Tag Archives: Brave

Fearless Women

I’d like to start by saying welcome to my new friends on here from Northwood Church!! Last week I was honored to speak for their Women’s Retreat and then on Sunday morning. The theme for the retreat was Fearless. I was reminded afresh of God’s faithfulness to his people. I met so many fearless women- women that spend their days caring for loved ones, making quilts for those in need, baking cookies to raise money to give coats for those in need, giving out journals that others might be blessed, and living to be a blessing to others with their time and resources. I went there to serve, as all speakers should, and left feeling overwhelmed by God’s great love and faithfulness.

When I was riding in the elevator, God spoke to me. He reminded me of how He restores all things. When I was living in Palm Springs, CA. I was broken, hurting, and lost. I was working at the Westin Mission Hills Resort at the time. Then, after I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I moved to Dallas, Texas and went to Bible College at Christ for the Nations, where I also got a job at the Westin Galleria. And here I was, some 22 years later, speaking, sharing my stories…. and they booked me a room at the Westin. It was no coincidence.

It was God sweetly reminding me, “Dear child, I use everything, in my Kingdom nothing is wasted. I redeem and restore. I make all things new. Surrender to me all those places and spaces, and watch Me do what only I can do.” Thank you Lord.

Although you really need to hear the talk in full to get the full message, here’s some notes from my talk.

6 Practical ways we can fight our fears and go from being fearful to faithful (Friday Night):

1) Fight your fears by praying.

2) Fight your fears by doing it afraid.

3) Fight your fears by meditating on God’s Word.

4) Fight your fears by worshiping God.

5) Fight your fears by surrendering to God.

6) Fight your fears by journaling.

Fearless Women (Saturday):

1) Fearless Women embrace their season.

2) Fearless Women don’t compare.

3) Fearless Women get their strength from Him.

4) Fearless Women are okay with saying no.

5) Fearless Women trust that God will get them through.

6) Fearless Women don’t dread.

Obviously there’s WAY more to my talks than this! This is just a sample. To hear more, you can either come to one of my talks or feel free to book me! I am starting to take bookings for 2018! I love to speak to women’s groups, whether that be brunches or lunches, or dinners, or moms groups, or retreats! {See Speaking tab on website}.

Thank you Northwood Church for your hospitality, your outpouring of love to one another (and to me), and your detail to excellence! It was in incredible weekend and God was and is faithful!!

Here’s a link to the Sunday Morning message on discipleship. I share a little bit of my testimony towards the end.

Discipleship Message

Here’s a link to all of the pictures I posted on facebook! 

New Book- Brave Dreams

 

 

I am super excited to announce that my new book, Brave Dreams, is out! I am so blessed by everyone’s support as I’ve launched this book. If you’re on Facebook, or you’ve heard me speak the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably already heard me talk about my new book. But I wanted to make sure I let my email friends know about it just in case you’re not on Facebook or you missed my Facebook posts! Also, a little fun fact about my book- my daughter, who is a senior in high school, designed the cover (front & back). It was so fun to work with her on this!

Here’s an excerpt from the back cover:

For the woman who wonders if dreams are just for other people. Do you ever feel like dreams are for other people? Do you ever wonder if it’s selfish to dream? Does God really want us to pursue our dreams? Shouldn’t we just be happy with what we have and where we’re at? This book answers those questions with my own personal stories as well as biblical examples. If you’ve been hiding dreams in your heart- know that these dreams are not only okay, but they are necessary! Dreams are for us, but they’re not ‘just’ for us. When God puts a dream on our heart, you can be sure that there’s a Kingdom purpose behind it.

John 10:10b- I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

The more we begin to believe that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do, the more encouragement and hope we can bring to those around us through our dreams. Discouragement is running rampant. We need to believe again that God wants to use His people to do great and mighty acts. No competition, just a mighty group of women taking their place and helping others to do the same.

Psalm 20:4-5 4 May He grant your hearts desires and make all your plans succeed. 5 May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.

