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8 lessons I learned from the valley

Lessons learned from the valley about Stepping Up as a man

The following lessons were gleaned from a traumatic event in the life of our family.  In my book, Stepping Up, I chronicled the week we spent as a family rejoicing, grieving, sharing, and ultimately celebrating the short life of little Molly, the infant of my daughter Rebecca.  Molly was on the earth so short a time but left a huge impact on all of us and thousands of others who have walked through this with us.  And, in the midst of that storm, I was able to turn to God and these were the lessons that I learned out of that period.

  • In order for a man to be courageous, he must know the truth about who God is. Courage that overcomes fear comes from convictions, and convictions about life and death come from the truth of Scripture.
  • The easiest thing for a man to do in a devastating crisis is to move into denial and do nothing.
  • Another good man standing alongside you will help you be courageous when journeying through the valley. Bill Mutz was that man in my valley.
  • It takes repeated acts of courage for a man to truly face and process his emotions. The natural tendency is to run away from them or deny they exist or to think you will be less of a man because you sob uncontrollably. Pleasure and pain were both meant to be experienced by men. For me, that took courage.
  • It takes repeated acts of courage for a man to give others freedom to process their emotions differently from him and not be at the same place he is.
  • A man is no less courageous if faced with a situation that he can’t fix and about which he doesn’t know what to do, but cries out to God in prayer, “Help me, God!”
  • A man can have doubts and still step up.
  • A man doesn’t have to understand all of God’s purposes to step up and be His man.

Men, as you think of the trials and valleys you’ve trudged through (or maybe you’re currently on an adventure in the desert) what lessons have you learned or are you learning?

Adapted with permission from Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, FamilyLife Publishers, 2012.
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