Updated: Oct 17, 2020
This heavenly angel, Courage, was personally created just for me by the lovely, Jennifer Hawkyard in the UK. She's a brilliant, talented artist that gifted this treasure to me after hearing about my journey. How beautiful is Courage? Breathtaking. And how kind is Jennifer to offer her talents to someone she didn't even know? This creation, and Jennifer's kindness, brings tears to my eyes every time I gaze at it. I've met some of the most selfless, compassionate, and humbling humans since my diagnosis. It has been quite beautiful to witness such humanity. You can find Jennifer's amazing artwork on her site at https://www.jezhawk.com
I've been digging deep to understand what courage truly is and working hard to muster it up every single day. Initially, I would have defined courage as the ability to do something unafraid. Websters dictionary defines courage as the ability to do something that frightens one; strength in the face of pain or grief. I'm learning, day-by-day, that being courageous does not mean the absence of fear. It's OK to experience feelings of fear, but our attitudes while moving forward despite such fear, is what makes our actions courageous.
I'm regularly told that my attitude during this season of difficulty is inspirational. I'm told by others that they would be "a mess" if they were going through what I'm going through. I honestly believe that all of those people, and possibly anyone reading this, underestimates their ability to do hard things. I’m in the middle of the hardest season of my entire life, yet I find comfort in the blessing that awaits me at the end. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t disclose that I surprise myself with the overwhelming sense of peace I’m feeling despite my circumstances at times. It’s something like I’ve never experienced before. I give all the glory to God in my ability to proceed through this battle with humility, strength, and complete surrender. I could have easily gone the other way and became bitter, filled with self-pity, and angry with God. But how courageous would that have been? Where would my faith in God's promises have gone? "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7.
I decided, with God right there with me, that I would learn from this and find beauty in my suffering. That I would persevere. "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance." Romans 5:3-4. I resolved that I would surrender to God's will, but not forget that I'm in partnership with Him. That I must still do my part, such as taking care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. How can I expect a miraculous healing from God if I do anything but that? "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.
Do I feel fear sometimes? Absolutely. Do those feelings lead to tears? Almost everyday. But my faith in God, His promises, support from my wonderful family, friends, and even complete strangers, gives me a spirit of courage. That courage is in all of us. We can all do hard things with Him by our side. "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6.
May you all seek Him as you face difficulties and find comfort in knowing that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-5.
Love & Sunblock