Brave Dreams… because it takes bravery to tell others about your dreams and even more bravery to pursue them.

Here’s the video of my announcement:

Special Announcement!! 💖

Posted by Celeste Maldonado Barnard on Thursday, October 26, 2017

Here’s the video of the drawing for a free book:

https://www.facebook.com/celeste.barnard/videos/10156992534804569/?l=194826542537505053

If you would like a copy, it is now available on Amazon!

Click here —–> Brave Dreams!!

Lastly, if you’ve read the book, it would mean so much if you could leave an Amazon Review!! When you leave a review, it actually makes the book more seen by others. I would love for anyone who needs to read this book to be able to easily find it. And of course the more good reviews, the more likely someone will be to buy it!

Leave your review here ——-> Brave Dreams Amazon Review

It is my hearts desire that we would begin to dream again, realizing that God has so much more for us! And know that He will use our dreams to be a blessing to others. May this book be the beginning of many Brave Dreams and may God begin to speak to those areas that have laid dormant.

Isaiah 43:19- For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
 

Stay The Course- Featuring Brave Journal

Katie Reid Brave Journal

My friend, Katie Reid, wrote an article on God-Sized Dreams from the ‘Staying the Course’ series where she shares about having a place and space for your dreams to fly. She wrote a great post about dreams and shared about journaling. We also did a giveaway for one of my Brave Journals!

She wrote, “Be Your Best Brave is a focused journal by Celeste Barnard. It contains verses and quotes about bravery and lots of inviting space to pour out your hopes. This journal is an inviting landing place for those dreams that keep you up at night (no, it’s not water-proof for those shower epiphanies but you can put it next to your bed for the 3am revelations). Celeste encourages the dreamers in all of us to move forward, one brave step at a time.”

To read article in full go to God-Sized Dreams!

To order a Brave Journal go to Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Be-Your-Best-Brave-Journal/dp/1501036823/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430223635&sr=8-1&keywords=Be+Brave+journal

Brave People

Celeste-podcast

Be Your Best Brave- In this podcast I share my heart on what it means to be your best brave. I meet so many brave people everyday. And the reason why many of us don’t see ourselves as brave is because we’re too busy comparing ourselves to others so our brave feels inferior. But God never meant for us to compare, but only share our brave stories. And He has given each of us unique gifts and talents so that we can be our best brave! Be encouraged today. You are braver than you think.

Joshua 1:9 CEV- I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.

celestebarnard.com

To Subscribe on iTunes click here

To order Be Your Best Brave Journal from Amazon click here

Be Your Best Brave- Mommy Edition

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Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. -C.S. Lewis

Last year I started speaking and writing about being brave. I can’t tell you how many women have come up to me and said, “I don’t feel brave.” And if that’s you, I want you to know you’re in good company. If I waited to feel brave before I did anything, can I just tell you, I wouldn’t do much! Brave isn’t a feeling, its just something you do.

I think of my beautiful sister in law who found out a year and a half ago that her husband had cancer- and she’s had to be brave ever since. It wasn’t anything she felt, it was just something she did and continues to do every day. Every time she had to leave her 2 year old for a week at a time, everyday when she’s had to dispense multiple pills and medicines and take her husband to doctor appointment after doctor appointment and therapy and Houston, all the while trying to be a mommy to a 2 year old (now 3 year old). That ladies is Brave.

Before I ever even knew about the Mops theme last year, the Lord began speaking to me on this topic of being brave, starting in Jan. 2014. He began birthing the theme brave into my own heart. The Lord started to change my view on what brave really is. I use to think brave was hiking across the country, mountain climbing, running a marathon, or perhaps fighting world hunger. All of these people in the magazines and on the news looked so brave (and they are). But as I prayed about this new season and the theme He was putting on my heart, I realized I was running into brave people everyday. And if they wore capes, they were invisible. And if they jumped out of tall mountains, they were mountains of laundry. And if they traveled, it was to the grocery store with toddlers. And if they were earning money to feed the hungry children, it was by clipping coupons to feed their hungry children.

