Who is braver: Superman or Clark Kent?

A note of brave for you on this Monday afternoon.   Let this blog post written by Barb Stanz sink in a bit. Grab a coffee with an open heart and mind…

Who do you think is braver: Superman or Clark Kent? superman

Superman flies around Metropolis saving its citizens from all types of disasters.  He sounds brave to me. Clark Kent is a mild mannered guy; at times he is even clumsy and awkward.  Clark doesn’t seem so brave.

It’s easy to see Superman’s courage as he saves Lois Lane from Lex Luther.  But when I think about it, being bold is being like Clark Kent.  Clark does not go out and save the world. Instead, he makes daily, morally correct decisions. That is its own type of courage.

Listening to God and obeying Him can be scary.  Putting His will before mine is hard, and at times even alien.  Sometimes God wants me to put the blue superhero suit on, but usually He wants me to do simpler things. Things like helping someone, giving to another person, or praying more.  Simply stated, He wants me to love more. That can take a lot of courage.

Recently God put a person on my heart and told me to love them.  I thought “I do love them, why tell me that?”  Once I got over the surprise of being told to do what I was already doing, He revealed to me that I may love Chris with my words, but not with my thoughts.  Prideful thoughts were affecting how I saw Chris.  Thanks to God’s great timing, I was with Chris that same day for an hour or so.  Sure enough, my words said one thing while my thoughts said another.  Because of God’s earlier prompting, I was aware of just how “loving” I was being.  This enlightenment helped me focus on my thoughts and take some captive.  I didn’t get all the thoughts, but the awareness of my judgmental attitude altered my behavior.

At first glance, this may not appear daring, but truly allowing God to reveal to me my innermost thoughts took courage.  I could have simply continued on my merry way and not allowed Him to shine a light on that filth in me.  He opened my eyes to my judgment, and it was ugly. Looking at it took strength.

Every day we are given the opportunity to be heroic, to love others as we love ourselves.  My kryptonite is different from yours.  The issues that test my bravery are not necessarily the same as yours.  But we all have issues, and each day can be full of little loving acts where we have to leave our comfort zone and do the right thing.  Let us not dismiss the small acts. Obedience in them allows God to grow us so we can be obedient in bigger things.  That way when God asks us to run into the nearest phone booth to save the world, we are prepared.

 

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Faithful God.

IMG_8086You know what’s awesome?

Doing the final submission review of Brave Girl Boots and seeing how God has answered prayers for a few of these Brave Girls. What a difference a year makes. God is incredibly faithful.

My hope is that for every woman who reads Brave Girl Boots they will have a firmer grasp of the faithfulness of God.

He is for you. 

Christmas Bravery.

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Brave Girl.

I know most of us are in the midst of writing lists, checking them twice…

Flour flying,  kids crying…

Welcome to the Christmas countdown. I don’t know about you but I told myself I wouldn’t over book, over commit or overindulge (who thought up peanut butter fudge anyway?!  Not sure if I should thank them or spank them!) this holiday season.  I firmly declared war on being weary during this wonderful, blissful season.  What about you?

“So, how’s that working for ya?”  

As I awoke this morning to a kitchen that looked like some pretty crazy reindeer games took place last night, I felt the weariness creep in.   Creep over me as the thoughts of not only tackling this baking aftermath but also the wrapping and last-minute shopping left to do.   For a brief minute, I wanted to check out for Christmas.   Maybe I’m the only one.

Turning on the news, it made the weariness seem to overtake my soul.  The darkness in this world is so tangible you can almost taste it.   It’s easier to check out and keep focused on the Christmas busyness than the evil that dwells in this world.

Romans 5:8 came to my mind, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, 
Christ died for us.”

In the middle of my chaos I was made aware of the beauty of grace in a more profound way.  The Grace offered to us through Jesus Christ is for all who sin.  If you meditate on that for a few minutes, grace becomes more beautiful and more scandalous.

Those men who slaughtered the children in Pakistan, Christ died for them. It’s their choice to receive or not but the hand of Grace is extended to them. Pondering on this makes me cherish grace all the more. None of us deserve this wonderful gift of Grace. Not one of us. Who is this God that He would know us and invite us? Fully knowing the evil that hides in the heart of mankind, Jesus came to this earth to rescue us.   All of us.   Let’s be brave this Christmas. Brave enough to believe.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, 

    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6 ESV

Merry Christmas, Brave Girl.  

