around my neck...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

i slipped my hands beneath my hair, fastening the clasp of the necklace that had been given from a dear woman named betty in papua new guinea to grace another neck before it found a place around my own.

it had arrived in the dark of night, in a card tucked in an envelope that held sweet words that whispered a goodbye.

i lifted it out of the paper and let it tumble down into the empty air in front of me as the pendant caught the light and the word courage flashed in the spinning.

it was this necklace i reached for this morning,  that i placed around my neck and let fall heavy against me.

it kept slipping beneath my neckline, cold metal against warm, still feverish skin.  each step i took, i felt it thump against my chest, against the rib cage that encases...that protects my heart.

courage, courage, courage keeping time with the beat of my step, the pounding of my heart.

as livie fell in the road and blood seeped out of her cuts.  as lyla slipped on the ice and her knees broke skin.  as i slipped behind the steering wheel and sat for a moment looking at the large snowflakes falling on the windshield.


courage is for the brave and i know a few of those,

the woman who watched as her husband signed away his children, their life, and left for another.

the daughter who chooses to give thanks in the midst of deep grief, who cries out for her daddy who chose heaven over all he had here.

the sons who found their father in the most horrific of ways and still move forward, still choose to trust that God is in control

the sisters who have watched husbands go to prison, who are left to raise children on their own.

the mama who carries on in the face of grief and sorrow and lonliness ~ that she can still smile through the tears.

those in tony's family who fight for the country i am determined will become home. 

the woman who continues to provide a place of beauty, of warmth for those in her community despite facing her own loses.

these are the courageous.

me?  i'm just a simple housewife who finds herself easily overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty ~ as change looms yet again over the horizon, i find it difficult to breathe.

and her name settles around me like the snowflakes falling outside...


the mama of moses...the housewife, the slave, the oppressed one who placed her son in the crocodile infested nile.  the one who placed her trust in a simple basket and the God Who, amazingly enough, loves me too. (exodus 2:1-10)

could courage be as simple as taking the next step forward?

could courage be as simple as choosing to trust Him when everything else looms scary and large?

choosing to believe that despite what you have experienced, He will not leave and He will not forsake (joshua 1:5b) and that He really, truly is with you, even to the very end of the age? (matthew 28:20b)

i heard it preached once, that God didn't come near joshua and speak courage to him 3 times because joshua was brave.

and i think of my own children, the ones who wake up at 3 in the morning and stumble into my bed, press close and whisper their fears.  who, as i lay them back under their own covers, need to be repeatedly assured that i will come and check on them, that i will be near, that i will make sure they are safe.

He repeats because He knows how our hearts tremble.

that courage doesn't come easy.

that He alone is the Provider of that which we need to take the next step as we trust Him with our fears, with our uncertainties, with the moments that leave us gasping for air.

the snow is still building, inch by inch, outside this window.  winter white beauty that hides the ugliness of death that only this season brings...that blankets and in its own way protects the new life that is patiently waiting to be seen.

and so i surrender to His Voice, to His words that protect the fragility of hope and i hold even tighter to the etched pendent around my neck...

have I not commanded you? be strong and courageous. 
do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. joshua 1:9