Deciding to live vulnerable with God
* A little ending that fits on almost any word to increase its cool factor.
Deciding to live vulnerable with God
* A little ending that fits on almost any word to increase its cool factor.
At the church I serve we do this wonderful tradition of worship music and Good Friday prayer stations. The prayer stations are created by the teens and some adults. John and the worship band just play for two solid hours. People can come and go and have a Good Friday reflection using all five senses to experience what happened during Holy Week culminating with Good Friday. It is a wonderful experience if I do say so myself as the coordinator of the worship service. One of the prayer stations focuses on the crown of thorns. The sense of touch is used to feel the thorns. The sense of taste and smell is used to taste and smell red wine vinegar as a representation of the painkiller Jesus declined to take while hanging on the cross (Matthew 27:33-34). The participants were asked—now that they’ve experienced that Jesus chose the pain of the cross—when pain can be beautiful. These are some of their responses. From real people living real lives. Pain is beautiful when we can see what God can do with each and every part of our lives. Pain is beautiful because I find out that I’m stronger than I thought. […]
I have a neighbor friend who is an older lady. We truly are friends after volunteering for so many opportunities in our town. She is Catholic and I am not but we talk about our shared faith all of the time. Right now her beloved granddaughter is in the early process of adopting a baby from foster care. This is the granddaughter who shows up every week to help her do the things she needs done so she can continue to live independently. But their special relationship goes back much further than that. I love this young lady too. Her faith has grown so much through her 20s. This granddaughter has suffered at least eight miscarriages. I know because she tells her grandma first who then starts praying and invites me in to pray with her. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had to talk through the inevitability of losing the baby, barely ever getting past 6 weeks. Two years ago the granddaughter signed up to do foster care with the hope of adoption. I know this too because her grandma tells me every time she and her husband have taken in a child. She asks me to […]
Do you have one of those people in your life who showers you with attention? The friend who brings you your favorite coffee every morning. The friend who is over-the-top complimentary to you—which is appreciated but always feels like there is a catch to it. Oh wait, is this you? The catch is the expectation that is created that everyone is going to return this attention back to you. That you will be the recipient of such love. That you will feel “enough” from this expected attention. When the love bomb is not returned to you–as you expected–you are disappointed. Sad. Maybe even angry. And once again you have proven to the world that no one appreciates you. The truth is, you love bomber, you are setting everyone up to disappoint you so you can be a martyr. Ouch. Please stay with me through this because I’m just revealing a numbing behavior you are using to protect your heart. I know you think you are a genuine person as you are doing this but really you are hurting inside more than you realize. So you love bomb others to protect yourself from this painful truth. So no one can really […]
John recently told me a sad and amazing story about a longtime friend of his. He’s always been a bitter victim of life yet he somehow has made a name for himself in the big world. Randy (not his name) has long known he’s been adopted. Knowing that his mother gave him up for adoption has made him this angry and bitter victim. (He’s also had his high school sweetheart and then his wife die of cancer. This is a sad true story, folks.) It hasn’t helped to have his own adoptive father tell him they paid $9,999.00 too much for him. Guess how much the adoption cost was? (This is a sad true story, folks.) When Randy got older he put a lot of effort into finding his birth mom. He posted notices all over. For years. He never got even a lead. Eventually one of those people who are good and paid for finding birth parents offered to help him find his mom for free. Her results were that he was a black market baby. He was stolen and then sold. He already knew that the exchange for his adoptive parents to receive him happened with an exchange […]
Rejection is an issue I’ve had to wrestle hard with over the last three years. Every time Rejection and I had to face off in the boxing arena, I would always end up slammed and pinned down. In boxing, you have ten seconds to get yourself up before the game is over. For me, it took months before I could even peel my head off the floor. On its face, it can appear that no two rejections are alike. Some are painful stings that last momentarily and can be quickly soothed. Others begin as an ache that continues to throb and flare up over a long period of time. I have friends who barely bat an eyelid if a date went badly, but would sob over pints of ice cream when their job application is turned down. Now that we’re in a season where we have to apply for clerkship and grad offers, we hear more about the rejections emails than we do the acceptance calls. In the writing world, I see people mourning the rejection of their book deals and constantly asking for feedback on their pitches. For me, it was the area of romantic rejection that caused the […]
