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.

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15 Responses to Courage

  1. Loved your post!! Funny, thoughtful and God glorifying!! Thanks for going public, you’re going to help many 🙂

  2. Charlotte Hammer says:

    Thank you so much for the encouragement! I appreciate it.

  3. Kathy Snyder says:

    With My son, Bryant getting married this Saturday, and my anxiety level, I really needed this today. I have had lots of anxiety problems in the past. It is the memory of them that start to erode my courage at these times. I will be holding God’s hand and remembering your message as the events unfold. Thank you so much! Great writing. I know God has great plans for you!

  4. Lisa Stokoe says:

    So excited for you Charlotte! I too started my blog and made this venture of faith. However, you seem leap years ahead of me with the page set up! I love it! Great job my friend… Share on! I know the Lord will use your stories to encourage and bless others who have need of hearing them! 🙂 Psalms 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

  5. Monica says:

    I love love love it! I look forward to reading it and sharing it with others.

  6. Lori Shimizu says:

    You inspire me, Charlotte. I’ve been thinking about writing about our travels and this past year’s issues, and I think your stepping out in faith is inching me a little bit closer to getting words into print. Thank you, and good luck on your latest journey. Enjoy the ride!

  7. Arlene says:

    You are brave and courageous Charlotte! Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post with all of us. Your beautiful way with words is a gift and I’m glad and grateful that you are using your gifts and
    talents to speak your truth, because your truth rings true for us as well.

  8. Oh, Charlotte, I know the pain of putting an end to an abusive marriage. I did it 20 years ago with a 5- and 7-year old in tow. Transparency is bravery and you have it in abundance, my friend! And that verse from Psalm 68…I’m not sure I have ever read that verse before and I love it. Keep proclaiming dear one!

  9. Alecia says:

    I’m so glad you decided to open up your space to people you do not know in real life! Now that does take courage! I worked through the word Fearless last year and one thing I realized is that the fear NEVER goes away, you just have to keep walking forward in spite of it. I think you’ve already learned this as well 😉

    Thank you for sharing your heart! And linking it up for us to read at the God-sized dreams link up!! Nice to meet you.

  10. Jennifer Gearheart says:

    Thank you for your encouragement! I am struggling with my marriage as well. He wants to work things out and I am ready to move on. He has alcohol addiction which he is getting help for and doing well. Just too many bad times over the good times. I has taken courage for me to stand up for myself and my kids. I always wanted to give him another chance. I have been torn about divorce however I don’t think God wants me to stay in that type of relationship. THANK YOU so much for sharing your heart. God is always there for us.

  11. Deje Jensen says:

    Wonderfully written! I fear writing my blog every week and posting it for everyone to see….the “what-ifs” try to take over. I love how you used the “Wizard of Oz”! May God grant you peace, comfort and courage as you continue on your journey!

  12. nubcube says:

    Great Charlotte!! beautiful and eloquent. Your words are inspiring, moving and very brave. Just look at the response you’ve received on this blog. It is resonating with us all in its honesty and unashamed prose. Thank you for the opportunity to read it. <3

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