Love Brave with Us

(Exciting news! This blog is co-written by Heidi Goehmann and Matt Schuler. Words in bold are written by Heidi. Words in italics are written by Matt. Everything else is co-written. Matt and Heidi will co-author this Fall’s online study, Love Brave.)


Loving brave is something I’ve had to learn.


Loving brave is something I’m still learning, every day. It feels like loving brave has a million teachers. I learn from my wife, from my kids, my parents, and everyone around me.

The fool says loving brave comes naturally. And the fool lives up to his name.

Natural is tucking yourself into your own little life. Natural means pretending we like one another with a smile and a wave, but never knowing one another’s stories. We naturally put up walls, and peek out from our parapets, reluctant to reveal our true selves out of fear.

Natural is playing it safe and keeping thoughts and feelings locked inside because sharing means maybe rejection, maybe shame, and we have plenty of that in our world to go around already. We naturally avoid real relationships because real relationships come with drama and sometimes the only drama we feel like we can handle is handled in sixty-minute chunks on TV.

Men and women alike walk wounded for lack of community and real relationships. Our hearts hurt, we have no idea how to respond to issues like school shootings and mental health struggles. We might be surrounded by people, and might even have one or two real, deep connections, but we want more, not just in quantity, but in quality. We want more for ourselves, for our families, our friends, our churches, our neighbors, and our world.

There are better answers than going it alone. It’s time to learn to love brave together. This is the place where the I Love My Shepherd Fall Online Study comes from.

Join us for a six week online study:

Love Brave: Risk and Real Relationship

We will open challenging conversations about what love is and does, what real relationship is and does, and discover how connection to God and one another offers real healing, real hope, and real meaning.

This study will offer both women and men a place to have real conversations about how we can share truth, faith, and hope together and Love Brave with our families, friends, classmates, coworkers and each person we meet.

Love Brave is meant for all people in all walks with Jesus, those who share life with Him every day, those who don’t quite know where to put Him, and those with an eye on Him from afar. We’ll be asking honest questions, and seeking truth in conversation, empowered by God’s Word. You’ll find the same depth and practicality of all I Love My Shepherd studies, with care and attention for those who are open to having a conversation about God, but are cautious because of accusations and assumptions. We’ll wrestle with truth, love, faith, and hope together here.

What to expect — Six Weeks of study starting September 16th, including:

Videos

Matt and Heidi will start every week with a video of honest conversation addressing an everyday topic and the challenge of loving brave, particularly the balance between sharing God’s love and God’s truth with one another. Videos will post every Sunday of the study at 6am on the I Love My Shepherd YouTube channel but you can watch them any time.

Blog posts

We’ll walk through 1 Corinthians 13, words that may be familiar about active faith, hope, and love. There will be blog posts Monday-Thursday to wrestle with ideas involving love and bravery, loving when it’s easy, loving when it’s hard, and the uncomfortable sacrifices love requires.

Groups

We’re encouraging you to invite two or more people into deeper relationships with you and with God. Gather people you know and want to know better. Eat, drink and be merry, and use the time to love brave together. Talk about the challenges of life and where and how you want to love brave. Cheer one another on and pray for each other. Use the blog posts or videos to spur discussion, or share the real-life moments you’re walking through together.

Extras

Every week, we’ll have resources designed by teacher and artist, Jennifer Carlisle, for taking notes, sharing encouragement, and recording your brave thoughts and moments. Look for samples with sign up in early August. Sarah from PiecefulJoy will also have some optional reminders we can use in our homes and places. We all need as many reminders as we can get on this road to bravery, don’t we?

Summer Recess

To prepare for Love Brave and to make the resources and community at I Love My Shepherd more accessible, we’ll be taking the summer off of writing new articles and podcasts to do a website redesign. Look for an all new, beautiful, and easy to use website come August. You can still find I Love My Shepherd daily on our Facebook Page, Instagram, and Twitter throughout June and July. Go follow us and say hello!

A Final Thought

Are you hungry for something real for yourself and the people in your life?

How do we get past living anonymously near one another and arrive at the place of sharing our true selves and our real lives?

What risks in love, life, and relationships scare you?

