Strong and Courageous

“Be strong and courageous …

The Lord goes with you;

He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

(Deuteronomy 31:6-7)

These words from my quiet time with the Lord today take me back to a September day years ago. I was deciding between two opportunities to serve the Lord. On a cool morning, a minister friend and I chatted outside the chapel, as our little ones played under the old oak trees.   As I shared with her my thoughts on how I could best serve Him, she asked me, “What does your gut tell you?”   Like the certainty of a fall breeze, the Holy Spirit answered with the clear call. I would train to become a Stephen Minister, a Christian caregiver to those in need. I filled out my application and set my interview.

Just a few days later, on the day of my interview, I miscarried. The loss was painful, physically, emotionally and spiritually.   NOW how could I possibly bring comfort to someone else when my strength was depleted?

Feeling weak and lost, I opened my Bible for my daily reading. My verses were from Deuteronomy 31, Moses’ parting words to his beloved people. As I struggled to make sense of my sadness, of a life lost, I knew in my heart and soul that God would give me the strength and courage to move forward with His plan for service. In my weakness, He was strong.

I trained as a Stephen Minister and began my caregiving ministry. Later that year, my husband and I welcomed Nathan. His name means “God has given.” Indeed.

As I have had the privilege to care for some amazing sisters in Christ, God has blessed me with His gifts and His challenges. I find His hand and guidance in both. My husband battled a brain tumor and dealt with the serious aftershocks of radiosurgery. I was blessed to train as a Stephen Leader, to be a teacher, mentor and guide to other Stephen Ministers. No doubt my skills as a Stephen Minister/Leader allowed me to be a better caregiver for my husband, our children, and aging parents. No doubt His hand was upon us as we heeded His call to homeschool our children for seven years, teaching and bringing them up in His word and faith.  His hand will be with us as we help lead an international mission trip this summer.

Yes, today I find my time with the Lord in the same chapter and verse of the Old Testament. “Be strong and courageous,” He says.

And I am, with his ever-present help.