Brave enough to live a Jeremiah 29:13 life.

Brave Girl,

For some reason cold, winter weather whispers, “purge, clean, get-rid-of”  to me.  How about you?

Last night,  I found a journal that I started in 2011.  I wish I could say I journal all the time.   Um, no.   I know that it would be an amazing discipline to continue longer than 10 months, but for some reason I can’t go the distance with journaling.  To quote Frank Sinatra, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.”  Sigh. Anyway.

I started this particular journal (don’t EVEN ask me how many journals I’ve started) on my trip to Israel.  As I was reliving this once in a lifetime trip reading through the pages of my journal I realized I had found a gem.  Not only because my trip to the Holy Land is in there but the year after my trip is captured there too.   I’ve walked with the Lord 15 years and 2011 is a spiritual marker for me.

It’s the year I began to follow the Lord wholeheartedly.  Yes, I loved Jesus before 2011, but something changed.  I knew I was empty.  I knew the abundant life had to be more than just women’s bible study and singing worship.  Please don’t hear what I’m not saying… yes, worship is a great way to draw near to God and certainly give God His due.  Because HE IS — the great I AM.   And YES, bible study is a great on-ramp to building a relationship with God.  If you are doing those things, don’t stop doing them.  I haven’t.

But I found that the abundant life that scripture talks about was missing from my own.  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”  John 10:10 (NET)

In 2011, I found the KEY.

Jeremiah 29:13  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

That’s what was missing….a wholehearted approach to looking for God.  Brave Girl, what I discovered is this…when we are “all in” surrender comes easy. Eyes are focused on what we are gaining (Jesus) not losing.

What did I lose?   My personal rights of complacency,  laziness in my part of our relationship,  neutrality on loving well (based on feelings: if I felt like I did it, if I didn’t I didn’t.) The Lord set me on a path of discovery that year that changed my life.   Because He knew my life as I had known it would be changing.  And as a good Father, He needed to get his girl ready.  All of this is Him.

Brave Girl, God is working in your life.   Have you forgotten?  Be reminded. Be assured.  He is steadfast and true.  Determine today to no longer live by what you see, that your current circumstance is NOT the end of the story.  If you are a child of God, walk by faith — decide right now, today…that He is working your situation out for good (Romans 8:28.  His solution is not always our solution, but it will be a solution that is good.

What to do in the meantime?  Jeremiah 29:13  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. He’s already found us.  The scripture puts the emphasis on us looking for Him.  Are you looking for Him wholeheartedly?    As a young child looks for her parents when she wakes up in the morning?

I believe in the midst of “wholeheartedly seeking”  that true healing comes into our lives.  We allow God to come close enough to pull the band-aids off and begin the healing process.   The deep wounds (some I didn’t even know were there) that keep us in bondage.  Bondage can be anything we are tied to… not just addictions. Bondage to hurts, relationships,  victim mentality, etc.  Are you brave enough to let Him “have a peek at it?”   When everything in you is saying, “run away from the Healer’s touch…fill your life with busy activity for God instead.  That’s good enough right?”  Brave Girl, you are brave enough to stay.  Don’t run, fill, and hope it all works out in the end.  God has a better plan for you.  A call to wholeness. Only Jesus can make you whole. You won’t find wholeness in another person or activity.

I have found that a call to wholeness doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps and disappointments along the way. But  wholeness allows us to be very real with God and placing our desires firmly in His loving hands.   Knowing whatever the outcome,  we will not act like a victim, because my God is good,  my God is for me.

I read this journal entry to my husband last night.  And we praised God.

July 7, 2011

Fully knowing I’m in the center of God’s will for my life.  I accept it. I know His plan is good for me.  I know He doesn’t withhold blessing just to withhold blessing.  His “No” today means a greater “Yes” in my future.  I understand it.  Yet, tonight, I am so lonely for a husband. Coming home to my empty bed brought tears to my eyes.  It seems the healthier I get the more alone I feel.  How long Poppa?  How long do I have to wait?  I know you are growing my faith, and I won’t stop believing you have someone out there for me.   I’m trusting you but getting weary in the wait.