How can we our relationships grow from love instead of frustration, in our homes and our communities?

Share your thoughts in the comments, or a simple shout out to let us know you can’t wait until September.

This fall we’ll learn, gather, talk, love, and be real.

Prepare to Love Brave with us this Fall.

See you soon!

A Little Jesus Goes a Long Way

Recently, my husband preached this sermon:

“A little Jesus goes a long way.”

I’m pretty sure it was just for me. Unintentionally for me, mind you, but spirit-driven straight to my ears, my brain, my heart.

Why do I so often think things need to be sprayed full force with words and ideas?

Why do I think everything needs to be steeped in the spiritual and soaked in theology to be sacred?

Why do I spin so many wheels trying to make deep conversations happen, when a snippet of Grace, a glimpse of His face, is entirely appropriate much of the time?

I don’t want to leave Jesus out. I don’t want to fail to share His goodness, His life, and His forgiveness, but I do want to treasure people enough to resist plowing them down with my Jesus agenda. I want them to know Him and love Him as much as I do, but not lose my relationship with them in the process of trying too hard.

This is one reason we created the Ten Minutes of Series for the podcast. Sometimes a little bit goes a long way. Ten Minutes of contemplation, ten minutes of encouragement, ten minutes of deep and meaningful may just change the course of our days and help us throw a little Jesus into everything else.

Today,

Ten Minutes of Holy

Ten Minutes of Patience

Ten Minutes of Fear

and

Ten Minutes of Courage.

Find them on the podcast page or click on each one to open the episode.

ilovemyshepherd.com/podcast/

Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify to have I Love My Shepherd: The Podcast magically appear on your device. 😉

There is only one more episode in Season 1 still to come! You can catch up on past episodes all summer long. Do you have a road trip? Download some I Love My Shepherd. Do you have yardwork? Download some I Love My Shepherd. Taking an evening walk? Download some I Love My Shepherd. Then tell me where we went together. I love hearing from you!

Season 2 will begin releasing in September 2018.

We’ll also be talking more about a little Jesus and a long way in the I Love My Shepherd Fall Online Study – Love Brave. We’ll release live study dates and all the study details May 29th. Subscribe to ilovemyshepherd.com to be sure you don’t miss it!

Eat the Word, take it into your soul, be encouraged in the every day, and share a little Jesus…it can go a long way.

Brave Women

I meet a lot of brave women wherever I go.

I am sure that you do to, you just may not know it.

I meet my grocery checker pregnant with number two, kind enough to stand on her feet all day and still have a smile on her face.

I meet my neighbor, a retired mama, still caring for her family, bravely sharing with me her story of loss in the middle of that same grocery store aisle.

I meet brave women who have so much joy that it overflows out of them like a garden hose spigot you can’t turn off without getting wet first.

I meet brave women with tears in their eyes, unsure whether they should share their true selves, wondering if even Jesus can take the whole truth. (He can. He always can. That’s a promise.)

I meet brave women who are married and single, from different backgrounds, different corners of the globe. We’re all different sizes. We think differently, brave different challenges, eat different foods, laugh at different jokes, fight for different causes, and have interest in different topics.

As part of the Altogether Beautiful movement, I have decided to begin to collect all the brave, so we can share it. I don’t want to keep the beauty, the resilience, the thoughtfulness, and the impact I see to myself. I always respect anything someone tells me confidentially. We should be keepers of trust and intimacy. So I only share what women give me permission to share, but I do think we can all step further out and further in, changing this world with the simple act of saying,

“This is my story.”

“This is where I’ve been. This is where I am. This is where I’m going.”

“This is the real me.”

These women I meet are Altogether Beautiful.

Made beautiful by a Creator.

Loved fiercely by a Savior.

Today is the first edition of Altogether Beautiful Brave Women. In this short 1 minute and 30 second video, I hope these women encourage you to be a little bit braver too, to share with someone your story, your struggle, and what He is making #altogetherbeautiful.

Because I know, without a doubt, it is Altogether Beautiful too.

Thank you to these first women who participated in our video project! Look for more to come and if you’d like to participate, email me at ilovemyshepherd.com@gmail.com.