God's Brave Women - Sue's Story
Brave. In the English language we know 'Brave' as an adjective, a descriptor, a way to describe a person's actions, right? Yes, except when it's not.
'Brave' for me has become a noun. A part of my identity. A part of me I would have never prayed for if I knew the circumstances it would take to flesh out a life of being brave.
God once said to me, “I call you Brave. You call yourself terrified. I call you Courageous. You call your yourself a coward. I call you Victory. You see your failures.” It was true. Yet, Romans 4:17 tells us that “God calls things which are not as though they were.” So God, You call me BRAVE? With one word He answered. “YES.” Names reveal identity. Knowing our identity propels us into our destiny.
And thus, over the past twenty years, have begun to unpack a big 'YES' to Jesus, through hundreds of terrifying small daily decisions.
"I was the first believer in the history of my family line and my "Yes" to Jesus did not come without a cost."
I was the first believer in the history of my family line and my "Yes" to Jesus did not come without a cost. From the people I loved the most in this world I heard, “What is happening to our daughter? She's in a cult. This too will pass. Can't someone get this Jesus out of her? Who raised you?!” At the time I was a young college student, and my family's approval meant everything. I was hurt beyond measure. But God. God doesn't waste a thing. Their rejection became the door through which the Love of God came flooding into my life. Jesus' greatest ministry is forgiveness, and through that rejection I learned to forgive to the point where I could no longer remember the pain. All I knew was that when God spoke, I came alive. Thus, I clung to His Words as if my life depended upon it. And it did. Terrified as I was, when my solid ground (my family) fell out from beneath my feet, He called me BRAVE.
Fast forward about a decade I am head over heels in love with Jesus. My husband and I had three lively and lovely children, we graduated from seminary, found a strong church community where we served on the pastoral team. Life was good, but a great stretching was at hand. God began to call us out.
He called us away from everything we knew – the place our children had been born, the community that believed in us more than we believed in ourselves, a tribe of people who had prayed for resurrection life when we were losing our first child, and so much more… All to Build His House. At the beginning of this process honestly, I was mad. I wouldn't pray. I didn't want to hear the answer to the question my heart was asking; Are You calling us to plant a church? I remember even asking a friend, 'Hey friend, when you pray will you talk to God for me?' She was a good friend so she did. She came back and said, "He said, 'He wants to talk to you.'" Mic Drop. God certainly has a wonderful sense of humor!
"Sometimes in life I have found God is doing something in us because He wants to give something to us. He wanted me to let go, to lean into uncertainty, banking on His Nature. He wanted to give me His Faith."
Sometimes in life I have found God is doing something in us because He wants to give something to us. He wanted me to let go, to lean into uncertainty, banking on His Nature. He wanted to give me His Faith. We leaped, we landed, we waited, we prayed, we planted, we got pregnant and in everything felt totally out of control. God held us near. Jesus is closest to those that are vulnerable. He did what He said he would do… Built His Church. All the while I felt like a complete coward, and still His Words remained, "I call you Courageous".
Yet, in my life I would say the most courageous act is the terrifying honor of raising children, His Children. A tiny heart is placed into our hands to mold, form, and ultimately release to be a world changer. That’s a big responsibility. Being a parent is incredible, scary, amazing, maddening, and beautiful all at the same moment. You really never feel ready and if you do by some strange phenomenon, a child is always ready to throw you a curveball.
About a year ago God spoke to my heart and said, “I am giving you power.” 'Oh good’, I thought because I am failing at a lot in life right now, I feel weak in so many areas. “'Not that kind of power. The Power of Being Present.”
That shifted everything for me, and I began down a road that had no off ramp. I am pretty vulnerable naturally, but still, I have viewed it as a weakness. God started to teach me about the power of being vulnerable/remaining present in my vulnerability with my children. I can still remember the day I asked my son to pray for me telling him that I was really having a hard day. He was shocked and said, “What?! Moms need Jesus’ help too?”
Children need to see a parent who needs Jesus just as much as they do. Our children will outgrow their need for us as their parents, but they will never outgrow their need for Jesus.
"Children need to see a parent who needs Jesus just as much as they do. Our children will outgrow their need for us as their parents, but they will never outgrow their need for Jesus."
I remember a time my oldest son was tasked with the job of cleaning the playroom, he said, ‘Okay’. But as I put too much pressure on my responsible firstborn to clean, he chose to play. My frustration began to rise. By the 10th time of checking on him and not seeing much process, I raised my voice and said “Finn, clean the playroom!”
Later he tells me, “Hey mom, remember when you got mad at me for not cleaning the playroom? Well, I felt scared and alone. But don’t worry. I asked Jesus, and He told me He was with me, and it was going to be okay.”
Crushed. Massive parenting fail I thought. But as God so kindly does, He gave me a different perspective. “He knew to come to Me. You taught him that. I never asked you to be perfect. Rather, teach them that I Am the perfect Father, and when you don’t meet their needs, I will be there. There is Grace enough to cover them. Now go ask Finn’s forgiveness for yelling at him.”
Humbling yourself and asking for a child’s forgiveness is difficult. To admit you were wrong to an eight-year-old takes courage, but in the Kingdom of Heaven that is a Victory. Connection to your child’s heart is the greatest gift.
In our family we are far from perfect. We fail more than most, I am sure. But we do aim to be present, be vulnerable and be brave. “You see your failures, but I call you Victory.”
Sue is a lover of Jesus, wife, mother to the fantastic four, pastor and teacher. She is passionate about pouring her life into that which is eternal. Seeing adults and children be utterly transformed by Jesus is her greatest joy. She believes we owe the world a message that's as good as He is. Sue and her husband, Christian, are the lead pastors at Frøntier Church in Pasadena, California. They believe the heart of God is to transform the world through a family of sons and daughters by demonstrating what He's like...releasing the realities of Heaven, here on earth...'til Heaven and Earth are one.
Children are a huge part of Sue's passion. She believes one of the greatest responsibilities we have as parents and educators is to raise up a generation of worshiping children who know WHO they are and WHOSE they are. She believes children are meant to host the presence of God and hear His voice as a natural part of life, and from that place they are released into their God-given destinies! Find out more about their church @frontierchurch.us, as well as the academy Sue teaches at HERE.
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
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