I have some friends that are single moms, and let me just tell you- they don’t feel brave, they just know they have to be brave for their kids.

What does it look like for you, as moms of preschoolers to be brave in your everyday lives? Here are 6 characteristics of a brave mom-

1) Brave moms embrace their season. I used to hear all the time, “Enjoy them, this season of them being little only lasts a short time” and I remember thinking, “Then why does it feel so long?!” But now I look back and think about all the times I said, “I can’t wait until…they talk… they walk… they stop whining…” You get the picture. I had so many expectations and worried when things didn’t look like I thought they should look. So I say to you today, embrace your season- the messy, the crazy, the exhausting, and the tender. Because it’s all part of the plan!

2) Brave moms don’t compare. I am so tired of all the comparing that goes on. I look back on the years and realize I have wasted too much of my life comparing what I am doing compared to what someone else is doing. See, the Lord has called us to run our own race and run it well. But I fear we’ve gotten so caught up in what others are doing, we forget who we are and what’s best for our family. And we are critical of other women when they don’t do things like we do. “Oh, you give them formula… oh…” says the die hard breast feeder. “Oh, your child is in public school…. oh…” says the homeschool mamma. Seriously, I could go on all day here. The comparison game is never ending- Spanking vs non-spankers, working moms vs stay at home moms, Homeschool moms vs public school moms vs private school moms. All organic gluten free vegan mom vs… well, the rest of us. I wonder what it would do in our relationships and with our family members if we asked the Lord to help us in this area? To show us areas where we’re comparing ourselves and the way we raise our kids to what everyone else is doing and then ask the Lord to help us to stop comparing. God has a specific way He wants you to raise your kids that may be different from other families- and that’s okay. We gather wisdom, seek advice, read books, pray- and then lead and guide our family with what we feel is best. But just remember- don’t criticize other mamas. We’re all in this together.

3)  Brave moms realize their most important ministry is their family. When all of my kids were littles, at times I felt like the ‘adult’ world was passing me by and my brain was turning into mush. Friends were furthering their education, climbing the ladder at work, and doing things that looked so important. All the while my days all ran together, getting dressed up was a nice top with yoga pants, and fancy dinners were at Chick-fil-A. At times I felt like all those things I had dreamed about or wanted to work on were just not going to happen. As I look back I realize I was doing the greatest ministry ever known to woman- motherhood. I was home- nurturing, encouraging, training, teaching, disciplining, and refereeing…lol. The day in-day out stuff, the movie nights and the game nights, and the zoo days- that’s where it’s all at. These little things are the big things. When I look back I’m so thankful I had that time with them. And guess what? They are older now and still need me but in a different way, and now I can invest more time into some of those dreams. I think I thought I was going to be so old with no energy by the time we got here. So silly. Ladies, we create the temperature in our homes. We keep things together. Don’t resent your husband if they’re not organized enough or maybe they don’t do enough. I wasted so much time focused on what my husband didn’t do, that I couldn’t see all of the wonderful things he can do! We’ve been given the gift of doing these things around our home, staying on top of our activities, finding things. And our husbands need us to encourage them. Sometimes, if they feel like they can never do anything right, they stop trying. Don’t resent or despise your most important ministry, your family.

4) Brave moms get their strength from Him. Let’s face it, in this world you will have trouble. True story. And in our days, we have more than our share of meltdowns, breakdowns, and tantrums. And then there’s the kids… lol. As a mom, everyday has unexpected twists and turns. It can get so exhausting, feeling like you’re carrying the weight of the world. Brave moms find time, even if it’s only 3 minutes. While you’re changing that first early morning diaper, “Lord bless this day, I surrender to You. Give me strength and patience today.” Or perhaps when you are going pee, have some 4×6 index cards with your favorite scriptures on them right by the toilet. Gods Word is powerful and even just a few scriptures in the morning can give you strength and peace. Some great ones- 1 Chron. 16:11, Is. 41:10, Phil. 4:13, Ps. 18:32-34, Ex. 15:2, Duet. 31:6, Ps. 23:4. We need to pray for patience, peace and joy. Brave moms know we can’t do this thing on our own and in our own strength.

