Family Meals

Family Meals

Plain Vanilla Butter Bread

Butter Bread

I have only recently discovered this very easy recipe. I sometimes use this butter bread recipe as a breakfast meal for my children particularly on school mornings when I just need them to eat something before school! This is basically a cake mix. Even though they are no longer toddlers, my kids can be fussy when it comes to what they eat for breakfast. They will not eat traditional porridge oats or eggs/toast so I have found ways to get them to eat something before going to school in the mornings. Although this butter bread originally contains quite a bit of sugar, I don’t like to fill them with too much sugar before school. I love how versatile you can make this easy recipe. I prefer to add very little sugar in the bread – just enough to taste so that there is some sweet flavour. You can add anything you like to the batter mix – strawberries, coconut etc to sweeten it up. I added a little bit of lemon zest to give it a nice flavour. If there is a very small amount of sugar you can get your kids to sweeten it up with a bit of jam!

Time to bake: 15-20 min in pre-heated 180 degrees celcius oven

Ingredients

  • 250 grams or 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar (use more if if needed- I prefer less sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 114 gram or 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs , at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method:

In a large bowl , sift or whisk together the flour , sugar , baking powder and salt

  1. Add the eggs, butter , sugar, vanilla and beat with a mixer
  2. Pour batter into square shaped or rectangular baking tray making sure you have greaseproof paper underneath
  3. Bake for 15-20min and enjoy!

Family Meals

Vegan Thai Curry

This are the ingredients I used (ingredients vary depending on what I have in the fridge)

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic

Tablespoon of ginger

1 onion

Thai red curry paste

Half a chilli red pepper

Asparagus

Sweet potato

1 carrot

Broccoli

1 can of coconut milk

Half a bell pepper each (red/green/ OR yellow) – use all if needed

Method

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add onions, ginger, chilli and garlic to saute for about 7 min
  2. Add Bell peppers onto pan to cook for 7 min
  3. Add a tablespoon of curry paste to the pan until fragrant (about 2-3min)
  4. Fry ‘hard’ vegetables first as they take longer to cook. In my case I fried carrots and asparagus first
  5. Stir in coconut milk and the rest of the vegetables and allow sauce to simmer for 15 min on a low heat
  6. Add a pinch of sugar if needed to sauce after tasting (I find that adding sweet potato and or Butternut makes this dish sweet enough).

blog

Perseverance

The Woman with the issue of blood

When I think of the meaning behind the word perseverance I am reminded of the woman with the issue of blood in the book of Matthew 9:20 who had been suffering with her condition for 12 years. I cannot begin to imagine how she must have struggled not only physically but emotionally during her period of suffering. The loneliness of isolation and the depression she would have experienced due to her condition.

Thankfully, Jesus had a specific time in mind for this woman to be restored back to her full health.

The woman was healed when Jesus was walking to the home of a ruler who had asked of Jesus that he heal his 12 year old daughter. As I read the words, I kept asking myself what God trying to achieve by choosing this specific moment in time? The woman who had struggled for so long came back to life when she touched the edge of Jesus’s cloak. She had been spiritually dead all of those 12 years and at that very moment of healing she came back to life. Her name was Veronica. She is said to be one of the women who walked with Jesus tending to him when he carried the cross. The two people whom God had chosen to heal on this momentous day also experienced an awakening and a re-birth in their lives. Both the life of the 12 year old girl and the woman were completely turned around from that moment onwards.

Why God wants me to persevere

I have realised throughout my struggles that each time God makes a promise, that very promise is already cemented in heaven. When he shines light onto a situation that I am facing this usually means he has already provided a solution. The beauty of persevering through situations whether they are health struggles or everyday struggles means that with each and every one of my struggles I become emotionally stronger and better able to deal with surprises that life brings along the way. If I can persevere through any situation and do so with joy, I can stand strong and tall and boast about the God who sustains me.

The Bible promises a reward for those who persevere.

James 1: 2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Examples of people in the Bible who persevered

  • Abraham and Sarah in their waiting for a child that God had promised to them – Abraham believed God and this was credited to him as righteousness in Genesis 15:6.
  • Paul in the Galatians – Paul was persecuted and placed in chains and throughout all the turbulence he experienced in his lifetime he learned the art of being content in every situation thrown at him. Phil 4:11-12
  • Jesus persevered – Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’  He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” – Luke 22:39-44

What comes out of perseverance?

Patience

Patience is the waiting – Waiting on God in the fullness of his joy. In the past I would spend my time in the waiting desperate for my situation and circumstance to change. I have learned that a patient heart is one that is content in any and every circumstance.

