Friday, December 14, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Words


Courage, Fear, and Joy
A devotional by Sara L. Foust

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” 
~Psalm 32:24 (KJV)

I have mentioned before, I believe, that my word for 2018 was courage. And that I had no idea how much I would need when the year began. But, as we near 2019, I’d like to think I acted courageously to the many new adventures God placed in my path. The lesson I’ve learned this year is this: When we have the courage to do what God asks of us, joy comes along on the heels of fear. And the beauty of the joy far outweighs the momentary fear.

God has asked me to step out of my comfort zone time and time again this year. He has asked me to face several fears head-on, with my head high, my shoulders erect, and His hand in mine. He has not once failed me. He has not once left me. I have felt his presence in the midst of my sadness. And in the midst of the unknown. He has helped me when I thought the fear of what lay ahead might crush me, might stomp me and leave me for dust. 

Though I am far from perfect, I have felt His face shining down on me, heard His voice whispering to me, and seen the glory of His will reach into the tendrils of the decisions we’ve made together. I have found pieces of myself I didn’t know were missing this time last year, and I am painstakingly trying to put them back into place—with His guidance as the master puzzle-builder. All the while, learning new things about myself and this wonderful, loving God I serve along the way. 

Isn’t it amazing that I have “known” Him for nearly 20 years now and still learn something new every single day? I have read the Bible diligently (almost) every morning for six years now, completely through at least once that I know of (I’m ashamed to say it isn’t more), and yet every day He shows me something I hadn’t seen before.

We serve a good God. A just God. A wonderfully merciful God.

If I can take anything away from the experiences of 2018, it will be that God has indeed given me the courage to do things I deemed improbable and, at times, impossible. And He has allowed me to find my joy when I thought I’d never see it again. I wake up early now, before the sun is up most mornings, and watch as the day grows gray out my window. My dad has been telling me for years it is a magical time of day, and now I finally understand why. I never thought I could enjoy waking at 5 o'clock in the morning so much. (Though, I do really look forward to those often-hoped-for but not-always-accomplished midday naps.) there is so much joy in the little things. Like the sunrise or the anticipation for another glorious day. Like the first cup of coffee and the first words my son speaks in the morning. The first hugs I get from my daughters each morning and the first prayers that leave my heart.

I could look back at my year and focus on the problems, but I choose not to. It’s a choice I make several times a day. I’ve had a good year. Ups and downs alike. Goods and bads, sorrows and, most importantly, those moments of joy. Two weeks before Christmas, I have found the puzzle piece holding my smile, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I am thanking Him for the trials, for the lessons learned, and for giving me the courage to try new things and face new obstacles this year. If my word for 2019 is courage once again, I am okay with that. Because I know He is already there and I have hope in Him.

I pray each and every one of you has a blessed, magical Christmas and a safe New Year. Let’s go into 2019 praying, trusting Him, and with the determination to let Him lead, no matter how scary it feels. My newest favorite song says, “My fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in Your love.” What a perfect motto for 2019—and for the rest of my life.

Listen to Josh Baldwin’s “Stand in Your Love” on YouTube here. I promise it will bring a smile to your face. It does mine, every time I hear it.

~*~
Author Bio: 
Sara writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Tennessee Mountain Writers.

Her debut novel, Callum's Compass, won second place in Deep River Books' 2017 Writer's Contest. She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature.

When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com.

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