5) Brave moms say no. Brave moms say no so that we can say our best yes! Have you read Lysa TerKeurst’s book ‘The Best Yes‘? This book goes into more detail on this topic, but here are a few of my favorite quotes from her book. “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an overwhelmed soul.” She also says, “I know I’m caught in the rip current of people pleasing when I dread saying yes but I feel powerless to say no.” And finally, she says, “Saying yes all the time won’t make me wonder woman, it will make me a worn out woman.” Every single time you say yes to someone else, you’re saying no to your family. So make sure that your yeses are your best yeses! See, I might be good at a lot of things, but I can’t be doing everything. If I did everything I could do, I would be directing kids choir, working in kids church, volunteering in the nursery, speaking, writing, acting…. Do you see what I mean? There is a season for everything and we have to pray about every potential opportunity, because it will be a commitment. We need to pray for wisdom. Right now I have to do what I feel like Gods calling me to do. Don’t get me wrong- we need volunteers- in our churches, in our kids schools, at Mops. But if you’ve been doing it for years and you’re feeling burnt out and you stress out every time you have to get ready for that thing, and you stress your family out because of it, but you feel guilty asking to step down or for a break, well, maybe it’s time to take a break. We can’t do everything. We can all do our part, but we should never feel guilty for using the no word. We are the keepers of our family’s schedules and we must protect that time. They need us to. We went through a season about 2 years ago where we basically laid everything in our lives down. I began homeschooling and my husband stepped down from being the Children’s Pastor at our church. There were no school activities, no fundraisers, no sports, and no church requirements. It was quiet and weird. At first I wanted to immediately fill our schedule back up with things to do. We had been serving in Children’s Ministry for 15 years and for the first time in our marriage we had no ministry responsibilities. Like I said, it was just weird. And over the years, as we have slowly added back things into our lives, I’ve had many opportunity to say yes, but I make sure that they’re things that fall into line with what I feel like we’re supposed to be doing. And with each new opportunity I pray and I count the cost. And I’m okay with saying, “Thank you for thinking of me but I won’t be able to at this time.”

6) Brave moms trust that God will get them through. There are so many things out there that could really stress a mamma out. Amen?! Ebola, Isis, our kid’s schools, wars, diseases. And we all have our own mommy fears- Will my kid make friends, will my kids go to a good school, what if my kid gets bullied, what if my kid ever walked away from following God, what if my kid is the bully? You get the picture here. With all of our fears and all the depressing news out there, it’s enough to make you want to lock your kids in doors and throw out the TV! But brave moms look up. Brave moms realize that no matter what we might go through that God is in control and that God has the final say. Brave moms know that God loves our kids even more than we do. Let me just encourage you today- He sees everything. When our heart breaks, His heart breaks. He hears our prayers and I believe that He’s working everything out for the good for those who love him. Brave moms trust that even on our worst day with Him, it’s better than our best day without Him.

I encourage each of you to your own best brave. Whatever that looks like for you in this next season. Buy a Brave journal– Journal it; document it; and let God guide and direct you to being your best brave mommy. Amen!

 

Let’s All Be Brave- Stop Waiting to Feel It

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Remember the high board at the swimming pool? After days of looking up at it you finally climbed the wet steps to the platform. From there, it was higher than ever. There were only two ways down: the steps to defeat or the dive to victory. You stood on the edge, shivering in the hot sun, deathly afraid. At last you leaned too far forward, it was too late for retreat, and you dived. The high board was conquered, and you spent the rest of the day diving. Climbing a thousand high boards, we demolish fear…
Richard Bach- A Gift of Wings

I am the best starter ever. I have started a thousand books. Don’t ask me how many I’ve finished. I started reading ‘let’s all be brave‘ by Author Annie F. Downs. And no pun intended (well, maybe some), but I didn’t want to put it down (see what I did there?). The message in my heart all year has been, be brave, step out, don’t compare, be your best brave. I ordered her book because I was researching the topic of brave. And this book spoke words my heart needed to hear. Sometimes in a quiet, encouraging whisper, “Hey, you’ve got this, it’s time.” Other times shouting to the fear that likes to hang around all too much, “Hey punk, leave, I’m doing it anyways.”

