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.
One of my favorite rom-com movies is When Harry Met Sally. There are deeply personal reasons why. Reasons which I’m not ready to share here yet. Because of the date of that movie you can know it has nothing to do with John nor does it involve any baggage I had to work through to marry John. It is just a whole other story that means a lot to me very deeply. When I figure out that part of my life with my brilliant hindsight wisdom I will let you know. This scene. This scene is grippingly sad for us women. Joe didn’t want to marry Sally. Why didn’t he want to marry me? What’s the matter with me? Painful. Then Sally begins to contort herself so the truth doesn’t hurt as much. Hard truth: If someone tells you that he/she has a commitment problem, it is just an excuse for his/her lack of serious interest in you. Or even worse, he/she is totally ignorant of the real problem. You may contort yourself and/or lie to yourself that your boo has baggage from a prior relationship(s) but that has nothing to do with the supposed commitment problem that is blocking […]
So a few weeks ago I shared that the Lord was moving me into an area that was totally out of my comfort zone, but that I was learning to “trust the Shepard” in the process. This story of mine is probably the bravest step I’ve ever taken in my 40 years of life…..or maybe it’s just because the other brave steps I have taken now don’t seem like they were that hard. Maybe in 5 or so years I’ll feel the same about this one, but for now….it seems very BIG! At the end of last year I was introduced to a ministry called Revelation Wellness. “Revelation Wellness® is a non-profit ministry dedicated to educating and inspiring people to live healthy and whole lives in Christ so we can love others well. Revelation Wellness believes that as the body of Christ gets healthy and whole by the power of the love of God, they will be fit for their purpose—to proclaim and show the love of God down the roads less traveled.” While I wasn’t in a place last year to really dive deep into it, it did spark my interest and so the beginning of this year, I […]
This is not the trite “Jesus is my friend” shallow Christians like to talk about. Yes, I am making a judgment here. (It’s not my first time.) When I hear someone using that phrase to describe Jesus I can safely assume that 1. They are a new Christian; 2. They have a shallow faith that has not led them the greater depths of who God is; 3. They spend a lot of time in children’s ministry—and I give those people a lot of respect. They already have my respect when I’m in conversation with them. May the world have more people like them! A friendship with God is actually quite the deep and brave relationship. Deeper and braver than most people want to go. Moses was called a friend of God. It was at Moses’ death that this was recorded, There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. Deuteronomy 34:11. Moses didn’t earn this by keeping his faith shallow. Do you remember the story from Exodus about the golden calf? Think back to all of your 68 times watching The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille. You will then remember that God […]
Guilt and shame are lying suckers. Shame is that story stealer. Here’s some more wow truth from Dr. Henry Cloud: I once worked with a young woman who was sleeping around. After each incident, knowing it was wrong, she would vow to never let it happen again. But then she would meet some guy who seemed nice, and he would pressure her for more than she wanted to give, and…she would not be able to say no. Afterward, like most guys who push women for sex where there is no commitment, he would soon be gone. She would feel cheap, used, but mostly guilty. “I know God says I shouldn’t be doing this,” she would say. “And each time, I think I won’t, but I do. I hate myself. I am such a loser. What kind of Christian am I?” The biggest consequence—that she was aware of—was her guilt. What consumed her was how “bad” she was. And that is the big problem with guilt. Her guilt was so strong and pervasive that it was all she could see. It blinded her to the real consequences of her behavior. Her real problem was what was going on in her life […]
I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary. Psalm 28:1-2 I don’t know where I found this picture. I’ve searched to find the credit and I can’t find it. But I saw it and it caught me. Took my breath away. I sent it to my son in prison and he had the same response. I feel like God hears my prayers when I look at this. This picture pictures how I want my prayers to be heard. I breathe a prayer and God is right there at the ready sincerely looking at me, through me, “getting” me. I wrote this originally here, The Brave Pray: Prayer is an act of dependence. And this may be the rub. Who likes being dependent? There has got to be something more I can do. Prayer feels like it is not enough. Prayer can make you feel like you are not enough in this big and fear-filled world. Prayer […]
