adjective: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage, courageous, valiant, valorous, intrepid, heroic, lionhearted, bold, fearless, gallant, daring, plucky, audacious
verb: endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear endure, put up with, bear, withstand, weather, suffer, go through
I thought I knew what it meant to be brave. So when I found out that our MOPS theme this year is ‘Be You Bravely’ I was excited. I thought I was quite brave in that I live a really difficult life with a glass-half-full kind of attitude and I love to encourage others to do the same confident in who God made us to be for His unique purpose. But by nature I am an independent, stubborn redhead determined to do everything on my own in my own way. It doesn’t come easily for me to ask for help…it’s more of a last resort. “I can do it myself!” rings a bell. Sound familiar?
At the very moment I started writing this I was sitting on my couch in frumpy, baggy sweats incredibly weak in terrible abdominal pain watching my loving mother-in-law cheerfully clean my house. Let me reiterate…I like to do things myself…not because she didn’t do a fabulous job because she did…she is much more thorough than I would ever be. But as I have said many times, my name may as well be Martha…you know the one with the seemingly lazy sister Mary in the book of Luke chapter 10. If you read that story carefully, Mary was actually the brave one. God has told my heart…be still. Physically I am unable to move much so that part is easy, but my heart is tempted to be anxious, worry and feel guilty and heaven forbid lazy for not being able to fulfill my many responsibilities. I simply cannot do the things I normally do. It wears me out to even take a shower. I live a wonderfully busy, bustling life full of running our three amazing children back and forth and going from this meeting to that hardly leaving enough time to get from here to there. For the last 2 weeks I have been here…on my couch…shabby and not the least bit chic indulging in the likes of HGTV and a little TLC making mental lists of projects I would love to tackle. But I can barely eat and relief is nowhere in sight. What is a girl to do? Be still.
How is being still brave you ask? Well before my bravery depended upon me…doing, being, acting, serving. Don’t get me wrong…it certainly wasn’t in my strength alone for I depend on the Lord everyday just to lead a ‘normal’ life…whatever that means. But it used to completely freak me out to be vulnerable or needy or pitied. It takes immense humility for me to depend on others and admit I can’t do this on my own. To reach out and ask for help taking my son to and from preschool each day. To tell my older children they have to ride the bus home because mama can’t drive to come and get them. To sit helplessly and watch my mom and my mother-in-law clean my dusty house that I have been unable to get to for weeks. To accept meals, groceries, texts, phone calls, emails, cards and prayers daily from others who care so much about our family. I so desperately want to just do it myself. I want to be the one serving my family and friends because I love doing it. But right now it’s time to simply…receive. For if I cannot receive God’s love…how can I let it flow through me and extend it to others?
My husband called me moments ago and said that 10 years ago he…in his large and in-charge, persistent stature…would have been knocking down the doors of doctors offices…which he has done…demanding an appointment TO-DAY! But he said he too feels the need to wait and trust in God’s timing. We can’t see the reason…but there must be one. That made me fall in love with him all over again. God has shown us both…crazy as it may sound…be still. Isn’t.He.amazing!
One thing God has shown me so powerfully is that He is right here with me. I am His, and He is mine…no matter what my physical condition. I have the King of heaven and earth here…living in me…what more could I possibly want? His blessings abound exceedingly, abundantly beyond what I could ask or think. His love is not conditional upon my performance as a wife and mother or servant. As shabby as I look and feel…I don’t think I have never felt more loved. His timing is perfect and it is good to wait on Him…not the medical system or appointments or tests…no matter how uncomfortable. His grace has covered us so richly. He has provided for our every need. My wonderful husband and children…our generous family, friends and neighbors have stepped up and sacrificed in incredible ways with such encouragement and love. For once, I am not afraid of the tests or the results or my inability to serve in ways I have committed to…I find myself thankful in this sickness. I have found joy in this trial because I trust Him with whatever He brings knowing He works all things together for our good. My confidence isn’t in medicines or doctors or treatments. It is in my Lord. I don’t know His plan or His reasons, but I don’t need to. If He wants me to know…He will reveal it. His peace fills my heart and it truly passes understanding. It is not my bravery that carries me through, it is His. It is not about me…at all!
How is God asking you to be brave in a new, unexpected way? Rest assured that once you take that leap of faith, He won’t let you fall. He will be your Rescuer and your Defender. When you step out of the boat, Jesus is out on the water with you. Hold onto His hand. Keep your eyes fixed on Him and you won’t sink in the raging sea around you even if it seems like you’re not going anywhere. That’s ok! You can stand firm in Him. The weight of our circumstances should not rest on our shoulders or push us down…God’s got this! It’s time to step out confidently my friends…weak as we may be…and let Him carry us.