When I moved from Colorado to Texas, many of you know I didn’t want to move. I wanted to live and die in Colorado. True story. But God had other plans. And just like Annie talks about her move from a place of friendship, family, and comfort, I too was leaving a place that was all of that and more, and embarking into the unknown. But God knew. And He’s reminded me since something that I hold so deep and dear in my heart…. my home is wherever I am with Him. He is my home. But I never ‘felt’ brave. Page 53- “I never felt brave. I never had a moment of extreme courage or belief that this was going to be the best decision I had ever made. I just did the next thing. Quit my job. Sold my house. Packed my belongings. Said good-byes.”

I’m convinced that many of us are waiting on a feeling. We want to feel brave before we step out. We want to feel brave before we jump off that diving board. We want to feel brave before we make that next move. But we get stuck. We get stuck on the diving board of life. The jump looks too high. The fall makes our stomach turn a bit. And we wait. And wait. Let me rewind and tell you what would have happened had I waited for that ‘brave’ feeling. My 20 year old self would have never packed up her life and threw everything in her car and left Palm Springs, CA. headed for Bible College in Oak Cliff, TX. My 30 year old self would have never left her comfortable spot as the Children’s Pastors of a large church in Irving, TX. to head for a small church in a parking lot in Castle Rock, CO. (which BTW has since has grown into the largest church on Castle Rock, CO.). And my 30 something year old self would not have left a huge chunk of my heart in Colorado to head for South Texas (Literally five minutes from Mexico). And last, but definitely not least, my 39 year old self, had I waited to ‘feel’ brave would have NEVER agreed to my husband quitting his position as the Children’s Pastor, pulling my kids out of private school, homeschooling, once again selling our house, moving in with my in laws for a year, and starting a non-profit. Seriously, if I had waited to ‘feel’ brave, my adventures might be limited to anything that feels safe and comfortable, which ironically can’t quite be counted as an adventure, now can it?!

Let me make something quite clear if I haven’t already- BEING BRAVE ISN’T A FEELING. Page 37- “I know my my tendencies and fears, and I also know my gifts and hopes. It’s where those meet that I often find God cheering for me to make the brave choice. You have to believe in the One who made you. I am confident in who God made me, but certain I couldn’t do this life-or be brave-on my own.”

And everyone’s brave is unique and different. Page 41- “…God made us each on purpose. If we are unique as the Bible says we are, then our calls to courage are each equally unique.” “We each just have to be brave in our own ways.” Someone once said. “Be Your Best Brave“. Okay, it was me.

Some of you reading this have regrets. You wish you had done things differently. You wish you had taken that trip when you had the chance or chose another job than the one you have now. Here’s what I know about God- (1) He uses everything. Nothing is wasted. (2) It’s never too late to start living your brave.

And if you feel like your best days are behind you and wonder if there’s even any point to asking God what His brave is for you, I have this quote from Michael Hyatt1614356_10152539872289385_2062504460153364420_oHere’s the deal- you still breathing? Okay, then there’s braver living to be done.

You have today. And that is more than some. No one ever said that being brave was going to be easy. But I promise, it is worth it, choosing brave over comfort, it is worth it… Every.Single.Time.

