God's Brave Women - Erin's Story
I have walked down many hard roads. There have been times in my life when I could only take the next step because my God supplied His miraculous strength to move me forward. Six years ago, I carried my last baby for 24 weeks. Twelve of those weeks I knew she wasn’t going to live. A few years later I found myself pacing the halls of a packed children’s oncology facility, staring my greatest fears in the face… waiting for my oldest daughter to recover from her bone biopsy. Then, a few months ago, my liver began to suddenly and inexplicably fail on a remote island. I had to be life-flighted on a Lear jet in hopes of receiving a transplant. As I literally stared death in the face, I prayed my most surrendered prayers that night. Many would think those hard times would embody courage in my life, but in my heart, none of those times were my bravest moments.
When I think of bravery I think of the story found in Matthew 25:14-30. In this story three servants were entrusted with their Master’s riches: one was given five talents, one was given two talents and one man was given a single talent. The first two guys took their Master’s riches and multiplied them. But the man who was given one, took his talent, became scared, and buried it deep in the earth. Underneath, he did not really know his Master. He chose the fear of failure over courageously stepping out to use what God had given him. He preferred playing it safe and being lazy rather than experiencing the joy of seeing God multiply His blessings for the benefit of all around him. True bravery was found in the servant who was given five talents back when he originally only had one. Because this servant took his one talent and made it two, and then four and then five and finally ten. And how did he do it? He made a choice. He knew his Master’s character consisted of boundless grace, and so, he chose to believe in Him and His faithfulness. For five-talent-guy, failure didn’t seem like that big of a risk because he knew his Master’s character.
"We are brave when we make hard choices for our Master and trust Him… when we take a tiny little talent that we’ve been given and we bravely offer it to the world..."
We are brave when we make hard choices for our Master and trust Him… when we take a tiny little talent that we’ve been given and we bravely offer it to the world, unsure of whether it will bring anything of value to anyone at all. It’s that first offering of the smallest gift God has deposited in us, hoping that God’s faithfulness to take our offerings and bless and multiply them is actually true. It’s the moment when we choose to put it out there, knowing that people could laugh at us…but then wonder, what if they don’t? Or when we take that first step, knowing we just might fall, but act on the vision of what happens if we actually fly.
The bravest moment of my life to date was the day I wrote a post on my community page with three thousand people watching. “I’d like to offer beginner sewing classes starting in the beginning of January…” When I pushed ‘share,’ I didn’t consult anyone, not even my husband. I didn’t ask my friends if it was a good idea. I just went out on a limb, all by myself, and offered a piece of myself to the world. I didn’t know what would come of it, but within 24 hours that class filled up. It was a resounding success, and I am now teaching sewing classes professionally in my community. But producing successful seamstresses wasn’t the only fruit I experienced. By stepping out and trusting God with this desire, I actually learned that I’m a teacher. I honestly had no idea, but my Master did, and He wanted to show me what He had placed deep within my heart. This is the talent He intends to multiply.
Much like this brave step, I also began a non-denominational women’s fellowship event called ILLUMINATE here in my small community. Again, I had no idea how it would go over, who would want to come or what it would look like. I just knew I really wanted to teach God’s word. The first event was truly beautiful and uplifting. We had 70 seats and 68 of them were full. Within one year we had four of these events, and during the most recent ILLUMINATE, I got to tell over one hundred women about the full access we have to all the depths of God through the Holy Spirit. That no matter how much we ever do for Him, or how much we pursue Him, not one of us is given any more than the other because we are all given all of Him. This truth still washes me afresh each time I think of it.
"By the time we see fruit from our first investment, our courage grows, and our trust in our Master’s goodness grows as well."
My point is this. When we do that one brave thing with that one talent… When we trust that our Master is a good master… When we trust that openly offering our talents to the world actually allows them to be multiplied… It is a very brave thing. By the time we see fruit from our first investment, our courage grows, and our trust in our Master’s goodness grows as well. Soon we’ll be making that second, third and fourth investment. Someday soon our gracious Master is going to come and collect, and when that happens, we are going to realize two things. First, that all of these talents have only been entrusted to us. They never have, nor will they ever belong to us. Second, our generous Father cannot wait to share the full return on His investment... When we gaze upon the culmination of all we have done with His talents, God will look at us and say, “Share your Master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:23)
Erin Richer is a writer and speaker currently living in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Recognizing herself as a small character in an eternal narrative written by a trustworthy Author, Erin loves to retell the stories into which she’s been written. She shares in a relatable way, hoping others can see themselves as valuable characters within the same infinite story. Erin got her B.A. from The George Washington University and her M.S. from Fuller Theological Seminary. She has worked off and on as a marriage and family therapist. Child of God, wife to a Navy diver and part-time homeschooling mother of three are the enduring roles that propel the plot and keep the pages of her story rapidly turning. You can read more @ erinricher.com