"She girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms" Proverbs 31:17.
We cannot see around the next corner, the next bend in the road of our lives. Perhaps your tomorrow will be an ordinary day. Common. But tomorrow someone will face hardship or heartbreak. Tomorrow someone's world will turn upside down and she will wish for an ordinary day ~ for "common times" to return. And perhaps, it is your strength that she will need until her own is renewed.
We never know when we will be called upon to face our worst fears, take up courage, gird ourselves in strength and just keep walking out our faith.
We all hope for and revel in those days of calm, in which the waters of our lives provide for smooth sailing and we are untouched by tragedy and sorrow. But those other days--the days of trial by fire are the ones, that if we are willing, refine us as gold.
It is in those seasons that in our very weakness, the power and strength of Christ Himself manifests in such a way that people do not see you, but Christ IN you ~ that your life becomes less about you and more about Him who purchased you.
Esther was a woman who lived in UNCOMMON TIMES. From an orphan to a queen, she was a nobody who became a somebody ~ a common, ordinary kind of woman whose courage in uncommon times revealed her to be quite extraordinary and uncommon.
Her elder cousin Mordecai's rhetorical question, "Who knows that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" has reverberated through the ages to inspire godly women over and again. (Esther 4:14)
For a real life example of an "uncommon woman," visit Elaine at http://www.peaceforthejourney.com/
In UNCOMMON TIMES, you need UNCOMMON COURAGE.
Deborah and Jael were partnered in a moment in history which required UNCOMMON COURAGE.
In the days of Israel when women in leadership was uncommon, Deborah the prophetess, was a judge and a leader in a battle than ensured 40 years of peace. As she and Barak went forth in battle against the Caananites and their leader Sisera, there was another woman who played a key role. Jael, a tent dweller, welcomed Sisera as he stumbled into her tent asking for a drink and protection as he slept.
Jael, keenly aware of who lay sleeping in her tent, did what she had done many times before ~ a common activity in her nomadic world of tent dwelling. I wonder if her hands shook and her heart beat faster as she picked up a tent peg and drove it hard. Only this time, her target was not the ground, but the head of the enemy ~ from common to uncommon in one hoist of the hammer.
In the post battle song of Barak and Deborah, they praise Jael for her uncommon act of courage. (Judges 5:24 - 27)
Most blessed of all women is Jael,
wife of Heber the Kenite,
most blessed of homemaking women.
He asked for water,
she brought milk;
In a handsome bowl,
she offered cream.
She grabbed a tent peg in her left hand,
with her right hand she seized a hammer.
She hammered Sisera, she smashed his head,
she drove a hole through his temple.
He slumped at her feet. He fell. He sprawled.
He slumped at her feet. He fell.
Slumped. Fallen. Dead.
~ from The Message
When you feel you are at your weakest and unable to make another decision, to take another step, to pray another prayer, you must look beyond your present and into your future where your hope lies and your joy is made full. Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.
To look beyond what your eyes see in your "present" to what is coming in your future takes courage.
Courage is not always, and perhaps not even often, exhibited in one brave act. When I think of the people I personally know who are courageous, they are the ones who, despite ongoing adversity in one form or another, just keep putting one foot forward making the right decisions day in and day out.
Courage does not always roar. Sometime courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow. ~ Mary Radmacher
To visit another real life example of an "uncommon woman," meet my friend, Leslie at http://letajoykeepyou.blogspot.com/.
Leslie fully embraces Christ and knows Him in the fellowship of His suffering. She is just one of the many uncommon women who exhibit uncommon courage in uncommon days.
How is this accomplished? I think I know.
(to be continued...)