This is John’s and my dog Louie. I shared the story of his adoption. He was a very sad dog to adopt with a lot to overcome. He rarely barks. He does not play. We think Louie doesn’t even know how to play and have given up on that ever being learned. It took him nearly two years to bond with me at all. He bonded with John within three months. So obviously his previous owner must have been a woman. It took him months to cross a threshold of a bathroom. Obviously he was abandoned in a bathroom. He was a tiny shaved-down dog when we adopted him because he was found and trapped on the streets and was found covered in feces and urine. Sixteen months after we adopted Louie—and progressed quite far with him—he was out on a walk with me and was attacked by another dog. He was grabbed by the neck and rag-dolled and nearly killed. His trachea was punctured and there was lots of blood. His pelvis was also broken. Surprisingly this traumatic situation did not set back Louie in his healing process. It was like when we returned to claim him after his […]
I know a lovely 20something who is the daughter of two sucky parents. I am making this judgment after watching their behavior towards her for the past three plus years and hearing her stories from growing up. These parents are selfish, wounded, and don’t know how to even be grateful for their lovely daughter. Sadly not all parents are good. This daughter is lovely somehow. She is actively working on her baggage to bless this world. Just recently her mom, once again, did something awful towards her “beloved” daughter. This is such a sad situation. However my friend wasn’t feeling sad, she was feeling guilty. Guilty for not being a good daughter. Guilty for maybe doing something to cause her mother to behave so badly. Guilty for the traumas her mother has gone through. Traumas that the daughter herself did not cause. She was losing her identity and the life she was creating for herself because of this guilt. This guilt is misplaced. What she really feels is sadness. Sadness that she has a bad mother. Sadness that her own mother would do such things to her. But to admit this sadness to yourself is so hard. No one really […]
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Thus begins Psalm 22. But we know those words better as one of the seven last words Jesus spoke from the cross. Of all of the seven, these are the second most haunting. The first is (my opinion) when Jesus died by declaring “It is finished.” Just prior to that Jesus spoke (or shouted in exasperation) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus felt forsaken. I have felt forsaken. More than once. Hundreds of years before the crucifixion these words were written by David starting with these in verse 1. David continued: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Haunting. Empty. Painful. But I have felt this way also. Psalm 22 is a long psalm. Thirty-one verses total. Included are more painful prayers like, Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help (v. 11). It grows even darker with My mouth is dried up […]
I am so lucky to be leading this teen girls’ Bible study from my local church I serve we call Peace Girls. It’s all about “wasted time” to just talk so we can find peace in our lives. After 37 years of youth ministry, today’s teens struggle way more with anxiety than they do peer pressure to do the “bad sins.” It’s a whole new world out there for teens to navigate. Thank you, cell phones? Thank you, social media? Lately during our “wasted time” conversations, we have segued onto the bad relationships we’ve accepted just so we can feel that affirmation of being wanted. A topic I have a lot of opinion on. Read. Read. Read. Read. From my age-25 single assistant to the teen girls, all made the statement that while they know God is enough in their lives, this feeling of affirmation from a male was wanted more. Even at the point that they knew they were making stupid, and sometimes regretful, decisions. Yes, you know this too. You know that God is enough. But you would much rather hold out for something more: If I got into my dream college, that would be enough… If I […]
Confession time. I was debating whether or not to post this, but here it is. As many of my friends and family know, I love animals. LOVE them. Dogs, cats, goats, pigs, rabbits. frogs, lizards, you name it. And yes, even snakes occasionally, lol. But my love for animals is causing a problem…. A deep heart problem. I try to love and care and hurt for people, I really do. It’s something that I have always struggled with because of my love for animals–especially ones that have been abused by people. It’s something that I pray, seek forgiveness, and ask for a change of heart for often. Lately I have seen more and more posts about dogs and cats in particular being beaten, malnourished, or left for dead and my heart breaks for these helpless creatures. I’ve even seen videos of the animal being smacked, punched in the head repeatedly, or shot. And I mean the acts themselves, not just pictures of videos of the aftermath. Towards the animals, I feel nothing but sadness and helplessness as there is nothing I can do for the creature I see being hurt. I cry for these animals being hurt because the person […]
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.