This is a video story I happened upon from my brother’s church. (The same one doing this coincidentally.) It is a beautifully gripping testimony of the pain of cancer and the pain of fatherlessness and the beauty that comes from both.
So moving. Can you feel the holy tension in the questions raised? But most of all, can you see the bravery in this one man? A man who didn’t go to church or have a faith until the cancer diagnosis. Who then has grown so brave in his faith to love another so. I want to be this man. I’m sure he is flawed and cracked. Yet it is the pain that is making him beautiful.
Love pries open your chest and pulls open the door of your heart so someone can walk right in and make this mess that remakes you into something more beautiful. –Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, p. 131
Our Missionary Momma Sarah is in the midst of the pains of grief. She has been vulnerably sharing her growth, backward steps, and pain since her father’s sudden death. She was already this brave missionary living and raising three children in Botswana. We have all admired that. But this missionary has become real and become even more beautiful by sharing her pain with us. This is a gift we are privileged to walk closely with her on (and be inspired to pray for her!).
My hope is that true stories like these–or mine– will inspire you. Inspire you to make braver decisions about your life. Inspiration is a beginning. But inspiration is still safe. Application is the change, and that is not safe.
The world, that person, needs you to vulnerably get into your own story. To become Jesus with skin on. To risk your heart being broken. You may continue to shed some tears over a video or be moved by a good blog read. My purpose with Bravester is greater than that. It is to stir that holy tension inside of you so something changes. Application is the change. Putting your skin in the game so you can be Jesus with skin on. It is how brave stories are made.
This past weekend a friend of mine served on a Kairos team to bless a group of 30 women in prison. I’ve served on a Kairos weekend before. That was before my own sons chose their path in life. Now I can’t be brave enough to serve on a team like that. I spend more time than I ever wished to behind prison walls. For this weekend ministry I just couldn’t put my skin in to be present there. But I have helped the team in five other ways, all ways which don’t take me inside to the sad personal place that prison is for me. My heartbreak led me to this and I found five ways to be involved. That is enough. I am now a part of that weekend’s story too.
Do you see the point I’m trying to make? Do not let fear keep you from application but also recognize when too much “skin” is harmful to your personal health. We can only love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39) when you love yourself. I know myself would have been a walled-up, wounded mom if I was on that team to go inside the prison to serve. But I still did some application because I was moved by heartbreak to do something.
We just finished up a 9-week series on the fruits of the Spirit—and the vulnerability that each one grows in us. Vulnerability that leads us to a brave and fruitful life. This is where the growth grows to. So what will you do with the “Jesus with skin on” opportunities that you stumble across? Just be inspired? Maybe drip a few tears? Or will you find a way to get in with your skin?
Then you will have a story to share–and inspire others. The world needs the heartbreak you risk.
(Photo credit: Pexels.com)