I drive three hundred miles through the desert to get there. I notice, maybe for the first time, the beauty of the desert land as I pass. The hills, open-faced to the sun. Scraggly foliage reaching up in spite of heat and dry ground, raw and bare to the elements. I think to myself how my heart knows the desert…how it was there in the desert when I first came close to Jesus…the raw, real, gritty Jesus. Much different than the whitewashed one I knew before.
I used to think that being brave meant being fearless. The brave person was confident, resolved, focused. Not terrified, broken, and scattered. In the face of my trials, I never could find my bravery. That fearless kind of bravery, anyway. I cried all through them. Sobbed, actually. I cowered and collapsed. I prayed feverishly and impatiently…not nice prayers, but desperately honest ones. And found that being brave doesn’t mean being fearless at all. Being brave is all about reaching up to God for help in the difficult times, acknowledging our need for Him, and trusting that He will bring help, because He does.
Being brave is about facing the hard things, even if our knees are weak and our arms are tired. It means going to the place where we own our failures, name our hurts, give voice to our disappointments, aches, and sorrows…all before a mighty God who hears, who cares, and who moves on our behalf when we are humble enough to call for Him instead of trying to survive solo. He promises to lead us into all truth, and the truth is good stuff, even if it doesn’t feel like it at first.
This trip to the desert was extra special for me. It reminded me of zillions of prayers I cried out in desperation that have been answered. Of a brokenness that has been mended. Of an understanding I now have that there is no hardship in the world that would not be worth what I have gained in the pursuit of Jesus. How I mean that with every fiber of my being, and how I long for everyone to find and understand the immeasurable hope of Jesus for themselves.
“After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10
He, Himself, will do it. What a promise.
I met this angel-face while I was away. Her mama is one of my dearest friends…A friend who traveled with me in the lowest days. One who has repeatedly breathed life into me, passed on bits of courage, inspired me to open my heart more to Jesus even when I wanted to snap shut, and taught me by example what it looks like to be a brave mama in the face of hard things. I see her courage in this baby’s face…the beautiful result of a life yielded and willing to put aside comfort for blessing. So honored to be her friend, and so thankful for all the riches God has given me through her and her family.