Looking Back - The Year of Courage

My word for 2012 was courage.

It's just like me that the first time I write about my word for 2012 is also the last day of 2012.

I am good at making plans. Not so good at remembering them. I had plenty of plans to write about courage this past year. And here I am, looking back at my plans and laughing, because plans to write about something don't amount to a hill of beans compared to actually living it.

And actually living courage is, well, sometimes not a lot of fun. But it sure makes a difference.

Here's Princess Me being courageous and taking a silly picture... because I am a daughter of the King!

I expect that what requires courage for me is different from what requires courage for you. It does not take courage for me to drive across country with my kids and no other adult. But I have friends who can't imagine it.

Courage for me looked like...

- inviting total strangers to share a room with me at a conference. And making two lovely new friends.

- running my first retreat for my bible study ladies and doing it my way, not the way I thought others would have said I "should" do it. I wrote the retreat, hosted, cooked the food, and led it. I was nervous, wondering if some of my ideas were silly. But I did it anyway. It was one of the most intense projects I have undertaken - exhausting and incredibly rewarding.

- running. As in actually running with my feet. I did a couch to 5K program in the spring and it was unfun and I felt so silly, but I did it.

- not giving up on a writing commitment that I felt thoroughly unqualified for, only to find that I was qualified in ways I had not realized

- pitching ideas to a group unlike any that had been suggested before. Being an introverted right-brained person in a left-brained group can be terrifying. I usually keep my mouth shut. My ideas were embraced... a good lesson for me to be who God made me to be

- taking the crazy wild idea of a website for girls and making it solid enough to pitch to my husband. Going out on a limb and converting that idea to a family project that required a major chunk of our homeschooling efforts for the fall. Not giving up in November when everything seemed to be falling apart and even my husband had begun to question whether or not I could see it through to fruition. And finally telling the whole world about it (so scary!!)

- taking photos my way, and allowing others' ideas of the "right" way to float gently about without feeling them as criticism.

Those are some of last year's acts of courage that come to mind. Really, they all just required courage to be who God made me to be. Which seems silly, doesn't it? Shouldn't that be easy?

But those were not the only places I had to live courage.

In the moments when I just did not want to keep going, when it all seemed too much, too hard, too endless... I had to choose courage.

When I had to gently speak a hard truth to a difficult person... I had to choose courage.

When I felt I had failed and knew I must tell someone who it affected... I had to choose courage.

When the odds were against me and things truly were unfair, but I wanted to end well... I had to choose courage.

And when I looked up courage in the bible? Mostly I found it relating to times of believers girding one another up by sharing their testimonies.

For the first time this year I noticed that "courage" is part of "encourage." I have long known that one of my strongest spiritual callings is to encourage others. I hadn't thought of it as giving others courage, but it makes sense. And perhaps I fall into this naturally because I am so needy for it myself.

I know my word for 2013. I've known it for two months. And it is going to require I take courage along for the ride next year too. I already have some glimmers of projects I am called to next year, and some of it I don't want to do. Waaaaay too far out of my comfort zone.

Which seems to be where God most likes to guide me. And bless me.

Tomorrow... says the girl who is good at making plans and not so good at remembering them...  I will tell you my crazy word for 2013.

What about you? Did you have a word for 2012?



  1. What a year you had! I'm so encouraged by your testimonies of courage. :) Sounds like 2013 is going to be another big year. Looking forward to hearing your new word!

  2. The Lord has done great things! I am constantly encouraged by you, Patti! Btw, you are rockin' the crown. If that is made by your daughter, I'd love to see a tutorial on that website for girls. ;-)

  3. Patti, I just love this! I am encouraged just by reading this post and what an encourager you have been to me in Hello Mornings. :) I'll have to share some things that the Lord has done in my life since that time (trying to remember if it was summer 2012 or before?). My first memory verse for this year is Joshua 1:9. I've had to tell it to myself several different times and I'm thankful for having it committed to memory now. I think this is my year of courage. Last year was my year of truth and specifically the truth from God's Word.:)


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