“Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. ” 1 John 4:4
Bravery. It is often hard to determine if one is brave or not, simply because we can’t ever truly know the thoughts and attitudes of others. We often assume bravery takes on the appearance of a warrior, but it is actually a quiet strength from within.
Bravery is less about the size of the circumstance you face, and more about the size of God within you.
He will never leave you, never forsake you, and you will never face a battle alone or empty-handed. Sometimes bravery is risking one small step for the potential of one huge return. This is a story about one of those brave steps: letting others in.
I had tried everything else in life and was coming up rather bored and empty-handed, so I thought I would try out this church thing. I knew getting my husband to join a group of people to talk about Jesus was a stretch, but after searching the small group directory I found the perfect set-up.
Group read: Married group for young couples. Dinner provided. Come hungry.
Hook, line and sinker, there she was….. “Dinner provided.” Just like that, it was a done deal! We showed up with our best “been loving Jesus our whole life- we’ve got this Christian thing down- perfect married couple” look. I’m not sure if you are aware, but there is a look, and Brian and I were great impersonators if nothing else. It didn’t seem to matter that he was fresh off a “guy” trip in Mississippi and we had argued the WHOLE way there. Because that’s what you do before you attend a married couples group…..argue. It’s a rite of passage.
Shortly after we arrived, we quickly found ourselves lacking in skill set for the christian impersonator gig. We gathered around the food, and then it happened. The group leader asked MY husband to pray. Out loud. In. Front. Of. People. Did I mention OUT LOUD? We couldn’t fail these people now. We had come and we were going to step up to the plate. So when asked to pray, he did the only option he had left – he said, “I would love to.” I stood just to the left of him dying on the inside and for the first time (in a long time) I prayed, “Lord just get us through this night and we will be better people….. I promise.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, next was the den gathering. The leaders asked each couple to go around the room explaining how they met. Immediately this was going to be a problem. It’s not like we had time to converse in a separate room to get our story straight. One by one the couples went and each story seemed more ooey-gooey than the last. “We met on the worship team,” “we were baptized together in Jerusalem where the Lord told us to get married,” “we met in a single group and it was love at first sight.” We were DOOMED. I certainly knew at this point that small groups were not for us.
I died a slow death in my seat as I waited for what my man was going to say. So proud of that man! He took the floor with confidence, and stated who we are and that we had met at “Highlands.” PHEW! Not only did he save the day, he made us look awesome. Genius. Highlands is the name of the church we attend. That night they didn’t need to know that Highlands also happened to be the name of the college bar where we met and danced the night away.
Of course, everyone now knows the truth about us. After years of God forging friendships between us, and building our families together…. the truth was bound to come out. Surprise! We’re not perfect people! What we didn’t know at the time is that even though we were not perfect, we could still be forgiven.
In hindsight, I thought I was tricking my hubby with the promise of food to get him to a small group, but in reality God was tricking us by getting us to the only place He knew that real life change could happen. Relationship. He’s really good at that bait and switch thing.
Relationships are a place where big fears are healed and bravery is born. We were never meant to do life alone.
What will be your next brave step? – Kristen
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Kristen Bagwell is a wife and mother of three in Birmingham, Alabama. She is an artist that loves vacationing with family, her church, writing and speaking to others about the power of Jesus and living a transparent life. Her motto in life is “Be Free.” Whom the Son sets free, shall be free indeed!