Recently we had church directory pictures taken.  I wanted us to take a goofy picture, with unmatched clothes and making faces.  I wanted it to be a picture that anytime someone looked at it they would laugh out loud-thus spreading Joy and fun for the sake of fun all amongst the congregation.

 But we lacked the courage to follow through.  We ended up all wearing black-which was fine.  At least 4 times i quietly mentioned wanting a funny photo-finally the photographer (who was quite a professional i might add) gathered us to take one.  But when it came time to pick for the directory, this photo wasn’t given as an option.  When I mustered up the courage to ask if it could be used-the answer was no-it was taken horizontally and a vertical photo was needed. 

 Why could i not be more bold and direct and clear about what we wanted-even though it was so foreign an idea to the photographer’s frame of reference?

 Even more recently, I wanted to miss something so that i could take the particular evening for a time of prayer.  Our house is very small, and my husband works from home.  There is just something about the freedom of being actually alone to sing and pray and just talk to God without having someone say “uh… mom?….who are you talking to?”  but i quietly mentioned the possibility of not being there (without saying why)-and the response… i interpreted it within and quietly ‘recovered from my moment of madness’ declaring that “never mind, i don’t know what i was saying, yes in fact i would attend.”

 Why could i not be more bold and just say-not quietly-but assertively; “Sorry, I will not be attending ________night.” and not leave any door open implying I’m asking permission, or just toying with the idea.  Just put it out there straight and walk away and deal with the emotions later….during the precious alone time i would have had?????

 Then there is the inward struggle with the way school has gone for the last few weeks.  One child is homeschooled.  We are in the middle of a family project-that would have been completed before school started if there had not been fire in the mountains -causing evacuations and delays at the beginning of the summer.  Thus, his school currently consists of… i even have the courage to share what it actually consists of? 

 i was reminded of Farmer Boy by Laura Ingals Wilder.  It’s the story of Almonzo as a boy (before he became Laura’s husband).  a quote that i latched onto early on in my homeschooling ‘career’ was this:

“Almonzo did not go to school that day.  He did not have to go to school when there were more important things to do.”  (p.50) 

i remember that one of those ‘more important things’ was harvesting ice for the ice-box.  It wouldn’t have required courage for them to miss school for harvesting ice-for everyone knew how important it was for their survival, and everyone knew that when the conditions were right for it-you did it.  the conditions were outside of their control-they had to work within the weather. but of course back then, everyone knew that.  it was part of their culture.

 I do believe with all my heart that school is important. I also believe with all my heart, there are more important things than school.  So, while the others are off at school, my youngest’s education is consisting of other things than the 3 r’s.  working alongside your dad-that is priceless education isn’t it?

 so why is it that i cannot with confidence say-D-‘s school right now is carpentry, and how to respond to frustration and discouragement (the former from his father, the latter from his mother :)).  Why do i so quickly let the fear seep in and take over my thoughts?  or if i’ve conquered it within-why do i not speak of it boldly without? 

 it all boils down to a lack of courage to live out what the Lord has placed within.  How the spirit has directed and led.  regardless of culture.  regardless of whatever!  There’s this idol of other’s opinions on the matter that seem to overtake my heart i think.  and there is this quiet way about me-that i have prayed and prayed and prayed to be replaced with boldness. 

 i have encouraged myself with stories of others’ who trudge a new and different path contrary to the desires and acceptance of those near them;

  “No, I replied to their suggestions, ‘God is leading this way, and this way I go.” p.34 of ‘To a Different Drum’ by Pauline Hamilton

 “Many difficulties have risen in my mind, they seem very great, the ‘crooked places’ seem very crooked, but it seems to me that all He asks is that we should take the one step He shows us, and in simplest, most practical trust leave all results to Him.  Mother, I know that very few of our friends will think I am right.  Those who don’t know the Shepherd’s voice themselves will be quite sure i am very wrong adn mistaken, but He has said, ‘Walk before Me, and be thou perfect.’  He knows, and He won’t let me dishonour Him by making a mistake and following my own fancy instead of Him.  if it is so, He will show it to me, but if it is His will, I must do it….”  Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank L. Houghton p.45

 sigh-to be so couragous.  to trust His leading.  in just the little things-starting with the little things.  It’s something i so long to learn……

 i am reminded of Jesus words to the disciples in the boat:

“Take Courage, it is I”

 He offers the courage for me to take.  He doesn’t say’ “Have courage, be courageous”  (tho He does say that elsewhere-like to Joshua.) no in these cases it’s: “Take!”  which means it’s something i don’t have already. 

i don’t know how to be courageous.  Nevertheless, i do have hope that i can learn how to take courage from the One whom i so long to follow where He is currently leading. 

 because learning comes with practice and repetition.  and if the Lord would grant that plea for boldness to just be so….natural;

 well then, what would i need Him for?

 He has said; “blessed are the poor in spirit”

which means that joy, once again, will not be found with an instant personality change.  but with having received courage to harvest the ice. And i will instantly know where the Glory goes-to my Strength who has come to my aid….again.  And I will thank Him.