I teach 3rd grade Sunday School at my church. I often feel like I learn as much from studying the lessons as my kids learn from my teaching. :) Every month we study a different virtue. This month the virtue is: courage. We learn the definition of the virtue and then a verse that we can memorize to go along with it.
Courage is: being brave enough to do what you should do even when you're afraid. I love this definition because often times we think of someone who is brave and courageous as fearless. That does not have to be the case. The verse that the kids are memorizing is: When I am afraid, I will trust in you. Psalms56:3.
Yesterday the story was about David and Goliath.....more than likely anyone reading this is familiar with this childhood Bible story. Goliath was a huge soldier in the Philistine army and David was the little brother of some of the Israelite soldiers. Little David ended up killing the huge Goliath with only his sling shot.
This story is found in the 56 verses of 1 Samuel. There was one verse that really stood out to me as I study these verses. Little David said in verse 37: "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." That's what it's all about!! That is where his courage came from......it came from evidence of God working in His life in the past!!! This is exciting to me, because in 2011 this is still where our courage comes from. As a Christian, I can look back at evidence of God working in my life in the past to give me courage for the present and the future!
That's a lot of explanation to say that I am going to add a series to my blog entitled: Courage Builder: Evidence of God in My Life. I want to record experiences in my life that I know God was in control, so that I can look back at them and remember where my courage comes from. I would encourage you to do the same.
Courage Builder #1: Evidence of God in My Life
On July 3, 1997, I flipped and totaled my older brother's truck. I was leaving my parents' house to go to a city-wide 4th of July celebration in my town. I remember that his truck was parked in the garage. When I got in the truck I felt like something was weird. You know that feeling like you are forgetting something. I got out of the truck and walked back in the house. I could not figure out why I was having that weird feeling. Their was an electric saw in the floorboard of the passenger side of the truck. When I went to get back in the truck, I decided to get the saw out ( I was 16 year old girly girl.....I didn't want to be seen with my brother's carpenter tools). :) I started down the steep hill on the dirt road from my parents house. I think I was trying to buckle up, turn up the radio, and shift all at the same time. His truck was a 4X4 standard with mud tires. Before I knew it the truck was out of control on the loose gravel of the dirt road. It flipped over and actually turned completely around in the road.
Here's the cool thing. To this day I can remember the feeling that I had as the truck was flipping. It seemed like it was happening in slow motion and the whole time all I could feel was an abundance of peace. It must sound cliche and I don't know exactly how to explain it. I just never felt fear. Anyway, the truck came to a stop and I climbed out the back window and ran back up the steep hill to my house. It was actually when I was running back to the house that I became hysterical. It wasn't the realization of what just happened that scared me, it was realizing that I had just totaled my brother's truck a week before his wedding!!! Yeh, bad timing on my part. I think maybe my sister-in-law has forgiven me. :) I just didn't think they had enough stress already with wedding plans! J/K!
I see God's hand in this situation, because if I had not taken the saw out of the truck it would have fallen on me, probably cutting me severely. Also, I had just broken up with my boyfriend a day before this and he was performing in the city-wide celebration. I was really going to see him. I wonder if I had been able to go to the celebration what would have happened. Would we have spoken to each other, ignored each other, maybe even said something hurtful that would destroy our relationship. You see that boy turned out to be my husband and this summer we will have been married ten years. God knew the plans He had for us and obviously He did not want me at that celebration......He could have just given me a flat tire or something, though. You know God, always dramatic. :)
Sometimes God's hand is working when we can't even see it.