Trusting God

God is always aware of whatever situation I am facing. Trusting God means knowing that he has made a way for my struggle. He has already walked the rugged pathway and has made provision for me to conquer.

Change text alignment

Strength

In times where I face adversity, I emerge stronger and more resilient. Perseverance reveals an inner strength that I would not otherwise realise existed within.

Wisdom and maturity

No negative experience is meant to break me. One of the rewards that comes out of persevering is God’s wisdom and maturity that arises as a result. I know that God is for me he is never against me.

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. … The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. Deut 28:6

blog

Blameless in the eyes of God

Galations 2: 19-21

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

How God sees me

I sometimes struggle to see myself the same way that God sees me. I am quite frankly rebellious in nature, impatient and I get frustrated quite easily. I get upset with myself for having these feelings. I too often forget that God has created me the way he has created me for a reason and a purpose. He knows that the rebellion me will one day serve a greater purpose. I now as an adult realise that I have always been a free thinker and the free thinker in me was created to have the courage to glorify him each and every day. He creates a beautiful artwork out of all the imperfections and gradually moulds and shapes me into what he wants me to become one day. He sees me as blameless, righteous and clean.

Why God sees me as Blameless

I am completely washed clean because of what Christ did on the cross all those years ago. In my mind it is difficult to understand or wrap my head around what Jesus has done. Abraham’s faith in God was counted to him as righteousness and because we are the descendants of Abraham, we share in his righteousness and thus we are seen as blameless in God’s eyes. In a nutshell, it is not anything that I have done to deserve that grace but because God sent his son to die on the cross for my very sins. Nothing I can do can make God love me any less. I fall short and don’t get things right. God’s grace means that He makes up for every area where I fall short. When I fall short as a being human and make mistakes, he makes up for those shortfalls.

There are things that stop me from seeing myself the way God sees me…

Sometimes I try to get right with God…

My upbringing was influenced by societal and cultural beliefs and expectations. As I young african girl growing up in the townships of South Africa, I was always into something a little different than my peers. The music I listened to was considered ‘different’. My clothes were different, my mindset in general was different to that of others. I didn’t always embrace being different because, I wanted to be like everybody else but obviously not enough for me to pretend to be something I wasn’t.

At times I care what others think

To tell the truth often when people ask how I am it seems the only answer I am allowed to give is the standard answer of “I’m fine” when at times I’m really not fine. Putting on an act can be exhausting. We live in a society where we don’t talk about not being okay. If we were courageous and spoke out about the way we feel then it normalises honesty and creates opportunities for sharing with others.

Being influenced by the opinons of others

People will always have their own opinions, however God’s opinion is the only one that matters. If I know who I am in God’s eyes, everything else falls away and I will only see myself the way that God sees me. He knows me better than anyone because it is He who created and formed me in my mother’s womb.

Not acknowledging how I feel

Often I tend to hide my feelings thinking that If I do so, I won’t hurt anyone else’s feelings. This in turn leaves me feeling like I can’t express myself. It’s important to ‘vent’ if I need to because when I acknowledge the times I am angry or sad, it means I can move on.

Experiencing guilt over having negative feelings

Feelings of guilt stop me from seeing myself the way God sees me. I sometimes feel as though I have no right to feel angry, sad or frustrated and that it is a ‘punishable offence’. At times, my guilt masks itself as anxiety and I do not realise that I am experiencing feelings of guilt.

I am learning that I am a fearless beautiful work of art designed by God and no matter how much it looks like I may be lacking in a particular area, God makes up for it all.

When Christ died, he took upon him the burden of guilt, anxiety, timidity, my sense of responsibility, and replaced them with courage and bravery, peace, joy and grace. For that I am thankful and grateful that I can live in the light and in his abundant grace.

Family Meals

Uzbekistan Plov

This meal is a family favourite! Plov is a traditional dish in Uzbekistan. I came to know of this mouthwatering dish by one of my neighbour’s who is originally from Uzbekistan. I still don’t ever think I will be able to make it as perfectly as she does but my family is obsessed with plov so I must be doing something right! We often have this meal about one Sunday a month and it’s great to have something so different to Sunday roast dinners!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • Garlic clove peeled (carefully slice head of garlic-make sure it doesn’t fall apart!)
  • 1 1/2lb of lamb/ beef cut into pieces ( I prefer lamb to beef but this is optional)
  • 1lb basmati rice
  • 1 bowl julienne carrots
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1tbsp coriander powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water (depends on size of the pot)

Method:

