As some of you may know, and as many of you may not know, last month for our first anniversary my husband and I went and got our first tattoos together. One of the best parts about having a tattoo is getting to share the story behind it. The meaning it holds. The significance it has. The reason it has taken me 24 years to get a tattoo is because I wanted one that had meaning, purpose, and significance in my life. One that would daily remind me of God’s love and faithfulness. I did not want something that was only cute, trendy, and would go out of style. I wanted something that I would value and treasure forever. I have been looking forward to writing this post because I am so excited to share with all of you why I got the tattoo that I did, the process behind deciding on this tattoo, the meaning that it holds for me, and the ways in which is has helped guide my life, ministry, and decisions. I can’t wait to spend the next few minutes with you, sharing my heart and journey over the last few years.

Let's rewind  to January 2015. I am not sure what was going on in your life at that time, but at the end of January 2015 I entered into one of the most devastating, confusing, and darkest seasons of my life. I was dating a guy I had liked for a LONG time. My dreams had finally come true. I was 20 years old, this was the guy I was going to marry. My dreams were short lived when he broke up with me 5 months into our dating relationship on January 24, 2015. I did not see it coming. I did not know what went wrong. I did not understand. I did not know what to turn to or who to turn to. I was completely and utterly heartbroken and a broken heart is one of the worst pains I have ever experienced. Something I was so set on and so sure of was taken away from me and I had no control over it. At the beginning of this dark season, I had a friend over at my house, and as she laid in my bed with me one afternoon while I just sat there and cried, she introduced me to a new song and a new band I had never heard before. Little did I know that this band, and specifically this song, would change my life for the better forever. That it would alter my path, guide my decisions, give me strength, inspire me, and reshape my relationship with God and my view of myself.

From that first time I heard the song “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel I grabbed hold of it and never let go. After I was introduced to it, it quickly became my rock. I cried to it often, and on days when I felt that I could not do it anymore, when there was no way I could move forward on my own strength, I listened to that song. It encouraged me to keep moving forward. Even when it was hard and even when there seemed to be no end in sight to the darkness. It encouraged me to keep believing that Jesus was working. That I could get through this, I could forgive, and could heal from this by His power, love, forgiveness, and strength, no matter how long it took. I needed to only take each day as it came. It made me brave. It reminded me to be brave. It helped me understand that it is not me who is brave by my own strength and ability, but it is Jesus who enables me to be brave and keep moving forward. This seemingly dark season of life was a turning point in my walk with the Lord. It changed my relationship with Him, my trust in Him, my dependence on Him, and prepared me for what He had in store for me in the future. It made me who I am today and made me who He created me to be for the purposes He had/has for me. “You Make Me Brave” played a huge role in carrying me to a new place, to the other side of the pain.

Ever since that season in 2015, I have always gone back to this song. 4 years later and I still carry it with me. It still impacts me. And it has traveled with me through many trials and many victories. On days and in seasons when I feel like I can’t take one more step forward, when I am weak, when I am scared, when I am sad, and when I am heartbroken, I find myself returning to this song. I listen to it, alone, and focus on the lyrics. Many times there are tears involved, but not only do I find strength, I find peace and trust in God, in His plan, in His promises, and in His purposes. Before I got married, in my bedroom at my parents house next to my mirror, I had a little sign that said “Be Brave,” that served as a reminder to me every day when I looked in the mirror. But as time has gone on, I have realized that I don’t just want to remember to be brave. That implies that I am brave on my own. I want to be reminded that He makes me brave and with Him, I can be brave in all things that I face.

My tattoo is on my left arm, my wedding band arm. This was unintentional when I got the tattoo. Honestly, I asked the tattoo artist which arm he thought it should go on because I didn’t know or really care. He picked my left arm and I said ok! Driving home from the tattoo parlor I realized the significance of it being placed on my left arm. That guy that broke up with me back in 2015, I am very blessed to say that I married him a little over a year ago. That God restored and redeemed and wrote a love story full of so much grace and blessing. But that’s another story for another time. Not only has “You Make Me Brave” played a pivotal role in my life and my walk with Christ, it is now a constant reminder of mine and my husbands story, our God ordained story. One that I never want to forget or take for granted. Without that song, I don’t know that I would have healed to the point that I did, or become the person that my husband needed later in life. Now I have a forever reminder on the arm where I wear the wedding rings showing my commitment to my him of our story and how God brought us to a new place as new people for each other. How God made me brave enough to move forward, become that new person, heal, and forgive so that we could be who we are today.

During that time of darkness in 2015, when I didn’t know who or what to turn to, I found and discovered my love for journaling and for writing. I found how God used me in writing, how He spoke to me, and how He spoke through me. Because of that time, I learned to love journaling and I learned to be brave. That time was the inspiration behind creating Beloved and Brave. To write and encourage all of you that you are loved and lovable, you have a purpose, God has a plan, there is purpose in the process, you are worthy, you will get through this, and Jesus makes you brave enough to see that, understand it, and keep marching on.

I pray that you were reminded of your worth and value through this post. I hope that you were encouraged and believe that God does make YOU brave and He does have a plan for you. If you have never listened to the song, go listen to it. If you have heard the song 1,000 times like me, go listen to it again with a new heart. Allow it to transform the way that you view the person God so uniquely created you to be.