Thursday, May 14, 2015

Finding My Brave

This morning I walked into our very last MOPS gathering for the year and I'm a little embarrassed to admit it-- the second I stepped through those swinging glass doors I was a mess -- a lump in my throat and fighting back tears. I just wasn't ready for this year to be over.

Coming off of the heels of my last post where I wrote about how much women scare me senseless, I have to say that just joining MOPS this year was a huge step for me in being brave.  Which was perfect since the theme this year was fittingly -- Be You Bravely. I was incredibly nervous to join a group of women I didn't know and to be asked to share my story.  I wasn't sure how receptive they would be of me and how much I should trust them with the deep parts of my heart.
What I found upon joining last September was a group of the most lovely, courageous and authentic women I've ever had the privilege of knowing.  Last fall, on a brisk Sunday night, a group of 6 of us bounced and caravanned our way to a little mountain home for tea and sharing our stories.  I wondered if it would be mostly filled with light small talk and giggling-- about funny things our children have done or trading, "You too!?" moments regarding what we studied in college.  What I found could not have been more opposite.

The stories shared that night were raw and broken and authentic.  They were stories of rocky marriages, divorce and abuse.  Heavy words and hearts filled the room as we poured out about the painfulness of years of infertility and miscarriages, the incredibly difficult and faith filled road of pursuing adoption and the ugliness of antepartum and postpartum depression.  And even still-- threads of God's faithful redemption were weaved throughout each of our journeys. 

I remember climbing into bed that night and just absolutely losing it.  Each tear that hit my pillow seemed to hold the weight and the heaviness of the stories that had been shared earlier that evening. And yet, I also remember feeling overwhelmingly thankful to God for seeing it fit to place us together and to trust each of us with one another's hearts. 

That night in the mountains changed everything for me.  I knew that I had found a group of women that were safe.  I had found friends who were going to accept me for me-- the total mess that I am -- and they weren't going to run.  How beautiful and freeing a place to be!
In fitting with the theme Be You Bravely, each of us was asked this year to pick something we need to be more brave in and to start pursuing that bravery.  My "brave" was very much two fold. 

My desire was to fear women less-- to trust and to be open to authentic friendships.  And secondly, I wanted to begin pursuing my writing as a way to love and minister to those same women that I've been so fearful of. 

I am by no means "cured" of insecurity, but the life giving words that have been prayed and spoken over me this year by my friends have given me the courage and the bravery to take baby steps.  To trust more, to love more, to write and to share more of my heart.
Kristine, Janey, Jess, Sharon, Heidi, Elly, Brooke & Soo-- I know this isn't goodbye. 
I'm confident that God's plan for our little group of Fearless Femmes 
is more far reaching than what we can imagine and grasp now. 
And yet, I'm still teary just writing this.  You girls have been my greatest gift this year. 
Thank you for loving me and encouraging me to be my bravest self.  I love you,
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