The Vatican may soon approve changes to one of the most popular prayer there ever was—the Lord’s Prayer. Yes, the Vatican. The Vatican who rarely changes to keep up with the time. The Vatican who is hardly culturally relevant. Before you are filled with despair that even the Vatican is compromising scripture to be appeasing to the Millennials, the Leftists, the women, or whatever meme news you have read, let’s remember that this is the Vatican. And Pope Francis, I believe, has a valid point to make to initiate this change. It will change how you see how God is for you. The Italian Episcopal Conference (go Italy!) has reportedly sent changes to the Vatican (which they seem likely to approve) to change the line “lead us not into temptation” in the Lord’s Prayer to read “abandon us not when in temptation.” During a television interview, the pope reportedly disputed the translation of the phrase, lead us not into temptation saying, “A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately. It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.” Wow. That is so correct. That changes our view of God, right? Temptations are the devil’s […]
I had a dream last night about liking a wonderful guy and being stuck at figuring out what to do about the relationship because he was not moving it forward. It was a dream. It was not about my husband. The guy was an awesome match. He was either a doctor or worked in scheduling at Fedex (it was a dream remember) but was so kind and caring to everyone around him. He went the extra mile for people. And he looked at me like I was the sunshine in his world. But we weren’t officially dating. He would often refer to us as an “us” to the people around him. Sometimes he would pick up the check for the dinners we shared. Sometimes he would not. Sometimes in circles of people he made it clear I was with him. Sometimes I was off in the periphery in his world trying to be seen by him. This was all so confusing. Yes, in my dream I felt that confusion. I felt this all in my dream. I remember feeling this for real in my single life. I remember being in this for real in my single life. In my single […]
I’m a believer in online dating. Yes, I know it is a jungle out there. I know this because I have access to the profiles of the young women I coach. I see the creepers. I see the maybe-faux profiles. I read the messages that should never be sent. I see the many choices yet the reality is there are still so few to actually choose. And when you do, he doesn’t message back. It is weird in online dating world. I’m a believer in online dating because I am a believer in 1. brave dating; and 2. dating is a numbers game. You are going to need to meet a lot of people to find your match. Notice I didn’t say date a lot of people. You may date a lot of people. But it starts with meeting people. Hence the necessity of the crazy online dating world. Online dating world is a normal part of our culture today and it is a place to meet lots of people. I know many married couples who did meet online. This is a normal way to meet someone who could be your love for a lifetime. I was contacted by Brittnee […]
I loved the holy tension work of finding my two core values. It sparked life. I saw me again. Because January has not been kind to me. It could simply just be winter blahs. I am susceptible to them. I know it is partly because prison has not been good lately for both of my boys. My happiness is not co-dependent on them (a continuing work) but their lives were looking hopeful for a season. Now we are back on repeat. I’m so tired of repeat. Writing has been so hard lately. Well, not all writing. I have already completed writing three different programs for Lent and Good Friday. Now in the dark of winter. Duh. But sermon writing is simply stuck, uninspiring. Writing Brave Dating Coach is stuck–one of my opinionated passions and I have nothing to say. I’ve read 13 books already in 2019. I’m walking away from the computer and looking for inspiration. And the comfort of the couch and a big blanket. But I feel like I’m just stealing inspiration from someone else’s inspiring writing. I pray often, “God, bring this inspiring stuff out of me again” as the couch consumes me. I need a warmer […]
When you make the decisions to let bravery define you, knowing your values will guide you in the making of those many decisions. Do you know your values? I’m sure you can randomly guess at them and generalize them but what I’m asking is different. And worth the work that I’m challenging you to do. This is all Dr. Brene’ Brown Dare to Lead leadership training stuff. And a good exercise for you to work through as you lead your brain and live into your birthright. Here are some starter tips from Dr. Brene’ Brown’s research: There is not a set of professional values and personal values. We only have one set. We don’t shift our values based on context. Conflicts in our lives come in when our values are in conflict with your place of work, your family, the stranger in line at the store. Our values don’t change in situations. These are our north star which guides us through all of this. I’ve gratefully taken the word list from Dare to Lead (p. 188) which the book gives permission to share with you. These are a list of values but maybe one of yours has been left off […]
Brenda has been teaching the messages of Bravester for over 25 years. She is available to come to your group event. People have found her vulnerability and storytelling mixed with the Bible to be inspirational and life changing.
“You have had a significant influence on how I view brokenness, forgiveness, and the role God plays through all of that through a very difficult time in my life. Since that year at CRC, I have taken significant steps to getting bitterness out of my heart… You have had a significant impact on my life. I really do not think I would be the woman I am today if it were not for the lessons you taught me. You are a strong instrument of God and his word.” –Sara, former camp counselor and now inner-city missionary
Brenda can be joined by her husband John. They have a back-and-forth dialog that mixes in John’s beautifully written music. John is also available to lead worship for the event.
From Brenda’s 35 years of youth ministry experience, she has become a Brave Dating Coach. She has a lot of good things to say to help her many grown teens be coached into marriage. She is also available to teach on these many good things for your group event.