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(in)courage is a virtual living room where we build community, celebrate diversity, and become women of courage.

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  1. Crystal, this was so me growing up -fearful- of some of the same things. I’m 54 and only recently have begun to let myself with God’s help become less fearful and more faithful. There is something I felt God wanted me to do in a family situation that involves my son and grandchildren and I was fearful to do it because of the outcome. I followed God’s leading and sure enough the outcome happened (seemingly not a good one to the world anyway) but I am in the midst of faith and fervent prayer waiting on God for his blessing in this situation. I have hope that that mountain will be moved!

  2. Oh my gosh, this was me! I started believing the lies I fed myself and it took some doing, but I’m on the other side of it now. I felt called to write a devotional but told myself I wasn’t credible or studied enough. I had all kinds of fear about being a poser or being judged. What I finally realized is that God uses people where they are. So where I was, was enough. I was open to His nudge and because of that, in addition to my own spiritual growth, I helped others with theirs! Even though I wasn’t this or that, I was enough.

  3. I think this was the chapter I most dreaded in the line up, because I was afraid of it… I have been hedging doing something way out of my comfort zone, that I really in my gut just know God wants me to do. I have made excuses and allowed the enemy to have it for too long. But this am as I was journaling I just said ‘No More!’ I want to be obedient. Priscilla’s ‘long run-on sentence’ on page 113 hit me in the stomach about missing an opportunity to give God some fresh glory by doing what He’s wanting to do through you… I don’t want to miss this!

    • Yes! To be honest, this was the chapter I didn’t want to write on but God knew I needed to read – so He worked it out so I didn’t have much of a choice – and I’m SO grateful He did!

      • Haha I really didn’t even want to read the email this morning!;) but then I decided to just do it. And I said No more! to the intimidation of the enemy. I even sat down this morning and started putting words to page. God wants me to write. There. I said it out loud. And I just admit I’m feeling fear. But I am not feeding it.

  4. This chapter explains the situation I faced this past fall. My son was born in September and I was facing the decision as to whether I should return to my full time job or stay home with my son. I felt a lot of fear as I considered my options. I felt the fear related to finances, losing my “identity”, being alone all day, and being judged as just a “stay-at-home mom.” Despite all these fears that felt so strong (most were imagined,) I followed the Lord’s call to lay down my fears and pride and stay at home for the time being. It was scary at first! However, I am so glad I listened and obeyed, despite the fears, because I am enjoying this change in my life and seeing my son grow up.

  5. Thank you. So needed this. It’s even most encouraging to see how this enemy attacks us all. Yes, the spirit of fear does try very hard to derail and destroy, BUT God’s Word assures us God has not given us a spirit of fear but of Power, of Love and of a Sound Mind!!! Yes, Thank you Jesus! And for all those times I fed the fear, God has given me His word, Rom. 8:1 “There is NOW no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” When you have a revelation that Jesus’ blood has made you righteous and that all your sins are forgiven, you are protected from condemnation from the accuser. This truth will cause you to reign over that sin, addiction or depression that is holding you in bondage today. Our God is a good God. His mercy and loving kindness endure forever!

  6. I loved the chapter on Fear. It reminded me of a time when we were snorkeling off the coast of the Big Island. As we swam to shore, we saw a woman struggling, almost drowning, thrashing in the water. My dad, a former competitive swimmer and lifeguard, went to her and helped. I was only 16 and remember thinking, “why doesn’t she just stand up?” The water wasn’t deep, maybe 3 feet, and she was about my height 5’6″. But she was so scared and panicked that she couldn’t think straight and couldn’t muster the clarity of mind nor the courage to stand. I realized that that is where I’ve been living, in a state of panic and confusion, and God has been calling me to stand. He’s been saying, “put your feet down and stand.” Mostly my fear hasn’t been over any one thing, or any great thing like dying, but over who I am and if I’m enough. And God is saying, “enough already. You are pleasing to me. You are enough. Stop wallowing in that garbage, stop panicking, stop thrashing about and just stand up. The waters can’t overtake you if you just stand up.”

    • I love this story so much! On last week’s live chat I couldn’t shake the chills I got when Michele-Lyn kept saying “stand up!” – and here you’ve gone and brought it up again. I love when God does that 🙂

      • I missed last week’s call and haven’t listened to it, but I will do that today for sure. 🙂 I love when God sends us such a clear message. 🙂

  7. Thank you, Crystal, and to everyone for these postings. I so get this 😛 I am so grateful that the Lord tells me to not believe the lies, to rely on Him, and let Him help me lay down the fears for His peace and clarity. For with God, all things are possible 🙂 Praise be to our Savior 🙂 Praying for each of us to be strong and courageous in patience and peace today!

