What Does Brave Mean to You?

What does it mean to be brave?

I’ve been asking this question as I write my next book. Women typically don’t consider themselves brave. When I ask someone if she has a brave story to share, I often receive a blank or questioning stare. But these same women instinctively and bravely protect their loved ones, and maybe even strangers. Most women wouldn’t hesitate to push a child from the path of an oncoming car and take the hit herself. We fight fiercely for justice for children and families. But brave? No, we wouldn’t consider ourselves brave, just doing what comes naturally.

However, in today’s volatile, liberal, progressive culture women may think twice before voicing an opposing political or spiritual opinion for fear of facing harsh pushback or criticism.

When President Trump invited Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy SEAL William Ryan Owens, to attend the President’s address to a joint session of Congress, Mrs. Owens probably didn’t consider her attendance brave. Her husband was the brave one in the family, as President Trump referenced John 15:13, “Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom — we will never forget Ryan.” It might have taken bravery to tell her father-in-law, who wasn’t even willing to meet with President Trump, but she went to proudly honor her fallen hero husband. She probably couldn’t have imagined how difficult it would be to stand for two minutes with the world watching her grief-etched face, while she relived her agonizing loss as she cried out, “I love you baby” looking repeatedly to the heavens.

As she heard the echoing applause and the kind, comforting, and praising words of the president, I doubt she looked down to see any who refused to stand again to honor her hero as the audience broke out in a second round of applause at the president’s comments. And how could she have ever imagined the bravery it would take to see her tear-stained, tortured face on talk show programs and media broadcasts becoming the brunt of callous, brutal, cowardly criticism. Liberal bullying men and women pundits and media, who turned a sacred moment into a political secular opportunity for their own vengeance against a president they detest. Those accusers were the users. They were the ones making it political. They were the cowards.

I was the child of a brave widow whose husband laid down his life in the line of law enforcement duty, so I know that Carryn’s brave days started when she married a Navy SEAL. Now as a widow with three young children to raise on her own . . . not one of those clapping or criticizing has any idea the bravery it will take for her to get out of bed and face each new day . . . alone. Many will be there to help her, but woe to those who made her burden harder.

What Is Your Brave Story?

Some call me “brave” simply for defending Jesus, conservatism, and morality in today’s secular culture, something I don’t think twice about, just doing what comes naturally. But like many of you, I do sometimes encounter hostile reactions, but I count it all part of the cost of serving Jesus and doing what’s right.

In my new book, Get Your Brave On: Women in the Bible Encourage Women of Today to be Brave, I explore women in the Bible who took a brave stand for justice, for their families, and for God. Some we aren’t even told their names. We’ll learn from these women of the Bible how to inspire and encourage spiritual bravery in women of today’s world.

Also, I share modern day stories. I would love to share your brave story.

Times when . . .

  • You couldn’t have made it without God
  • God asked you to do something you didn’t want to do or had no idea how to do
  • You did something just because it was the right thing to do
  • It was dangerous
  • You were afraid
  • It took all your strength physically, emotionally, or spiritually
  • You overcame a fear, an addiction, a trial, an illness, a hardship . . .
  • You shared your testimony in public
  • Whatever is brave to you . . .

We all define brave in different ways.

An Example of Biblical Bravery

When Jesus was arrested, all His disciples deserted him. Only John returned and was with him at the cross, but women who had been his followers were bravely there for him, “Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.” (Mark 15:40-41) They showed a courageous faith. It was these same brave women, not the men, who were first at the empty tomb (Mark 16:1). They had such a deep love for Jesus that they were not afraid to follow their heart. They are brave role models for us today.

I Will Be Including My Brave Stories

When I reflect back over my life, I too never thought I was brave, just doing what life demanded. Or after rededicating my life to Jesus . . . following God’s direction. Even now, when someone thanks me for being brave for Jesus, it surprises me because I think well isn’t that what we all should be doing? Isn’t that what it means to be a Christian? Then, I remember Jesus had to return after the crucifixion and give the disciples a pep talk before they got their brave on, and sometimes we need our bravery bolstered. My prayer is for this book to be that encouragement. Women will see Jesus at work in other women’s lives—in the Bible and in modern day—and it will bolster their faith enough to get their brave on too.

If you would like more information about sharing your story, please contact me. You don’t have to be a writer. I’ll do the editing, and I only use first names or I won’t use your name if you prefer.

The women who gathered at the cross had no idea that we would still be talking about their bravery today. They just did what love does. Jesus needs us to show up for Him today in a brave and bold way in our world. Our families need us to help them set a moral compass in a world that is resetting the compass back to the days of Noah. Our girlfriends and other women need us to take a brave stand for modesty, morality, civility, and ethics. Our single friends need support in living godly lives, and single parents need encouragement in the brave roles they’re undertaking alone.

Doing everything for the glory of God in a Godless world is brave!

I can’t wait to see what God puts on your hearts to share. I know there are so many stories. Maybe you’re in the midst of a brave battle right now, my heart goes out to you. What is sustaining you? What gives you hope? How can we pray for you?

I treasure you, and I’m praying the Lord will speak to many of you to work with me on this new writing project. It’s a joy and pleasure to chat with you each Monday morning, and it warms my heart when I hear from you.

Here’s my latest Crosswalk article encouraging all to be brave and Let Us Change the World Rather Than Being Changed By the World.

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Comments

  1. Tracy Wilson says:

    Janet, I was appalled by the heartless response to Caryyn Owens.
    I have never felt pain as deep as grief, and cannot imagine her having to deal with the criticism and harsh words of so many and the public embarrassment of it all.
    The enemy took something our President meant for good and has used it to try to harm her even further. My heart goes out to her.

    Thank you for your encouraging words to live bold lives for Christ and God’s glory in this increasingly dark world we are living in. I think it is crucial that believers edify each other daily as we strive to continue being a light in the darkness.
    I agree with you…. this is bravery…..to keep pressing on toward the mark, no matter how dark and difficult the days become.
    We serve a faithful God and the battle is already won.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      So true Tracy. It is appalling to watch the lack of compassion and empathy in the secular world since there are no limits to the depth of their depravity. I hope that women will see that in sharing their “brave stories,” they aren’t being proud but instead shining the light on God, the source of all our strength. That will be the encouragement to others to keep on bravely shining their lights in a dark discouraging world. Thank you for your encouragement.

  2. Janet, thank you for giving us a place to respond to the latest bashing by the liberals against Carryn. Yes, she was brave to stand before millions, and I applaud her having the guts to do this! Her brave walk has just started as she now lives as a single mom in a hostile world, a world that doesn’t give a damn for our brave military who have provided freedom for America! This gives us the opportunity to pray for Carryn and her family and our nation and President Trump.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Yes Penelope, sadly so much of the world and the media have become calloused, cruel, and insensitive, and the treatment that Carryn and her hero husband received by many of the liberal Democrats, talk shows, and media blatantly displayed to the world the hardness, deception, and deceitfulness of their hearts. They are the cowards that Carryn and Navy SEAL Owens sacrificed for . . . yes even them. Reminds me that Jesus died for even those hard hearts, even though so many don’t believe or scoff at that too . . . there is still time for them to have a change of heart. We can only pray . . . .

  3. Debbie Verplancke says:

    Thanks for the preview of your new book. I’m really excited to read it!!!

    • Janet Thompson says:

      I have to write it first! Hoping I can encourage women to share their “brave” stories with me.

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