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Courage to respond to Syria

The chemical weapons attack on Syria this week was horrific. 

I had to walk away from the news report I was watching with my husband, with all the graphic images of the devastation and the haunting sounds of death and destruction….. and those children…..dear God those poor children!  Sometimes there are just no words!

It was too much for me to bare. I walked down the hallway to my 3 sleeping children, safe and sound in our little patch of the world, so grateful for our safety but heartbroken for what I had just seen.  

“Jesus!” Were the only words I could find to pray.

What do I do with this now? How do I respond?

As I have pondered this since the attack I realise it is not enough for me just to be shocked and heartbroken by this.  I can’t sit in my safety and do nothing. If I want to live my life with courage and authenticity - if I want to be a BraveGirl then I have to push beyond the feelings of sympathy - the heartbreak, and run courageously towards this battle and play my part. 

1. WE HAVE TO OWN IT AS OUR PROBLEM TOO

 

 



"There is no such thing as other people’s children” - Glennon Doyle-Melton

 



This is not just Syria’s problem - this is humanity’s problem.

We must engage our hearts and minds in this crisis as if it were happening to our own children and nation. Lean in to the heartbreak and let it lead us to a pathway of action that is appropriate and sustainable for each one of us no matter what age or stage of life we are at.
There is a part we can each play, we just have to find it!

2. PRAY

 



Perhaps like me you knew you should pray, but how do you put words to such devastation and such evil? But at times like this we have to remember that it is not how eloquently we string together a sentence of prayer - it is being persistent at bringing this issue before the Lord in prayer. The name of Jesus is enough!

I have also found it helpful to pray the Scriptures over the circumstances. 

 

Psalm 20:1-5

In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.
May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
May he send you help from his sanctuary
and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
May he remember all your gifts
and look favorably on your burnt offerings. 
May he grant your heart’s desires
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer all your prayers.

Also we can rely on the Holy Spirit who is our comforter and helper and who intercedes on our behalf.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. - Romans 8:26

3. RESPOND

Packing our bags and getting on the next flight over to Syria to bandage wounds and clean up rubble is not an option for most of us, neither is donating a million dollars. It’s so easy to look at the enormity of the crisis and wonder how on earth we can respond and then become despondent about what difference my little contribution can make. It’s too big! We see the big need but we can’t do anything big and so we do nothing.

Part of running courageously towards the battle metaphorically is to look for those who are already on the ground and doing it in reality.  Perhaps our part to play is to bring provision and finance to those who are already there responding.  The Bible is full of stories of people who brought what little they had and put it into the hands of Jesus and He was able to multiply it and bring forth miracles.  

As one BraveGirl I may not be able to contribute much, but here’s what I know for sure - I am one of MANY BRAVEGIRLS in this tribe, and perhaps, just perhaps if we pulled together all our little contributions then we could actually do something really significant.  

So here is what I propose; 

The idea is that lots of BraveGirls get involved but only give a small donation of no more than $20. Yes you read it right only $20 because we want you to be able to respond straight away - not wait until next pay day or plan to give something big but not get around to it. $20 is a manageable amount for anyone and can be acted on NOW.  I have it on my heart that we can do something significant with a whole lot of $20 donations. We are a big tribe and getting bigger and we want every single BraveGirl to be able to get involved here. We will announce on the blog and social media how much we have raised together for Syria. We will be donating the money to UNICEF for their Syrian Children appeal.

I see. I will pray. I will respond.

With love and courage,

xx Steph xx

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What to do with the niggle

Do you have that feeling deep down inside, that ‘niggle’ or desire to try something new or develop a skill you’ve always been interested in? Perhaps it’s a niggle to have a go at something creative, or try that sport, join that club, take that class, write that book, live that dream, or pursue that job or career.

Every large fire starts as a flicker or small flame that can be extinguished easily, but if it is fed it grows and if it continues to grow there is no stopping it. And so it is with our little niggles, they start as niggles but if they are ‘fed' or focussed on they actually have the potential to become something pretty significant. But because the niggles are small they can be pushed down, ignored or even extinguished quite easily. We come up with many reasons why we can’t do it - too scary, too hard, too risky, not enough money, not enough time, don’t know where to start, not good enough, too tired….. and the list goes on.

But what if…..

What if we dared to focus a little attention on that niggle?!
What if we set aside some time amongst the busyness of our day or week and just made a start?
What if we ignored and overcame our self-doubt and fear of failure and just had a go?

It takes courage to try something new and step out of your normal routine of life, sometimes there is cost and sacrifice involved BUT perhaps on the other side of that is beautiful soul-satisfying, passion-stirring purpose and life-calling! Doesn’t that sound worth it? It’s time to focus on THAT side of it rather than the fear, doubt, cost, sacrifice and excuses!

So I ask you today - what is your niggle? What is that thing you want to try? What is that skill you want to develop? What is that call on your life that you have been ignoring? Perhaps you’ve been pushing it down for so long that you don’t even know what it is anymore!
Identifying the niggle can be done by answering questions like this:

If I knew I couldn’t fail I would…
If I had some spare time I would…
I would really love to…
If I didn’t have …… then I would…..

