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Brave Love

A guest post from Leah Miller, a student in our School of Ministry Development, about the summer mission trip we hosted here in Louisville.

I watched her walk away, the girl I’d met 20 minutes before, dragging her sorrow along with her behind in a tiny suitcase. A burden weighed so heavily on her shoulders that it almost felt the clouds should have been out, the sky should have been depressed along with her. And instead the sun blazed on our skin and we wondered, “Did we do enough?”

Kiara had been kicked out of her house the week before and had been living on the streets since. We gave her our leftover snacks and a Bible with a note. And as she walked away a fleeting thought crossed my mind, “Is this even worth it?”The deep ache I have for people who hurt. The embedded stirring I have for discipleship.What if she never remembers that again? What if she never reads the verses we carefully underlined?

Then I realized this mission trip wasn’t for me. It was for the teens from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. And as they watched me minister, they saw my passion. Did that make it worth it? Did that instill in them a hunger for missions?

This week we had over 60 teens here for a mission trip to inner city Louisville. I co-led a team of 11. We helped clear an overgrown backyard, prayed for people, and ran a VBS in a park.And so, I’m exhausted, but as I leave for Nicaragua in about three days, one thing sticks out – something that was taught on last week.

Brave Love.  

Brave: ready to face danger or pain courageously.

Love: Intense feeling of deep affection.

Brave Love: Learning to feel deeply, to love courageously.

So if loving bravely means feeling alongside instead of fixing, I’ll do it. If it means screaming truth till someone understands, okay. If it means staying silent, in moments when words don’t help, they hinder, I’ll do it. 

Loving bravely looks like many things, but most importantly, it looks like laying yourself down. Your own needs and your own heart.

And my heart sees the beauty of it. I’m no longer in love with the idea of living a life for others, I’m in love with the lifestyle itself. In light of serving others, my insecurities wash away. It’s tiring, but fulfilling. 

If the way we loved that girl changes her life even in three years, it was worth it. But more importantly, obeying God is what makes it worth it. He loves and cherishes Kiara, so it was worth it as I got to be his hands and feet in that moment.

My prayer as I go to Nicaragua is that I would learn to understand the depth of bravely loving as I have been loved myself. 

Leah is a student in our School of Ministry Development. She’s currently on outreach in Nicaragua, obeying God and loving bravely. You can read more from Leah on her blog.

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