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The quote hung on my wall as a teen-ager. I would not know much about the author until Seminary days when his name was prominent on reading lists. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference,” so wrote Reinhold Niebuhr in his Serenity Prayer. American theologian, and professor at Union Theological Seminary for more than 30 years, Niebuhr offered me my first motto. Over the years I would learn that there were many more things that I could not change than there were that I could change. I found a fine line between serenity - the state of being calm, peaceful, untroubled and acquiescence - the reluctant acceptance of something without protest. Sometimes I didn’t know which I had experienced until after the fact. Courage was different - the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. Moses said to Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). In my early, eager years, I mostly needed serenity. Today, I need courage. The Lord has been ever-present with me in both.

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