Courage Builder #2: Evidence of God in My Life
After getting married and graduating from college, my husband and I moved back to our hometown. Once we started our family, I became a stay-at-home mom. Living on one income of even a college grad entry level salary proved to be almost impossible. We realized that I was either going to have to go back to work or Robert was going to have to take a promotion. Well, the first promotion he applied for he got. So, we moved a little over an hour from our hometown. We rented (which God gave us the perfect little brand new duplex to rent) until we were sure that we wanted to stay there and buy a house. We lived there one year and Robert decided that he would like to try for one more promotion. By this point we had two kids and while our duplex was a wonderful temporary fix, I was longing for a house where I could stretch my arms, have good storage, and a good backyard. I couldn't wait to go house shopping!! Robert found out on a Thursday or Friday that he had gotten the promotion and that weekend we piled the kids in the car and went driving around neighborhoods in the new area. I was soooo excited!! It was actually Sunday afternoon. After driving around we stopped at a park. There was a couple there playing with their daughter. I knew that the guy looked familiar, but I couldn't place him. I could tell that he recognized me also. Finally, we broke the ice and asked how we knew each other. We had gone to the same college for awhile and had some mutual acquaintances. We started to talk to them and we told them that we were moving to the area. They told us about their Sunday school class and their wonderful church. They also gave us the name of a realtor in the area that was in the Sunday School class as well......Long story short, we are now in that church and that Sunday School class! The realtor did in fact sale us our house and it actually backs up to that exact park. I have no doubt that God put that couple at the park on that particular afternoon to lead us to where we are today.
We loved the church that we were going to at the time and I hated to leave it. I remember telling God that morning during the worship service that I loved the church so much and if He moved us He was going to have to lead us to another great church. As we got in the car at the park that afternoon after meeting the couple and their daughter, it hit me. The name of the dad, mom, and little girl were all names of people in our small group at our current church. God spoke to my heart right then and reassured me that He had amazing people and new relationships waiting for us at our new place. He has kept that promise.
Courage Builder #3: Evidence of God in My Life
|Another picture of their oldest daugther|
|This is a more recent picture of their youngest. She is almost two!!|
Thank you God for the good friends that you have put in my life.
Courage Builder #4: Evidence of God in My Life
Two summers ago I spent a week in Cajamarca, Peru on a mission trip. There were three different teams: VBS, Medical, and Construction. I was on the VBS team, so we spent our days teaching a VBS at an orphanage there in Cajamarca. There were only 50 kids at the orphanage, so by the end of the week we knew almost every kid by name and had grown to love them very much. At night our whole group would come back together we would all share experiences from our day. The group of us on the VBS team realized that although we were enjoying all the kids, God seemed to be laying a different kid on each of our hearts that we really felt connected to. A special bond was forming for me with a twelve year old little boy named Jhon. I began noticing him when the kids would play during rec time. He was very gentle and patient with the younger kids, but he also was a great leader with the boys his own age. I could tell that the other boys looked up to him and followed his lead. I could just see a special spark in him. I guess the expression in my eyes told him that I loved him and saw potential in him, because he bonded to me as well. Everyday when our van would pull up, he'd be looking for me and waiting for me to get off. I'm telling you, I would have taken him home and raised him myself if they would have let me. As we became friends (with me communicating in my "patchy" Spanish) I tried to explain to him how I thought that he could grow up to be anything that he wanted to be. I asked him if he knew that one of the great leaders in the Bible was named John also. He said that he didn't know, so I ran and got my Bible and began to show him. I will forever be indebted to one of our teenagers on the trip who snapped a picture of this precious moment to me. So, anyway, the week ended and we all came home, trying to remember how to function in our normal American life after experiencing something so amazing. :) I continued to think about Jhon (that's the way he spells it) and prayed for him often that entire year.
The place that we stay in Cajamarca is called Villa Milagro. In English that means "Village of Miracles." When I am in Peru I always feels God's presence so strongly. It is probably because all the distractions of everyday life are taken away and I can focus on Him. Also it is so beautiful there that it is impossible not to acknowledge that God exists. It is also really high above sea level there, so you feel like you are in the clouds. I loved to go up on the roof in the mornings to have my quiet time. I could hear all the amazing animals, see the mountains in the distance, and I was practically in the clouds. Can't imagine a better place to talk to God!
|This is the picture that Chantel snapped when I was showing Jhon the "John of the Bible." That crazy thing on his head is the parachute that we had been playing with during rec time.....silly man!|
|This is another picture of Jhon the first year I went.|
|This is Jhon and me the second year that I was there!|