Be Brave!

braveI have two words for you today…. be brave! If you don’t read any further, if you don’t hear anything else today, I pray that you read and hear this…. be brave!

Life can be scary, it can be a real struggle. For those of us struggling with infertility/infant or pregnancy loss it may seem down right impossible. The countless doctor appointments. The medication that leaves you feeling like the forgotten character from One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest. There might be an unanswered or an unexplained prognosis or test result. Or there might be the ending you never saw coming. It all has an unreal ability to make you feel beaten down, crushed, or deflated. Even when you tell yourself you are ok with moving on, something pops up that makes you question your resolve.

But dear one, I encourage you, no I implore you to be brave! Deuteronomy 31: tells us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you, nor forsake you” The Lord goes on to¬†command Joshua in verse 23 “Be strong and courageous…. I myself will be with you!” I have noticed that the phrase be strong and courageous appear roughly ten or so times throughout the bible. Each time it is mentioned the Israelites were up against some serious odds and still the Lord was telling them to “be brave”.

The definition of the word brave is: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage. By definition, all of us who struggle with infertility and loss, are already brave. In trying to conceive and living after loss we “are ready to face and endure danger and pain”. All that is left is for us to now LIVE IT! Be Brave!

I’m currently reading an absolutely incredible book titled Girls With Swords by Lisa Bevere. If you haven’t read it you really must. Lisa Bevere writes in her book, “Don’t imagine that always brave translates to never afraid.” I pray you really soak that in. There will be times in any trial when you are afraid, but that should never stop you from being brave. Be strong and courageous because He is with you. And when He is with you who can stand against you (Romans 8:31). That alone should give you the courage you need to be brave! Mrs. Bevere also writes in her book, “Lovely one, if you dare to dream,, you must be brave enough to fight.” What greater dream is there than for parenthood? To finally conceive/adopt that child you have been longing for! Be brave enough to fight.

God did not create in us a spirit of timidity or fear. He created in us a spirit of strength and courage, all we have to do is fully trust that He is with you. Be brave on your journey for our Father is with you wherever you go.

*Do you need a little more encouragement? Here are some scriptures that will strengthen and encourage you as you press on towards being brave: Deuteronomy 31:6,7,23; Joshua 1:6, 9, 18, 10:25; 1 Chronicles 22:13, 28:20; 2 Chronicles 32:7. Also check out You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music (just make sure you crank up the volume really loud!).

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Just Enjoy

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At the beginning of this year my sister challenged me to discover my one-word theme for the year. I loved this idea so much better than coming up with a New Year’s resolution because my track record for keeping them isn’t so great.

I spent a good part of the first week of this month in prayer and reflection awaiting the one word God would give me. I was filled with anticipation and excitement. I had all these grand ideas of what my word would be. I thought for sure it would be something bold and revolutionary (I suppose I think a little to highly of myself). But then slowly a single word began to captivate my attention, often times in the most bizarre places.

It became clear to me that God was giving me my word. He said to me, “Brittny ENJOY!” And of course because I’m stubborn and need a lot of convincing I countered with, “Oh but I’m such a happy person of course I enjoy life.” That’s when God took off the kid gloves and solidified in my heart my word, “without conditions!” The air from the room was sucked out as if someone had turned on a vacuum. Enjoy without conditions. My Heavenly Father was so right, He knows me so well (obviously). Right there in that moment He exposed me. No matter how hard I try to fake the funk my enjoyment is usually based on conditions. So…. I have committed to enjoy… just enjoy.

You can believe me when I say that is huge for me. I’m a planner who loves checklists. I make checklists for everything (even vacations). And when even one of those boxes go unchecked I feel anxious. I feel as if I have failed. I dwell on that unchecked box and the things that went wrong that caused it to go unchecked. Even now just talking about unchecked boxes is giving me chest pains. I totally miss the enjoyment of the boxes that were checked, or the vacation or project that was successfully completed. And it doesn’t stop with checklists. I have been known to say, “I can relax when the kitchen is clean”, or “I’ll be happy when hubby does X, Y, or Z”. Here’s a biggy, “I will be happy and content when I finally have a baby!” In those moments I miss out on time with family, the satisfaction of a job well done, or a lesson from my heavenly Father.

It may take me all year but I’m committed to just enjoying my life, my relationships, and the seasons God chooses to walk me through. Hubby and I have some big things possibly happen to us this year and normally I would be seriously stressed out right now. I would have already mapped out all the things that could go horribly wrong. I would be consumed with what if. But now I’m reminding myself daily that I am a new creation in Christ. That every day is a new opportunity to embrace God’s grace. I’m focusing on the fact that God has not created me with a spirit of fear or worry but rather with a spirit of joy and hope.

Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of HOPE fill you with ALL JOY and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” He fills me with so much joy and I’m not going to give the enemy the satisfaction of knowing that I’m trading my joy for fear or worry anymore. Please don’t get me wrong, infertility is not something I have enjoyed. It has been something that has brought great sorrow and pain and something I battle every day. What I am saying is that even in those circumstances there are things we can enjoy and it should be enjoyed without conditions. This year I’m committing to seeking out His blessings in ALL circumstances and I’m going to just enjoy them!