The last thing I want to say on this (seriously, I could quote this book for days), is about her chapter on ‘the rhythm’. She talks about the ‘D’ word. I know, I know, don’t check out yet. In our day and age the word ‘discipline’ has gotten a bad rap.  Whatever brave step He’s calling you to take next, you won’t get there by sitting around and ‘hoping’ something happens. Page 181- “Professionals choose to practice, even when it hurts, because they know that practicing gives them the strength and power to perform in clutch moments.” Page 189- “Your discipline, the rhythm that makes you the best you- whether it’s training your body, your mind, or your spirit- shows up when it is time to say the right thing, do the right thing, be the brave person you want to be. It’s the practice that makes perfect, and the practice that makes you brave.” So stinkin true. Look at discipline as your tool to preparing you for your next brave move.

If it’s not obvious enough, I definitely recommend this book. Annie writes from her own brave place and I love how her voice comes through in her writing. She writes from many different coffee shops, so if you know me, she had me at the first coffee shop!

Let’s pray….

Lord, I believe you’re calling us to step out, into the great unknown. (Sorry, about to sing an Oceans song). Lord, guide and direct us to live this life that you’ve given us brave. Help us to kick fear to the curb and do it anyways. We can’t go back and change what’s already been done, but we have today. And I pray we don’t waste it. Thank you that we are brave because You make us brave. Thank You that You redeem everything and with You, nothing is wasted. Am I breathing? Yes. I have purpose. Help me to be my best brave so that You, Lord, would receive all the glory in my life. Amen.

 “What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?

BTW…Want it on sale? Click here… Let’s all be brave…. (you’re welcome) 🙂

Brave Retreat/Brave Journal

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“I don’t feel very brave,” was a comment I found myself hearing more and more. I speak. I haven’t spoken a ton, but more and more doors have been opening lately. I feel really blessed. And I also along with the feelings of joy and nervousness meshed together, I feel fear. I use to wonder how can something I absolutely know I’m called to do make me so anxious. And then it clicked. A calling isn’t a feeling. It’s something we know, something that’s been confirmed in our hearts and spirit that we’re supposed to be doing. And honestly, if I waited to feel brave (courageous) before I did anything- well, I wouldn’t do very much. Being brave isn’t a feeling. Let me repeat that in case you’re just waking up… brave isn’t a feeling. Brave is something you do.

I was invited to speak at a church this month in New York. I’ve known about this opportunity for a while and had much time to prepare and pray. I felt ready- yet still not feeling particularly brave. But I know it’s what I’m supposed to do. And I stepped out into the deep waters. I left behind the shallow shores and was obedient. And here’s the thing- I loved it. I really did! But I still get nervous and have to silence the enemy’s voice daily. All the ‘what-ifs’ swirl through my head: “What if I look at my notes too much?”, “What if it’s too serious?”, “What if Gods anointing doesn’t show up?”  And I have to get back into His Word and remind myself of His promises. That song by Bethel is right on, He Makes me Brave. It’s His Word and His presence and His voice inside of me that makes me step out and have courage (bravery).

I am still reveling about the ‘Be Your Best Brave’ Women’s Retreat. God reminded me during that time that my job is to be obedient and step out. That’s it. And He takes over. He’s just looking for a willing and obedient vessel- willing to step out into the deep, regardless of our feelings. Brave is definitely not a feeling.

But even more than just seeing God bring me through and confirm the call, He touched my heart through these women. These women that I was sent to encourage, encouraged me. Leaving that retreat, I was encouraged more than anything to be my best brave in the area of my family- my first ministry. And these aren’t major things here people, but they are important! These are things like making sure I’m available more to my kids, especially the evenings & weekends and being fully present (intentional). Taking care of my house, making it a peaceful home, not a cluttered, chaotic home. Being more of help mate for my husband. Sometimes I’m so focused on encouraging other people, I forget my husband and kids need it most from me. One girl said her husband is in the navy and they just moved (again), and she’s not working and people keep asking her, “So, did you find a job yet.” Or they ask her, “So, what do you do?” God was asking her, “What if your only job was to take care of your home and your husband and be the best (brave) wife that you could be?” In other words, if that was her only ministry at this moment, could God be enough for her in that? I just sat there, totally blown away by her heart.
‘Brave Girls Wait’ really hit home with a lot of the women. Some are feeling restless, wondering what’s next. I talked about what it looked like to wait on the Lord. Waiting isn’t sitting around eating bon-bons while waiting for Jesus to fly in and deliver our next mission. Waiting for us is a verb. It means reading His Word, studying His Word, journaling and writing down what He’s speaking to us, spending time in our prayer closets, turning up the praise & worship and just worshiping Him. That is our Brave Wait. And not feeling guilty about it, you know, about not knowing what’s next. It’s all part of the plan. Allow yourself to wait on the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (or change your desires to line up with His desires).

