The final chapter has arrived, and Lee admits that while writing this book, she felt fear and a lot of doubt. Writing these stories about brave women stirred up questions and fears within her own mind. What if she became a mom who one day had to bury her child? What if she was the woman with the lump in her breast? What if… what if… what if?
She realized that life is full of questions and that we are all on a journey just trying to figure it all out. None of us walks through this life without a story to tell or wounds to be healed. The stories she shared aren’t pretty and aren’t tied up neatly with a lovely little bow. One of her friends summed it up in these words “The kind of bravery you are talking about isn’t the kind the conquers… it’s the kind that submits and relinquishes control to God. It’s letting your guard down and becoming naked.”
When I began walking this path on Ash Wednesday, I had no idea where it would lead. I shared in that first post that I don’t consider myself to be a brave woman and writing these blogs has certainly nudged (and in some cases pushed) me out of my comfort zone. Each chapter I read seemed to tell a bit of my story as I could relate in some way to each brave woman’s pain. At times I cried for those women… for the hurts they endured; but yet, I cheered for them for being brave and naked. I have not allowed myself to be completely naked, but I feel as though I have, like an onion, begun to peel off layers of my armor.
Life is messy and at times even raw as we have seen in these stories; but when we draw close to each other, support each other and try to understand, we are able to more fully be a part of life and be the women God intended us to be. Lee begins the final chapter of the book with these words by Henri Nouwen: “Deep friendship is a calling forth of each other’s chosenness and a mutual affirmation of being precious in God’s eyes.” I have felt your friendship as I wrote each blog. It was like having my own personal cheering section! You have made me feel precious and worthy and for that I am grateful. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me to continue to write. I have committed to share some devotional writings on our church website so please pray that I will have the right words to share.
I recently read a fiction book titled “The Secret to Southern Charm” and this passage that defines what Southern charm is struck a chord with me…”it is putting on a brave face, carrying on, helping others, being kind, humble and giving, believing with all your heart that the world could be a better place and that maybe you could make it that way.” Isn’t this what the stories Lee shared have shown us?
God wants us to be real… vulnerable…brave…and beautiful. To give each other hope and faith. This part of the journey is over and the next part begins. Now it is time to go out into the world and to be a BRAVE BEAUTIFUL woman.