In our latest podcast, ( which you can listen to here )
Nic shares a story of one inspiring woman who has shown courage in the face of great adversity. She is a great example of a real outworking of what it means to be courageous in your faith and actions.
This is her wonderful story, as told by Nic Harding:
‘My wife and I have known this amazing woman for almost 40 years.
She was with us in Bristol. She didn’t have the most easy upbringing and she had some mental health issues. She had alcohol issues, but she came to God and she found a new life in him.
But she continued to struggle with many of these issues over the years. She eventually got married and had three fabulous children, but life wasn’t easy for her and those issues continued to cause her problems.
Eventually the marriage broke up.
She went through a painful divorce and one of the things she’d always wanted to do in the years previously, was to be a teacher. She had tried to get qualified on more than one occasion, but all the stuff that was going on just prevented her from being able to do that.
But after the divorce she thought; ‘okay, well I’m a bit free and now less responsibility so let’s have another go.’
And she actually got qualified as a teacher and I just looked at her life and I think, wow, you had so much courage to keep going. She never lost sight of God in it through all the ups and downs through all the the struggles with alcohol and family issues.
She never lost sight of her faith – she is a woman of courage.
Her story may sound fairly simple, but she kept going through years of struggle and ended up as a teacher, in a position of leadership.
She went on to get a job in a CofE primary school. She became a class teacher in a shared class. But within a few years, she had some real opposition in the school.
One particular parent helper made a false accusation against her. They’d heard a child screaming and they’d assume that our friend was doing something she shouldn’t be doing, which was entirely not the case. But that false accusation, led to months and months of misery for her.
She was suspended for a total of six months. And one of the things you told me when I was discussing a story with her was that if it wasn’t for the fact that God had spoken to her before all this happened, she would have really struggled.
It reminded me just how important it is that we are listening to God’s word for our lives. Not only because it’s a source of nourishment for us, it can really prepare us for the enemy’s attacks.
And you know, the enemy really came at her strong and hard to try and knock her. I think he could see her potential in this school and was trying to knock her off course. She had this scripture from revelation chapter three. It was about the church in Philadelphia. The little phrase
‘I know you have little power and yet you kept my word and not denied my name’
The passage goes on to say that people will learn that I have loved you because you’ve kept my word about patient endurance.
And this was probably a key phrase for her where it says, and ‘I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming’.
What she didn’t realise at the time, what the significance of what this was.
But very soon after that she went into this six months of suspension where she had no idea whether her job would be kept, whether she’d be sacked. But that word just kept her going, that God was going to hold it, even though she had little faith, little power, just a small amount. It was enough that got her. That’s enough to keep you going in the most difficult circumstances. And so she went through that six months and during that time she got to volunteer in a charity shop that was run by Christians.
She’s always been amazing at sharing our faith with people, so as the customers came into the shop, she never held back, she never felt sorry for herself. She thought, well, I’m here now. I can make the most of this opportunity. Every day was a courageous decision for her to step into her calling her gifts and the opportunities that God was giving him.
After six months, they eventually completely exonerated her, found no basis to bring any disciplinary proceedings and she was given her job back.
The thing is that that parent helper eventually became a member of staff at that school. So you can imagine that my friend had to really work through issues of forgiveness and sometimes forgiveness is costly, isn’t it? It’s it requires courage to forgive and you know, sometimes we think courage is all about the big exploits, but just it’s those little everyday choices where we, which takes courage to do the right thing.”
This story of Nic’s friend, highlights when we respond with courage, it can have a kingdom impact.