My copy of Audacious, this month’s pick, has the spine a bit cracked and has underlining all through it. For real, this book looks used (and I’m pretty careful with my books, as a rule). When I was trying to think through what I was going to write about it, I considered just transcribing the underlined bits, but that would probably break copyright laws about the percentage of a book shareable without permission.

And friends, I was picking it up at the same time that I was being called to fly across the country to engage in sad and difficult circumstances as my family journeys in a true “one day at a time” situation with my dad as he moves closer and closer to heaven (at a roller coaster sort of pace, with ups and downs that leave us tired, heartsick, and on a bit of an adrenaline rush). I had to pick it up, because I’d asked 50 other women across the country to read along with me.

I wasn’t sure if I had energy to be audacious, honestly.

Apparently I did though. I probably needed it more than ever at this time. There was encouragement for me (and in the midst of some good teaching, some humour that made me snort-laugh), right where I am, in every chapter.

Dear Beth reminded me that:

  1. I am entirely loved by God, and created to love Jesus audaciously – and that this love changesAudacious everything. Every. Thing.  More than any personality test could show, that crazy, audacious, perfect love reveals who I actually am. The real me. I am loved audaciously beyond the love my parents, my beloved husband or my daughter have for me (which is nothing insignificant in measure). In navigating loss, and talking to others who have lost or are losing a parent, I’m learning that our identity is remarkably tied to those who love us (or don’t love us, for that matter). Our identity can, without realizing it, become so tied to performance that we forget that really, we’re the most fully ourselves when we realize we’re fully loved.  Tying ourselves to a love that never fails? It frees us, and frees others. That is audacious (and wise).
  2. I am alive. That “verve” that Beth writes about? I think of it as vitality. That lifeblood of a person that I want to be filled with. Talking about probate, Do Not Resuscitate Orders, funeral food, and thinking through obituaries (when there’s a long goodbye like we’ve had, you have LOTS of time to think about these things) can make you forget that you’re still alive. Babies are still being born. Spring is still coming. It can also remind us that we’re only promised today, and tomorrow everything could change. We could draw our last breath here and be more alive than ever in heaven with our next. We don’t know. So for now, LIVE ALIVE. I bought a sign for Dad’s hospital room that says “Effective Immediately, Celebrate Everything.” Celebrating the stuff of life, in the midst of the drama of death? Now that, friends, is audacious.
  3. Audacious love equips us to love others more. In the midst of all the stuff of life and a broken world, my diligent, responsible personality type can too-easily forget love. And you know what? That week at home, between the hospital and the house of my youth, and vacillating between grief and hope – it had all the stuff necessary to turn me into a full-blown tyrant.

We were, quite literally, robbed on Monday while I was on a conference call at the kitchen table. On Tuesday I had two parents in the same hospital & a school principal on the phone. Wednesday was about organizing a full year of paperwork, on Thursday I was working through some convoluted banking – and just as I had figured it out, THE BANK CANCELLED MY WORK. (For real – they actually called, suspecting I was a “fraudster” and not just a responsible daughter.) I know myself, and those are the sorts of things that can raise my blood pressure to a full boil, and make me into a person I don’t even want to live with. This audacious love, however, is what changes all of that.

This crazy love reminds me that my first call is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And I do, truly. I just forget sometimes. That whole-life love is this kind of upside-down gift that doesn’t rob from our love for others, but equips us and frees us to love our neighbours – our spouse, our parents, our kids, our friends (and in my case, the zealous bank teller and the person who now has Dad’s GPS and hospital snack money) – in ways that are totally beyond us. That love helps relieve our adrenal overload and peace beyond understanding, giving us hope that we might actually be able to live in a Holy power that is completely beyond ourselves. That is completely audacious.

And here’s the thing I ended the book with (it’s a bit circular, but hopefully you can follow along with my logic): I may not think I have the energy to be audacious in the moment, but He does. And that is enough to equip me to be truly audacious.

Please visit some of my Ellen’s Picks friends’ homes online to see what they’re thinking about Audacious – they’re great women who you really should know!  

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