Monday, January 4, 2016

book review | brave enough

Brave Enough is about courage and calling, and it contained all the messages I needed to hear to begin the new year. This is a new thought for me - but it does take courage to live life - a lot of it. During one of my classes today, I found my mind wandering as I made my rounds in the room, checking student work. They were essentially self-teaching (or self-reminding) some classroom procedures on this first day back from winter break, and I suddenly felt a strong temptation to just drop it all. Just stop trying to raise children, instill values, teach lessons... just stop. It's all so overwhelming sometimes... with them, and with my own two little toddlers at home.

But of course, that's not what we've been given to do in this world. Rather... "we are women with a mission. We've been given a job to do - to take our ordinary selves and allow God to transform us into bold, beautiful, brave women with hearts that go after what his heart goes after - a passionate love for his people and a desire for all to "be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:4). (from page 195). 

It's ironic, because I was just telling Grant on our anniversary getaway to Chicago that my heart feels more burdened than ever for the lost - and I feel more lost than ever on how to reach them. But as I welcomed my students back into the classroom after two weeks away, I realized that it doesn't really have anything to do with me reaching them. It's about being a shell - and allowing God to reach them  - through me. Because on my own, I certainly don't have the patience to listen to a student tell me about how his new drone works, or gently re-iterate my behavior expectations for the eighteenth time. God can do those things through me though, and that is how the lost get found. 

Brave Enough is also about giving grace. Author Nicole Unice writes, "Let's not miss the truth that seeking God's grace and extending God's grace is what we all need more of, in all the day-to-day interactions where anger tends to build. [...] Giving grace takes courage. It takes grit-your-teeth, white-knuckled courage to decide that you are going to see something differently. That you are going to let someone off the hook. It takes courage to identify hurt, to feel hurt, and to turn that hurt over to God so that he can deal with it." (97)

Yes. Courage and grace. Stepping forward into a new year - these are the keys to growth and change in my life. I highly recommend Brave Enough - it is one of the best books I have read and it is one that I will go back to regularly. 

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my review.