By Jenny Lynne Stroup
God's Brave Women - Jenny Lynne's Story
There are a few moments in my life where outsized pride outpaces humility and leads to memorable – if not painful – lessons.
One moment that stands out was during one of my husband’s deployments. Like many military spouses in similar situations, I was playing both mom and dad to our toddlers, scheduling a PCS, and generally trying to keep my head above water. Many days I felt like the stress was greater than the success. But one day, I felt like Super Woman.
It was the first of the month. The boys and I ran errands all over town. We conquered Sam’s Club, the bank, the grocery store, and a few smaller tasks. I posted about it on social media. I praised myself for how well things had gone, and for how great I was feeling. It was an ode to myself and the Super Woman status I deserved.
And then it happened. The ding on my cell phone was a notification from the bank. It turned out that I used the wrong card for EVERY. SINGLE. PURCHASE. during my Super Woman dash to run errands, withdrawing hundreds of dollars from an account with a zero balance.
"The ding on my cell phone was a notification from the bank. It turned out that I used the wrong card for EVERY. SINGLE. PURCHASE. during my Super Woman dash to run errands, withdrawing hundreds of dollars from an account with a zero balance."
Just like that, Super Woman status vanished quickly as I outed myself:
I've always heard, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans." Today, I thought I'd tell him how smart I was in my journal...10 minutes later I got an email from the bank telling me I over drafted my account...Yes, I am brilliant and I'm sure God is having a grand chuckle!
I was humbled and a little embarrassed at the time, but as time wore on between humbling moments, I once again put on my Super Woman cape. In retrospect this humbling turn of events taught me extraordinarily little.
Fast forward through an emotionally draining couple of years, I finally felt like my feet were on solid ground again. A steady practice of journaling, devotional reading, counseling, and being part of a loving community helped my wounds heal. I thought, the worst was behind me and because I made it through, life would be much easier from here on out.
"I thought, the worst was behind me and because I made it through, life would be much easier from here on out."
I was so confident I was through the hardest season of my life, I suggested a few books and Bible studies for my small group to read together.
First, we dug into It’s Not Supposed to be This Way, by Lysa TerKeurst. I chose this book for two reasons: 1. I really like Lysa’s work. 2. The worst was behind me. I also recommended it because I would be able to look back at the trauma, pain, and growth of the past few years and see that I made it. I assumed I was reading this book for the other people in my group who were currently walking through hard their own hard seasons. I began reading it with an air of haughty superiority because I was through the way it wasn’t supposed be – I was in the clear.
After completing Lysa’s book we did a Bible study on the book of Job. Again, I began the daily reading thinking: Bless his heart. How horrible for him. Going through a season of death and destruction is awful. Thank goodness I am on the other side.
In addition to the book and Bible study I did with my small group, I also read Remember God, by Annie F. Downs. By the time I read it, the book was a few months old. My best friend sent it to me when it was first published, yet it didn’t “speak to me” at the time. But now, months later, it seemed to be calling my name. The book seeks an answer to the question, “Is God kind?” Again, on the light side of my dark season, I answered, “Of course He is.” I was through what I knew was the hardest thing I would ever walk through and I was still standing.
After reading these books on suffering, I felt vindicated. I’m surprised I didn’t post, “I am Super Woman! Even my greatest fear coming true can’t keep me in the dark,” on social media.
Very subtle, Jenny Lynne. Humble.
Months after reading three books on suffering, a remnant from the past darkened the present and wrecked my bright and sunny reality. ALL of the things I knew I was through enveloped me in the dark once more.
My inner Super Woman crumpled. But in her place beamed small specks of courage and hope built on the foundation of months of reading books I thought no longer applied to me.
"Today I know the bravest thing I’ve done is to drop the cape, surrender the mask and with humility, cling to the truths I learned from stories I thought no longer applied to me. These truths that reassured me God is both present and kind in suffering, and that I can suffer well when I am in relationship with Him."
Today I know the bravest thing I’ve done is to drop the cape, surrender the mask and with humility, cling to the truths I learned from stories I thought no longer applied to me. These truths that reassured me God is both present and kind in suffering, and that I can suffer well when I am in relationship with Him.
I learned to be brave when I trusted that God is infinitely kind.
Brave Woman Manifesto
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 power. I would love to connect with you 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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About Jenny Lynne
Jenny Lynne is a writer, mental health advocate, military spouse and lover of community. Hospitality and belonging are the values she holds most dear. Though she is a native Virginian, Jenny Lynne is currently stationed in southern California with her husband and two boys.
Jenny Lynne is a former elementary school teacher who uses her love of teaching to educate and advocate for military family mental health both personally and professionally. She is currently working on her first book, an autobiographical novel about effects of the not so invisible wounds of post 9/11 warfare on a military family.