I’ve tried several times to sit down and right this post out for Hannah but I’ve honestly avoided it.
It was about the end of my first month living in Kharkiv, Ukraine. I was just getting to become comfortable with my new home, I was just starting to learn how to buy my own food, & I had already burned 3 pots of oatmeal. Sundays are long days for me. Here at 8:40 I leave my apartment and walk to the tram. I take three stops to church then walk a block. This little orange corner building has a small open gate I step through and walk into the waiting area where I set my stuff down and enter the prayer room. We have a 15 minute lesson by one of the men (which I can’t understand) then we share prayer requests and pair off. We pray then all together recite the Lord’s prayer in Russian.
Next is the church service. I sit on the second row with Nadia who translates some for me but for the next two hours I just simply listen to the somewhat harsh language of Russian as we worship, share & pray together. Service lasts as least two hours. By the time we are done I am a little worn out. I gather my stuff and greet everyone. This means kisses on cheeks and “How are you?” on repeat.
So I made it to this little old rough looking women. She is about a foot shorter than me and she grabs my hand with her calloused one’s and just begins speaking to me. She stares me dead in the eyes and speaks truth over me. Of course I can’t understand a word of Russian but I know what she is saying deep in me.
“You are brave to come. You are purposeful in being here. You are a blessing from the Lord. Praise Him”
She holds me with such deep revere I smile so strongly and all I can say is “спасибо”! (Thank you)
I walked home from church this day sitting in this recurring word that just keeps coming up. Before I left America then when I got here people say “You are so brave & young!”
In the beginning I appreciated the labels, now not so much. Now I’ve lived here for four months, the initial excitement is gone, the struggles of living life apart from friends and family is hitting hard, and I just simply don’t feel brave anymore. Why should I be the one to talk about this?
Now I am trying to redefine what brave means to me & these are my truths I want to share.
Bravery is not a huge leap across the world, it can be a chose to love in your own home.
Bravery is not simply doing something you don’t feel capable of, it’s choosing to know you aren’t capable then letting God work through you.
Bravery is not simply being different than the world, it’s choosing to fall into your brokenness, recognising your beautifully unique qualities God has created in you then growing in them.
The title of BRAVE is not simply earned through one big change or act but is a developed way of living that naturally comes after all those small little choices.
Being brave for the Lord automatically makes you different because you are pushing against the world’s standards and raising them.
So today I want you to do just one thing.
One thing you don’t think you can, or even want to do. It may be doing something you know God asked you to do. It could be inviting your new neighbour over for cookies. It could be loving that tough to love person. Choose to face it and say “Today I am going to be brave.”
Being brave and different aren’t traits other people can label you with because they don’t know how your heart is. Being brave and different is something you must intentionally choose to do as you face the world one step at a time. Let’s stop being told who we are and start recognising that we have access to the most powerful creator of the whole world in our corner.
Share with us down below how you are going to fight the world’s standards & be brave today!
Author of this post: Ashley Jo Bruce
Ashley Jo Bruce is a creative missionary currently living in Kharkiv, Ukraine where, when she isn’t busy burning dinner, she spends her nights blogging on her lifestyle blog ashleyjobruce.com. Connect with her on Instagram!
-Featured image from Pexels–