By Bonnie Baxter
I find courage inspirational, particularly when I see it in others. Sometimes it is found in the big things. We find it wrapped in grace as we fumble through. I think of times I’ve seen courage:
- my friends helping their young daughter through challenging years with cancer.
- my brother persevering through his heart transplant, and a family donating a heart to give him new life.
- three dear mamas all saying goodbye to newborn boys…and many others who have kept on living, really living, when a child they loved was gone.
- dearly loved older people walking forward into the last season of their life, even through the loss of senses, like hearing and a clear voice and physical strength.
- a friend walking away from an abusive husband despite judgment from others who don’t understand.
- a mom taking antidepressants for a season, despite her fears, so she can be the mom she needs to be.
- a teacher standing up for what she thinks is right, when those who do not understand, and sometimes even her peers, are unwilling to change.
- brave ones speaking up with love toward the bully and the bullied.
- a child who can’t speak continuing to try and learn to communicate in new and different ways.
- a broken-hearted person being willing to move on and try love again, with time.
- a dad walking around late at night on the streets of downtown, handing out hot chocolate and sandwiches and being willing to listen.
- a friend who has had so many failed attempts to become a mother, who still tries again, just one more time.
- a foster mom pouring love into kids for a season while they are in her life, and being willing to let them stay there in her heart for an extended amount of time.
- parents of kids with disabilities of all types…I have met so many inspirational ones. It takes courage to embrace a life that’s different for your child than you had dreamed about, which brings to mind the poem, ‘Welcome to Holland’.
- adults learning to read.
- single friends enduring the not-helpful advice and comments from me and others and stay hopeful and real and true.
- sometimes the hurting wife who stayed, sometimes the hurting wife who left.
- those who are loving the people who need it most – you know, the ones who look like they want it the least.
Courage is also in the little, everyday big things, such as:
- forgiveness even when the person doesn’t ask for it or deserve it
- opening up to a trusted friend about pain
- being authentic, at the risk of being mocked
- saying no, and trusting that it will all work out
- choosing hope even when you’ve been disappointed
- giving…time, money, things, heart
- risking – taking that first step, speaking that first word, opening those eyes.
Courage isn’t something that a person can just come up with on the spot. I think it is that moment when all the work you’ve done to be authentic and kind in your life starts to shine. It might look like a flickering candle or maybe like the sun. Courage might even shine brightest in a dark and lonely place.
I’ve had days where getting up and trying again took a lot of courage. But then I look around at all the inspiring people that have come into my life and I am encouraged to keep walking forward. Courage is a holy thing, powered by the Holy Spirit. It is a strength that is beyond myself and reminds me that I live in a bigger universe than I sometimes realize.
Be encouraged this day to live with courage, my friend. I’m right there with you.
About the Author
Bonnie is a wife to Todd and a mom to two great boys. They make their home in Medicine Hat AB, where she works part-time as a Speech-Language Pathologist. She tries to add creativity to her days, through writing, music, sewing, or learning something new. She loves Jesus, her family and staying up late.