I found this turtle in a flower bed – an out of place, 10 inch in diameter disc covered in dried green moss. Such a strange sight that caught my eye.

As I approached what I thought was an odd rock, it moved! The head and legs came out at once and began creeping away from me. What a shock! The yard was at the top of a very steep hill on a busy street and I wondered how this little guy would survive. I also realized he would need to be close to water given the dried out coating on his shell.

I was truly amazed at his boldness in climbing up the hill, through numerous yards, away from traffic. The closest natural water source was a pond at the foot of the hill. I knew I needed to return him there so I went inside and found a box, carefully put my hands on either side of the large shell, lifted him, and put him in the box.

So bold and yet so protective of himself – when I approached or reached down to pick him up, he completely pulled his head and legs in so that the shell became a fortress. When I set him in the box he came out of his shell. He immediately began scrambling with his legs and stretching his neck. I put the box in the car and drove down the hill to the pond.

I picked him up out of the box and carried him to the edge of the pond, then backed away to see what he would do. The hard disc lay perfectly still for several minutes then his head popped out and his legs followed. He lifted his head for a look around, noticed the water, scrambled to it and flopped in.

The picture of his face in the shell reminds me of what I feel like when things feel overwhelming and I want to just tuck into my shell and not risk exposure. How about you? Do you have moments of wanting to retreat? Are you feeling overwhelmed by life issues right now?

Last week I celebrated a book release. This particular project took several years and involved numerous people. I’ve worked on it for so long and knew it was time to set it free to help and equip people. To give voice to the women who shared their lives, loss, and hope.

Now that it is officially “out there,” part of me still desires a shell casing to tuck my head and legs in, to camouflage myself. It is scary to offer something to the world that holds such deep, personal meaning.

However, there is a purpose larger than me or my insecurities or sensitivities. God has a purpose to work out through the many voices that contributed to the book and the stories that are beautiful examples of His bringing beauty and giving gladness. My challenge now is to look to Him, rely on His presence and strength in order to be bold in Him and help equip people with practical compassion for others.

Do you have an area in life where you are facing a long steep hill? Feeling called to loving action but facing down fear? Be encouraged this week and let’s take the next bold step together! Praying for a beautiful, bold, kind, and courageous week for you!