It was my word for 2015: Brave.
Packed with a punch, it came loaded with opportunity. Brave is a verb. God asked me to do brave—to step out in faith, to stretch my wings in brand new ways, and to face the fear that accompanied it all by trusting that His purpose would far exceed my imagination.
I embraced brave, but it wasn’t always pretty and it didn’t always look, well … brave. Every millimeter of growth, of new-found identity—of change—was felt bone deep. I pressed, pushed, and bore down through some decidedly gotta-be-brave moments. And yes, there were tears and more wet, soppy, face-planted prayer than I can even recount.
And just when I believed I had brave figured out, God turned it on its head.
Over Thanksgiving, my family and I went on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. It was meant to be a vacation, but it rocked my world—literally. Two days after returning home, I found myself back on rough seas. My head grew foggy, and I struggled to string words or thoughts together. A leaning sensation gripped my body and pitched me left or right with such strength that I could barely stand. I took to bed, and stayed there—angry.
I’d toyed with the idea of taking December “off.” But, that plan was on my terms. In one swoop (or should I say sway?) my calendar was wiped clean. “About 1 in 18,000,” the neurologist shrugged, end up with this “rare disembarkment syndrome, a form of vertigo mingled with a neurological deficit, and there’s no telling when it will go away.” Yup, I’m that girl.
Over the fog-filled days, anger faded and slipped into a quiet, although somewhat resentful acceptance. So, I surmised, “off” would look different than I planned. My version would have been hurried with shopping, decorating, and as much work as I could squeeze in. I would have tested every boundary of “off.” God knew exactly what I needed and to what lengths He should go to get me there.
On day ten, when my patience was thin, my head foggy, and I was asking for the umpteenth time if this too shall pass, God whispered these words to me: there is bravery in pause as well as pursuit. (← Tweet that)
And that just changes everything, doesn’t it?
In that moment, I knew that this momentary affliction was so much bigger than me. And while I wasn’t exactly thrilled and the choice wasn’t exactly mine, I understood my prescription.
Christmas was going to be slow and sweet. This season of rest was going to be savored with silence and stillness in spaces of time I hadn’t planned for, but began to experience with overwhelming gratitude.
Brave is still an action, and it’s still a word I love, but it doesn’t always come with forward momentum. Sometimes brave means you stop. You seek health over ambition, you hold onto family instead of expectations, you choose peace over pressing forward, and you lean in and listen to the One who proves time and time again, that His way is higher—even if you’re not crazy about His methods.
I shared on the cusp of the new year, that through this season of healing (which is ongoing) God brought me my #oneword for 2016: Wonder. Join me next week and I’ll share a little of the wonders He’s revealed. ♥
You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots: Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory), Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).