Last story (there are so many, I could write for days). One sweet girl was a new Christian. She said she realized that she’s been dating guys because she’s attracted to their parents. What I mean is, she has some abandonment issues with her biological parents and if she was dating a guy that maybe wasn’t so good to her, but she loved the parents, she might stick around longer. She craved that parental attention. And as we were all talking, in comes Mrs. P. Mr’s P and I could relate because of something that happened to both of us in our past. I really like Mrs. P. An older woman, very loving and kind and nurturing. She looked at this young girl, who so desperately needed a mother figure in her life and said, “Would you let me love you and be that for you?” Who does that?! Tears fell (from all of us!) and she said, “Will you let me just hug you.” And as they embraced I felt like God was pouring out His healing balm all over this young girls heart. And I later told Mrs.P, “You are my hero.” (and she said she didn’t feel like a hero, because we never do, do we?) Something I told the ladies that weekend was this- “The place of your greatest pain will be the place of your greatest ministry.” Mrs. P lives this out every day.

Thank you ladies for causing my heart to overflow with love, gratitude, and joy!

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This retreat in a few words….

To God be all the glory.

He makes us Brave.

 

 

 

 

Now for my special announcement if you haven’t heard already!!!! Our Be Your Best Brave Journal!!!

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In March, the Lord gave me a theme for this year. I journaled my little heart out, researching brave songs, brave scriptures, brave definitions, and brave quotes. And then I had an idea. We all do things everyday that are brave for us. I wrote my most popular blog ever, ‘Be Your Best Brave‘ (realizing that this topic struck a chord for a lot of us). The Lord was moving me to do things that were brave for me. They might not have necessarily been brave for someone else, but they were brave for me. And I wanted a special place to document my brave, where it wouldn’t just get lost in the lines of my journal. That way, whenever I was feeling especially timid and not very brave, or discouraged, feeling like I should be farther along in my journey, I could go back and see see how the Lord has made me brave and He has me in my journey, right where I need to be. From that place was birthed my Brave Journal. And I have to say- this is me stepping out and being brave. At no point did I feel qualified or that I am the final authority on being brave. It’s me stepping out and being obedient. I could not have done it without my husband (who typed in everything for me and made sure the format was correct and supported me) and my crazy talented graphic designer Jen Wagner who did all the brave graphics throughout this journal and the cover. I was able to finish this journal in time for my Brave Retreat and was so excited to get them in the hands of many ladies. It is my prayer that you would get this journal, and get them into the hands of your friends, daughters, aunts, sisters- and I even made these journals gender neutral for guys too! If you’re local, I am doing a book signing at Starbucks (on Morrison) on Sunday Nov. 2nd from 4-6pm, or I can sign and ship directly to you. Private message me your address and how many you want, or you can just order them directly from Amazon! (Oh, and if you’ve started yours, can you pretty please go to Amazon to leave a review… this really helps a sister out!) Or you can order direct from the publishing company CreateSpace.

My friend just received hers last week and this is what I told her-

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Honesty, when I run, when I speak, when I write and spill my guts, when I clean the house sometimes, I don’t do it because its easy and I just happen to have all this free time. Hahaha… no. I do it because Greater is He that is in me, and the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. And because He makes me brave!!

