Tag Archives: courageous faith

An Esther Moment…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from the book of Esther 4: 13-14

“Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”


I spent last week studying the book of Esther. It’s a fabulous read and I believe it to be meaningful for a variety of reasons. My favorite brunette celebrates the book of Esther just as she enjoys the book of Ruth – She loves that God uses a woman to play a “hero” role in order to fulfill an important purpose.

I love the fact that Esther demonstrates that God moves in quiet ways — not just in boldness. The Bible is full of ways that demonstrate God’s power. He is clearly great. But, I think that Esther demonstrates that greatness can also be subtle. God’s miracles are diverse —  yet they are all meaningful, no matter where they fit on the drama meter.

The above verse occurs at a pivotal time in both Esther’s life and in the history of the Jewish people. On the verge of tragedy – with the threat of mass destruction and assassination – Esther listens to her mentor and packs her faith to step up and use her new position as queen in order to quietly and masterfully allow God to save both herself and her people. She demonstrates that a practiced loyalty to faith allows for a strong and courageous stand during a moment of crisis.


Likely each and every one of us will have an Esther moment or two in our lives — Times when we are called to do something subtle, yet bold as we answer God’s call. It may occur in a moment when we can clearly see the purpose, or it may occur amidst a foggy cloud of uncertainty. I’ve come to realize that the clarity in which we understand the Esther moment is much less important than our ability to respond with a servant heart in order to move forward with courage.

I had an Esther moment in April of 2018. It occurred when a boy that I had been tutoring got into trouble and landed in jail. While the Holy Spirit’s call for me to help him was quiet, it was also firm and clear.

Go and love him.

I ended up bailing him out of jail and bringing him to our home to finish his high school career. 383 days with Joe – a young man with a challenging past whom God decided deserved a second chance. During the time that our lives melded together into a new family, the crystal ball was often fuzzy in terms of detail despite the clearness of the call to be together. Each day, we tried to walk in faith believing that God’s purpose was meaningful even though we couldn’t see the finish line.

Some in our town thought we were crazy to bring a stranger into our home. Some watched from a distance, undecided as to whether we’d made the right decision. And, a few opened their arms in support of our faith journey as a new family. We persevered clinging to the call to love.

Joe’s been gone a month now, and the crystal ball still remains fuzzy. I’ve decided that’s okay. There’s a reason that my view is fuzzy and God’s is clear.  The details of why God chose us and Joe to come together for a time may never be revealed. But, I believe that God is great and God is good. So, I don’t have to fully understand it — I just have to believe in the call and answer it in love.

The part of the journey that is clearest to me is that the time that we spent together deepened our family’s faith as we willingly participated in Jesus’ mission. We answered the call in a moment of crisis — willing to take a stand and own our faith. I learned many things from Joe. Things that I carry with me everyday that offer a new perspective for me as a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a coach.

I am grateful for that.

God works through ordinary people and is present even when His hand may seem invisible. Each individual assignment from God matters. It may seem risky and possibly scary at times, but it is always meaningful and we never walk alone when we answer the call.

To me, living in faith means trusting God, following his call, and stepping up during the Esther moments in life.

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Shared Courage…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of Matthew 18: 20

“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”


The 2019 swim team season kicked off last week. The first morning practice with the high school swimmers began with an air temperature of 38 degrees, and we were very glad for a heated pool! It was 55 degrees by the time the younger swimmers practiced in the middle of the day, but the air still carried a bit of a bite to it…The weather might not think it is summer, but we have more than 40 young athletes that are excited to be in the water!

This year’s theme for the season is courage. In particular our quote to live by is, “Courageous faith calls us to finish strong!”. We spent our weekly off-season winter practices talking about what it takes to be a good teammate. That provides a great lead-up to a summer of courageous fellowship 🙂

Just as being an athlete takes courage, so does life.

  • It takes courage to be grateful regardless of your circumstance.
  • It takes courage to persevere with steadfast grace.
  • It takes courage to continue to put in the work even when you can’t see a victorious outcome.
  • It takes courage to stand firm and cling to your faith.

