The word “brave” inspires images of men and women standing courageously in the face of adversity. We connect bravery with heroines through the ages, both real and imagined—Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Scout Finch, Katniss Everdeen. Stories of courage aren’t limited to history books and novels. We can find courage in the women we call friends, and their bravery inspires.We can find courage in the women we call friends, and their bravery inspires. #bravefriendsClick To Tweet
I have this friend. We’ll call her Brandy (because that’s her name). She isn’t afraid to go for it, whatever “it” is. Ideas pop into her head and she devises a way to make it happen. She doesn’t let fear of the unknown slow her down. I’m not sure she hears the tiny voice in her head that says, “Maybe you shouldn’t because…” She has a clear view of the possibilities. If there are shadows of doubt, she doesn’t seem to acknowledge them.
My friend Stacey (that’s her real name, too) struggles to get out of bed every day. Her body fights her and she fights it right back. On the days her body wins the battle, she lays in her bed and looks to Jesus. She waits for the sun to come up again tomorrow. When she wins those little chronic illness battles, you better get out of the way! She uses all that pent up joy and ambition to make much of the Jesus who holds her while she suffers in the bed.
A few of my girlfriends just walked through the darkest season of marriage. With every reason to leave, these women chose to stay. Marriage vows and empty promises crunch beneath their feet like broken glass. Yet they walk toward their spouses. They say yes to redemption, yes to second chances, and yes to fighting hard for forever.
Some of my mama friends cry big tears over their prodigals. These women gave the best of themselves for nearly twenty years, only to see their children choose to journey down the wide, destructive path. Questions of self-worth threaten to render them useless. Their value as mothers—even as humans—is so fragile because of decisions out of their control. But still, these mamas cry their big tears while on their knees. They pray battle prayers while they wait on the front porch for their wayward to return.
My writing friends—they pound the keys, leaving their hearts in a size twelve font on a dot com for the entire world to see. They let their warts and wrinkles show because they want to give someone else the gift of “me, too.” Some of their families balk. They all fight discouragement of the ever present question, “Do my words even matter?” And yet they get up every morning and write again.
Then there’s me. Here I sit. I have a bit of a yellow streak. I prefer comfortable, familiar, and predictable. I only take on what I am sure I can handle. I want to hide when the pain begins to surface. I don’t have much fight in me when big things like marriage are on the line. Rejection crushes me. I let my kids’ decisions define me. I work hard to not quit nearly every day.
But these women. They make me brave.
Their responses to tragedy inspire me to hope for better and believe the best.
When they refuse to back down, I am strengthened. They will not quit, so I hang in there, too.
Every yes they whisper is a shout of hope in my ear.
Every prayer uttered from the pit of uncertainty defines faith for me.
Their bravery to move forward when they have every reason to retreat lures me out of my comfort zone and right into the middle of my calling.
I am in community with some amazing women. They are brave and courageous. They fight for their marriages when they are broken into bits. They hold tightly to their children in the fiercest of storms. They write and then share their words with the threat of rejection hiding behind every corner. They trust God when the pain won’t stop and the questions hang in the air unanswered. They look down into the raging river of life and jump right in.
When all of your friends jump off a bridge, you don’t just stand there watching them. You jump, too (or they push you). We all need brave friends. For all of you brave women who help me do brave things, thank you. My life is richer because of you.For all of you brave women who help me do brave things, thank you. #bravefriendsClick To Tweet
And if you are standing on the edge looking down into the waves and the swirl of the current with more questions than answers, grab my hand. Let’s be brave together.
Do you have a brave friend you would like to recognize? Share in the comments or tag her on the Facebook post. Let’s cheer one another toward bravery!
#FridayFive Link Up
With the election coverage heating up, I want us to take some time to focus on women and men of character. The next two weeks are dedicated to the women and men we admire. This week, share about women you admire in the comments or link up your post using the button below.
Photo credit: Suhyeon Choi via Unsplash.