So go get your Brave on!!! And get your Brave Journals!! If you’re interested in me selling them at an event or a craft fair, doing a signing, or me bringing them and speaking at your group (Mops, church brunch/event, women’s event), just use the contact form on my website.

Let’s all go out and not only be our own best brave, but encourage others to be their own best brave too!!!  And when you share your stories of you doing something brave (stepping out of your comfort zone) please hashtag #BeYourBestBrave on facebook, twitter, or Instagram so I can find you being Brave and we can all encourage each other!

Your Best Brave is on the other side of your fear.

Be Brave. Be Strong. Don’t Give up. Expect God to get here soon.

Psalms 31:24 (MSG)

 

Be Your Best Brave

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“When the Lord makes it clear you’re to follow Him in this new direction, focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others.”
― Charles R. Swindoll

There are two types of athletes. Those that are running in a competition to beat their opponents time and then there are those, like myself, that enjoy running to beat their own time. I race against my own clock. I am my biggest opponent; at times my best cheerleader and at other times my worst enemy. I am at my best when I allow myself grace against the clock. But it’s times when I compare myself to your clock that I find my confidence waning. I see your brave and I feel inferior. I compare my journey and I see the distance between us and I feel as if I should be running faster and harder to the goal. I compare my spiritual steps to yours and wonder why though just yesterday I had felt as if I had traveled so far, today I feel as if I’m miles behind.

I have figured it out- although my brain will need to be reminded daily, if not, hourly. I am yet again comparing my brave to yours. And I must remind myself of how far I have traveled. You see, you don’t know my entire brave journey- but I do. And the more I remind myself of how brave I have truly been, the more I am reminded of just how far I have come. Not your brave but my brave. And I must remember that I will never achieve my own personal best brave, the one God has called me to, if I’m always comparing my brave to your brave.

I love these synonyms for brave- spirited, spunky, lionhearted, undaunted, and fearless. We each are called to our own fearless, spirited and spunky journey!

So today, I applaud your brave, because I don’t know your full story. I have a feeling that you’ve walked through your own struggles and you’ve had your share of heart ache- yet you’ve carried on; you’ve persevered. And today, instead of comparing how inadequate I sometimes feel to your brave, I’m going to celebrate your baby steps and ask that you celebrate mine. And when we start to read blogs or Facebook posts about someone else’s successes, we must train ourselves to squish that little green monster inside of us that might want to try and compare or criticize. Instead, let us ban together to say “your brave looks pretty good on you just as my brave looks pretty good on me.” No more tearing each other down in this never ending, never winning, comparison game. My brave will always look different than your brave and that is exactly how it should be.

For some of us, our brave might be teaching a Bible Study, while someone else’s brave might be attending a Bible Study. Your brave might look like running a marathon while my brave might look more like running a 5k. My brave might be speaking to a group of women while your brave might be starting a blog. Whatever it is, embrace it and look to Jesus to whisper to your heart what your next brave step might look like.

Psalms 27:14 (Living Bible)- Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you.

We all have been commissioned to be a light in a dark place. You might not feel like your inspiring anyone with your life, but I promise you this- people are watching, and you don’t have to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to inspire. Sometimes my brave is just inviting people over for a meal or a game and not worrying about a perfect house. God has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us. We are all uniquely fashioned and formed for something specific, just for us; a specific brave.

I ask you, what is your best brave? I’m not asking what you see others do that you wish you could do. Think about the things that make your heart beat fast or perhaps the things that people compliment you on. Think about those things that you do, that when you finish you say to yourself, “This is exactly it.” Don’t waste one more second allowing the enemy to make you believe you’re inadequate or not good enough. You are enough, because the One who made you lives in you… and He, my friends, is more than enough. Together, let us unite, encouraging one another- one brave step at a time!

Repeat after me:

I am enough

I am brave

My brave is different than your brave

I applaud your brave

Kind people are brave people. Brave is not something you should wait to feel. Brave is a decision. Glennon Doyle Melton, Momastery