Arms linked, with trepidation they followed the yellow brick road into the dark and scary forest…ruby slippered Dorothy, wobbly straw stuffed Scarecrow, stiff-legged and creaky Tin Man. “Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my.”
The farther they traveled that path into the unknown, the greater their anxiety became. And the louder they chanted. “LIONS and TIGERS and BEARS, OH MY.”
Out from behind a tree leapt their greatest fear.
“Put ‘em up! Put ‘em up!” challenged the Lion. Soon, though, The King of the Forest confesses that behind his bravado he really is Cowardly. He has no Courage.
As a young child laying on our sculpted shag carpet, chin resting in my hands watching this movie scene on our little 12-inch television, I didn’t know what Courage was. I assumed it was something like porridge. Because they kind of sound alike. It didn’t seem odd to me at all that the Tin Man would be seeking a heart, the Scarecrow wanted a brain, and The Cowardly Lion wanted a steaming bowl of oatmeal. Not odd at all.
Along the yellow brick road, Dorothy and her entourage encountered many scary things. A skywriting Wicked Witch, a horse of a different color, and the most frightful creatures ever to haunt the silver screen… flying monkeys. In the process lots of lessons were learned. Not the least is that Courage is not the absence of fear or a hot breakfast cereal. Courage is making the right choices in spite of fear.
“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
I have done many things over the last couple of years that have been terrifying and discouraging. Putting an end to abuse in my marriage, which ultimately led to the end of my marriage, required courage and strength. In the midst of my fear and anxiety, God gave me peace. He has been with me in this journey.
As I turned to him for strength to get through the long dark nights, I experienced his love and comfort in very real ways. I have seen the worst time of my life transformed into something new and my future, while still a bit hazy is full of God’s promises. Another act of courage was starting this blog to tell how I found God in these totally unexpected places.
“The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.” Psalm 68:11
Each blog I write and post takes courage. It’s one thing to write for a few supportive friends. It’s completely another thing to invite strangers to read about my fear, struggles, mistakes, and regrets. To admit in yet another post that I’m still afraid, still worried, and still impatiently waiting for some kind of miracle and breakthrough. But along my journey on this yellow brick road, I know when I admit my fear and talk about my struggles, shame that would keep me silenced is silenced.
I’ve written before about fear and doing things afraid. And I’m still afraid. So I guess I’ll keep writing until I get it. Whether I feel courage or feel fear, I’m going to keep on writing as I take another yellow brick lap around the wilderness. Because the most important constant in this journey is not the struggle but God’s promises. How God has taken the messiest parts of my life and turned them into something good, often in spite of me.
If you have a story of courage, I’d love for you to share it. Or a breakfast food story. We don’t discriminate around here.