My family is spread across the continental United States. It is part of being in the ministry and partly because our dad taught us at an early age to say yes to adventure. Yes to being brave and bold and trying new things.
Let’s be adventurers, darling. And yes, every one in my family said yes.
Being an adventurer sounds romantic. Being brave seems fitting for a movie script. And quite honestly, it is.
I can still remember at 23 moving to Houston and throwing myself into ministry with my husband at Second Baptist Church. And then at the ripe old age of 26 and our journey to the little white church next to the peacock farm began. We lived in a parsonage (yes! They still exist!) and while it was such a blessing, I can still see those steep stairs down to the laundry room. They were treacherous, friends. Oh, to be young and in love.
But the adventure wears and eventually the brave runs out. Suddenly, you are facing mountains and you need Jesus in new ways.
And I thought maybe you are facing something in your family that you might need brave, too.
In December 2015, I watched my mom’s behavior begin to change. She moved a tad slower and her memory shifted a bit. My mom was only 57 when this manifested and I remember lying in bed the night I witnessed this new behavior for the first time and my brain entered a track I couldn’t get off.
What would my girls do without a grandma?
What would I do without my mom?
What would my dad do without the woman he entered into covenant love?
And my mind spun that track around and around again, all night long. And if we are walking into the crevices of my brain, that track is still playing, it’s just a tad softer. I find myself dancing to the harmony of it because that is what we do. We learn to dance to the tracks in our minds.
What can I….
Keep praying for the miracle….
More than a year later, the only thing that has been concluded is that my mom is facing cognitive issues and extreme dizziness. She has been extremely brave throughout the entire thing. My hero, in fact.
And as I thought about my family, I thought about yours. Because maybe your family is certainly facing something, too. What is it? What is your mountain?
Because certainly we all have mountains and need a new brave.
And these mountains keep coming and tracks keep playing in our minds and we need to find a new beat to dance to because dancing to fear will only keep the enemy happy.
So sisters, let’s get on the right track and start dancing to a new brave.
Let’s find our new brave in prayer. Maybe you and I can begin praying again, even if we’ve worn out the threads of that prayer line. Let’s ask God again and beg and plead. Together why don’t we petition His throne and walk confidently before Him?
Let’s ask for the miracles and for the renewed sense of hope. If we’ve grown bitter toward God because we haven’t seen Him come through (the way we’ve longed for Him to come through) why don’t we get on our knees and hand over that ugly seed of marah; that bitter root of darkness and gloom.
Because nothing can grow, dear friend, when we are plowing rows of bitter in our heart. We need new soil, so that new sprouts can bloom.
Let’s give grace. If you are looking for a new brave, then that other person in your life (your sister, brother, dad, friend, neighbor) might be looking for a new brave, too.
Ask her about it rather than getting angry about her behavior.
Because the track in her mind is certainly running, too. Her concerns, his battles, his expectations, her needs. Allow yourself a moment to understand what the person in your family might be feeling. Give weight to that and then let grace wash over it all.
Rivers of grace plowing new soil.
Let’s be brave in our suffering. And this is what I am learning most. To be brave is to rejoice in the middle of the track rather than at the end. To find beauty in the harmony, not try to erase it. To stand to my feet and applaud its tones even when I can’t make out the whole song.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
And we pick up our cross and we stand in applause and we move forward in our affliction, in our new brave, because it is in the middle of the track that we receive hope.
And don’t we all want hope now?
Not at the bitter end of our very short lives?
And finally, our new brave is at its richest, deepest at our weakest. Let’s stop trying to be so strong all the time.
Trying and striving and putting on a mask; that is the world’s brave. Today we are talking about Jesus’ brave.
Let’s be okay to weep and mourn and cry out our need for the broken body of Jesus; for His body to be laid on top of our broken hearts. And maybe this is exactly where we get our brave. In becoming so weak that His heart settles into ours and it begins beating at the exact same time.
And that beat brings about a new melody and we suddenly we begin dancing to a new adventure all over again. A new brave with a new beat. A Jesus kind of brave. And isn’t that what we are all craving?