Monday Matters: Abundant Courage

On this week’s Monday Matters, I’m sharing encouragement from one of my favorite people, Deborah “Debbie” Sheneman.

Debbie lives outside Atlanta, Georgia with her husband of 32 years, Allen.  She has two grown children and is known as Gigi to her four precious grandchildren.

Debbie has an unbelievable testimony of faith which includes losing her 11-year old son in a hunting accident 28 years ago; only months after she accepted Christ into her life.

Despite the countless questions and real pain, Debbie has rested in her faith to become a woman after God’s own heart. Her testimony has been shared over the years as a beacon of hope to those who feel lost in the midst of despair.

Proverbs 31 best describes Debbie when it says:

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” vs. 30

Most recently, Debbie and her husband Allen have been presented with the challenge and reality of health issues. Allen recently underwent surgery to prepare for dialysis and a kidney transplant.

During this difficult and trying time, Debbie shared the words below and I hope you find encouragement in them as I did.

Debbie, thank you for your testimony of faith and thank you for being my aunt!

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Debbie Sheneman – Abundant Courage

I have been contemplating and praying – at times arguing – with the Lord about the one word he seems to be repeatedly giving me for this year.

That word is COURAGE!

You see, there are many things I fear: flying, tall bridges, and water covering my face just to name a few. Honestly, I have never considered myself a courageous person.

But as this year begins to unfold I can already see that I will need abundant COURAGE.

Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” And verse 9 adds, “Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.”

I was taught from a young age, fear of the Lord is a good thing.

It is a reverent fear, because he is God!

This year, I will claim Joshua 1:9 as I begin to live out COURAGE.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I am counting on this word from the Lord!


If you would, join me in praying for Allen and Debbie as they continue courageously.

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”                   – C.S. Lewis (Tweet that)

Questions for you:

What specific actions have you taken in your own past to act courageous, maybe when you didn’t feel like it?

What are some of your stories of courage?

Leave some encouragement for Debbie in the comments below.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Monday Matters where we share stories and ask questions that will help you live richly.

If you have a story to share or a question to ask, please email it to [email protected] and I may use it on a future post.

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Thanks again for stopping by and remember, make Monday matter!


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9 Responses to Monday Matters: Abundant Courage

  1. Lily Kreitinger (@lilykreitinger) February 10, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    As I was reading Debbie’s story, I had to stop and think, because it sounds so much like mine. I, too, am afraid of tall bridges and water covering my face. Not really of flying, but I’m afraid of heights. My husband has used the desensitizing approach to these: i’m afraid of heights, he signed me up for flying lessons, I’m afraid of drowning, he signed me up for scuba lessons. Both were frightening experiences, but I can check them off the list! I survived both, even if I didn’t enjoy them that much. I didn’t see myself as courageous, and 10 years ago, I took the scariest decision of my life to that point. I left my home country, Mexico, my family, friends and everything familiar to me to get married and start a new life with my husband in the US. It has been a joyous ride and I know have learned to embrace the fear and trust God. Joshua 1:9 has been a key verse in my life. Thanks for sharing Debbie’s story, Matt!

    • Matt Ham February 10, 2014 at 11:15 am #

      Lily what an awesome testimony for you to share! It’s very encouraging to see how COURAGE has taken root in your life and I know it will be encouraging to others!! Now, did you forgive your husband for the SCUBA lessons???

  2. David Sheppard February 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Having only known Debbie for last few years I do know she has the courage that will be the main thing Al needs as the time goes by. I wish and pray for nothing but better times ahead for the entire family.

    • Matt Ham February 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

      David thanks so much! Especially for your prayers!

  3. Mary Grey Sheneman Ham February 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    I spent the week with Debbie after Stevie died and I can tell you she has more courage than she thinks…real courage! I witnessed her get up each day and face a new world, one without her child. I saw her forgive and love without question. I saw her continue to be a mother to her other children as sorrow and darkness looked for ways to take hold. As she tackles this new fear of uncertainty, I can’t think of another person I would want by my brother’s side other than her. Courage comes from confidence and I have no doubt that she is confident in a loving God that is right by their side as they face this storm. Now for the flying, water and bridges…well, that’s another story and she can add BEARS to that list!

  4. ljandrie57 February 11, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    At one point in my own journey, I learned how much courage is just doing it no matter how many fears there are inside. The word coueur (heart) in French is from the family of words that includes Courageous. “Courage comes from the heart” became my motto. From the words of your nephew, Debbie, it sounds like you have the heart to support you as you reach for the hand on the one greater and more caring and more knowing than us all. I pray peace and wisdom to you on this journey.

    • Matt Ham February 11, 2014 at 7:43 am #

      I didn’t catch your name, but I am incredibly grateful for your wisdom. I love the tie to the french word for courage. I will be sure Debbie sees this encouragement as well. Thank you for stopping by!

      • ljandrie57 February 11, 2014 at 8:00 am #

        I am Linda Andres from the challenge. Both the French word for heart and the word courage come from the same Latin root. I even have a blog in the name coeuri to remind me of this link. I thank you for giving me this chance to recall why that name mattered.

        • Matt Ham February 11, 2014 at 8:05 am #

          Hey Linda! Thank you!