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.
Are you praying for your spouse? No I’m not. I only think about this day-and-night and it never once occurred for me to pray. Yes, I’m using sarcasm. God only blesses you with a spouse when you learn to be content in your singleness. Then Lord knows (literally) that I would have never gotten married, because frankly, I was not really okay with a lifetime of singleness. I thought for a season that this was my future but I wasn’t okay with it. Nor did I force myself to be okay with it thinking I was making a deal with God. My wrestling self knew that myself was not in the way of meeting John because I was living my life to the full. It’s okay to be discontent through singleness, but it’s not okay to let that discontentment rob you of your very life. Or to lead you to “make deals” with God. Or lead you to compromise your soul. Wrestle with this discontentment. The world needs the heartbreak you risk. It will happen when you least expect it. What this really means is it will happen when you just stop worrying about it. It will happen when you […]
I love this quote about prayer: I’ve spent my entire career sitting across from people, listening to them tell me about the hardest and most painful moments of their lives. After fifteen years of this work, I can confidently say that stories of pain and courage almost always include two things: praying and cussing. Sometimes at the exact same time. –Brene’ Brown, Braving the Wilderness, pp. 24-25. Prayer tweaks our vulnerability. After all prayer is an act of dependence. Out of that vulnerability sometimes all you can do is cuss. Praying and cussing at the same time. I’m okay with this. And I believe God is too. God is not shocked by you. Christmas tweaks at our vulnerability. You may have already noticed that you’ve been cussing more. Time to start praying more. To help you pray, here is a written prayer. We like these at Bravester. Dear God, I almost want to say I hate Christmas But I really don’t. I’m just so sad. So stressed. So anxious. It has not been a good few months. Or a good year. I know you already know that because you’ve heard my prayers of desperation. I know you’ve heard my cussing […]
What is ‘singleness?’ What does it mean to be single? Any dictionary definition will have these words, or synonyms for them: ‘to be separate, unique, and whole.’ Would you like to stop being whole or a unique person? Would you like to lose your identity? Of course not. So what is the problem with singleness? There is no problem. The problem is with our definition, which has been given to us by a cultural socio-economic system under the rulership of satan, the god of this ‘world order.’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The world’s definition which the Church has adopted, opens the door to hurt, rejection, and even self-hatred. We have confused singleness with “being alone.” Will there ever be a time, and has there ever been a time when you will cease to be “separate, unique, and whole?’ Should there ever be a time when you cease to be a single being who is unique and whole? If your answer is ‘no,’ then the next question is: Does getting married do away with this definition of being single? When you marry, do you stop being a single individual who is unique and whole? Myles Munroe, Single, Married, Separated, Life After Divorce, […]
I remember standing at the foot of my dad’s bed in the ER that Monday morning December 5th. My sister, Valerie, was next to me and my mom had stepped out the room for a moment. Dad looked at us both with those steel blue eyes and his two pointer fingers flew up and he pointed at us. I knew he meant business as through the 38 years of my life I had been on end of that pointer finger and look many times. It meant, “Stop! Listen! I have something important to say!” I think I remember a lurch in my stomach, and thinking, “Oh Lord, what is it.” He simply said, “Take care of your mom. “ after a pause he added, “Cause I have one foot on a banana peel and I am going down.” (Just like my dad to mix the serious with a little bit of humor.) My sister just replied, “We will dad. You raised us well, but we’re gonna get you better.” I don’t think I spoke, words couldn’t be formulated…I just remember thinking, “I’m wearing a Snoopy Christmas shirt and this is a serious moment.” We made a plan that I would […]
Yes, God is everywhere at Christmas. And yes, so is Santa. And elves. And reindeer. And hot cocoa. And Hallmark Christmas movies. Yet God is still everywhere out front and up front because every Christmas story, even those with Santa, is about how something supernatural blesses our lives and changes our circumstances. This is the story of Jesus coming to us with skin-on. Jesus. Coming. To. Us. Yet God is still silent to you. Why? The Christmas story has a lot of whys. Why is God promoting unmarried teenage pregnancy in the Christmas story? Why use the forbidden practice of stellar divination to announce the Savior’s birth? Why make physically unclean shepherds and spiritually unclean Gentiles the most important visitors to see Jesus? Why was there radio silence from God for 400 years while the Greeks and then the Romans invaded the Promised Land? Why is Jesus forced to flee his home country as a child and not grow up in peace and safety? Why are you going through what you are going through? In all of these whys there is discomfort. We want the discomfort to end with a loud and clear declaration. Something understandable. Something I can put […]