Before I start with the main dish, I always wash the rice thoroughly to prevent starch. Once the rice is washed, I let it sit in lukewarm water until it’s ready to go inside the pot. Once this is done you can start with the main below:

  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot and once hot, fry the pieces of lamb until browned all over. Once browned, remove the lamb and place onto a separate plate.
  2. Add the onions and fry until browned. Once the onions are browned, add lamb back into the pot and fry for a further 3 min.
  3. Add the cumin seeds, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the julienne carrots, stir well and close the lid of the pot.
  4. After about 10 minutes, add boiled water and peeled garlic clove and cook for 45 minutes with the lid closed.
  5. Add the rice to the pot and (try to flatten at the top before closing the lid). You can use a spatula if necessary. Cook for 30 min (keep checking the pot to make sure the water has not disappeared. I use the end of a fork to poke through the rice for checking.

Cooking tip – After about 20 min make sure to mix the rice so that the top gets as much cooking and flavour as the bottom of the rice. Plate up and Enjoy!

Related

blog

Guilt and condemnation

Psalms 103: 8-12 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

What is Guilt?

One of my biggest struggles in the area of guilt is ‘mom guilt’. My earliest memories of feeling guilty were associated with motherhood. Before this, I don’t remember having many feelings of guilt. When I gave birth to my eldest daughter, I started to worry about things – things that to some might seem rather small and maybe even a little silly. When my daughter came down with her first cold, I worried that it was my fault. After all, she was under my care so how could I allow her to become ill? At 1 month old she was diagnosed as colic for which I also blamed myself wondering how I could allow this to happen. My mistake was not sharing my anxiety and guilt with anyone. The condemnation that I also struggled with meant I had a consistently nagging feeling inside me where I felt I deserved some sort of punishment for doing wrong.

What does the Bible say about how we should deal with feelings of guilt and condemnation?

The Bible tells us that Jesus bore our sins at the cross therefore in his eyes we are no longer guilty. As someone who struggles with guilt, these words are difficult to fully comprehend. The truth is, the devil enjoys watching me struggle with my guilt because he knows it removes the joy from within me, it hinders my relationship with God because often I hesitate to approach him when I have that feeling of guilt. God knows that if I begin to understand the fundamental core of what it means to be washed in his blood, only then will I begin to walk in freedom where I am completely free of shame, guilt and condemnation.

How does guilt affect believers?

Walking around with feelings of guilt all the time has affected me in different ways. I fail to make precise decisions and when I am finally able to make a decision, I’m constantly plagued with doubt. The Bible however has a completely different view of how I should handle the way I feel. I am learning that my feelings are just that – feelings. I’m learning slowly that I should never rely on the way I feel which varies from day to day and sometimes from hour to hour. I’m learning to take hold of what God says is true. It’s a journey and sometimes I forget to ask God whether the thoughts I have a based on truth or lies. Sometimes I’m so wrapped in my own head that I don’t even realise that I have to separate the lies from the truth.

Breaking free of guilt and condemnation

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every burden and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set out for us.

As God begins His work in me to break me free from all guilt, shame and condemnation, I believe in his promises. He is faithful even when I am not. At times I am doubtful and I may not always see that he wants me to live a life full of joy. Ultimately, he will do what is necessary to remove whatever might hinder me living the abundant life that he has promised.

blog

Esther – A woman of humility, courage and obedience

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as you do the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body of which he is the Saviour’ – Ephesians 5:22-33

Who was Esther?

Esther was a Jew, without parents. She was raised by her uncle, Mordecai. Growing up, Mordecai had taught Esther to conceal her identity and nationality as a Jew because at that time, Jews were looked down upon in society. As a young lady, Esther was introduced to King Xerxex who was ruler at the time. The king decided to hold a banquet over a number of days for everyone who resided in his kingdom. It was at this extravagant banquet where he invited a number of young women to stay in his palace over months or years. It was God’s intervention that allowed Esther, a mere Jew to be introduced to the King who upon meeting her instantly took a special interest in her.

A woman of Courage, humility and obedience

Unlike Queen Vashti who was removed from her position by the same king for her disobedience, Esther was humble in nature, obedient and an incredibly courageous woman. She lived at a time where women were expected to be respectful and obedient of their male counterparts. Esther displayed remarkable characteristics which would draw the king’ attention towards her and set her apart from all the other young women. As I read the book of Esther over and over again, I begin to admire her characteristics rather than feel sorry for her as I first did when I started to read about her. I have become drawn to Esther’s characteristics in such a way that I have been asking God to help me become more like her.

