For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Have you ever met someone who gave you courage? Someone who made you braver? It wasn’t just that they did something phenomenal or that they said things that encouraged you. It was like you took a step back from your life, took a snapshot of theirs and realized your own snapshot didn’t look the same. You realized God had given you an amazing opportunity . . . the gift of knowing someone who makes you better.
There are plenty of these people in my world, these longtime staples of courage and heart. My husband makes me stronger with four simple words – Everything will be ok. He goes to work when he doesn’t feel like it. He takes me on surprise trips to the mountains when he DOES. He takes dirt roads that are off the map for the adventure of it all.
Then there are my children. They make me stronger because I NEED to be strong for them. They make me laugh when I feel like crying. They draw me crooked doodles of ponies and Ninja Turtles for my encouragement wall. They lift me upward with their little smiles, gentle hugs and all kinds of silly things they would kill me if I shared!
My longtime friend “Bug” with health issues all her own who teaches me about living life on the growing edge, day to day, moment to moment – loving me hard enough to tell me when I’m being too hard on myself – not being afraid to tell me when I need to put on my big girl panties. My Aunt Nancy who reminds me to “Except everything I am dished out . . . even though my bowl runneth over” as my great grandmother said back in the 1800’s. My darling buddy Regina who God just made SO SWEET. My dear friends and editors Karen and Robin who always make me giggle. And let’s not forget Karen’s dog Skip who is like a person with lots and lots of hair.
These rooted relationships in our lives mean so much but then there are the unexpected surprises in life. The people you would have never gotten to meet had your life not taken an unexpected turn. People who you meet farther up in life that somehow manage to create roots in your world all their own. People you can’t imagine not knowing before.
The day I found out I had MS I remember thinking how suddenly my world had grown SO SMALL. But just a few short months later I realized my world was not growing smaller it was only expanding. It was stretching. I was becoming a better person.
Cue my friend Susie Weber.
Susie is a brilliant artist, a spectacular woman, an everyday mom . . . an extraordinary person. Susie also has MS. Susie climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a group of other amazing people who live daily with the effects of neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. She is the ultimate picture of what it means to live beyond your circumstances – to trust God with your mountain, to realize that like Susie says maybe your circumstance ‘’does define you” but that’s just because it has made you SO MUCH BETTER.
Susie makes me braver. Susie makes me stronger. God works through her to find me – to single me out and remind me I am His. I am not alone. I can do this – and not only can I do this – I can do this some-kind-of-awesomely. All I need to do is remember what my family teaches me, what my friends tell me . . . and what my friend like Susie SHOWS me . . .
Two words. Be BRAVE.
Who makes you braver?