Whenever I board a plane I typically have the latest InStyle magazine and a new book I’ve been dying to read tucked away in my purse. Last week’s flight to Iowa was no different. The book in question was Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs that I received care of BookLook Bloggers. I try hard to not judge books by their cover but when it had the word “brave” in the title I couldn’t help be a little excited. Lately (and by lately I mean the last two or three years) I’ve felt like my life has been one moment of bravery followed by the next. Moving from the Midwest to the West Coast is just one of the many things that have happened in my life that warranted bravery beyond what I’d ever dreamt I would have had.
I split the book in halves and read the first half on the flight there and the second on the flight back. I have a tendency to read things quickly so I’m glad I spread the book out because it was definitely one that God was speaking through to encourage me. Even as Peter and I were in the Denver airport at dinner I felt being called to be brave. I felt God telling me to write a note of encouragement for a girl at another table in the restaurant. Bravery, That’s what it took to step out in faith and write her the note and put it on her table.
The book is an easy read but that doesn’t mean that it is shallow. During our last flight I leaned over to Peter and mentioned how I loved that this book didn’t feel like a “self-help” book, nor did it preach at me. I felt like Downs was simply telling me a story and I could relate to her. I’m also one of those that usually reads with a notebook open next to me and I loved how there was a lot to jot down as I was reading.
…courage is leaving home. Leaving the culture you know for one you don’t know. Because every day in that new place will provide opportunities for you to come face-to-face with something you don’t know and yet somehow to choose joy. Because you chose to be there. Because you chose to be brave.
For those of you just reading this for the “book review” part, I’ll let you know that I if you ever feel like there is more for you, there is. This book isn’t the answer to your questions but if you’re not sure what questions to be asking this might be a great start to your uncovering your fullest potential found in God. So if this is you, it gets 5 out of 5 ruby red slippers.
For those who are in the same boat as I am: asking myself if “this is where I’m suppose to be doing what I’m suppose to do”. My journey to the West Coast may have only lasted five days in the car sight-seeing and having fun with my dad but the process that has required continual bravery is still ongoing. It’s been three years but that doesn’t mean that it has gotten easier. I have found friends and a family has grown around me. I even found a husband.
The night after Peter and I got home I felt God calling me to write what I was feeling down. I didn’t know that it would fit in here but I feel like it’s meant to be here.
In those moments of deep hurt sometimes you just need to cry, pray and write… Moving away from family, those I dearly love wasn’t an easy decision to make a couple of years ago. Every time I get on an airplane to visit or leave isn’t easy either, in fact I’d love to avoid those trips due to how homesick I become during them and after them. However, I’m thankful I push through because seeing those I love is one of the greatest gifts. Waiting in airports for hours is so worth seeing my family for a glimpse in time. I cry every time I leave. I cry every time I hug my parents, grandparents, aunt and uncles, and cousins and say goodbye. Those goodbyes are some of the hardest things I have to do.
While I know many others have a lot harder things to deal with. Saying goodbye isn’t easy for me. Living in Oregon is something God has called me to do. He made that quite clear when He brought Peter into my life nearly a month after moving here. When I moved here I swore that I wouldn’t date anyone or make any friends. God has had far greater plans. God has blessed me with a job that I love dearly, friends, an amazing church family and even a husband.
Living in Oregon takes bravery. When I was in the Denver airport in May of 2014 God clearly reminded me that living in Oregon was what He has called me to do. For that I’m thankful because I love my dream job and love the home that Oregon has become. On the night of our wedding after we’d arrived home. God again reminded me how much Oregon has become my home with a good ol’ fashioned Iowa style thunderstorm. For those that don’t live in the Willamette Valley thunderstorms are a major rarity, especially of that magnitude. That thunderstorm brought so much joy to my heart. That thunderstorm showed me that Oregon can also be home. Not just Iowa, as my childhood home.
I’ve pleaded with God on multiple occasions the reason He’s called me to live in Oregon. God’s called me to be brave. God’s calling you to be brave too. Being brave might be staying in your hometown, going to Africa, or even moving to Oregon like I did.
I think I’ll close this post with one last quote from Let’s All Be Brave.
I’m here to ask you to please do that thing in your heart that scares you to death. To make that move or leap or step or sound you wouldn’t have made a week ago.