“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!
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!!!
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-
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)