Being brave. I mentioned a while ago that I was doing a Bible study called “Brave” by Angela Thomas. I have finished the study, but the concepts of what it means to be a brave woman keep showing up in my life. Like splashes of cold water in the face, like a loud buzzing in the ear, the reminders of courage are all around me. I have become more and more aware of all of the people in my life who display this trait day after day. My friend who bravely faces the next day as a single woman, even though in her lonely heart she wonders when God will provide a husband for her. My sister who chooses to try yet another remedy for healing, trusting that Jesus wants her to live abundantly and whole. My daughter who is facing difficulty at school, yet wears a smile and offers friendship to others. My own challenge to extend grace and choose integrity while dealing with a difficult person whose only intent is to abuse and bully me. Neighbors, family members, and friends who live with disappointment, depression, illness, loneliness, and pain. All around me, I watch the women in my world show off their Bravery, and their God. Bravery - it’s feeling weakness and fear , yet taking the next step forward. It’s being unsure and feeling timid but leaping, or walking or moving or crawling or waking or standing … again. It’s continuing to care for our families, work our jobs, and serve our friends, even when the monsters of doubt and trembling threaten to overwhelm us.
Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
It takes a lot of being brave to have faith. You have to trust in someone, something. Because I have a history with my Lord, I trust in Him. I know that He helps me and hears me. I see Him care and provide. I watch His hand guide my friends, protect my children, and work out difficult situations. I have loved Him for so long and I hear His voice say to me “just keep going”… So, I put my faith in God. My creator, the lifter of my head, the One who leads my beside quiet waters and restores my soul. Without Him, I could not be brave. I could not face how disappointing life can be. I couldn’t bear the suffering and sadness that creeps up in unexpected places all around me. I have to trust that God knows better than me, and that He loves deeper than I could. I must believe that His wisdom extends beyond my limited thinking and His plan is perfect. It is important that I don’t try to come up with my own Plan B, but submit myself to the beauty of His Plan A.
Last Sunday, I took a short trip to see a friend of mine in who currently lives in north-east Denver. Six months ago, she was a working mom, an athlete, a homemaker and wife, a happy woman filled with life. Sunday, I visited her in a rehab center and saw her as a woman suffering from multiple strokes caused by a bleeding aneurysm that exploded in her intelligent mind in December. I hugged her, helped her, loved on her, desiring to serve her and encourage her. However, in her weak condition, SHE encouraged ME because of her bravery. That morning, she had a prayer time with God, and her request to Him was that she would walk. Right now, she is dealing with almost complete paralysis on her left side making walking impossible. Yet she asked God for it. She believed that if the impossible was going to be made possible for her that day, it would take God’s help. A few hours later, during her physical therapy, the therapist asked Heather (my friend) if she was ready to try to take a few steps. Heather nodded. None of us yet knew about her earlier prayer request. But she did. She had Bravely asked for the impossible, and to our amazement, with the help of 2 therapists and enthusiasm from those of us there with her that would rival a rowdy group of short skirted, pony-tail wearing cheerleaders, Heather walked. She moved forward about 15 steps. At one point, she turned to me and said “this hurts”; she took another step. After a few more steps she asked to sit down - then took another step. I could not have been prouder of her. She was so brave. And tired. And in pain. Both in her body and in her spirit. Over the past six months she has asked… “Why me?” I have echoed her question … “Why her?” We don’t know. But some day, even if there are not answers to our “whys” there WILL be a completion of God’s will. And it will all be to His glory. Just like Heather’s walking was a response to God’s power in her to do the impossible, so will God’s power to complete heal and restore her be to His glory. All because she has been brave. She asked. She moved. She walked. She WALKED!!!
A new song by Laura Story has been encouraging me. It is called “Blessings”. It offers the idea that maybe the trials in our lives are God’s mercy in disguise. It causes me to lean toward gratitude rather than grumbling and complaining. It brings my attention to the possibility that pain, disappointment, suffering at the hand of others, could be God’s blessing. What has He done for me through my pain and difficult circumstances? Maybe He has blessed me with it. Maybe that was the plan to begin with. Can I bravely say thank you to Him? Will I keep walking after God even when it hurts? Without having the answers to my whys, can I trust Him? Even though I don’t know when the end of the suffering will be, will I believe Him? Can I be brave, and take my God at His word…
And lest you think that I have forgotten all about the reason I write here in the first place... here is a picture of my sweet Meredith, ready to take on the world as a Pteradactyl at her music concert last night.