Reclaiming Abundance: Be Strong and Courageous (week 8!)

This week’s Abundance Verse I gave as a gift. We celebrated my nephew, Ethan’s, 3rd birthday on Saturday. He is pretty stinkin adorable, if I may say so. And we didn’t know we’d be able to go until Thursday evening, so my time for coming up with a gift was quite limited. And what can you give a 3-year-old that is truly special??? We knew he’d get lots of super fun toys and clothes, and since I didn’t really have time to get him something of that nature, I decided to draw this for him:

This is one of my favorite verses!
This is one of my favorite verses!

I love this verse. Verse 9 in its entirety says,

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I picked this one for Ethan because it’s what I’d want someone to pray over my children (boys or girls) and it’s what I’m praying over him, as well as my brother and sis-in-law. Parenthood requires such a unique brand of bravery. You must bind up their wounds, but let them fall sometimes. Hold them in your hands, but keep an open palm. Battle in prayer for them, but don’t worry about them. Whew! It’s a fine line we walk. And we ourselves need little reminders to be brave, too.

I took this at Mom and Dad's house. Props to Mom for having cute fall stuff festooned about the house, for the purposes of me taking cute pictures of Ethan's present...
I took this at Mom and Dad’s house. Props to Mom for having cute fall stuff festooned about the house, for the purposes of me taking cute pictures of Ethan’s present…

The very name “Ethan” apparently has a Hebrew origin (according to babynames.com, which must be infallible because it’s on the internet) meaning “firm, strong.” So, I’m really just praying he’d be the embodiment of his namesake. And I suppose that’s really what I want to pray for all my siblings’ children… and my siblings… and for people in general.

photo 17

There seems to me to be an inextricable link between living brave and being abundant. It takes risk, putting yourself out there. It requires trusting that God and his grace is sufficient, that they will be enough whether or not you are accepted or understood by strangers, friends, or even your family. Being a generous person is the bravest when you know your audience is not receptive. People will question your convictions, your integrity, your motives, and often the only reaction you’ll receive is judgement. Be brave anyway, because it’s what you’re called to be.

photo 18

Easy for me to say… But this blog- and this Reclaiming Abundance Project specifically- is nothing if not a reminder to myself. When I’m writing, I am forced to elicit from my brain those truths which are most solid ground, so that when I’m reacting to life like someone who’s never heard the word “abundance,” I have an anchor. At least here, at LongLiveBeauty, I can ((hopefully)) capture a fraction of what is best about myself- no, more than that- what is best about God. Here, I raise my Ebenezer. Because so far, God has helped us, and we have no reason to doubt him as we step forward. Like in 1 Samuel 7. ((Click on the link, and you’ll find out what that whole “Ebenezer” thing is about…))

Really, the whole of Joshua chapter 1 is SO GOOD and I was tempted to include more of it, but then I remembered that I didn’t have 5 hours to sit and draw the thing, and also that it’s for a 3-year-old, so I reminded myself to keep it simple… But I sort of wish I could’ve included Joshua 1:5-9 at least:

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

My prayer is for bravery. This weekend, I especially prayed it for my nephew, Ethan, who is such a sweet boy. May he be a lover of Jesus, and may I be too. When you are in his love, you have no fear because he is sufficient and keeps his promises. So, my hope is that this little doodle- a little boy made strong and courageous in the love of Christ- may be a little Ebenezer, a little solid rock for those to whom it was given, to remind them where strength and courage comes from when they need it.

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