If you’d known me growing up you would have seen a girl who could comfortably play the piano and organ in front of large groups of people, who could stand in front of groups and give presentations with little or no fear, and who thrived on memorizing lines and performing in plays and musicals.
If you’d only looked at those moments you would have described me as fearless.
If you sat and talked with me, you would have met someone who specialized in fear and insecurity.
I did great in front of a crowd but face to face I was timid and shy. I believed people would like what I did, but didn’t believe they would like me.
I desperately wanted to be strong and courageous but fear and insecurity had become a habit. I believed God wanted me to be strong and courageous.
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Yeah, that’s pretty straightforward.
The problem was … I was forgetting the second part of the verse.
God Wants to Make You Strong and Courageous
On my own, I’m never going to be strong or courageous.
Oh sure, maybe a moment here or there. I can fight like anything for my husband, kiddos, or grandkids.
But I don’t want to talk about those moments because well, I don’t really like talking about myself unless I’m honestly telling you about the many ways I fall short. Like my problem with procrastination or how much I hate to clean. And don’t ask me to do anything outside, I mean really . . . hasn’t anyone ever told you there are bugs and dirt out there?
It’s easier for me to talk about growing up with chronic fear or living with anxiety. I can even tell you the tough stuff like what it’s like to live with secondary infertility, be rejected by your child, or lose your best friend.
The truth is, I’m a mess.
I know what it’s like to lie curled up on my bed sobbing until it feels like every drop of moisture has been cried out. What it’s like to feel broken beyond repair.
No, I’m not strong and courageous.
I know someone who is.
When I’ve experienced the worst God has replaced it with His best. He proved He could be my courage and strength if I let Him.
For far too long, I foolishly believed I had to do everything right. Deep down I felt like God’s unconditional love was just a little bit conditional.
So, I did everything within my ability to be a “good girl.”
It took an oversized painful brokenness for me to really receive God’s unconditional perfect love that gives strength and courage.
I hated the process. I mean, I really hated the process but it’s what God used to show me His power to change me and redeem my broken life.
I went from fear to faith, from anxiety to anticipation, from broken to blessed.
And I claimed Psalm 73:26 as my life verse:
My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I have to admit, I still don’t think of myself as either courageous or strong but I am passionate . . . maybe even a little relentless in telling people about God’s love and His power to change lives through Jesus.
God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9–10
God’s love is not dependent upon my good behavior. His love for you doesn’t need you to conform or perform. He loves you and me because love is who He is.
Nothing can ever change that.
No power, enemy or problem will ever separate us from His love.
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38–39
God doesn’t love you because of who you are or what you do; He loves you because of who He is.
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Powerful. Unfailing. Forever. Perfect. Gracious. Merciful. Personal Love.
Love that is able to make you strong and courageous.
I need that! I want that!
Before I experienced my brokenness, I used to believe … if this or that happens in my life I won’t be able to go on. It absolutely can not handle something like that.
Then one of those things happened.
And I was right!
I couldn’t handle it.
I love those two words. But God…
He showed up with His healing love. He held me close and quietly whispered that He was with me and I would be okay. And any time I doubted, He reminded me.
By His grace, I’m not just okay. I’m good! I’m content. I’m happy. I’m blessed!
And I’m no longer afraid.
So if, like me, you don’t feel like you’re strong and courageous … it’s okay.
God is fighting for you.
He is passionate for you.
He is relentless for you.
And He longs for you to surrender everything and trust His love.
If you’re broken . . . God knows.
And He wants to heal and restore you.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He saves those whose spirits have been crushed. Psalm 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3
I never dreamed I could live without what ifs and I cant’s. But God has proven He will always be with me to give me all the strength I need for whatever He allows.
He is trustworthy.
My prayer for you…
Don’t wait for your world to fall apart. Give God your fear, your anxiety, your insecurity, your pain, your broken heart, your mess.
Surrender it all. Trust Him.
He will help you. He will change you if you let Him.
He will heal and restore you as He covers you with His mercy, grace, and love.
He will make you strong and courageous.
That my friend, is some seriously Good News!
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