Before I moved to Thailand, I bought this beautiful wall tapestry with wildflowers that weave in and out of letters. They scatter themselves across the tapestry, making room for themselves rather than waiting to be invited. They don’t sit nicely in a vase on a table. Instead, they are wild, landing where they will. And centered on the tapestry, are the words: Courage, dear heart.
I bought this wall hanging mostly because it fit it into my suitcase. When you’re packing your life away into two rolling suitcases, space is a premium, and this took up little space. But I also got it because I needed the wildflowers, the wildness of their arrangement, and the reminder: courage, dear heart.
Courage was the theme of that season. In fact, I moved to Thailand to write a book about courage. Our book, A Place Called Braverly centers on living and dreaming bravely and influencing bravery in others. So courage is a journey I’m well familiar with.
Our Journey to A Place Called Braverly
Kristy and I wrote this book through prayer and conversation with Jesus. We wrote and rewrote and edited some more. Once we had finished nearly the entire book but scrapped most of it. These ideas of courage and bravery didn’t come from concepts we thought of on our own. They came from a journey with the Father—rediscovering His heart and learning how His love completely anchors our courage.
The book was also inspired by Braverly—a place I’ve talked about a million times on this blog and in my life. I feel nothing but deep love, gratitude, and admiration for this place and the women who make it a living and breathing thing. In its basic form, Braverly is a place that trains women in culinary and sewing skills in Mae Sot, Thailand. In the café, our women make incredible coffee, tea, bagels, salads, and more. They make customers feel at home and learn customer service skills every day. In the sewing center, our women design bags, headbands, and clutches that reflect their personalities and cultures. They stitch together their ideas and designs, creating beautiful products sold in Thailand and the US.
Deeper than that, Braverly’s mission is to empower women from oppressed people groups on the Myanmar/Thailand border, to move past their fears and walk in confidence and truth. Braverly exists to draw women closer to the heart of the Father. We believe Jesus modeled a kind of wholeness of heart everyone can and should experience. So we don’t just train our women to do a job or grow in their skills. We strive to show them the person of Jesus Christ and help them develop their own relationship with Him.
The Heartbeat of Braverly
Each day in the café, we see the challenge to “Live brave. Dream bravely. Influence bravery.” It’s the slogan painted across our wall. By this, we mean that fear won’t stop us. We won’t let fear keep us from trying to learn new things. Fear doesn’t stop us from dreaming with the Lord and saying, “Wherever you want me to go and whatever you want me to do, I’ll do!” We won’t let fear win.
From all this and more, A Place Called Braverly was born. The heartbeat of Braverly is so much bigger than Mae Sot, Thailand. It’s something the world needs to hear, to be reminded of, to be challenged by.
As we wrote A Place Called Braverly, Kristy and I realized that none of this could happen outside of the Father. All of our brave living, dreaming, and inspiring was shallow outside of who the Father is and who He says we are. Until we root our courage in His love, we will search for bravery in all the wrong places.
A Book for You
This is the journey of A Place Called Braverly. It’s a book filled with Scripture and personal, vulnerable stories from Kristy and me. Our goal is not only to inspire you but also to challenge you, to push you, to call you higher, to help you step deeper into courageous lives.
This book was a labor of love in so many ways, and when we wrote it, we thought of you, dear reader. We thought of your heart that needs courage in ways we can’t even understand.
So, courage, dear heart. Take courage and go on this journey with us. Rediscover your Father’s heart and collide with a God who loves you more than you can even imagine.