It's the catchphrase of the year.
I've seen it spelled out on blogs and book covers, and painted on banners hanging from church walls. It's also the theme of the upcoming MOPS season (Because "Mothers of Preschoolers" need a daily dose of brave). And this charge to courage is something I've been contemplating personally. I think we all have in the wake of last year's popular term, Messy.
Yeah, last year the word was "Messy," because life was. And I can whole heartedly identify with the messy parts of mothering. I'm not talking about the constant roll of snacks that leave crumbs, or smudge marks on walls, or the dried play dough on the kitchen table, but the emotional mess that leaves us weak and frail and longing for a fresh dose of "Brave" each new day.
So much like Manna, we get just enough of the mercy-gift of courage to last the next 24 hours. And we need it this way because we need it each day. So we grab hold of it each morning, especially during those long seasons in the wilderness. Because Brave gives us hope for each day's mess.
It's the courage to walk into the fray of motherhood, marriage, illness, unemployment, depression... with a confident heart that says, "I've got this, because God's got me."
God's Got me!
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
- Matthew 19:26
Last week I was preaching this softly to my own self, timidly like a whisper. Gently linking these two main themes of motherhood & life together like coy new friends. But this week I'm feeling the message rise up with its inherent power. Because they go together naturally. They have since the fall, when sin hit the atmosphere and made the first Mess! God knew we needed a rescuer to redeem and a helper to give us courage.
Nothing is impossible with God.
So God sent His Son to redeem us and His Spirit to lead us. And nothing in your life is beyond His Saving or His Leading, His Redeeming or His cleaning.
Not my mess, most assuredly not my mess. Not my heartache, not my insecurities, nor my overwhelmed mind or underwhelming parenting; not that either. Nothing is impossible with God. Not hurting marriages, migraines, or hormonal imbalances that make you feel crazy as you rock that baby, swaddled in your arms. Not your abilities or your inabilities, or the fact your life always seems to swing out of balance as your commute to work with guilt, or stay home with guilt. Yeah, He's got that too. Because nothing's impossible with Him by your side.
As a matter of fact, the whole purpose for His coming to earth was to redeem us from our messy sin state. Wrap your mind around this:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
There we were in the mess of it all, in the mud and the mire and the muck of sin and separation. But then we saw our need and turned to Him, My Messy Friends, and we cried out! And you know what He did? Of course you do... HE LIFTED US! He Saved us. And He continues to Save still!
That's where we find our Courage today, Brave Ones:
Doesn't it makes sense to your messy core? And this is how He responds:
He lifted me out of the smily pit, out of the mud and the mire...
Right out of the Mess.
This is where the saying fits: He takes our Mess and Makes it His Message.
That's what we become when Brave defines our lives.
Now read it again and note the end:
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
He fills our mouths with a new song, a new word, a new year.
From Messy to Brave.
(So that) Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in Him.
Brave for the benefit of others
- enduring the mess
for the benefit
Here's the charge: Gather the manna you need for this day and this day alone, and recommit to faith, and to trusting God each hard moment. I will do the same on my end. Because I need it today as we drop our two littles off at a new school after having bounced around so much. They are a little gun shy this morning and I am too. But I'm choosing courage and praying it lights my heart up, and shines like a light. Like a light. For their benefit, and the benefit of all I meet today.
"Let your Light (your bravery amidst the mess of life) so shine before others, that they may see your good works (your courage) and glorify our father in Heaven." (Matthew 5:16)