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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

This month’s Strong and Courageous post is from Gail Johnson who recently released her memoir Treasures of Hope: Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past. It’s a wonderful and inspiring read. I reviewed it here.

Gail Johnson Book Pic 300 dpi

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Growing in Courage

Some people are born courageous while others must learn how to cultivate it. I fit into both categories. I was fearless as a child, but later I had to learn how to squash the weed of fear so the fruit of courage could grow. And the gardening never stops.

When I planned to write my memoir, I faced questions.  Why should I venture out into unknown territory, a place of vulnerability? What will people think of me after sharing my story?  Where will I find the answers to finish this task?

fear is a reaction.

But no matter what I did, my story refused to leave me alone. One morning I conceded and put my notes together. Oh, boy! The more I typed, the more dissatisfied I became. I failed to find the perfect formula to share my story. Still, something rose inside of me.

I printed out the pages and laid them on the table. After scrutinizing the text, I could see the personal stories needed rearranging. So I took scissors—yep, scissors—and separated the stories and then taped them where I believed they should go. By the time I had finished, they were in the order they are in the book.

Meanwhile a friend, who is a developmental editor, contacted me and asked if I needed her that year. I stared at the question. I had a choice. Say no, or commit to write like a madwoman to reach my goal.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal_ it is the courage to continue that counts.(1)

Suddenly, the Lord impressed me with a date. I typed that date into a message even while fear screamed, “Have you lost your mind? You can’t do this. You’ll never finish on time.” Still, I hit the send button.” She penciled in the date. I felt sick.

Courage is not instantaneous. It grows as we reach our goal step-by-step. I arrived every day to write, cry, mourn, and hope. And I’m so glad I did. It was the most liberating experience of my life.

Viewing my story as a finished manuscript, I connected the disjointed notes and saw every drop of God’s grace in my life. And during the following months of rewriting and publishing, I watched the Lord knock over every obstacle of fear and doubt. To this day, I have yet to miss a deadline. He truly is faithful.

Experience teaches us courage. Go ahead. Take that leap of faith!

Other than prayer and Bible reading, how do you grow your courage?

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TreasuresofHopeFrontFinal

Gail Johnson enjoys sharing her passion for life and Christ through the power of the written word. Whether it’s through stories, articles, or songs, she invites her reader and listener to “taste and see” the hope she has found in a faithful God and loving Savior. Born and raised in Georgia, she is a wife and mother of two adult children. She enjoys lots of family time, good music, maple pecan ice cream, and southern living.

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