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.
When talking to someone new, do you assume the other person is bored, uninterested, or only making conversation with you to be polite? Do you tend to notice and fixate on interactions where you feel put down or slighted? Do you tend to imagine slights from others? Do you tend to take these interactions very personally? When you enter a group of people, do you assume that you won’t fit in or that the group members would rather you weren’t there? Do you worry that people are being outwardly nice to you, but secretly do not like you? When you invite someone to connect on social media do you worry that the person will ignore your request? Do you think healthy and happy relationships come naturally to others but find it hard to imagine someone giving you the kind of love you see others receive? In conversations with others, does it seem they are criticizing you or finding fault with you? When others give you attention and seem interested in you, do you assume it’s only a matter of time before they lose interest? When there’s no conflict or problem in a relationship, do you assume it’s the beginning of […]
On Father’s Day I was privileged to preach to our church family. Part of what I shared is about my infertility which led to the best Father’s Day sermon subtitle ever, “How I Made John a Father.” I shared with our church family the very short version of how John and I became parents. I did not have the words nor the time that Sunday to share how this decision has changed my life…redefined my life. Becoming a mom to these boys is the best decision I have ever made. I share often here at Be Brave about the pain of that decision. I’ve never had my heartbroken so much. I can’t believe how much I know about the State of Virginia prison system. I’m grateful that my heart breaks for #BlackLivesMatter because I know this fear that is all too real…for me. I know that #drivingwhileblack is real. I also know the joy of seeing one of my sons “get” how much God loves him. I love seeing that light turn on when they realize they can have a better future than the generations behind them. I love the gratefulness my sons have as they approach each part of […]
June 12, 2011 was the first day I stepped foot at a very special place as a camp counselor: the Christian Retreat Center (CRC). This place holds a special place in my heart and that will never, ever change. Unfortunately, only people who have worked as a camp counselor in a place such as this will understand how I feel when I say that I LOVE camp. Take notice to the fact that this word is all caps, bold, italicized, and red. Yeah, I love camp. The people I met there and the things I’ve witnessed God do has forever changed me. Let me help you gain some perspective on the impact this place had on my life which lead to why its so important to me. Two counselors I met my first year were bridesmaids in my wedding last month and I am a bridesmaid in one of their weddings this coming October; I had about 4 tables at my wedding for my CRC family; one of the speakers for the older campers (the founder of this website, actually) is now a dear friend of mine and a person whom I feel I can always confide in for guidance; another speaker for a […]
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” Genesis 1:3-5. Thus we have light and darkness like these are simply opposite of each other. This is not true. Light and darkness are not equal. I’m sure someone with a physics background can use science to prove to us that light and darkness are not equal. That is not me. I’m sure someone who loves Star Wars can use the theology of Star Wars to prove to us that light and darkness are not equal. That is not me. What I do have is some notes from one of my sons who is in prison. We pinged back-and-forth ways how light and darkness are not equal. Here is what our non-physics non-Star Wars minds came up with: Light and darkness are not opposites. Light and darkness are not competing forces. Light is infinitely more powerful than darkness. Darkness is really the absence of light. Light and darkness have no relationship to each other. Light has never seen the darkness and darkness has never […]
I want this whole blog to be this T.D. Jakes quote. Such truth that is needed to be heard. Can you hear it? There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk. I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you; Loving you; calling you; caring about you; coming to see you; staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left. The Bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. 1 John 2:19. People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay. Let them go. And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story […]
Today’s been six months since my dad did his fly up to heaven. I don’t know why, but six months on anything seems like it’s important. I feel like the wound of losing my dad isn’t so raw, but yet, some days something will happen or a memory will surface and the wound opens up again. This year is full of “firsts”. First Christmas. First Birthday’s. First Father’s Day. I’m about done with these firsts to be honest with you, but I know they must come and it’s part of the process. So with Father’s Day around the corner and this six month milestone….I am feeling it. My dad wasn’t so big on special days that involved him. We always tried to make a big deal about his birthday or Father’s Day, but often he would just say, “Well thanks for this gift, but you shouldn’t have.” It wasn’t a rude way, just he wasn’t a man that liked to be fussed over. I remember the summer of 2000 standing at a board full of make shift phones in Garden Valley, Texas. Kev and I were gearing up to lead our first short term trip to Botswana with Teen Mania. […]
It is brave decision upon brave decision upon brave decision. Even the little ones when those decisions make you feel anxious and nervous and you would rather shut down in front of Netflix. It is in those brave decisions that you become light. Light to you and a light to others. Back when I began Bravester I had a blogger who is the adopted daughter of a grown teen of mine from a youth group in the 1980s. Cathy is quite a story. Cathy is a living story that is alive and brave. She recently released this “recap” of where she’s been for a while, what she’s been living through. Her living story is continuing. Notice the brave decision upon brave decision Cathy is making. May her living story inspire you as you face your pain which is your beginning. And may you recognize the darkness and be a light. Suicide and Me: A Painful Confession Overwhelmingly, the last year has left me questioning where I fit in and what kind of purpose I have. With each new hurt I stepped further and further away from nearly […]
“We used to play pretend, give each other different names. We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far way. Used to dream of outer space and now they’re laughing at our face saying, ‘Wake up you need to make money’ yeah. Wish we could turn back time to the good old days; when our mom would sing us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out” Above are lyrics from my all-time favorite band Twenty-One Pilots. Song title: “Stressed Out” Some things I remember vividly as a little girl. Whether it was playing outside with my brother and our friends or waking up Christmas morning to presents under the tree. But one thing I don’t recall, however, is ever feeling stressed or having the thought of “what if” with a nuance of negativity. What if my dad can’t pay the oil bill and we freeze? What if we don’t have enough money for groceries? What if I lose control of the bike and get hurt? What if I get there and they don’t like me? What if I get my heart broken? As we get older, something happens to cause those thoughts to pop into our heads: Experience. I […]
My guess is your team already knows it, if you let them in on your relationship. Too often relationships are grown in the dark. Let the light of your community come into your relationship space. This is why it is important to date with a team. Let this happen for your next relationship. Because this current relationship is over. Time has revealed that this is not a match after all. Deep down you know it. Instead of facing the ending which needs to be made, you start to contort, to be super-glued, to pray, to cry, to compromise, to lie to yourself, to lie to others, to put “what God told me” as more important than what you are discerning now. You play this trick on yourself–“I will only think of the good parts of him” trick. Every time you think about breaking up/making this ending, you begin to miss someone who does not exist. You focus just on the part that you like and fail to look at the whole of the person, which includes the negatives which time has revealed to not be a match for you. You never make the ending because you feel like you are […]
This is not my statement of faith which I believe as an ordained minister. This is what I proclaim when my life no longer makes sense. This is what I have learned from being at the door of the Father’s heart. I learned this back in the early 1980s and it has sustained me through the many pains my life has had to endure. It comes from Psalm 18, and specifically this section, vv. 4-16. The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached his ears. Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of His anger. Smoke poured from His nostrils; fierce flames leaped from His mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from Him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath His feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, He flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded Himself in […]
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.