My hope is that our team will build meaningful habits to help us be courageous while simultaneously building fitness and strength in the water. I opened up the first practice asking the swimmers what it means to have courage. A ten year old boy on the team immediately responded, “courage is keeping going and working hard even when you are scared.” A second swimmer followed that statement with, “when we have courage we don’t settle even when it gets hard.” By the end of the week, we all decided that it was easier to be courageous and to make courageous choices when we came together to support each other as a team.


I believe that God calls us to be all in – To live with heartfelt passion in order to share his love with others. The athletic team is an awesome place to learn this. It provides a fun and engaging way to introduce many of the challenges that we experience throughout life. When done correctly, athletics teach the value of hard work and unselfish fellowship. At the Cozad Swim Team, we start each practice with a character lesson, a bible verse, and a daily devotional. I do this because I believe that the first thing that my swimmers need to learn is that God is always with them. He is the ultimate source of courage and he uses each one of us to help build a fellowship of strength. That is the purpose of TEAM.

For where two or three gather, God is among them.

I think that all of my swimmers know how important my faith is to me. I hope that it provides a light to them as they travel the journey of building a meaningful relationship with our Lord. What they might not know is that sharing faith with them brings me courage. My swimmers inspire me to live with grace – to be brave – to have a grateful attitude – and to work with purpose each and every day.

2019 has been a year of challenge for me. During the various times of trial, I have thought of my athletes and how I would counsel them. This keeps me centered on my faith and reminds me of the importance of practicing what I preach. In about a month, I will undergo a third surgery on my leg. As I fight the fear of another invasive procedure, the reality that today I am unable to walk without pain, and the knowledge that the future is unknown, I draw on the shared courage that we build together in fellowship on the pool deck.

I pray that I will walk this path with grace so that my swimmers can see Jesus carry me with the courageous faith that I need to finish strong 🙂

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Courageous Faith…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration for this week’s post comes from Galatians 2: 21

“I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless…”


I wasn’t going to write a post to share this week as we are going through some difficult times at home, and I am not yet able to share about them. But, here I am writing at 9:00 on Tuesday night as God has placed something on my heart. I opened my bible to read out of Galatians and the above partial verse jumped off of the page at me.

I love it when the Holy Spirit does that!

The more that I realize the depth of God’s love, the more I understand the vastness of His grace. When we walk through hard times, it is easy to be angry – to accuse God of not being there – to let frustration steal the peace that should live in our hearts. I’ve been tempted to do this, but God just keeps pursuing me. His steadfastness draws me in. It inspires me to lean into my faith instead of walking away.

Why?

Because Jesus shows up everyday. He is the ultimate demonstration of God’s grace and He uses the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide. He fills my heart with the courageous faith that inspires hope and grants the peace that passes all understanding. Even on the hard days – especially on the hard days.

He is there.

I write myself bible verses, quotes and sayings on note cards. I scatter them around the house and seem to find them on the days that I need them. A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and wrote: “Courageous faith is continuing to work with hope even during times of trial — trusting that God’s grace will carry me.” When we treat the grace of God with reverence and devotion and truly trust in it, then we are able to feel the full power of courageous faith. Its value is limitless.


 

I’ve experienced God’s grace often over the past several months. I’ve seen it in this goofy and loyal dog that has granted me company in the long days that I spent in the chair with a broken leg. I’ve seen it in my favorite farmer and our girls as they have circled in love and carried me when I failed. I’ve seen it in friends and those in our church family who have been there – waiting to fill whatever gap unfolds – supporting without question – and reflecting Jesus’ love with steadfast loyalty. I’ve seen it as I’ve continued to live, to coach, and to share my faith.

Sharing faith helps to create courageous faith. We are all meant to live in community. The more that I embrace that, the more I am able to experience God’s grace. Many times grace is found in giving – not in receiving. A grace-filled heart is a grateful heart. Grateful hearts make for cheerful givers. Cheerful givers spread God’s grace, even during times of trial.

Today I am thankful for God’s grace. I cherish the courageous faith that Jesus puts into my heart, and pray that in sharing it I can also help to spread His grace to others.

Thank you to all of you who have reached out in prayer and support for me over the past weeks. Please know how much I appreciate your kindness 🙂

 

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