.  In God you can put your Faith, With God you can take Courage, In God you will not only find your Joy but you will bring Him Joy as well.

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