It's just enough brave's second birthday. Depending on how we look at it, two years can be a lot of time, or no time at all. But it is enough time for a lot to happen; and in our little home, a lot has happened. It's enough time for one baby to brew and be born and then turn into a crawling, babbling, eating-everything ten-month old. It’s enough time to watch a perfectly healthy four-month old grow and do great and then slowly, slowly, slowly stop doing great; and it’s enough time to learn a whole new vocabulary and how to sweet talk the people on the other end of the phone at one of a dozen offices we repeatedly talk to. It’s enough time to watch a little girl become a big girl, taking on preschool and gymnastics and making new friends everywhere she goes; and it’s enough time to validate that she is like her mama in many ways but mostly much stronger, much braver.
Two years is enough time to write almost 100 essays and send them out into the world with no expectations, only the hope that the Holy Spirit would direct the words to land where he wants them to. And it’s enough time to second guess this writing gig and contemplate quitting approximately 1000 times—so, yes, ten times more than I’ve sat down to actually write.
But mostly, two years is enough time for God to totally, completely, irreversibly change why I do anything at all. Especially writing.
When I started writing on just enough brave, I thought it was because the life of a Christ follower must be destined for grand adventures, sharing the gospel in the hardest places, or doing big, brave things that earned the favor of God and inspired the masses as they did. And I thought surely God was asking me—all of us, really—to start doing those big, brave things. But two years later I understand something that I didn’t when this space was born: He is, but he also isn’t.
You see, I thought having just enough brave in my life would mean that I would storm the brothels and free the girls stuck in a life they could not possibly want. I thought it meant maybe moving across the world with my family and living an epic, book-worthy adventure—or at least merit getting our picture in the church newsletter. I thought it meant being fearless for the kingdom of God in ways that were noticed just enough to humbly accept a pat on the back. Today, I think it could be—God does ask so many people to actually do those big, brave things. But I’m starting to wonder if we can even plan for them, or if God simply surprises us with big as we do the small, brave things right in front of us.
Because it seems to me that the ways of Jesus, while always brave, have also always been small: groups of twelve rather than followings of thousands, the daily work of prayer and meals and serving the people right next to him, or stopping for the one woman who touched the fringe of his garment in the midst of a crowd curious about what he was offering them. Sacrificial and selfless. Controversial and consistent. Brave and small. Only God can make something big for eternity.
Today, I think brave means driving my sweet boy to therapy day after day, month after month, longing for progress but refusing to give up hope when that progress is slow coming because I’m fighting to remember what my hope is really in. I think brave is meeting my neighbors instead of closing the garage door behind me. I think brave is repenting of the hundreds of times I have only seen myself. I think brave is saying that I cannot do one more good thing if it means someone else has to tuck my babies in again. I think brave is believing in scripture, all of it, and letting it dwell in me richly in the face of a culture that laughs at that very idea.
I think brave is showing up for this life, my life— my preschool and therapists and bills and essays and nursing schedules and absolutely no idea if the thing I pray for every day will ever happen this side of heaven life— knowing Jesus is on the throne and that nothing can take him off. Brave is joy in any circumstance. Brave is hope when it’s hard.
Two years of longing for this kind of life that Jesus offers us has taught me that I do need a little bit of brave. But I thought I needed it to change the world; now I know I need it to just change my heart. And maybe, that is God’s plan to change the world—one changed heart at a time.
Here’s to two years of words that have transformed me in ways I didn’t even know I needed to be. And to being a little bit brave today, right where you are. Brave enough to believe the gospel is all we will ever need.
And to Jesus, because all of this is from Him, through Him, for Him. Amen.