My Dear Sweet Readers,
Happy Thanksgiving!! I pray this day is spent with those you hold dear sharing a glorious meal and enjoying the beauty of family and friends.
When I decided to give away four copies of Every Sacred Sunday’s NEW Sunday Mass Journal, I wanted to do something more than just draw a name or do a random number generator. I wanted to do something that celebrated being brave and showing up to do the hard things in life. I also wanted to celebrate YOU my awesome readers who are some of the bravest people I have the honor to know.
So I prayed about it and decided to ask for a short essay telling me how you are brave every day. Many of you said that writing your essay actually helped you understand how being brave was quite powerful for you. Some of you chose to nominate someone in your life who has inspired you with their bravery. I actually received several emails that nominated one particular woman, which was humbling to read.
After reading each essay I can honestly say that y’all are incredibly strong women and more brave than I could ever hope to be. You blew me away with your honesty and vulnerability. I am honored by your trust in me to hear your stories and hold them in prayer. If I had my way, I would give you all a Sunday Mass Journal. Truly.
Without further adieu…the winners…
From Erin…“I’d like to nominate a lady as a beautiful reflection of being brave in the scared. I honestly don’t know her personally, but I have observed her many times at mass with her family. Her husband has been diagnosed with ALS. He will not “get better” this side of heaven. They have four very young children, and yet there is only joy and peace on her face. Because I can’t imagine NOT being scared in her place, it is apparent to all who see her that she is leaning into Christ, and being very brace indeed. I have been blessed to just observe M as she is being brave in the scared.”
From Courtney…“Today, specifically, I’m scared that we are going to run out of money in our efforts to provide what we feel is the necessary therapy to help our sweet five year old son Theo, our second of three children. He has autism spectrum disorder, apraxia of speech and is also being treated for suspected seizures. In addition to worrying about finances, I also worry about Theo’s future, ranging from wondering if other children will make fun of him in school all the way to wondering if he will need to live with my husband and me for the rest of his life. I know I’m not trusting God when I become anxious about things that have not yet happened. So I have been focusing more on the present day, considering all of Theo’s progress, and remembering that God’s goodness exists even in the midst of the daily struggles. And when I start doubting my mothering abilities, I am brave in the scared by reminding myself that God has shaped me into a tough, feisty, and tenacious woman who has what it takes to be an advocate for and mother of a child with special needs. As St. Joan of Arc once said: “I am not afraid, I was made for this.”
From Laura…“Being brave in the scared means having the courage to leave an abusive marriage with my toddler daughter in tow. I ask God each day for the courage and fortitude to bear my cross faithfully, to love and forgive my spouse (from a safe distance and within healthy boundaries, or course), and to replace my fear and anxiety with trusting obedience. I requested supernatural “St. Joan of Arc Courage” prior to a significant court date and I reached out to every prayer warrior I knew for intercession. Being brave in the scared is trusting in God’s provision completely and entirely for the first time in my life. I’m thankful for my cross because it has humbled me, brought me to the foot of the cross with Jesus and Mary, and made me passionate about my faith!”
From Kay…“On 9/21, I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma – a sneaky 5 cm+ tumor in my left breast that my regular mammograms missed. When I heard those words, a bolt of terror shot through my body and I dissolved in tears. My first thoughts were for my children. How much time did I have left with them? Would I see them grow up? Two agonizing weeks later, I cried and prayed before my PET scan, begging God for good results. I felt ashamed of my tears and distress. As I went into the tube I tried to dry my tears, put on a brave face, smile, and power through, but anxiety and claustrophobia started to grip me. I did not feel brave; I felt utterly terrified. I began to sing over and over in my head, “My Mercy” by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. The refrain is “Jesus I trust in you, I love you, have mercy. Deep from Your wounded heart, pour out your grace and mercy.” As I sang that song during the scan, I realized that Being Brave in the Scared doesn’t mean putting on a brave face and pretending everything is fine; it means trust. Trusting that my doctors are making good decisions, trusting that my friends will help me get through my treatments, trusting that God loves me and that He will not leave me – no matter the outcome. I will suffer during this process – that is certain. But I don’t have to suffer alone. Jesus wants to help me bear this burden. He wants to comfort me. I need to release my tightly clenched hands, give my sufferings to Jesus, offer them up, and trust Him. I will still be scared at times, there will be more tears, but trusting Him will bring me His peace.”
Ladies I will be contacting you tonight and your books will go in the mail Saturday (11/25/17) so they have plenty of time to get to you.
To ALL of you brave women who entered, know that this was VERY difficult decision, one made with a lot of prayer and a few late nights spent with my team pouring over each entry. I feel like you ALL deserve nothing less than the very BEST in life for facing and dealing with the things you bravely walk through each day. Know that I have written each of your names in my prayer book and am committed to praying for each of you BY NAME throughout Advent.
YOU ARE BRAVE IN THE SCARED my sisters and I am honored to walk with you through it all.
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