GEM you are brave
What Matters Most:
A Note To The Weary Mama ~ You ARE Brave!

I’ve never thought of myself as being brave. Lost, confused, without vision, not very smart, lonely and basically a “Hot Mess” would be a few adjectives that I would use to describe myself just out of high school … and somehow these very same words still seem to describe me today, some 30+ years later.

And yet, when I consider what I have done, or rather what God has accomplished through me, over the last few decades of my life … it does seem as though there has been quite a bit of brave mixed in with each step.

My first big brave step I can recall was when I was 19-years-old. I packed my bags and flew to Brazil to work in an orphanage. I wanted to do something that mattered, something that would make a difference in someone’s life.

I didn’t count the cost or fear for my safety when I took off on that journey to a country where I didn’t speak the language and didn’t know a single soul. I just went. Looking back, I can say that was brave…mixed with a little bit of crazy.

Related: Ask Rene: My Teen Wants To Travel The World Before College And I’m Scared!

But brave oftentimes isn’t just in the big things. It shows up in the hard, dailiness of our lives.

A few years after I returned home from Brazil, I married a great guy. Before we married he said that he was on board with the possibility of parenting a dozen or so kids. Little did he know that was going to be one if HIS big braves!

I still remember his words in reply to my vision of a large family “If God wants us to have 12 kids then I’m okay with that.” … and so began our journey into marital & parental bliss.

Our first child was born 4 days after we celebrated our first wedding anniversary and then every year-and-half or two, another child came along. Yes, I know what causes that! In 2007 we also began our adoption journey.

Caring for little ones didn’t seem very brave and as a matter of fact I was terrified that I was going to do something wrong or miss something critical like when to take them to the doctor…or not, what to feed them, how much is enough, to let them cry it out or not or to wear my babies and then worry about spoiling them … and the list goes on and on.

After some 20 years of parenting, you’d think that I would have it all figured out by now. A Mom with 10 kids should be a pro, right?

You’d think that I’d feel competent and even embrace the word BRAVE … but no … I’m still walking out each day, wondering if I am giving too much freedom … or not enough freedom … to my teens, and whether I’m spending enough time with my littles enjoying the simpleness of playing with play-dough and rollerblading in the backyard.

As hard as it is for me to believe … let alone admit, I turned 50 just a few months ago. It makes me think that I should be this older wiser woman … but, again no, I just feel older. Seriously. Can you relate?

But, what I HAVE come to learn, is that brave is not this big, overwhelming feeling.

It is a choice to take action, to keep going, to do what is right or at least to do my very best, no matter what.

It is what we do every day when we step into what God has called us to do and be.

Whether you drop your kids off at school or choose to school them at home … it is brave.

When you dare to wear what makes you feel happy and alive and not care what everyone else is wearing just to blend in … that is brave.

When you know someone has been talking trash about your family or about one of your kids and you choose to keep the “Mama bear” at bay and instead you let it go take it to prayer … that is brave.

When you admit to your kids that you blew it … again … and ask for forgiveness…sweet friend, that is brave.

Related: Our Story Begins: I Don’t Like Being a Parent (Sometimes)

When you fight for your kids to get the therapy they need or the services your child needs written in the IEP, or when you speak out against the teacher saying your kid needs  some kind of ADHD meds, or you have to advocate, once again, for your RAD child that they truly are not hungry and do not need 2 breakfasts, 2 snacks and 2 lunches (true story!) … THAT IS BRAVE.

When you don’t allow your kids to do something … even though they get really angry and tell you that EVERYBODY else is getting to do it … that, dear Mama, is brave.

When you open up and share about your struggles, fears and heartaches with a friend and encourage them that they are not alone in their struggles … that too, is brave.

When you let others into your life, to see that all is not perfect in any way, shape, or form … that is brave. It doesn’t feel brave … but it is, at it’s very core – brave.

It’s no wonder that we are all weary Mama’s with all the “brave” that we are stepping in to, each and every day!

So, be encouraged, my dear Warrior Mama, friend. Brave really is who YOU are!

Can you relate? How do you “Do Brave” every day?