Hardships are defined as a lack of comfort, suffering, deprivation, oppression, poverty, pain, or loss.

Years ago, I taught a humanities class at Scott Community College in Davenport, Iowa entitled Changes, and Choices. I shared with my class that there are “simple” choices and “complex choices” we all make during our lives.

Simple choices involve examples like what shoes I will wear to the store today or where we will go out to eat. Should I go to the movies with my friends, or stay home.

Complex choices involve more complicated, intricate, and involved choices.

Before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I decided to start taking college classes at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colorado. I had not been to school since I graduated from high school.

At that time, I was 35 years old, just a baby, but I felt so old. All the other students were teenagers or in their early twenties. I was a mother of two kids in elementary school.

That crisp fall morning, I arrived at the college for my first class an hour early and sat in my blue Hyundai watching to see if there were any other students as old as I was attending classes. I nearly made myself sick thinking about opening my car door and stepping out of my comfort zone into an entirely new world.

Glancing at the clock on my dashboard every few seconds, I could feel the pressure. Thankfully, I had gone to the college a few days earlier to check out where my classes would be held and how to get to them.

When the time arrived, I opened my car door and drew in a deep breath of anxiety. Before long, I was part of a mass of people walking into the main classroom building, up ten steps, and to the left, ready to enter the door to my class.

A swarm of others pushed their way into seats directly in front of the professor. Standing near the doorway, I found myself being more of an observer than a student participating in a biology class. I eventually plopped into a seat in the middle of the classroom.

So many things kept my anxiety at a peak. I knew no one in this class. As others chatted amongst themselves, I sat alone, feeling sure I had made a dreadful mistake by enrolling.

I felt my new notebook and pencils staring back at me as they rested on my desk. I had new white tennis shoes on; most of the other students had scuffed up tennis shoes. Oh, brother!

I had to find my brave. I wanted to slip out the side door and head to the safety of my car. I wanted to run away.
Many times since that first class at the community college, and especially since I have been sick, finding my brave has been challenging. Finding brave when you are experiencing blood transfusions, infusions of medications to suppress my immune system, injections, scary new meds, and their side effects, surgeries, and so much more felt nearly impossible.

Often, after the tremendous struggle in my mind about whether or not I should move forward, I came to a place where God told me I could be brave. He led me to read stories of courage and bravery from men and women in the Bible who had to discover their brave.

I have heard him say to me many times, “there is nothing bigger than I am. No medicine, no surgeries, nothing. Trust me.” It takes courage. Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you, or strength in the face of pain or grief. The Lord is the secret sauce that allows me to act despite my fears.

Write down something courageous you have had to do in your life and let me know about it. Everything feels like it takes courage when you are trying to move ahead, but be brave; God is greater than your fears.

Sandy

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