"Since it is so likely that our children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."
- C.S. Lewis
What if the first knight or heroine your children come to know is you? What if they learn what it looks like to fight back when life isn't going our way by the way we respond to the hardships that we're facing now.
This idea has given me so much hope and strength. I don't know what my children will expereince during their lifetimes, but I do know they will be on their knees at some point. At least two of them have already been there before they reached double digits. Modeling bravery for our babies is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. I want my girls to see that Katniss isn't the only style of heroine and that courage is not a quality monopolized by men. I want my son to know that you don't have to have special powers to be brave like Superman and the ability to respect and honor women is one of the greatest measures of a man. You don't need a light saber or a bow. Bravery doesn't always involve violence. Bravery sometimes doesn't involve speaking at all.
Bravery is standing alone when your belief isn't popular; when the crowd stands with their stones regardless of the compassion in your heart for those who don't share your beliefs, ready to call you "intolerant", "judgemental", "narrow-minded" whenever you don't agree with them.
Bravery is forgiving him when he fails. Deeply loving and standing by his side even when you know he may fail you again. Giving 100% even when he's only giving 10%, picking up the slack without complaining when he can't take the pressure. He may not always be a knight in shining armor, but you can always be the princess who saves herself.
Bravery is giving him a chance to redeem himself. He can change. You can change. Things can get better.
Bravery is leaving abuse of any kind. It's understanding that bruises aren't always visible and the wounds on your soul are the hardest to mend. It's saying enough is enough so that your children will not grow up to think this behavior is okay.
Bravery is leaving even when other people don't understand; when they quote Bible verses that they don't comprehend; condemning and shunning you for your decision. Most marriages can be saved, but not all marriages SHOULD be saved. They may never understand and you don't need them to. Leave anyway.
Bravery is trying again, even when the last few tries ended in miscarriage. It's believing that parenthood is still your calling even if the future loves of your life don't share your same DNA. Adoption doesn't make you any less of a parent.
Bravery is speaking out against injustice; defending the oppressed; challenging mindsets and being open to changing your own. Racism is alive and well and thrives in ignorance.
Bravery is forgiving those who have oppressed you. It's choosing not to believe the worst about an entire culture (or gender) because of the actions of a few. A few abusive boyfriends... A few cops... A few gunmen... A few mean girls... A few teenagers who don't share your pigmentation or sexual orientation.
Bravery is breaking free from addiction; being honest with yourself and others. It's having the courage to hurt so that you can heal.
Bravery is valuing the strength of your heart over the beauty of your face. What good is a beauty if she crumbles in the face of adversity? What does she contribute to the world by having a lovely face if her cotton candy soul disintegrates at the slightest fall of rain?
Bravery is when your husband can't always be there, but he knows that you have everything on under control while he's gone. He knows that you're the type of girl in whom he can have confidence. You're self-sufficient. You're not emotionally needy. His children are in the best, hardest-working, most capable hands. He knows that when he is able to come home, you will be energizing to him not a drain of all the emotional energy he has left. You're a partner and co-pilot, not another little girl for him to raise.
Bravery is when the chemo has taken your hair, but you still feel proud of the fight left in you. It's when you know you're coming to the end and you're at peace with the life you have lived and the legacy you're leaving behind. Yours is a race well run.
Bravery is free. It's already inside you. It doesn't mean you're not afraid or that your voice isn't shaking when you speak. It means that despite the fear, the pain, the rejection, or the struggle that you will face, you stand up and do the right thing. You don't back down. You don't give up. You don't check out. You keep trying, keep putting yourself out there, keep fighting. It's when you're standing at the edge of the longest, hardest climb of your life and you take it on anyway. Bravery is you doing whatever you're doing today to the best of your abilities, with a joyful heart, hope for the future and faith for your circumstance.
You have everything it takes to be brave. You can start living a courageous life right now. Carrying a light saber is not necessary, but it certainly adds cool point.