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.
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 […]
This is it! The day we’ve been working toward for 4 years. Our student loans are paid in full! It will take more than one post to even get close to encompassing all that we’ve learned from our debt repayment process. But as I sit here today looking at the picture of our happy faces holding up a sheet of paper with $48,000 filled in on our tracking sheet, I’m brought back to college when this whole process started. During my sophomore year, it hit me that if I stayed at the private Christian school I attended, I’d owe $80,000 by the end of my four years. For some reason this didn’t hit me before enrolling in school. I agonized for months over whether I should stay at that school or give it all up for a less expensive option. I knew that leaving would affect the life I’d grown accustomed to: a tight-knit group of Jesus-loving friends, shared experiences and inside jokes with classmates, a top-notch education and brilliant professors, and the chance to live with some of my closest friends in a cute old house on campus. But as I pondered my future, reality set in. Ultimately, I was going […]
This is an oft-repeated quote that is quite Bravestery: There are two great days in a person’s life–the day we are born and the day we discover why. –anonymous In the book this quote was attributed to Mark Twain. If you go to Google it is attributed to some more men I have never heard of. If you do a deeper dive you will find out that no one knows who said it first and it is very likely wrongly attributed to Mark Twain and that there is a growing problem of Mark Twain being attributed to quotes he never said. Now you know too. I read this quote in a book I was recently reading and it struck me, but in a different way. I can name two great days in my life that have shaped me to be who I am. Neither of the days are when I was born (though I’m sure it was a great day for the rest of the world?!?!?!!!, or at least my parents) or when I became born again (a day I remember distinctly and one that definitely changed the trajectory of my life). There are two distinct days that I know […]
I received a surprise package in the mail today. Our son Terrill found a way to mail some of his artwork out of his prison. Trust me, mail is not a simple thing when in prison. Especially since there is not a mail packaging supply store. I don’t know where he got the supplies and I’m grateful nothing was damaged through the postal system. Also, his ability to get art supplies is nil. Look at this! What things are you noticing? What story is this telling you? There is one more. Again, what do you see? What is speaking to you? You can leave what is pinging inside of you in the comments below. This is not the place to express pity that such a talent as this is serving time in prison now. This is a time to be amazed, to be awed at this art. A vulnerable heart full of Truth can navigate the broken road of faith. The reverse of this is a heart full of scarcity which wakes up feeling like he/she already is not enough so must hustle, perform, and contort to stay on any road. To try to belong. To try to fit […]
Actual conversation from a brave friend’s Facebook page. It started with this post from her: “I wonder why it’s so easy to see other people’s gifts and not our own…” Two women responded with “Good question” and “Very good question.” Then a woman replied: “Not to brag or anything but, I’ve been through some pretty tough 💩 these past two years. So, I see a few of mine recently. But I do know what you mean. I promise I do!!!” A guy ventured an answer, “Human nature to want what we don’t have.” Then another woman, “I haven’t figured out mine yet either.” Then oddly (or at least I found it odd) my own husband entered a response. “I think we discount our gifts because we’re wrapped up in what we don’t do well or what gifts we wish we had.” I couldn’t resist replying now so I said, “Exactly. We know our flaws which others blessedly cannot see. But because we know them we also fixate on them. And again, most others don’t even notice.” My friend asked, “but they notice our gifts…how come we don’t believe people when they point out our gifts? Are our flaws that blinding […]
I’ve been a woman in ministry since 1981. It started with wanting to date a guy who owned a Corvette who was also a Christian who attended this other church. Somehow someway leadership saw something in me (that guy did too, at least for a couple of months!) and gave me responsibilities which it turns out I loved. Eventually I left that church and those people (sigh) to get my education as a minister and I worked at churches throughout that education and have ever since. I have no other work identity than as a pastor. I have hardly any adult memories that are separate from this identity as a pastor. This is who I am. Who I was created by God to be. Still. Amazingly somehow the Men of the Church have never stopped me from being who I am. I do remember some rude men. I had a few who thought a sit down was needed with me. But they were outside my sphere of influence so that sit down was just miserably uncomfortable. One of my professors of theology literally told me, as I sat across his large desk, that my best path to be in full-time […]
This blog from May 8, 2017, is a popular one plus it is one I have sent to people I am counseling again and again and again. To me it is foundational to help people make a change of direction in their lives. And it’s full of truth! Such as you area not what your brain regurgitates! For the New Year I received this email from an email subscription to Science in Congregations, associated with Fuller Theological Seminary. As a pastor, I am actively trying to bridge all of the new science discoveries to the Bible and to our lives. It is simply fascinating even as I find so much of it over my head. Science and math are definite weaknesses of mine. I received this email December 27, 2018, and promptly sent it to my two sons who are in prison. The reason why is obvious. Rewire Your Brain in 2019 We’re all smitten with self-improvement, particularly as we head into a new year. As we wrap up the holiday season, many of us are contemplating not just how to drop those few extra pounds we gained, but perhaps make even more substantial changes. And that goes for churches […]
This is stuff that that relative won’t tell you. (Hopefully that relative is not your mother.) This is stuff that you won’t hear preached at your church. This is stuff that hopefully you and your team have been talking about. This stuff is true. You get to live your life to the full now. You get to live your life. All along the way God is molding you through it which is making you attractive to the spouse you’ve not met yet. To wait for that love for a lifetime will be a brave ride. Oh the stories you will have to tell about that brave ride! Your stories will amaze people, maybe even that special one you could meet along the way. When you meet that one, would you rather when asked about the story of your life say, “Oh…same old, same old…”? Or be the one who’s full of stories and involvement? Let’s turn that question around. When you meet someone and he/she has “…same old, same old…” stories or shares how stuck they are in their lives, would you be excited to go out with him/her? Or would you rather go out with the one who is […]
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.