Using Esther as an example within my marriage

God wants me to be more like Esther in my own marriage. I initially didn’t quite agree with the way in which women were treated in those days. I have to remember the times in which the people in the citadel of Susa were living in all those years ago. The way in which women are still treated today sometimes feels unfair. The Bible however says that King Xerxes treated all the women he had extended an invitation to with respect and dignity. He gave them special treatments and even assigned eunichs and servants to each woman. Of all the women in the palace Esther stood out the most to the king. He would walk up and down the halls close to her suite each day to ask about her wellbeing. This means if I become more like Esther, my husband’s soft heart towards me will begin to soften even more.

If I am humble, respectful and obedient towards my husband, God will honour my obedience towards Him and make me fruitful in everything I do. I grew up watching women be subservient towards their husbands and I never fully agreed with the way in which it was done. When I initially read about Esther it reminded me about the subservience culture I grew up with but God reminded me that He doesn’t expect me to be subservient in the same way I have been taught culturally. He wants me to have an attitude of servitude towards my husband. When I finally understood this, it shifted my attitude towards Esther. Her obedience and humility was certainly not a display of weakness on her part, instead it helped her to become fruitful and God honoured her. She worked alongside God by respecting, obeying and showing humility towards her husband and by doing so, God was able to accomplished his mission to save the Jews. She is now a is a well known female figure in the Bible.

I wonder how the story would have turned out if Esther has been stubborn, prideful and arrogant? In my own life, I know that when God wants us to change our ways, He is asking us to obey him for a greater purpose.

What lessons can I take from Esther?

I sometimes I struggle to show the same obedience and humility as Esther. Society often tells us that women should aim to become “better” than men. This sometimes means that we are less likely to serve our husbands. A good part of me wants it to be all about me but it is important to be an equal partner rather than a competitive one, or even one that makes comparisons which ultimately leads to competition rather than partnership. An attitude of servitude for me means helping my husband in any way that I can and taking the toll of any stresses he might have. I might not be able to make everything right but I can do the very small things that make his life a little easier. These ‘small things’ that could ultimately make a world of difference!

How can I honour my husband?

I can honour my husband by cooking his favourite meals every now and again, praying for him on a daily basis and asking God to help him fulfill all his potentials and being thankful that God has put us together on this earth. Each day we are together is a blessing and a gift that I should not take for granted. Indeed it brought Esther joy to serve the king and in the same way it should bring me joy to serve my husband.

blog

“I am enough”

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:14

How does God see me?

If I were to ask God this particular question – “God how do you see me?” I believe his answer would be this: “I delight in you, you are precious in my sight, you are loved and forgiven, your are beautiful, you have peace, joy and inner strength”. I. truly believe He would say all this along with with a lengthy list of beautiful words He would utter that would make me feel like I was his special and only child.

I don’t believe I have always seen myself the way that God sees me. I’ve certainly allowed others to dictate who I was and how I should see myself. It’s taken me right up until adulthood to start to slowly believe I am who God says I am. That I am strong, I have hidden talents, I have inner peace…I could write a list however I think God’s list is much bigger!

Not feeling “good enough”

I often wondered why I never felt good enough..right from my childhood I felt I wasn’t good enough. I believe it all came about when I first started school. I never felt I was achieving academically like some of the other kids in my class. I honestly started to believe I wasn’t very bright. I know now that it was simply because I never believed in myself. Our minds are such powerful tools that we underestimate. If we consistently tell ourselves that we can achieve something that is difficult, our minds start to believe that this is true. The same goes if we consistently tell ourselves that we cannot do something. God knows were are limitless beings. If this is the case then surely it means we can do anything and we can achieve anything? Truthfully, the power is in the mind. God has given us all that we need to make a success of whatever we lay our hands on, but so often it’s easier to be filled with doubt.

Sometimes the world tries to dictate who we are. It dictates what we can do, and what we cannot do and this in turn affects confidence. For me, being constantly put down by my peers very nearly stripped me of my confidence. Over the years and months as God began to heal me from my emotional scars, he taught me that my identity begins with Him. If my identity is in Christ that is the ultimate foundation for whose I am. The devil tries to de-value us and attempts to take away our identity in Christ because he knows if he succeeds, we are left not knowing whose we belong to. If we do not know to whom we belong, we do not have the affirmations and the power he has given us in order to succeed in life. We put ourselves down and like I did, we start to believe the lies – one of them being that we are powerless. When we know who we are, we have an inner strength that exists within us.

