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New Year Courage

     During a New Year sermon, the pastor asked ushers to pass baskets of stars. Each star had a word on it that was to be our focus for the year. I was singing alto in the chancel choir, which was set apart in the choir loft. When the basket came to me, I closed my eyes and pulled out a star that said courage. I whispered to the singer next to me, “I think I would like to trade this for another word.” She looked at me like I was about to commit a major sin, so I kept my star.

     A few months later the pastor did the same thing at Easter, but with stones.  I reached into a bag and…you guessed it. The stone had courage on it. (Trust me, the stones had many different words on them.)

   Then while visiting friends in Alaska, I went into a Native craft store to look for gifts. I found some earrings resembling bears and showed them to my friend. I was going to get them for my daughter, but she suggested I buy them for myself. Why not? I thought. When I went to pay for them I asked the artist what bears represent. He said, “Courage.”

     Later that fall, I was invited to one of those “paint-in-an-hour” kinds of things at a local brewery. As we finished up our painting, the teacher said, “Now write the word courage on your piece.” Ahhhh!

     I’m not sure if this was foreshadowing or what the Lord was saying to me, but I tell you this: I don’t want to HAVE to HAVE courage! There are times I even want to turn my back on words like resilience and perseverance.

     I must mull this over. Life always seems to include suffering and struggles.

     You know? Maybe this isn’t about me. Perhaps it’s trusting Christ to carry my burdens. And maybe it’s you who exhibit courage. I just need to open my eyes and follow your example.

New Year CourageREBECCA LOCKLEAR is an educational writer and author. Visit