By Jennie Denney
God's Brave Women - Jennie's Story
"Instead of announcing who made the team, we're going to hand out envelopes as you leave today to let you know whether you made the team or not because only one of you didn't make it."
I rose from where I was seated with the other girls on the high school gym floor who tried out for the freshman softball team, feeling a knot in my stomach. I met eyes filled with pity as I reached for the threatening white envelope, and I knew I was the one who did not make the team.
I walked out of that gym by myself, and as I neared the blue double doors on the other end of the hallway, I slowly opened up the white envelope, took out the paper, and read the words I knew were coming, "You did not make the team."
I tossed the white envelope and paper into the garbage can and made a silent promise to myself to never try out for something where I might face rejection again.
"I tossed the white envelope and paper into the garbage can and made a silent promise to myself to never try out for something where I might face rejection again."
It's interesting how childhood experiences can flare up at the most unsuspecting times so many years later. Here I am in my mid-thirties with a husband and four kids. I've traveled the world, worked to rescue victims of human trafficking, lived in an intentional community, and I'm almost a seminary graduate. I’ve done many brave things in my life, but for some reason, I was unprepared for what was to come.
A job opportunity came up a few weeks ago, one where, as I read the description and requirements, my heart jumped. I knew in my soul that this was exactly the job I wanted.
As I reached for my computer to inquire about the job, I hesitated.
Fear and anxiety washed over me. What if they said I'm not qualified? What if I went ahead and applied, and someone else got it? All the what-if’s began to crowd out the excitement, and then I started to make excuses not to apply.
I don't need the job anyway.
What would I do with the kids?
Maybe right now isn't the right time.
It would be too painful to try and not get it.
What if people found out?
I saw that freshman in high school throwing away the white envelope and rejection letter as she made a silent promise to never try out for something she thought she might be rejected from.
I saw myself retreat back into the comfort of familiarity and non-rejection because I wanted to protect my heart from the possibility of feeling that oh so painful sting again.
I didn't feel brave enough to risk it.
It was then that I heard Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:11b, "How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
Could I trust that God would give me good things? Could I trust that even if I applied and got rejected, God was still good? Could I be brave enough to give God my desires, even if it resulted in not getting what I wanted?
"Could I trust that God would give me good things? Could I trust that even if I applied and got rejected, God was still good? Could I be brave enough to give God my desires, even if it resulted in not getting what I wanted?"
I had a choice to make. I chose to be brave.
I looked in the mirror and told that rejected freshman softball player that she was not a reject.
I told her that she was one of the bravest girls I knew because she tried out for the freshman softball team even though she had never played softball before.
I told her I admired her courage and asked her to remind me of who that brave little girl was.
I then asked God to help me be brave. I asked him to help me as I inquired about the job because I needed his help to overcome my fears.
Then I took a deep breath and pushed the send button – knowing that yes, I was going to choose the path of courage and:
- Trust that God would give me good things
- Believe that even if I applied and got rejected, God was still good
- Know that I could be brave enough to trust God with my desires, even if it hurt.
And you know what? Weeks later, I’m still waiting.
I now realize this lesson in bravery was so much more than just hitting a send button to inquire about the job. It has also included waiting. Waiting for the interview. Waiting to hear after the interview. Wondering whether I will get the call or email letting me know I made it to the next round of interviews or not. As I wait, I’m realizing the courage it took to hit the send button was just the beginning of this journey.
"Learning to be brave – no matter the outcome, moment after moment, day after day, week after week – this is the process of releasing the what-ifs and the stories I have told myself about who I am. And it sends me to the safe and loving arms of Jesus."
Learning to be brave – no matter the outcome, moment after moment, day after day, week after week – this is the process of releasing the what-ifs and the stories I have told myself about who I am. And it sends me to the safe and loving arms of Jesus. It is in these moments that I am able to get a better glimpse of my good Father, who’s trustworthy, gracious and loving. Who knows my deepest desires and fears. Who always has my best interest at heart.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
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Jennie Denney is an author, writer, poet, seminary student, wife, and mom to four children. She loves to listen and encourage others as they are shaped and molded into the likeness of Jesus through their life experiences. Each Tuesday she shares a Tuesday practice on Instagram, where she encourages her readers to take some time out of their day to connect with God in a deep and meaningful way.
She has connected with various artists and, together, they are working on a collaboration project that will take twenty-one of her Tuesday Practices and combine them with artwork into a journal. She hopes this beautiful journal, along with these practices, will become habits in the lives of her readers, helping to mold and shape them to become more like Jesus.