I know your plan for me is You, Poppa.   More of You.    I love you.

________________________________________________________________________

Two years after this journal entry I married one of the greatest men I know.   Truly.

My change in marital status doesn’t make this a win.   Realizing His plan all along was for me to be completely satisfied in Christ, that’s the win.

Bravery in Shattered Pieces

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One.

One call, one conversation, one email…all it takes is one.

One to take the air out of the room, punch us in the stomach, leaving us breathless and searching. Life altering news seems to come out of left field. We don’t expect it. We certainly don’t look for it, do we?

The glass shatters. Leaving our lives in pieces.

We can’t see anything but ONE BIG MESS.

How? Why? WHY? Our broken hearts and dreams demand answers.    Those questions often get unanswered.

The easiest thing to do is blame God,  take up our cause and become victims.    And we stay sitting in our mess as the months, years, tick by.   Sitting in our mess.

Brave Girl, there is another way.   

Psalm 34:18 comforts us with this truth:  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Have you looked for God in your shattered pieces?   He is nearer than you think.    “If He is near, why didn’t he stop this from happening?”

The truth is found in  John 16:33… ” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The promise of this world: Trouble.

The promise of our Lord:  Overcome.

There is another kind of shattering that comes to believers. Truth comes in and shatters our facade of sin. It’s a holy moment when we look at our sin for what it is; face to face with the truth of our estate.

And the shattering comes.   Usually when we least expect it.   Facade is shattered and we see clearly the heart wrenching betrayal lodged in our heart.   Self-worship.  “My, me, mine”  really boils it down doesn’t it?

Godly sorrow is good.   Contrary to what the world would tell us.    2 Corinthians 7:10  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Godly sorrow brings repentance.    A change of heart and mind.   Luke 3:8 encourages us to “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”     Repentance is not private.

The promise of this world: Death

The promise of our Lord:  Life

Brave Girl,  you are not alone in your mess.   And believe it or not, the truth is God wants to bring a message out of your mess.    Will you let Him take the broken things,  the hurts and disappointments to make something beautiful?

Only Jesus can turn our ashes to beauty.    He won’t throw that shattered life away,  but with care only a loving Father can give will He bind your wounds, brush the tears from your cheeks, and begin to build something so beautiful…it will grab the world’s attention and point people to Himself.

Will you be brave enough today to let Him?

Bravery into the Unknown.

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Brave Girl,

I stumbled upon this picture tonight. Taken September 2005 on my last day at The Auto Club Group. I worked there since I was a “kid”…just shy of 18 years.

That was nine years ago.

If someone would have told me after I started following Jesus just five years earlier, I would be leaving my career to go into full-time ministry…I would have laughed. Loudly. Yes, I would have laughed very loudly.

God’s ways are not our ways, right? I mean we read that in Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

Like, He wasn’t kidding?! Isn’t that scripture for other people?

I mean I didn’t actually think He meant it, right? Sound familiar, Brave Girl?

In this picture I see an unsure woman who is leaving everything she has known: her comfortable job, the security of being known in a field she specialized in, and great friends. All cozy, all comfortable. All Tami’s plan.

Enter God’s plan. Gazing at that picture, I remember feeling so unsure of the foreign territory God was asking me to travel on for the next leg of my journey towards Heaven. As unsure of the new soil I was asked to tread, I was completely sure of my God.

Brave Girl, is God asking you to step out on unknown roads with Him? Unsure of where they may lead?

Be encouraged. God’s plan is better. 10000% better. S E R I O U S L Y.
When I think of what I would have missed out on had I been too afraid to answer the call to follow Him…my heart aches.

I have found healing on this unknown path. Deep life-changing healing. I have the absolute privilege to serve God through my wonderful Connection family. Not to mention the sweet joy I experience in leading CGgirls. God’s plan is better. (And did I mention my stinkin’ awesome husband? Yeah, that happened, too! )

You won’t regret saying “Yes” to God, Brave Girl. Wherever that leads you.