Pocket Courage

May 15, 2023

“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9 NRSV

We celebrated Mothers’ Day at church with a worship service led by children and youth. All I did was the welcome and announcements, the pastoral prayer, and the benediction. As the children were practicing earlier in the week, one young boy asked if he could have a lovey in case he was afraid. I replied that we all get afraid, even grown-ups, and we all have things we carry with us, or do when we are afraid.

When our oldest son, Seth was in all-day kindergarten, I learned a lesson about coping with fear.  Seth was a blankie boy. His blanket when everywhere with him. We encouraged him to leave blankie at home when he went to school. He did, or so I thought.

As the mom of boys, I learned early on to check their pockets when doing laundry, a lessoned learned when several dress shirts were ruined with an errant crayon. Around the time he started kindergarten, I noticed that there was lots of lint in his pockets. I didn’t think much about it until I also noticed that blankie seemed to be getting smaller.

Putting two and two together, I realized that he was tearing off a bit of the stuffing of blankie every day and putting it into his pants as “pocket courage.” In the book of Joshua, the Israelites were facing a scary task, to enter into the Promised Land that just happened to be occupied by powerful nations. Joshua reminded the people to be strong and courageous – for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua was reminding their of their “pocket courage.”

Franklin Roosevelt said, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” In other words, the amount of courage it takes to do something can be measured by the fear one must put aside in order to act.

I give thanks today for the reminder of God’s presence with me, something I can carry in my heart, perhaps with a little bit of lovey stuffing in my pocket as a tangible reminder. ~ Anne

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