It's just days past fourth of July celebrations, and these words keep running through my mind: 'the land of the free and the home of the brave'.
Home of the brave.
I think of the many who bravely left loved ones and all they knew behind, trained hard, and fought for our freedom. Some never returning home, sacrificing their lives for our freedoms. That's true bravery.
But I see bravery here, too. I see it in the faces of those who hold grief in their hearts - mourning loss of loved ones, loss of home, loss of income, loss of abilities. I see bravery in faces that carry physical pain that paralyzes with pleas for relief. I see bravery in faces that carry financial stress, health issues, and wearied spirits. That's what I see in the mirror lately.
To all of you who wear that face of bravery, I just want to hug you, because I know that you are trying to act like everything is ok when everything is not ok. And I say to you these words that I've been saying to myself, it's ok to not be ok. It's ok to grieve your loss, it's ok to buckle under the weight of life's stressors, and it's ok to admit that the physical pain it's all too much. It's ok to ask for help, and it's ok to accept it when offered.
But like all true warriors - which is what we are - we can't stay there, in that place of hopelessness. We must fight our battles, and we cannot - can NOT let the negative forces and negative thoughts defeat us. There is always hope, ALWAYS. For me, that hope is found in a loving God who never abandons us, who fights for us, and who gives us the strength we need to face each new day. He has not forgotten us. With his help, I am brave-hearted, and I know you can be, too.
There are so many encouraging scripture passages that I want to share with you. Here are three that are giving me the most comfort at this moment.
This one fills me with courage:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6
I read this next one almost daily because it fills me with peace. It's also a call to become a prayer warrior:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4: 6,7
And finally, here's a psalm that I've been listening to especially at night before I fall asleep. Hearing these words bring such a sense of calm. I'll share them with you here, but I hope you'll click on the link below and listen to it read aloud.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains--
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip--
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you--
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
So hang in there, dear brave-hearted friend. You are not alone. You can be a light despite what's happening in your life.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
- Traditional Irish Blessing
Hi, I'm Tracy - horticulturist, beauty-seeker, Word-lover, and blessed to be the owner of Bella Botanica. I also love to write about plants, gardening, and about my faith journey. Thanks for reading!