My theme for this year (both personally and in ministry) is this: Be Brave. To live Courageously.
Today I hung out with a Brave woman. This Brave lady also happens to be my aunt. Aunt Chris is ten years older than me…my mama’s baby sister. I remember playing dress up in her clothes and watching her graduate from high school. I remember us building a tent from blankets and sleeping in it until the center post (aka: the vacuum cleaner) fell over in the middle of the night. I also remember shopping trips and iced cappuccinos and the countless letters she wrote me when I lived far away.
This morning I sat across from her at our favorite coffee place (Tim Hortons!) and talked about life. We didn’t use the word Brave, but it was the complete body of our conversation. We talked about cancer. Her Hodgkins Lymphoma. And losing hair. And chemo treatments and ports and needles and wigs and being sick and tired. So really, we talked about living Brave.
When I think of Brave, I think of Aunt Chris. She is Brave. Everyday she gets up knowing she’s facing chemo and sickness and losing her hair and she fights with everything in her. She prays for healing. And I discovered something today: Brave is Beautiful. I saw the determination in her eyes. She is prepared for battle. She lives Brave. Does that mean she’s not nervous or is blowing off her diagnosis? No. But she is refusing to let it define her or crush her spirit. That’s living Brave.
It reminded me of 2 Corinthians 4:6-9, “For God who said, ‘Let the light shine out of darkness’, has shone in our hearts to give light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.” (HCSB) We carry the Light of Jesus around inside of us…and this Light pushes us to hope. This Light shows up best in darkness. Darkness like cancer or broken relationships or deep hurt. We hope because of this Light of Jesus. We have faith in Him. We trust that He has it all in control. That’s why we can live Brave…because He shows up in our weakness. This extraordinary power of Jesus is available to us and that makes us be able to live Brave and be Brave.
Today I saw Brave up close. I laughed with her and listened to the narrative of the life she is facing for the next several months. I hugged Brave. And you know what? It made me want to be Brave. To live Courageous everyday. Aunt Chris is one of my earthly heroes who points me to my Heavenly Hero. Brave is Beautiful, because Jesus is. And when we live Brave, He shows up.