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.
Dating is a fairly new concept. It may feel like this has been around forever—maybe because you feel like you’ve been dating uselessly forever—but it really started around the 1900s when that part of history changed most of the entire world—the Industrial Revolution. However, dating wasn’t considered welcomed. Many early daters, particularly the women, were arrested for dating. In the eyes of the authorities, women who let men buy them food and drinks or gifts and entrance tickets looked like whores, and making a date seemed the same as turning a trick. Source: Labor of Love, Moira Weigel, p. 11. Oh my! Dating is vulnerable but not this. Have you ever also realized that going out on a date helps the two of you sort of be anonymous. Instead of courting or being called upon as you sat in the parlor with a chaperone nearby, on a date you were out amongst strangers. Yes it is just the two of you awkwardly conversing and trying to eat a meal without getting a sauce on your face. But surrounding you were strangers, maybe strangers in the same vulnerable situation. This creates a much different dynamic to a growing relationship. To grow […]
As C. S. Lewis famously said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung out and possibly broken.” Some months ago “along the way” of life (mentioned here first), a big “firework thought” went off in my head. Every one of the fruits of the spirit requires vulnerability. Every one of them. Yikers! No wonder the Christian life is so hard! So I’m starting a series on each one of those fruits of the spirit. I believe this is going to be eye-opening on many levels. The fruits of the spirit are found in Galatians 5:22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. They get their name from the hope that if we live our lives according to God’s way the result should be this fruit in our lives (read the rest of Galatians 5 too). This is all good and sensible. It has been taught for centuries because there is such practicality in it. Some people you meet do exhibit these fruits in their lives—and you admire them. You would even say they are […]
After a life-changing epiphany, there’s always a high. The first few days following are magical. Nothing could ever break you, nothing could ever bring you down, everything is going to be aligned. This high wears off shortly when you realize that changing your life actually takes work and is rarely something that is fixed in a moment of positive emotion. When this happens, you have to make the choice between falling back into old patterns (i.e. the easy route) or fighting tooth and nail until you start seeing changes (the hard route). And so here I am. The high from my epiphany earlier this month has worn off. It would be so much easier to let it go, like every other potentially life-changing experience I’ve had. Just wait for the next emotional transformation. Yes, that would be easy, but my mind has grown to be more practical. Life is not run by emotions. If I actually want to become a new person, I have to make sacrifices and lifestyle changes. The epiphany was the launch; the progress afterwards comes from flapping my wings. I refuse to continue waiting around for the next emotional high. I will not be a slave […]
Actually I never hated dating. Yes, I did have my heart broken, and smashed twice. But I always loved dating. And I still love dating my husband. But I hear from many people that they hate dating. Is this you? I loved dating because I got to get to know new people. If a guy was brave enough to ask me out (I hear I was a handful), I considered him worthy to have a story I could hear and learn from. And that proved true time and time again. I loved dating because I knew I had someone’s attention for a set time to hear my story. And I loved the life I was living. I had many stories I wanted to share. I thought I was interesting. I thought my life story made me attractive. I loved dating because I got to try new restaurants. I simply love food. That is still definitely a part of my dating life now. I loved dating because I knew that the success of the date didn’t define me. I loved the life I was living. If he didn’t “get” me, no big deal. I long practiced the core practice of brave […]
This past week has been a week of considerable joy for me. This is not a feeling I can say that I have been used to recently. Generally speaking the winter months come with a time of depression for me, an additional layer of gray and dulling fog over my already delicate emotional state. This seasonal affect compounds with feelings of unworthiness and unloveability when February comes around and when I find myself faced with yet another Valentines Day alone. Before I go any further, let me just say I hate Valentines Day. It is a commercial holiday invented by greeting card companies to handle the post Christmas lull in business. Personally I would rather have my significant other bring me flowers and chocolates because it’s Thursday and when he was at the store he saw them he then thought of me. Or take me out to dinner because its Saturday and he wants to paint the town red with me. So why then is my body, my mind, my soul, and my emotions at peace and filled with joy when I am in the middle of winter and still single over Valentines weekend? Well I don’t know exactly why […]