  8. I’ve been battling with fear and anxiety a lot lately so really needed this chapter. Rather than beating myself up for it, seeing it as the enemy’s ploy makes me more determined to fight against it- and I like the distinction between feeling fear and feeding fear.

    • I know that place far too well, friend. Praying with you that what the enemy wants to use to destroy, God will use for His glory and your good. xoxo

  9. Crystal, such truth here! I hadn’t considered before that FEELing afraid and BEing afraid are two different things. When we feel afraid, we have a choice: act on the fear, or turn to Jesus with the fear. Yeah, I’ve fed and given into fear too many times in my life. This is something I’m working on. Thank you for your insightful post!

  10. Wow, I struggle with fear big time. Fear has kept me from enjoying so many blessings its crazy. I recognize that fear may be rooted from the pride of not looking foolish to others but it’s so hard to reason with fear in the moment. I fear what people think of me during worship (especially because from youth, I come from a very conservative church where it wasn’t worship but singing hymns) I fear misrepresenting God when I share His word with others, I fear my mistakes and shortcomings may make others who DON’T know God think we Christians are hypocrites, I fear starting a bible study would take a toll on my already busy life. And so on and so on and so on. The enemy never ceases to bring our fears right to the front of our focus to inhibit us from doing good works to further His Kingdom. We’re not good enough or qualified enough… Last Summer, I really felt God prompting me to start a bible study specifically targeted for mothers and teenage daughters. A study geared to get down and dirty with the struggles they face in today’s society and open up conversation with our daughters. I thought oh Summer would be a great time to start that. Well, Summer got busy then vacations came, then school started, then work got busier, and before you know it, it’s almost a whole Summer later and I still haven’t started that Bible Study yet. But God still finds uses for me. At Christmas time, He placed it on my heart to buy 5 daily devotions for the women in our family as a gift. On January 1st, I dutifully began a text thread with them to just reflect our thoughts on the days devotion. Two months later, 4 of us started a Daniel Fast. A month later, Our husbands are now involved in their own study about Act Like Men and reflecting with each other their thoughts. And now, what started with 5 girls doing daily devotions has now expanded to 11 women and 13 men who are fervently seeking God daily. Praise God! I know if we are faithful in small things He will be faithful in giving us bigger things. I feel like it may be time to stop being afraid and get my butt out there and start this Bible Study. I always felt like, oh when the kids are older, then I will start it. When I have more time, then I will start it. When I grow more in the Lord, then I will start it. What I have to remember is that it’s not my job to reach others, it’s my job to glorify God in the way I live my life and let Him do what He does best and sow the seeds I plant. After all, God is big enough and certainly doesn’t need my help for that.. He just needs my obedience. <3 (Sorry for the long post everyone)

      • I actually stepped out in faith and sent out the invite today! (cringe) We are 12 girls strong already.. I need to remember that if God is calling me to it He will surely bring me through it. I appreciate all the prayers anyone can send my way!!

    • @i_am_his_Eph1 ,
      I pray you start the Bible study this summer! Prayers for God to give you faith!! He will get all the glory!!!! Prayers and Praises for you!!!

      • Thank you for your prayers!! ( I need a crying face emoji input here) I’m doing it! I’m going to start it and I am super nervous.. But I want to glorify God in the way He calls me to!! I appreciate your prayers and encouragement.

  11. Ugh. This chapter stepped on my toes big time. I am so guilty of letting fear rule me. Fear of failing has allowed me to hold on to weight, to avoid writing, to hold back in relationships. I don’t like admitting that – in fact I am sorely tempted to just delete this comment because I’m afraid of what people will think. I’m an expert at second-guessing every single thing I do because of fear. I long to brave and I’m afraid to be brave. But you’re right – it’s not worth it to miss out on all God has in store because I am allowing myself to be defined by fears that are likely baseless. Can I tell you something? It made me feel a little less afraid to know that you struggle with fear, too. Thank you for being brave enough to be honest.

    • “I long to brave and I’m afraid to be brave” – yes! That is it, exactly! And please don’t delete this comment 🙂 Your honesty is beautiful.

    • Andrea,
      So glad you didn’t delete this comment. It is ok to be fearful. Everyone has a fear of something! May God alleviate your fears and help you accomplish His goals for His Glory!!! I think you are brave already for admitting your fears!
      Blessings 🙂

  12. Crystal,
    God called me to get in front of people and do sign language to music. I was a shy person growing up due to hearing problems. I think part of my fear was failure. Not doing it perfectly each time! I want to do what He is asking me to give God the glory!!! Fear is the devil’s tool that keeps us from doing work for His glory!!!
    Blessings 🙂

  13. Once again, reading about this particular strategy came at the perfect time. And it sticks out even more because I’ve fallen behind in my reading this week, a week filled with anxiety and fear. I feel as if I’m drowning in it right now, and as I look back at this week I can see that my first course of action wasn’t to immediately turn to God in prayer. Talk about being hard headed!!! There are so many things in my life that are ruled by fear, and as I read this strategy I realized fear is getting in the way of me helping my children in certain ways, too. Oh, this makes me furious, but I know I need to fight even harder with prayer.

