I was at a Five Minute Friday conference last month. Nestled in the sweet South I met some new friends and fortified relationships with women I had only spoke to over the phone or read their hearts on screen. It was a step out of my comfort zone, and at one point I texted my husband and told him I didn’t belong. The funny thing is that we talked a lot about being brave that weekend. We discussed mission trips and branching out and platforms. We talked books and blogs and reaching people. We talked love. And we all came to realize that sometimes your brave looks different than mine. Sometimes brave means staying right where you are.
I am living my brave right now. As a mamma of a kiddo with some pretty significant needs, my brave is quite frankly scaring the hell out of me. But I knew this was coming. Way back when as the word Faithful was whispered in my heart, I knew that this would be a hard year. And hard hasn’t come close to explaining it. I have done things, witnessed things, and lived through things that I had never thought I would.
But I am still standing.
Each day is a battle. Each day there is spiritual warfare waging in my home. I can feel it in my aching muscles. I can see it in the eyes of my child. And it is terrifying.
Some would say that it is only an issue of mental health. Some would say that it is the ramifications of an early childhood of neglect. Some would say that it is a chemical imbalance. And I would agree and disagree all at once. Because sometimes it is an issue of not just the body, but the heart. I have no pull there, only a stake I claim on the little soul that resides in my home. I have no armor or weapons other than words and prayers against the principalities of this world. In this, brave is found on bent knee and bowed head and sits in the overstuffed chair while sharing your heart and your fears with women who look at you with love.
And sometimes brave is just coming home. Making the choice to drive down that familiar road when the less traveled and seems like a safer option. Sometimes brave is holding the child with the broken heart as they try to break yours. Sometimes brave is falling to the floor in tears because there is just nothing left-but staying and not leaving. Sometimes brave is breaking again to be made whole.
Sometimes brave doesn’t look like faithful.
But even when it doesn’t, He is. Even when I’m not, He is. Most importantly, even when I can’t be, He can. I am not always brave. I am often afraid and my fear feels like weakness. But I’ve learned recently that this is only the work of the one against us. That to want to hold things close and not let others in is an exercise in bondage and not freedom. There is power in words and there is bravery in the telling of a story. There is courage in asking for help.
Brave isn’t always a far off trip or a new business venture. Sometimes the bravest thing of all is simply showing up when life is far from simple. It is so easy to run, and so much harder to stay. But I am finding comfort in Isaiah. This book is chock full of goodness. But this verse was given to me today:
The Lord will guide you always,
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations,
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls.
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
Do you see that, sweet reader? He will guide us always. We will satisfy our needs when all hope seems lost. He will restore our strength when we feel bone-weary. He will give us a new beginning each day, there is joy in the morning. He will raise us up and repair what is broken. We have only follow his lead, and be brave.
So I urge you my friend, no matter the trial or the tribulation you face today: be brave.