Yes, the Father’s heart is all about healing. The best Biblical story about that is a story we hear again and again and again—the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). It’s a beautiful parable of a father on the lookout waiting and waiting for the prodigal one to turns towards home. Then the father makes up the space distance by running to the prodigal, embracing, and healing. This parable Jesus told does sum up the heart of God the Father. The story I’m going to tell you is from a Brennan Manning book, The Furious Longing for God. (Note the word furious in this book title. Too often we associate furious as a negative emotion, one of scary anger. Yet this book makes that emotional beautiful. Read the book!) He told this story about one of his students who was short, extremely obese, had terrible acne, had a bad lisp, and wild hair and was a hippie who wore no shoes. He also called himself an “athgnostic” and yet was in Brennan Manning’s class for college. The story I’m about to tell you is what Larry got for Christmas one year. Christmas came along for Larry Malaney and he […]
I clipped this quote many many years ago. “‘For the first time in the history of the world,’ the New York Evening World announced in 1899, ‘it is possible to see what a kiss looks like.’ In 1933, one boy told an inquiring savant that the Lotharios on the screen had taught him ‘to kiss a girl on her ears, neck, and cheeks, as well as on the mouth.’ A girl confessed that she closed her eyes when being kissed–it was what actresses did.” —U.S. News & World Report, June 1, 1998 Can you imagine? There was a time when people kissed with their eyes open? Hollywood has taught us a lot about kissing. About relationships. About love. About sex. Is there an image in your mind about any of those that doesn’t come from some scene in a movie or show that you watched? What I’m saying here is nothing new or brave. Hollywood has been carrying this blame—and trophy?—for a long long time. This is far from the plans God intended for us. Not the part about kissing with our eyes open or closed. The part of where we get our standards. So imagine yourself hearing Paul’s message […]
If you’ve read my other blog posts I’m hoping that you’re seeing a common thread….. Choose Joy. Those two simple words have changed my life in more ways than I can count. Several years ago I had them tattooed on my wrist as a daily reminder, but they have been seared on my heart long before that. Each day I have to “choose joy” and keep choosing it. Most days for this happy go lucky girl, it’s easy to find the joy. When things are going well and all is right in my world, it’s easy to choose joy. But we all know that’s not really when it counts. It’s where the rubber meets the road and deep in the trenches where choosing joy is where it matters most. When life hands you a sucky hand of cards and you’re not seeing any way out, it’s darn hard to choose joy. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 says…. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Give thanks IN ALL circumstances. (Which I read as…..crappy, hard circumstances. The ones where it’s never easy to give thanks. Notice we’re supposed to give […]
The other night I wrote about how God turned from me when I needed him, and how I realized I was essentially talking to the ceiling. Last night, the ceiling–in the metaphorical sense; I am not hearing voices–talked to me. It’s funny how God has delayed reactions, isn’t it? Maybe heaven and earth are so far removed from each other that messages get caught in the void for a little bit. Last night, right before bed, I had a conversation with an estranged friend. It would not be appropriate for me to go into details, but I can say that it poked something deep inside me. For the past few months, I’ve been distressed over some personal matters, and it has been painful for me to reflect on happy memories from a particular good time in my life. After the conversation, I closed my eyes. Something told me, go back to those memories and feel them. All of them. I didn’t fight it. I gathered all the sweet memories I’ve been repressing and let them all flood into my consciousness. For a straight five minutes, I cried so hard I could barely breathe. Eventually the emotions subsided. I felt more purely free […]
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. I walk down another street. (Read the rest of this poem here.) This is the end of the poem and the hope for your journey out of the hole. Falling into the hole time after time takes a toll on you. There’s the whole process that goes on in your head that only you see. There’s the “I don’t want to” fall in the hole stage. There’s the “It’s not my fault” that I fell in the hole stage. There’s the “I hate this” stage, but that one quickly turns into the “This isn’t that bad” stage. Then in no particular order there’s the embarrassment stage, the panic stage, the grief stage, the “I’m a loser” stage, and the “this will never change” stage. During any of these stages you never see the good coming. Well maybe you do for a short time but you never really believe it. During any of these stages you’ve tried to take on the hole but the hole won. You tried avoiding the hole but somehow you always wound up there anyway. You tried to replace the […]
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.