“Claire has courage.” My heart beat incredulously hard as those words rolled of the tongue of a teacher of mine one night prior to my high school graduation. I was attending my Senior dinner dedicated to the graduating class of 2015. Each student received praise from a specific teacher, and for me I never thought that specific teacher would say that. I had been a lot of things throughout my high school career. I never considered courage being one of them. I had been hard working and diligent. Headstrong and stubborn. Exhausted and discouraged. And a lot of other things at that time in my life… but courageous? I wasn’t so sure. Since then, those three words have echoed through my mind and heart multiple times throughout my existence as a silent sufferer. “Claire has courage.”
What exactly is courage? Some bold feat that none other would be crazy enough to attempt? Daring to be different? Daring to stand strong in your convictions and your thirst for knowledge and truth? Following your dreams and having success in high finances and authority? Maybe. These things all seem courageous enough, but I think I’ve gained a new definition of courage in the past year of my life.
Three months after graduation I stood in my apartment the first day being dropped off at college. I was alone, and I was terrified. I felt that at that single moment in time all my courage (if I even had any) had been tangibly torn from my inner being. What happened to the girl who supposedly had courage?
My courage seemed to continually plummet as I suffered each painful flare, and each life failure. Failing college, coming home from college, being sick 24/7. Everything just seemed to make me weak and useless. Eventually when your body lays in bed like a shriveled mess for such a long time, you decide to choose courage. Courage to get out of bed. Courage to try new things. Courage to develop new skills and abilities. Courage to study so hard that you know more about your disease than doctors do. Courage to grow closer to your loved ones. Courage to have compassion like you’ve never had before. Courage to enjoy the good moments, even if those moments are small and insignificant. And courage to submit to my Heavenly Father’s will, even if it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I don’t know if I had courage at that moment in time when my teacher declared me as “Claire the courageous,” but I have discovered that as I strive every day to have a little more courage, faith, and hope, I start to have a clearer understanding of what those things are, and how they all go hand in hand. I may have courage now, but not because of anything I have done. For without God, I am nothing, and it is because of Him that I have become the person I am, and I have the courage that I do. Not only that, but I still have so much to be taught by the Lord, and so much more to learn. This week I wanted to strive to be more courageous, and despite feeling sluggish, exhausted, and sick, I can tangibly feel the Lord’s hand in my life, and it is Him that gives me courage to keep going. What a blessing that is!
So my message to you this day: Don’t quit. Keep fighting. Be courageous in the way that the Lord would have you be. It is the Lord that provides me with my courage on a daily basis, just like he can provide you with. Sometimes you just have to open your eyes wide enough to see it. Not only that, but seeing isn’t just about seeing with your eyes, it’s about seeing with your heart and once you understand that, you'll develop courage beyond your wildest dreams! It is not always the big worldly things that indicate courage, sometimes it the small and simple things that bless lives and give hope to others. Continue forth in courage and God will bless you to continue on with faith and hope for the future.