Courage for an Unknown Season

It’s something we all long to possess yet it’s one of the rarest qualities to find. I’m talking about COURAGE. Courage is the internal fortitude to keep moving forward in the face of fear, hardships, and challenges.

Courage enables us to cultivate endurance and resilience; it is the by-product of a tenacious spirit.

  • Professional life coach
  • Wife of 50 years
  • Mother
  • Grandmother
  • Teacher
  • Author
  • Lover of life

Jan Silvious offers a lifetime of wisdom to all of us learning to navigate life with joy and hope.

This interview presents three truths that are critical to life:

  1. God knows
  2. God cares
  3. God provides

For every season in our lives, these truths are foundational to having a courageous spirit.

Watch the Interview

The Root of Relational Joy

One winter, my son Austin and I sat on the patio warmed by the embers of a small fire. We laughed over his childhood memories that at the time felt far more chaotic.

Mom and Son
(Image from Pixabay)

Back then, I wanted to be a perfect mother—as if there is such a thing.

I was like most parents who want their children to experience a happy childhood, at least one happier than theirs when they were growing up.

  • I wanted laughter to echo through the halls, to kiss away every pain, to life free of all disappointment.
  • I wanted Austin to develop a sense of self, an empathetic kindness toward others, a genuine love for Jesus, and an understanding of scriptural truth.
  • I wanted to protect him from the twisting damage of bullying and abuse.
  • And, of course, I wanted him to love his mother.

Is that asking too much?

What Should I Say to Hurting People?

Ever wish you could reach out to a friend in crisis, but you’re just not sure what to say? Most of us tend either to avoid the person or situation altogether or to rush in and say too much.

(Image from Unsplash)

The list below demonstrates some ways you can effectively support people in need.

Notice how these responses acknowledge and reflect the person’s feelings without judging him or her or offering unwelcome advice.

What Effective Caregivers Say

Three Tips for Sitting Securely in the Suck

It was colder than the arctic when I stepped out for an evening walk. I needed space to breathe. Life was anything but balanced; I felt disrupted and tired. Layered in clothes, I resembled an irritated woolly mammoth roaming the frozen tundra trying to figure out which way is north.

Walking Woman
(Image from Pixabay)

I don’t do well with ambiguity and was hoping a walk would provide clarity.

Order and Clarity? . . . Ha!

Just to be clear, balance has never been simple for me. I’m captivated by those who . . .

Seven Serious Game Changers When Your Plans Are a Bust

The New Year’s ball barely landed before our plans were busted. On January 1, 2018, at 5:00 in the morning, I walked my pale and feverish husband right into the emergency room.

(Image from Unsplash)

The sun wasn’t even up. My thought was, If the sun isn’t awake, no one else should be either. No one has gotten the memo on that yet.

My son Jon was home most of December with fevers, seizure recovery, and flu-like symptoms. I counted down the days to New Year’s with a thermometer in my hand. Surely, by New Year’s Day everyone would be well. Right?


On New Year’s Day we were expecting friends whom I hadn’t seen in 32 years, but sitting in an ER at 5:00 that morning, it was evident the only entertaining we would be doing was inside a quarantined home.

But wait . . . the story’s just getting started!

For a Fantastic New Year, Focus on These Four Choices

For the last few years, I’ve welcomed the New Year with arms so wide open I could have hugged an airplane! FINALLY . . . this last year is O-V-E-R! Bubbling over with excitement, I hang up the new calendar and yell . . .

(Image from Pixabay)

This Year Is Going to Be Fantastic!

Ever had one of those new years? The kind of year that was, let’s say, more “character building” than you ever could have expected?

While we often don’t ask for challenges, few things are as relieving as when challenges disappear in the dust of our rearview mirror.

Then . . . the new year started. It didn’t take long to figure out that the whole “character development” issue didn’t end just by turning the calendar page.

The Downs

Here are some things my family and I faced these last few years:

Twelve Significant Suggestions for Special Needs Holiday Success

When the kids were little, they would mark up all the catalogs to make their Christmas wish lists. It seems like yesterday. I remember their giggles of anticipatory joy, crossing off each day on the calendar until Christmas day FINALLY arrived.

(Image from Unsplash)

Something about kids and Christmas . . . it’s almost magical.

But those magical moments changed the year I began to shop for my son with disabilities. He struggled with sounds that were too loud or when the weather was too cold, and all those Christmas catalogs packed with toys for typical kids meant nothing to him.

He couldn’t conceptualize the meaning of Christmas, which completely disrupted the traditions we had enjoyed for years.

It is difficult to navigate the holidays—or any major event—when a loved one in the family is incapable of understanding and experiencing the delight of it all.

Finding gifts for those who have . . .

Five Lifechanging, Unforgettable Gifts

I never thought a washing machine would be on my 3-year-old son’s Christmas gift list. Christmas came three weeks after my son was diagnosed with autism and global developmental disability—what used to be labeled as “mental retardation.”

(Image from Unsplash)

While he wasn’t yet talking, he made his wishes very clear. Every time—I kid you not—we went to a place that sold washers and dryers, his inner radar immediately directed him to the display models.

He (and we) would check to see if they were “working” or “on display.” He checked them out top to bottom, inside and out, as if he was the manager signing off on selling the items.

We moved from washers and dryers to vacuums, then fans, wheels, and pouring water. Most who understand the autism spectrum know that machines that spin and turn visually stimulate parts of the brain and are irresistible to our loved ones with autism and sensory challenges.

What’s a Parent to Do?

How to Turn That Frown Upside Down

Let this article by my Dad, Chuck Swindoll, bless you this holiday season!

Too often, we pastors tend to wear our smiles upside-down. The burdens of ministry—especially during the busy holidays—often cause our joy to droop into deep-wrinkled frowns.

(Image from Unsplash)

In case you need a little help with this assignment, read through this psalm . . .

Three Essentials That Will Revolutionize Your Holiday Season

Years ago, shortly after Thanksgiving, I learned my son had been horribly assaulted. Suddenly, all thoughts of a joyful holiday vanished. The last thing on my mind was giving thanks.

Family Eating Dinner
(Image from Pixabay)

Though the trees displayed the colors of autumn, my heart was the shade of deepest sorrow.

I remember two specific things about the holidays that year:

  1. It was the first holiday season my husband and I had shared as a married couple. With our new blended family of five kids, I wanted to make it super special . . . until I found out about my son’s assault. What timing!
  2. The deluge of police reports, doctor’s exams, new diagnoses of PTSD, moderate traumatic brain injury, tics, flashbacks, and nightmares smothered my ability to do more than show up and breathe.

My most beloved holiday season became scarred by an irreversible, deep wound that affected my whole family.

How Do We Move Forward?

How do we move forward when life hurts? That’s a question we all ask when life forces us to find a “new normal.” Some of us want to wait out the hard times because we’d like to believe that time heals all wounds.

Unfortunately, that’s a huge lie. Another way we try to move forward is by glossing over the pain with a thick coat of denial. We varnish over our pain by presenting behavior that appears happy and well-adjusted. Sometimes that looks like . . .