Hmmmmm…how do you handle the truth when you see it? “When truth presents itself, the wise person sees the light, takes it in, and makes adjustments. The fool tries to adjust the truth so he does not have to adjust to it.” —Dr. Henry Cloud, Necessary Endings (I recommend this book!) To compromise in a relationship is to accept standards that are lower than desirable. To compromise in a relationship is to settle for less and to give up something of value to get what you want. Have you compromised yourself to be with this “one”? Have you justified your decision making because he/she has a quality that you desire? Are you overlooking (or outright lying to yourself) about a behavior your boy/girlfriend is doing? Have you contorted yourself so you don’t have to “see” the truth? Are you hanging on to the lie that once you get married things will be different? That once you get married you will then be in a position to ask him/her to change? Or you believe that once you get married this boy/girlfriend will desire to make the changes you would like because he/she loves you that much because marriage will make it […]
There was supposed to be a wedding tomorrow for one of my grown teens from a previous youth group. He was in this relationship for 5+ years. He asked me to be a part of his team. I grew to know his girlfriend. I rejoiced with her when she decided to become a Christian. They got engaged a year ago after much preparation. There was much rejoicing. The wedding date was set for this weekend. Premarital counseling was done. Yet he still felt the need to cancel the wedding. After the dress has been purchased. After the flowers have been purchased. After the caterer has been paid for. Etc. Etc. Etc. He cancelled the wedding inside an 8-day window before the wedding. He has his reasons and I support his reasons. I particularly support him making this brave decision when the momentum might have caused him to not listen to how God was leading him. I cannot imagine the amount of holy tension he has been in to make this brave decision. He wrestled with that holy tension, stayed in the discomfort of it, and made a major decision. This is brave. There are broken hearts all around. To love […]
A few weeks ago, a friend posed the question for a magazine topic, “What has been your best Yes of 2017?” I read it and passed it off, but the rest of the day, that question kept coming back into my head. I’m usually the person who says “yes” to everything, even when I don’t really want to. Chuck it up to my people pleasing personality and always feeling like I need to help with everything. ….I can feel like a bit of a door mat at times. I love (sarcastic!) those yeses that even other people make for you! Ugh, those are the WORST! Before you know it you’ve been bamboozled into doing something you didn’t even get a word out edge wise……excuse me, how did that happen!? When we returned to Botswana the beginning of the year, I was grieving, worn out on all aspects and life just overwhelmed me. I felt like I was standing still and everyone was whizzing by me. I couldn’t even grocery stop and multi tasking was out of the question. It was a horrible feeling. People around me carried on with life as usual and the requests for me to do all […]
We are in year 2 of a seven year prison sentence with one of our sons. In year 2 we are seeing an increasingly amount of growth in him! We’ve been through prison sentences with him before but never one this long. But this is what happens when he chose to self-sabotage his life instead of dealing with the shame that has been the voice in his head most of his life. And the secrets that were strangling him. This 7-year sentence from his self-sabotage has cost him quite a bit plus he’s not a young thing anymore to bounce right back into his life. This is his story to share. As he is putting words to the shame and the secrets he is beginning to put truth into his life. He has started to share some peeks of that with John and I, the parents who took him in at age 12. And he has given me permission to share it with you all. Because this is the beginning of how you live a real brave life–to stop allowing the shame to keep your life a secret. Just four days ago I listened to a sermon on this very […]
I realize this is a bit of a play on words, but what do you think of this statement from Myles Munroe from his book, Single, Married, Separated, Life After Divorce, pp. 42-43 There is a difference between being single and being unmarried. Most unmarried people consider themselves to be single. I have been married for almost 25 years, but I am still single. So is my wife. It is our singleness that makes our marriage so successful. The more single we become, the more our marriage improves. The average person has never been single, even though he or she may be unmarried or divorced. Unmarried means to be without a spouse (so does divorce, in the legal sense), but single means to be all one (alone)—a separate, unique, and independently whole individual. Many marriages fail because people get married before they become single. They latch onto a spouse, identifying themselves with someone else before they have come to terms with their own identity. They marry expecting marriage to make them single. In other words, lacking a personal sense of completeness, they look to marriage to make them whole persons. People who are truly single don’t pursue marriage; they are […]
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.