About Me...

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In a nut shell : I'm a full time working mom, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a breast cancer survivor of almost a decade and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Life Lesson #136 ~ Insane Courage

"Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it." ~ We Bought A Zoo

Many of you know my son Joshua's story. Or at least parts of it anyway. At 15, he suffered a traumatic brain injury in the locker room. In the weeks afterward he began to suffer from seizures, depression, debilitating headaches, processing issues among other affects of the injury.  His nose had to be corrected due to his septum being shoved upwards and his eye muscle repaired. In an instant life changed forever. Everything that came easy for everyone else was a struggle in the first few years for Joshua. Driving, working and school were slow steps, one at a time. At times he felt he would never get there but he did. Some mocked him, while others overlooked him and still many more doubted him BUT that didn't stop Joshua. He did graduate, he has gone on to college, he's working, he's driving, playing drums like no ones business and he has taken to the ice like a fish to water, as if he's been playing hockey all his life. Almost 5 years ago, none of those things seemed possible in the moment but they have all become a reality. And why, well because Joshua never gave up, he endured, and continued in pursuit of his hopes and dreams in spite of the obstacles. Through all this the biggest lesson I've strived to teach my son, is this, "If people criticize you because what you're doing isn't how "everybody else" does things, then you're probably on the right path." ( Daniel Dipiazza) You see sometimes you have to go the long way around in order to reach your goal, but in the end you still get there. And the truth is in the near 5 years since Joshua has faced more than most people do in a life time. But he's done it all with courage and determination. Fear has been a constant companion, but much like Amelia Earhart, Joshua has followed her advice. "Use your fear...it can take you to the place where you store your courage." And it has.

Nothing has come easy since Joshua's injury. Throw in the rising cost of medical bills, the struggle to hold on to information in school, all while watching his parents eventually fall apart and back together again through high school was an insurmountable amount of pressure, uncertainty and fear for a teenage boy. He suffered rejection, loss of friends and self confidence and still came out the other side strong, with an insane courage, his faith in tact a guarded heart yes but with a gentle spirit all the same. By God's grace our son rose from the ashes, and the fire meant to destroy him high above the turbulence becoming the man he is today. Joshua's character emerged, his leadership abilities arose, his quiet confidence grew and his humility surfaced stronger than ever. I am reminded of all Joshua has become, through the fire and testing of his character when I re-read what Douglas McArthur once said. "A true leader has the confidence to stand alone. The courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent." When I read this, I see my son. Joshua's always chosen the road less traveled, the path that requires the most resistance. Because of this he's never accepted the ordinary life, never walked down the middle of the road even if meant having rotten tomatoes thrown at him. When I see my son, looking at all he's been through from the fear of losing me to breast cancer or being bullied because of his faith and beliefs that eventually led to his TBI I am humbled, inspired and ever so grateful for the man he has become.

When Joshua was born, we spoke a scripture over his life, not knowing just how important and relevant it would be as he grew.  Joshua 1: 9 is that scripture. It goes like this,"This is my command ---be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." And even in the pain, the heartache and the suffering God has been there with Joshua every step. The reality is more times than not Joshua doesn't see himself as he really is.  From the time he was little Joshua has had a remarkable and challenging life. Nothing has happened by chance not even the difficult times. Despite it all, he's stayed the course being a kind, generous and loyal to a fault young man. I often think of the movie 'Courageous' and the self titled song by Casting Crowns. This  movie was an exceptionally relevant and significant film for Joshua. A year after he first saw this movie with his dad, Joshua had to dig deeper than ever before for his courage. It was during this time, Joshua was faced with a choice much like the song explains, "We were made to be courageous. And we're taking back the fight. We were made to be courageous. And it starts with us tonight. The only way we'll ever stand is on our knees with lifted hands. Make us courageous, Lord, make us courageous." Sure Joshua could have stayed on the sidelines of life, angry and defeated or as he did, rise up taking back the fight for his life.

I am completely humbled when I say Joshua has become a man of faith, integrity, humility, strength and courage. He's taught me so much about life and faith since he was born. He's one of my heroes. Joshua is by far nowhere near perfect. We don't always see eye to eye or find ourselves anywhere near the same page but that's OK. What Joshua has shown me through example is the importance of moving on from what you can't change, not worrying about being right or having the last word, forgiving those who hurt you and simply letting go. No matter where life has taken him, one thing is certain, his character has remained in tact. Those who have mocked, overlooked or even doubted him have not defined him. He's lived by a code, much like the one Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson emphasizes, "Show respect even to people who don't deserve it; Not as a refection of their character, but a reflection of yours." And from the beginning Joshua's character has been a reflection of endurance and perseverance. His life, despite his critics is a purpose driven life. Honestly to think when he was born Johnny and I named him after the strong leader and the courageous warrior Joshua in the Old Testament speaks volumes of God's hand in his life long before he was born. I mean we gave him his middle name, Caleb, for the faith and strength of his Biblical namesake. We could have never imagined he would have to fight so hard , to be as strong and courageous in his lifetime, overcoming struggles, battles and hardships much like his namesakes. Proverbs 22:1 says this, "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." Chris Giovagnoni explains the importance of a name beautifully, "Names are more than a convenience allowing us to talk to each other. Names are a gift from God. They contain His power. They define things. They define us." Looking out over Joshua's life so far, and waiting for what's yet to come Joshua's name more than defines him and will continue to all his life.

As for Life Lesson #136 ~ Insane courage...It's true, all it takes is twenty seconds of insane courage. And yes I do believe Joshua has more than proven this time and time again. My little boy is no longer a child, but a man of God and of character with a warrior's heart full of courage. Keep going beautiful boy, you're a good man, and you've given more meaning to your name than you know. For God has been generous. I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and always.

"Never forget that I love you, Life is filed with hard and good times, Learn from everything you can. Be the man I know you can be." ~ Mom


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