A Courageous Woman
By Dot Bowen
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (ESV)
We recently flew to Rome, rented a car and headed toward Amalfi, Italy. The Amalfi coast lies in the southwestern region of Campania Italy. It is in the heart of a magnificent Italian coastline and a must–see! I can say without hesitation the drive along the coast of Amalfi was one of the most beautiful and frightening experiences of my life. I’m not sure if words alone will correctly describe our driving experience to Amalfi, but I will try to paint a picture for you. Howard was driving, my daughter Cara was navigating, and I was enjoying the scenery. All was great until we saw a car coming toward us. The road was so narrow it made it difficult to enjoy the beautiful ocean on one side or the amazing mountain on the other side. In fact, the road was so narrow it was very challenging for two cars to navigate the road at the same time. So when we saw another car approaching, we immediately panicked! It quickly became clear that although we were in the middle of greatness, we could not enjoy the beauty for fear of hitting each approaching car. We had been advised the best way to get to our destination was by bus or boat, not by car. However, we so wanted to enjoy the scenery, we ignored the warnings and chose the more difficult way to travel.
I must confess this is not the only time in my life I have ignored warning signs and set out to experience life on my own terms. And each time, I found myself in a situation that seemed to have no way out—and certainly no way to escape the consequences of ignoring the warning signs. When we find ourselves in a place of not being able to go forward and with no chance of erasing the past, we can become gripped with fear of the unknown. Challenges in life can seem so overwhelming. It can be difficult to dream or imagine a life without pain. Without hope, it’s easy to resign to a life of difficulties and the feeling of being trapped. I have seen women walk away from their families because they are too tired to continue in their responsibilities as a mom. I have seen women so depressed because of financial status, missed opportunities, dysfunction in their homes, or feeling they are missing out on something they do not have that they can’t see any way of escape. How is it possible to face each day as a woman of courage when each day brings the feeling of entrapment?
Courage is defined as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain without fear. Courage is bravery. If we are to face each day as women of courage, we must guard our minds and ask God to give us a spirit of hope. In other words, we must ignore any thought that does not take into account the power of God. We must face each day with hope in a God who loves us and wants the best for us. Facing a day without hope is like facing a car heading toward you on a narrow road that leaves no way of escape. Our hope must be in God and not in the myth that we can live in this world without trouble and heartache.
As I look back on our trip, I realize what I found so difficult were the things that really brought us safety and provided value to our trip. It would be impossible for us to enjoy the Armalfi coast without the narrow roads that were carved out of the mountain. The narrow roads provided the beautiful scenery of the ocean and mountains. When we face difficulties, discouragement, weariness, or just a change, we can either see these as situations that box us in or as guides to help us navigate our journey. To face life’s hardships, pain, or challenges with courage, we must accept each circumstance as an opportunity to hold on to the hand of God and allow Him to be our source of courage.
When I read the stories of courageous women in Scripture, I find they made decisions to follow God whatever the cost. As I read about Esther, Ruth, Mary and so many others, I see women who had unexplainable power, obvious wisdom in their words, clarity in their vision and purpose, and abundant strength to tackle the task set before them. As women of God, we too can face whatever lies ahead of us with unexplainable power, wisdom, and clarity in our vision by following Christ with an undivided heart and a willingness to accept the life He designed for us. A woman of courage is willing to face life head–on because she trusts in the God who paved the way through His power. A woman of courage is a woman who doesn’t worry about tomorrow because she knows God holds her tomorrows—and she trusts in Him!
Further Reading 2 Corinthians 4:7-18; Ruth 1-4; Esther 1-10