God's Brave Women - Josi's Story
Insecurity has always been a mean influencer in my life, but that summer night – July 21, 2016 – was the first time it showed up in a 15-passenger van. It was getting dark. My husband, one-year-old son and I loaded up into the big van. We were heading to O’Hare, Chicago’s international airport.
What will they look like? How many belongings will they have with them? Will they speak English? What questions will they have, and will we be able to answer them? Will we be friends? Will they like their new home?
We parked the van and walked into the international baggage claim. There a petite widow with a head covering and five children, ages ranging from 8-19, sat waiting for us. This 40-year-old mother looked 60. I could not imagine the journey this woman had been on. More questions swirled around in my mind:
If we invite them to our home, what do we talk about or do together? Do they have a certain diet based on their religion? Will they like the food I make them? How can I be the best cultural broker for them? Where can I find them the help they need?
In the days and months to come I would hear her story—their story—while sitting on the floor of their apartment eating almonds and raisins and drinking copious amounts of tea. The loss, the trauma, the pain, and the fight that makes her who she is—who they are. I’ve spent hours with them in public service offices, counseling centers and emergency rooms. We’ve gotten knocks on our door at midnight opening it to tears and panic. We’ve been a part of intense family blow ups. I’ve had to muster up bravery to show up, to go to their home when I’d rather stay at my own. I’ve cried tears of helplessness for them. I’ve doubted my ability to help them at all. I’ve spent hours pleading to God about them. It’s been hard and heart-wrenching. More questions weighed on me:
How should I share the gospel? Am I demonstrating the gospel clearly enough? Do I truly trust the Spirit of God to work in spite of my cowardness and mistakes? Will I get to see the day they come to faith? How will it happen?
As an advocate for and friend of refugees, as a missionary, mom, follower of Jesus, disciple-maker, and friend... In every one of these areas I’ve felt the most insecure AND the most brave, all depending on where I set my heart and mind.
"As an advocate for and friend of refugees, as a missionary, mom, follower of Jesus, disciple-maker, and friend... In every one of these areas I’ve felt the most insecure AND the most brave, all depending on where I set my heart and mind."
My failures to be brave have a common culprit – insecurity. When I’m honest with myself, insecurity is the death of me. It pulls me inward. It paralyzes me, mocks me, hides me under a rock. If I pull the insecurity line more, I find at the end the dead weight of pride – an obsessed distraction with self. Jeremy Pierre says in “The Sin of Insecurity,” “Insecurity gums up our ability to do what God made us to do: love him and others. How many times have you been in a situation where you should have offered care to someone, but your mind is slogging through another round of how awkward you look in your pants that morning or how much smarter the person you’re talking to is? Being self-conscious is being conscious of self. We are not loving others when we are obsessing with ourselves; we are not in humility counting them as more significant and more worthy (Phil. 2:3).”
Every new year I choose a word to focus on. This year it’s “secure” because I suffer from chronic insecurity. (God knows I need a whole 365 days to meditate, ponder, and translate his truth to my heart.) In my researching, I heard it said that insecurity is a mercy. In Jon Bloom’s post “Lay Aside the Weight of Insecurity,” he calls insecurity "a God-gauge in our soul. It’s reporting to us that something is wrong with what we hear God or some other god telling us about who we are. Either a true belief is being challenged and perhaps refined, or a false belief is finally being exposed.”
So, being as insecure as I am, what has made me feel brave or has encouraged me to courageously step out into uncertain waters? In its simplest, truest form it’s trust in a sovereign God. IF I believe God is sovereign (that he makes all the calls and holds all the power, that he has his glory and my good in mind), then I know that any mistake I make or epic failure I experience will not throw me off course or ruin me.
There’s good news for the fearful, the shamed, the doubter, the coward. There’s always hope in the Spirit who lives in us, willing and working according to God’s good purpose (Phil. 2:13). Owning my insecurities and confessing them to God brings rest, empowerment and hope. I rediscover my God-given dignity, develop a stronger sense of self, and stop comparing and wishing. And I am reminded of my purpose: to love God and love people.
"Owning my insecurities and confessing them to God brings rest, empowerment and hope. I rediscover my God-given dignity, develop a stronger sense of self, and stop comparing and wishing. And I am reminded of my purpose: to love God and love people."
To quote Bloom again, “The more we understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we find it is the end of insecurity. There is an end to insecurity and all the fleshly striving it produces. It ends in Jesus.” THAT’S good news! What a relief, huh? We are secure and brave in Jesus.
Josi lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband of 8 years and their two small explorers and noisemakers (i.e., children). She stays home with the little ones while working part-time for Icon Ministries, a relational disciple-making ministry. She deems herself a life-long learner and lover of people. She's enthused about connecting with people around her table, finding ordinary adventures around the city with her family and friends, and uniquely living out Jesus' commission to make disciples of all nations. Connect with her on Facebook @josiseibert.
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...