Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

I’ve faced some pretty tough stuff in my life, partly through by circumstances beyond my control and partly because of consequences I brought upon myself.  By the time I hit my late twenties, my endocrine system was pretty much shot, and it hadn’t been very strong in the first place.  When I was in high school, I used to be able to dig deep and find enough moxie to push through things that I intimidated me, but which were required to obtain a desired goal.   But in the years approaching 30, I found that I no longer had that capacity.   Pride didn’t work, anger didn’t work… there was nothing of any use at the bottom of my barrel.  Perhaps it was because I had lost my self-respect, or maybe I was simply overcome by what seemed a fearful and never-ending onslaught of pain, but you could have said that my life was shattered to pieces.  At least, that’s how it felt.

Many caring people came into my life, helping me to find my emotional and spiritual footings again.  To them and to the Lord I give the credit for the majority of my recovery.  Yet, despite the progress and the dawning of a newness of hope, there were still bogeymen to face, battles to fight and experiences to pass through which I’d much rather have run from than passed through.  It’s like that game from summer camp, Going On A Bear Hunt.  What do you do when you can’t go over it, can’t go under it, but gotta go through it? As the song says, “When you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

I believe that enduring courage comes from and is rooted in confidence in Jesus Christ.  Of course, that doesn’t come in a bottle.  It doesn’t cost any money because it’s free.  It comes from the individual, free-will choice to choose to trust.  Con fidere, the Latin root, means 1.  with trust 2. ground of trust.  I like the second definition.  It reminds me of the good soil in the Parable of the Sower.  I know that I can grow and put down  roots in Him, without fear.

However, I think there are also physical means whereby our courage can be strengthened.  For example, it is well known that exercise, fresh air and a good diet all invigorate the body and spirit combination which makes up the soul.   In addition, I found that as I entered my thirties, I was greatly assisted by an essential oil blend by Young Living called Valor.  There was the hell of divorce court and all the legal machinations of the Friend of the Court system.  There was the stress – my own, and that of my children – caused by the upheaval of everything that we knew, and times in which we all felt powerless.  There were times when I had to face people whom I had disappointed or who simply judged me without understanding; times when I had to speak in therapy or teach at church when I felt like I was the last person worthy to even open my mouth.  In these situations, and others, I was helped and upheld by the powers of Heaven and of Earth.  Heaven, through the sustaining power of God and Earth, by wearing Valor on the days that I knew would be hard.  I love the smell of Valor, which contains sweet almond, black spruce, rosewood, blue tansy and frankincense oils.  It is like a walk through the sweetest, safest forest on earth, where “no harm can befall with my Comforter near.”   I wore Valor on the bottom of my feet, and sometimes over my heart when I was so scared that I was to the point of crying.  I applied it in the same manner to my children as well, especially when the inevitable fear and wailing came with their parting for visitation.

When I use Valor, it isn’t like trumpets start blaring, and I suddenly become a bulletproof Amazon.  No.  There is just a calming sense of grounding that helps the levels of courage go up just enough to cover the fear.  Courage isn’t the absence of fear, rather it is the ability to remain steadfast in the face of fear.  That’s how Valor helps me, with warmth and composure, to “maintain a correct principle, even if I stand alone in it.”