We’re so excited to share the first piece in our newest ‘Heritage’ series by finding strength and inspiration in the past. Read below as our dear friend Julie paints a beautiful picture of our identities shaped by the bravery that shines through the humblest of moments.
A term I coined because brave does not require flashy, which is good because I’ve never been a flashy girl. I am muted tones, rusted this, worn out that, the more faded the better.
Sarah Ann Enyeart, my three-times great grandmother on my Momma’s side is my quietBrave hero, and maybe she can be yours too. She did her brand of brave far more bravely than I could have done. Yes, she did it because brave is not so much something you are as it is something you do despite whatever is pulling at you to give up your brave. And while I don’t have any pictures of Grandma Sarah, I do have a few words written about her after she passed away in 1888, just a paragraph on a faded copy of her typewritten obituary card. And I’ve framed it and made it the final piece of my Stuff Waller wall.
Just like Scrap Bookers who pick the right paper and trim and font, and crop and embellish, then arrange and rearrange until the layout settles the soul, we Stuff Wallers go through the same creation process. Add this, move that, pick every piece that goes on the wall with depth and meaning until the wall says what you want it to say. Every piece on my wall was chosen to speak Jesus’ love for me through the women and men who have come before me, and through those dear friends who have walked life with me.
But my wall was not complete until Grandma Sarah’s obituary card was framed and hung just so. The frame is floral and fluid for Sarah. Yet the chiseling is deep and sharp, stalwart and hearty. It’s worn and a bit bruised here and there because when you hear her story you will know there must have been days when she felt the wear and the bruise. The hardships in her life most likely left their mark.
You see, Sarah’s husband died in the Civil War and she was left to raise her eight children alone. But through Jesus, her church family, and a community that walked with her, cherished, and respected her, she was never truly alone.
And she had her brave.
She had to choose brave over bitter, brave over the urge to hush His still small voice that asked so much of her, that was calling her to do such great brave things.
And watch how she finished – a finish that made her a hero.
Her obituary card reads “She happily converted and joined the Methodist Church and has been a kind and devoted mother. She has lived among us over 30 years and has been a consistent and earnest Christian. All these years her seat in the prayer and classroom and in the public congregation has not been vacant unless prevented by sickness. During her illness when she was asked if she was trusting in Jesus, she replied, “Yes, I am trusting in Jesus.” And again, if Jesus was precious, she replied He was. Without a struggle, she fell asleep in Jesus.”
Her brave kept her eyes on Jesus despite all those circumstances whirling around her, whittling away at her, until the very end.
But did you notice? Her brave was not flashy and noteworthy and front of the room and head of the table and ovations poured out and headlines printed and books published and honors given. Sometimes brave is quiet and steady and sticking and dependable and contented and patient and following His still small voice and keeping your eyes on Jesus when your world is crumbling away from around your feet.
Sometimes brave is making lunches and beds and baby bottles. Or making those quiet comments that encourage a sister even when your heart is pounding and your brain is protesting as you bare your heart to her. Or making that connection with the one woman sitting alone at a gathering without totally invading her space and freaking her out. Sometimes brave is making a meal to be shared in your home that has not been neat and tidy any time during this decade. Sometimes “quietBrave” is tithing when all logic makes you want to pull every penny close, but your heart, your heart chooses brave.
Brave is all about the decision to not let life,
as painful as it can be with your heart ripped wide open,
to not let that be your defining moment,
the moment that taints and dents and scoffs
at every other moment
for the rest of your days.
Brave is refusing bitterness, it’s refusing the round and round recording of fear-laden words that run through your mind and instead, defining yourself by what Jesus says about you: redeemed, chosen, adored, forgiven and secure. Brave is making the decision to follow His voice that speaks the truth that sets you free and calls you forward all at the same time. Long for it, yearn after it, chase it. Bravely. And sometimes quietly.
Did Grandma Sarah have any idea her life, or her death, would mean this much to distant granddaughter 130 years later?
Because not all brave is flashy.
She never would have dreamed.
Because her focus was all on Him.
The Author and Perfecter.
Of her quietBrave.
Julie’s friends call her a Friday-er. She is not afraid of those seasons in life when so much feels lost, and those few things that can be found are dented a bit, or maybe even seem broken beyond repair. Her identity is fully in He who has redeemed it all and longs to share her stories of hope because all of it, always, is about the next girl. You can find her at www.atthecornerofgrittyanddivine.com.
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