I don’t think of myself as someone particularly brave. Just last night I screamed when I saw a large cockroach on the wall and insisted that my oldest son (a ten-year-old) kill it, which he happily did. I remember when that same little man was only a two-year-old and I found a scorpion in our home. With my hubby at work, it was up to me to kill that vile apocalyptic creature lest it sting my babies. I did it, but it was a rather pathetic sight.
But bravery inspires me. I think of the firefighters who literally risked their lives saving Notre Dame Cathedral from the flames. I want to do something great. I want to risk my life for something worthy. Bravery sings her song to me. I offer you purpose, passion, and a glorious mission, but also uncertainty. You cannot know in advance how it will turn out.
And that’s when I recognized that motherhood is brave. Every mother risks her heart when she bravely brings new life into the world. You can’t control in advance how everything will turn out, and that can cause a lot of fear: fear of loss, fear of physical pain, fear of being inadequate, fear that things will not go as expected, fear of being ridiculed, fear over my children’s future, fear that my best is not enough.
But motherhood is the call to do something great. It’s the call to look those fears in the face and say, “I see you, friend. You make a valid point. But I am not going to give you the keys to this van. You can ride shotgun if you’d like, but I’m the one driving.” It’s the call to see that nothing is more precious, nor more worthy of my energy, my life, and my heart, than building a cathedral of souls for eternity. And yes, sometimes there’s fires to put out along the way. Sometimes literal fires. (Yes, my dear five-year-old son who put sippy cups in the toaster oven. I’m looking at you.)
The words of St. Paul today hold the key for stepping right into the bravery of motherhood: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13). What a relief! It doesn’t have to come from me. The strength I need comes from the most generous giver in the world.
And he’s rooting for me! Yes, my brave little one, with me you have what it takes to risk your life and your heart for something truly great.