For my son, bravery has taken on the form of school work. He's struggled with language arts for several years. Spelling and writing are not easy for him. This year he participated in an intense language arts program called Essentials, which is part of our Classical Conversations community. In this class, he was required to write a paper every week. He had to learn about grammar, sentence structure, parts of speech, and creative writing. A year ago, he had never written more than a few sentences. A few weeks ago, he finished a two-page research paper on John James Audubon and read it, in the character of Audubon, in front of his entire class and his classmates' parents. He was nervous. He was uneasy. He had no idea how he was going to get through it. But he did it. And he was brave.
For my daughter, bravery means accepting an important role in an upcoming ballet. She's been cast as Little Alice in the ballet Alice in Wonderland, which is being performed by Cornerstone Academy for the Performing Arts. She's small, but she's mighty. The part will probably be difficult for her. It will require focus and concentration. She will have to practice more than she's ever practiced before. But I am confident that she will do an amazing job. And she will face it with bravery.
For one dear friend, being brave means standing up for herself, speaking her mind, and fighting for her marriage. For a few others, bravery means advocating for their children despite disheartening diagnoses or doctors threatening hospitalization. For another, the simple act of getting out of bed each morning is an act of bravery. Some are facing financial worries. Others are dealing with medical issues, family problems, marital distress, difficult pregnancies, job loss... the list of situations can go on and on.
For me, the definition of bravery has changed over time. As a small child, I was brave when I underwent six hours of emergency surgery while a doctor pulled glass out of my forehead, leaving me with over four thousand stitches. At another time, being brave meant holding myself together when my family was being ripped apart by divorce. Sometimes being brave meant telling the truth, even when I knew it would hurt those I loved the most. Sometimes it meant telling a lie to protect them, even when I knew the truth. More recently, bravery has taken the form of breaking away from traditional school choices and homeschooling our children. I had to be brave when God called me to open my home and lead a small Bible study, even though I'd never done anything like that before.
Today, though, and each week, my act of bravery happens when I hit that little "Publish" button up in the right hand corner of my screen. I share my story, my life, and my heart through the words I type here. God has preserved me through many things, and all the while, I was able to keep going because of His promise to use my story to bring glory to Him. Several weeks ago, God pushed me to begin blogging. It is slow going here, between homeschooling, mom and wife duties, and ministry, but I have been writing. Each time I publish a new blog post, my heart races, my palms get sweaty, and I question myself. But my Lord and Savior has called me to write. So I'm writing. My prayer is that each week, each month, my writing will become stronger, more in tune with God's call on my life. I want these words to be His words. But being transparent and allowing the world access to my heart is difficult. It is scary and vulnerable. It requires me to be obedient. I have to be brave.
What does being brave bring to your mind? Maybe it means standing in front of a room full of peers and speaking about something. Or it could involve doing something that terrifies you. Perhaps you would define bravery as the act of a soldier, police officer, fireman, or other service person performing their sworn duties. I don't know your story, but I know the God who created you. I know that He loves you and that He has great plans for your life. Those plans will likely require you to face your fears, to be open and honest, and to be obedient. In your own way, in your own time, you will have to be brave.
What does bravery look like in your life right now? How may I pray for you in that? I'd love to hear your story, to better understand what you are facing right now, so that we can encourage each other through prayer.
This post is part of #livefreeThursday (albeit it a day late) with the wonderful women over at Suzie Eller's blog, tsuzanneeller.com. Check out the links there for more encouragement.