Updated: Jan 14, 2020
By Rachel Lee
God's Brave Women - Rachel's Story
Growing up, I had fond memories of hot, summer days spent at the local lake, learning to swim at the instruction of my father. My dad loved to swim, and he was a great teacher too! He offered patient assistance, affirmation and the occasional correction, when I was in need of further guidance. He gave me the knowledge I needed and the kind of confidence that comes only with practice.
I was not afraid to go out into the deep end of the lake, in over my head, so long as he was the one beckoning me. I knew that if I began to sink, his arms would reach out and catch me. I grew stronger and more confident with each brave plunge I took.
Who Do You Trust?
Looking back, I can see that my acts of bravery were far less about me, and much more about whom I trusted to catch me. I KNEW that my daddy would never let me fall. And because of that knowing, I was courageous enough to jump.
"Looking back, I can see that my acts of bravery were far less about me, and much more about whom I trusted to catch me."
My early years of walking with the Lord were much like those summer days with my dad, learning to swim. I have always known that God loves me, and I believed that His plans for me were good. Because of my confidence in God’s love and care, whenever He’d call me to jump out into the deep waters of faith, (as He often did), it was easy for me to brush my fears aside, and take the leap, without much thought.
I was given ample opportunity to test my “faith muscles” in those early years. The Lord frequently coaxed me out of my comfort zone - beyond the boundaries of “safe” - with the limits being pushed a little farther each time.
And then a little farther.
And a little farther still.
My faith grew exponentially with each plunge I took, as I learned to trust His sturdy embrace.
But what happens when that trust is compromised? When the one who is “supposed” to catch you, somehow misses? When the fall on the way down leaves you badly broken, battered and bruised?
“You are so brave,” she responded, after learning the details of my daughter’s accidental death. I had heard these familiar sentiments before, and it never ceased to perplex me. Brave? What exactly about my story makes me brave? It’s not as though I had chosen this journey. And if given the choice, I certainly would have chosen differently.
Shouldn’t the term “brave” be reserved to describe those who are prepared to face danger or pain, willingly? That’s how Merriam Webster describes it. It’s choosing, despite the odds, to boldly walk forward into the fire.
These are the brave. The ones who defy logic, face their fears and risk their lives, knowingly. They are the ones who deserve the accolades.
Brave. I once balked at the term. But perhaps brave looks slightly different than what we’ve been conditioned to believe. Perhaps it looks less like a single act of fearless courage and more like a daily walk of surrender.
"But perhaps brave looks slightly different than what we’ve been conditioned to believe. Perhaps it looks less like a single act of fearless courage and more like a daily walk of surrender."
What Being Brave Really Means
In the early years following my daughter’s tragic death, brave looked much more like wading in the shallow, than diving into the deep.
For me, being brave meant:
Getting out of bed, when I wanted to hide beneath my covers.
Staying in my marriage, when I really wanted to leave.
Being patient with my progress, when I wanted to give up.
Deciding to trust God, when I wanted to curse Him instead.
Choosing to live, when I wanted to die.
Mary Anne Radmacher says, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I’ll try again tomorrow.”
For those whose hearts have been ripped from their chests, this is what it means to be brave - to put one foot in front of the other. To pray. To hope. To believe. To intentionally choose to trust that God is good, because His Word says so, even when our heart screams otherwise.
It’s telling the truth.
It’s being honest with yourself.
It’s admitting how badly it hurts.
It’s asking for help and then being willing to receive that help when it’s given you.
Lauren Raffo says, “Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one.”
I couldn’t agree more!
Brave is loving with your whole heart, knowing that at any moment, it could break.
Brave is getting out of bed in the morning when you’d rather not face reality.
Brave is allowing others to care for you, so that in so doing, you can care for yourself.
Brave is continuing to trust in the goodness of God, amid the presence of suffering.
Brave is diving in, despite the unknown.
This is hard work. Soul work.
Each day we are given a choice. We can choose to give up. Or we can choose to look up instead.
"Each day we are given a choice. We can choose to give up. Or we can choose to look up instead."
Coming Full Circle
I recently had the pleasure of watching my husband teach our daughter to back-float in the river. Her tiny frame appeared to be no match for the turbulent waters, and each time the waves kicked up around her, fear quickly took hold.
Her daddy, knowing just what to do, put his strong arms beneath the small of her back, and looking her square in the eyes, he said, “Trust me. I’ve got you.” Her fear didn’t instantly dissipate, but with every attempt, she grew stronger and bolder. And by the end of the day, our little girl was proud of the strides she had made.
Beloved, it’s pertinent to remember that brave doesn’t always look like one giant, fearless plunge. It’s very often a small, timid stride.
And then another.
And then another still…
There is One whose hand rests on the small of your back, and whispers in your ear, “Trust me. I’ve got you.” Leaning into His love will make us the bravest we’ll ever be.
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and grit. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my lovely email tribe.
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After the heart-wrenching loss of two of her children, Rachel invites others alongside her to rediscover what it truly means to have hope despite the presence of suffering. She is a lover of Jesus, coffee, hugs, and nature. She resides in the rural town of Enumclaw, Washington with her husband, eight children, and a handful of chickens. As a firm believer in authentic connection, Rachel invites you to connect with her further on her blog, rachelmarielee.com and on her favorite social media sites. Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest
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