  14. I packed up and spent a summer working in New York City because I felt lead to do so (southern country mouse here!) and it was amazing – but somehow after I got married and had a couple of kids, I forgot how great God is and started getting hung up in the what-ifs… now inviting a fellow mom to our favorite park is a terrifying leap. Praying through that!

  15. I would like to know why a comment I made 3 hours ago and then posted it again (so there may be double comment) still is not showing up here? I’ve seen others appear after I made mine so please let me know. I get this on my computer “Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by (in)courage.” … wow, I’m not approved (that’s really sad/bad news) …

    • Hi Peggy! I checked both of our comment moderation platforms and I don’t see anything stuck there waiting for approval – and this one came through ok!

      • In Disqus, it shows pending twice (sorry) – I don’t know how to fix or delete and so if I copy and paste it here again, will it not work. Is that the problem?

        Thanks Crystal!!!

        • I think maybe Disqus has a glitch 😉 Maybe try just typing it fresh here again, since it looks like all your other comments are coming through?

          • I copied and pasted above … same thing … so here I go again, you’ll see why I resorted to copy and paste …

            “Thank you Crystal for so many great points! I really like two in particular: “Feeling fear is not a failure… feeding it is.” and also
            “I’ve allowed the enemy to take a useful tool … to use against me.”

            Long ago, there was a Women’s Aglow talk about “fears” and so afterward the call for prayer was for anyone needing prayer for their “fears” and I declined praying even when asked personally by someone, saying “I don’t have any fears, just a healthy fear of the Lord.” (at that time) …well, wouldn’t you know it? that is when the attack of every kind was released, making sure I recognized the many “fears” I really did have (i.e. I had been raped at 13 y.o. and then 20 yrs. later raped again in my own home) … talk about fears rising up and seeing your past come right back at ya’ – no joke, the enemy is on our trail 24/7 looking for our vulnerabilities, listening to us proclaim our weaknesses, etc.

            We need to stay armed with God’s Sword (the Word of God) daily, which was reconfirmed to me in my daily Gateway devotional “It is Written” – “Fill Your House with God’s Word” which of course, I know and do however reading this I had an “aha” light bulb moment reading and rereading from Matthew 12:39-45 about demonic spirits entering our house (which is us, the temple of the Holy Spirit) when they find it all cleaned out, swept away the other stuff, put in order (so we think) and the enemy finds us “empty” (a open spot) he comes back in with 7 more spirits, making it worse, if we are not filling up those places daily with God’s Word, refueling our tank with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit …(Our Shield, Our Safety, Our Refuge, Our Protector)!

            Of course, I understand reading God’s Word is good for us, but this “aha moment” helped me understand “why” – not just read as a “To-do” on our good Christian list but for our Safety (as you wrote) not leaving any space for the enemy to return with more.

            Thanks for a much needed reminder (more than praying to put our armor on every day in this battle) but that I am not a failure (even if or when I fail), I am strong in the Lord, and need not fear (almost enough verses for an entire year) protected by God’s Sword as His beloved child! ~ Peggy (hope this works)

          • Oh Peggy, I’m so glad you were persistent and made sure this made it through! Praise God for His timely reminders 🙂

          • I hope it was worth it and will help someone else! Praise God! Thanks Crystal! (((hugs))) and much love.

  16. Just watching the Blab video and I wanted to highlight my favorite quote from this chapter. “In fervent prayer, discover something: Our God is fearless. And because He is fearless, we can be fearless too.” (p113) OUR GOD IS FEARLESS. It seems so obvious, but is just what I needed to hear and be reminded of. Wow. With all the reminders not to fear, it helps so much to think of God not being afraid. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Crystal!

  17. This chapter was a biggie for me. So much so, I read it twice and it’s underlined, highlighted and notes in the margins. Crystal, you articulated so well how I’ve lived a lot of my life. I’m a Master Wall Builder who through God’s grace is breaking down those walls. I feel God calling me to go deeper in my relationships especially as a mentor for young women. However, I’ve held back for fear of failing, not being consistent, doubting that I have anything of value to share, fear of rejection. The times that I have followed through have brought great joy because of the freedom of giving of oneself and growth in understanding others as well as providing a safe space to talk/share. Time to stop fearing and walk on faith. Thanks for sharing transparently your experience with fear and putting it into perspective.

  18. Fear has been so much of my life, when I became a born again Christian I fully felt the acceptance of the Lord…. But then the expectations others had of me and I began fearing again that I could not do this or that forgetting that Jesus will be with me every step of the way!