MY COURAGE KEY
I remember the day I received my MOPS packet and saw the Courage key. Honestly, my first thought was that it was weird, really weird. The key came with two notes. The first note described the idea behind The Giving Keys – to hold onto your key, to embrace and own that word, and then give it to someone else to encourage them. It sounds beautiful, and it truly is. But when I first read the note, I honestly thought it was strange. I was pretty certain I would not be giving this key to anyone. And looking back, I wasn’t in the same place I am now. I hadn’t yet embraced this new life since our move. I hadn’t yet understood all that God had in store for me. (And really, I still don’t. But I am trusting Him more.)
The second note was this one:
After reading this “telegram,” with the courage key tucked inside, I quickly stuffed it in a little used drawer. You know, that principle – if I don’t see something, it no longer exists? My 1 year old fully lives by this principle. For example, in this picture, he is now 100% invisible.
A few weeks later, I had the honor to hear the story of a friends Giving Key and see her giving her key on to a friend. Hearing their stories, seeing their tears, I slowly started to understand the impact that a single word can have. I began to see the beauty in wearing a word each day, around your neck, near your heart. That day, I decided to dig out my key and began wearing it. I still wasn’t so sure about the word Courage, but I wore it anyway.
Later that week, I came across this verse from Jeremiah 1:6 –
“Be strong and courageous for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.”
I began to realize that I do need courage in each day. I need to be courageous and strong as I raise up my children. As I show them who God is, His love for them, and His gift of salvation. Courage and strength can lead to peace, when I courageously choose to love these little people instead of yelling at them. I need the reminder of courage when I am dealing with the screams of my sweet boy-child as he becomes more and more overwhelmed.
I needed the reminder of my courage key as I attended IEP meetings for my boy-child. Courage to discuss and advocate for his necessary services and therapies. I held my courage key during most of that IEP meeting. It was a present reminder to cling to the truth of Deuteronomy 31:17 –
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
During those first months with my courage key, I grew. I learned that courage was more than bravely standing and fighting. Courage was embracing, so much more than merely accepting, who you are. Courage was being brave, even in the simple, mundane, day to day things. Courage sees blessing where sadness lies. I now see courage each day, throughout my day. I see the small and big steps of courage in the lives of the people I know and meet.
I decided, after the IEP meeting, that I was ready to give my key away. I knew who I would give it to, and was both excited and nervous to give it away. Was it as weird as I thought it was? This was one more stretch, one more act of courage. And I am so thankful that I embraced it. That I gave the key on.
ONE LITTLE WORD: GRACE
The months following, I began to miss having a word that I was focused on. I had learned the power of a single word, and I craved that reminder. Although I begin my day reading in the Bible, I so often get distracted, bogged down by life. The reminder and the focus of a word, on a key necklace, truly was such a help.
I began thinking of another word. During talks with a friend, the word, grace, kept coming up. I wasn’t really sure what it meant, or how I could apply it to my life. But as I began reading the Psalms, as I continued to say YES to whatever God had in store for me, for my family, I saw grace. I began to understand it. And now, I cannot make it through a day without seeing grace. Everywhere, in everything.
Grace became my One Little Word for the year. I decided to order a grace Giving Key necklace. I added the initials that my husband purchased for me from Etsy. These 4 initials with their dates of birth are just one of the constant reminders of grace, even in the messy. I wear my necklace almost daily, and I love the reminder to give myself and others grace. Abundant grace. The reminder to see grace in each day, in the ugly, in the hard, and in the beautiful. And slowly, my children are seeing grace, and understanding grace.
COURAGE + GRACE
Months later, MOPS hosted a giveaway for a courage key. It was an easy giveaway, just tagging an Instagram picture, so I entered. And surprisingly, I won! Seriously, I was shocked, I never win anything. But more than that, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with this key. I didn’t really need a courage one – remember, I already figured that word out. But God knew. He knew the steps we would be taking, ones that I didn’t foresee. He knew the courage I would need, and just how easily I forget.
It was not much later when we began our journey. We had decided to meet with a neuropsychologist for our sweet boy-child. (You can read more about our special needs journey.) My new courage key arrived in my mailbox the day of our first appointment, a day that I was a mess. A day that I received grace upon grace. And a day that I needed courage. God’s love for me, his grace for me, has been evident each day. His grace has carried me along this journey.
So here I am today. I wear 2 keys around my neck, grace + courage. I see them daily, I am reminded of them daily, and my children see them. They know their importance and are learning what those characteristics look like. My boy-child plays with my necklaces, and with each twirl, reminds me to be courageous and full of grace.
Linking up today with Ember Grey, as I sit, thankful for these keys that remind me of that grace upon grace.