You never know when you plant a seed of faith.
In September of 1983, I was mother of two, ages 4 and 6. We lived in Kansas City, Missouri, when the unimaginable happened.
Ed, my husband, the loving, funny, caring father to those two little ones, died. He was 39 years old, acutely ill for six weeks. And then he died.
I didn’t want to be me. No! I can’t do it.
At the time, I wasn’t a Christian, but I was surrounded in Kansas City with practicing Christians–both friends and strangers. These many years later, I don’t remember my neighbor’s name, but I remember that she gave me a gift of safety and courage.
First, she offered to house sit during the funeral, and then she brought me a Bible with passages marked. She said I didn’t need to look at it now, but keep it for later.
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About the same time, I remember a little article appeared in the newspaper’s Sunday magazine with the Bible verse Joshua 1:9 included: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
I took those words to heart. I moved my small children and myself back to family on the East coast. I grieved. I healed. I became a Christian with the encouragement of Bill, my current husband.
I thought of those words again yesterday as I was driving three young adult refugees from Afghanistan and their interpreter to an appointment about 30 miles away. These three new residents of Maine are here because someone in their family in their homeland helped or worked for the United States military.
I volunteer with Capital Area New Mainers. We hope soon to be a non-profit organization, with resources and staff. Right now, we’re in the business of having good courage and passing it along.
How will you fill others with good courage?
Elizabeth Burgess is on the executive board of the Women of the ELCA. She lives in Augusta, Maine, with Bill, her husband. She is active at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, also known locally, as the Church at 209; Lutheran and Episcopal.