I've chosen a theme word for myself at the beginning of the last three or so years, but I've never shared any of them publicly. I want to change that. Most people share their word at the beginning of the year - but I'm sharing mine at the end. It's been my little secret.
That was my word for 2017.
By definition brave is "being ready to face and endure danger or pain and showing courage."
2017 has been one of the most brave years of my life. We bought a home and renovated it. My husband quit his job and started a new one. We've built new relationships in a new city. We've reached out to our community in vulnerable ways. We've faced challenges - financial strains, insane work hours, and learning how to parent an emotional two-year old. We've walked through darkness - a missed miscarriage at 10 weeks along + resulting surgery. We're in the middle of change - transitioning from our amazing downtown church body to help revitalize another one.
I made brave moves in my photography business - creating a new website, shooting my first wedding, saving my money + replacing my (ancient) computer, scheduling 12 sessions in six weeks this fall, changing my Instagram strategy, and taking on way more clients this year than I ever have. All of these brave acts began with fear. A whole lot of fear. But I'm learning to push past it and let my (healthy) nerves be the fuel to propel me forward. I have learned that bravery is very rewarding. Terrifying, but rewarding. And bravery gets easier the more you do it. I've always lacked self-confidence in my business to some degree, so BRAVE was the perfect word for me this year. I still have a long way to go.
I had no idea how brave I would be called to be this year - in both big and small ways. The beauty of it all - of this whole year - is that in expected and unexpected challenges, progressions, setbacks, disappointments, upheavals, changes, and losses I was not called to muster up bravery on my own. Strength to face 2017 was supplied through the grace of Jesus.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
And His grace (to keep me brave) will remain sufficient in 2018.