If you know what your niggle is then perhaps your next step is to carve out some time to feed it and give it opportunity to grow.
Stop putting off until tomorrow what you could make a start on today, because tomorrow actually never comes.

After having children I found myself believing the lie that there is never enough time to do what I want to do because my time is spent doing what I need to do. I have come to realise a few key things that have helped change my thinking on that:

The cooking, cleaning and laundry is NEVER going to be finished so I have to carve out time in the midst of it.
No matter how busy life is I manage to find time for Facebook and TV so perhaps I can prioritise something more meaningful.
Life is full of seasons - sometimes those seasons bring genuine reasons why I can’t do something, the rest of the time they are excuses. I have to figure out if it’s a reason or an excuse.
There is never going to be a big chunk of time available so I have to utilise the small chunks.

I want to encourage you today to spend some time looking at your niggle. Instead of pushing it down or ignoring it, why not feed it a little?!
Stir up your courage, overcome your excuses, carve out some time and make a start! You never know what will grow from it but my guess is that it will be you!

We believe in you and are cheering you on!
With love and courage,
xx Steph xx

P.S I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and tell me what your niggle is and what you are going to this week to feed it! #strongertogether

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  1. by Adulcia on 3 Mar 1:44 p.m.

    My niggle is something I stepped out and gave a go nearly 2 years ago but fell flat on my face. It would be easier if I could let it go and move on, but the niggle won't let me. It keeps popping out of the corner, accompanied by a dollop of grief and pain. I'll confess to mostly trying not to think about it too much. I have no idea how to progress from here.


The Thing About Fear

Written by Steph Redhead  | 

We were staying in a picturesque island resort with the beach stretching out in front of us and everything looking like we had stepped into a computer screensaver. Perfection.
I was in Fiji with my family having an incredible time celebrating my Dad’s 60th birthday. It was the day before we were about to leave and although I had been swimming every day in the pool, I had only put my toes into that beautiful sea.

You see I have this fear, this completely irrational, completely debilitating fear of……. fish!
It’s not fish in itself - I’m perfectly happy to eat fish and look at fish in fish tanks, but I just cannot bear to swim in the ocean with them. Now, it would be completely acceptable for me not to swim if there was a danger of sharks or some other deadly ocean creature, but in this picturesque, calm and beautiful sea there was absolutely no danger. Just my family having the time of their lives with a whole lot of beautiful fish on coral reefs that people pay a lot of money to go snorkeling to see…. I have a fear of Nemos!!!!

I was missing out because my stupid fear was holding me back.

My Mum stood on the beach with me and in her attempt at a pep talk said, “you know that you are bigger than them.”

“Yes Mum, I know.”

“And you know that they won’t hurt you”

“Yes Mum, I know.”

You see, I’m a grown woman with absolutely no idea or logical reason why this was an issue - in my head I knew ALL those things, but I just couldn’t get my blinkin’ body to get in the water and get amongst it!

Then I looked down at my daughter, who was almost 2yrs old, and my thoughts began to change.

You see the thing about a mama is that we might not do things for ourselves but we will do ANYTHING for our children. I started thinking about how I didn’t want my daughter to let fear stop her from doing anything, how I wanted to be a role-model for her and a mama that she could be proud of, how if I wanted to talk the talk then I needed to walk the walk. So I made a decision.

I got Marty to take Ella with strict instructions to keep her away from me so she didn’t pick up on the freaking out vibes (and didn’t hear her Mama swear!) I grabbed Ella’s tiny inflatable ring to lie on top of, pulled my sunglasses down over my eyes to cover the stream of tears that wouldn’t stop, and started into the water. I got to about knee depth and launched myself into the embarrassingly shallow water because I didn’t want to stand on any crabs or shells that felt like crabs.

My theory was that if I kept moving then the fish wouldn’t come near me, so with hyperventilating breaths, tears streaming down my face, lying on a child’s inflatable and moving EVERY limb of my body, I overcame my fear and swam with the fish!!!!

So why am I sharing this ridiculously embarrassing story with you?

Because fear is real! And it has a scale that stretches from the ridiculous to the completely warranted. But the thing about fear is that its level of power depends on us!

It is only powerful if we allow it and WE get to decide if it controls us.

I made a decision that even though the feelings I had were very real I needed to overcome them because I was missing out on something that deep down I really wanted to be a part of. And I feel like I am not alone in this, I know there are plenty of people out there missing out on things they REALLY want to be a part of because of this thing called FEAR.

We often think that having courage is the absence of fear, but I believe that courage is carrying on despite it! Whether courage looks like what we see in the movies or whether it involves tears, snot, hyperventilating and panicked movement, its the overcoming of fear that is important - not how you look while you are doing it.

Now I know that some of you will completely relate to fear of the illogical and ridiculous, and some of you will have completely valid and warranted reasons for your fear because of your experiences. But the essence of it all is the same - the fear is real but you get to decide if it controls you.

If fear is holding you back maybe its time to grab your inflatable, pull your sunglasses down and go swimming.

Posted by Steph Redhead

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