God is building a new foundation

I remember not so long ago when I lacked hope. I wanted to achieve so much and never thought I would achieve anything, never thinking that I would be happy and that I would ever be a success. Sure, I don’t have buckets full of money, however, but I’m living a life which I love which is worth more than money. I strive to be better each day. God is building new foundations in terms of how I think of myself and what I believe I am capable of. My inner-confidence is being restored and I am starting to believe that indeed I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

blog

Surrendering control

n

“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” – Matthew 11:28

When God wants us to surrender control

I often feel it’s my duty to be responsible for absolutely everything in my home. I feel like the main character from the movie “Bad Moms“…running around on a daily basis attempting to organise my kid’s lives, taking the kids to after school clubs and extra curricular activities, making sure homework is done, ensuring sure there is some sort of order at home to prevent absolute chaos, and keeping up with work and my career. Unfortunately, I don’t do very well at attempting to manage everyone’s life let alone my own. Most of the time to be truly honest I’m hanging on by a thread.

Raising little people feels like a permanent full time job. My goals at attempting to be organised, efficient and tidy over time started to get a little out of control. I thought creating order would help ease my anxiety and reduce my stress levels. That if I walked into a neat tidy house after work everyday somehow it would help to declutter my mind. God revealed to me that this was one of the coping mechanisms I was using to help me deal with the anxiety that I suffered on a constant basis.

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future...Jeremiah 29:11

God’s will for us is to live everyday in abundance. That means pure joy, peace, anxiety free and present, living in the now.

I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Attempting to do things all on my own resulted in anxiety, stress and mental exhaustion. For years I struggled to understand the concept of allowing God to take control or to even surrender control over to him. I knew I wanted to do so I simply just didn’t know how. I was drained almost all the time. The stress of dealing with work, and the pressure to keep up with so much in this modern world and still trying to take care of myself was seemingly impossible. How could I take care of myself when so many things demanded my attention? Trying to explain exactly what I was so stressed about to my husband made things even worse because of the guilt and fear of sounding as if I was complaining. The truth is, some of us are better able to deal and cope with the everyday stresses that come with life and for some of us it’s a bit more of a struggle. The Bible says that He shows his strength in our weaknesses and we all have we weaknesses.

I’m growing in my walk with God and slowly beginning to understand what it means when God asks us to surrender control over to him. He is calling us to lay our burdens at his feet. For me, this means waking up each morning asking God to help me to let go of what I cannot manage on that day. I’ve learned the importance of having a quiet hour to myself everyday. Sometimes it means going for a run/walk or having a quiet coffee in the early morning. When I do this I can step back and I’m not longer overwhelmed by the minute details that attempt to strip the joy out of my life. I can step back and enjoy my family and appreciate the good that God has provided for me and enjoy the abundance that he continues to shower me with every day.

blog

Safe in the arms of God..

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary; they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Safe-

I often wrestle and struggle with doings things my own way. I wouldn’t describe myself as one who likes to be in control but these days it feels as though God showing me otherwise. I’m the sort of person who if things aren’t done in a particular way at a particular time, I start to feel a little anxious… take this for example – I might ask my husband to hang out the washing. He’ll agree at the moment and in his relaxed state complete the task I’ve asked him to do around 2 hours later! If he decides he’s not going to do it in the next 5 minutes then I can’t help but do it myself because I start to think he won’t do it or he’ll be too busy to do it later. Well if that doesn’t scream control…

Feeling safe in the arms of God means trusting God to do what I cannot do. Allowing him to take control of the things I wrestle with- for me that is mostly control. It means resting on him when my resources have diminished. I have struggled with control for a few years now. My struggle reminds of Elijah who once ran from all the enemies who after him. At some point Elijah came to rest under a tree having completely given up hope. He had no strength left in him and simply wanted to die. There are times in when my resources have depleted and my cup needs to be filled. I take so much on – family and household responsibilities, work responsibilities etc. I’m extremely good and make every little thing a big thing. Life doesn’t always have to be as hard as I make it- this I know but I just can’t seem to help myself! My burnout threshold is pretty low because I keep trying to make things perfect. This in turn results in burnout and anxiety.

Leaning on God for Strength

The last few weeks I have battled with anxiety and exhaustion. Because of this I have indeed struggled to hear God’s voice. A few nights ago as I lay awake beginning my usual routine at 3am of things I needed to worry about, In that moment I felt a nudge to write a blog on ‘Feeling safe in His arms’. This title is such a strong reminder that God is always there in the midst of what sometimes might feel like hopelessness. When times feel a little dark and anxiety tries to pull a blanket over what is real, God is absolutley there! He whispering words of encouragement and cheering us on to finish not only what we have started but what He has started in us.

Be strong and courageous. “Do not be terrified of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6