When You Used to Be Brave

by Elizabeth Laing Thompson June 27, 2018
“‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” Matthew 14:28-30 (NIV)
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I’ve gone snow skiing twice in my life: the first time as a 24-year-old newlywed, the second as a 37-year-old mother of four. Oh, what a difference 13 years (and four kids) makes!

The first time, I skied with my husband, Kevin, on a short-but-steep North Carolina slope. We raced up and down that icy mountain all day. I never learned how to brake, but I had the time of my life, crashing at the bottom in a laughing heap every time. Kevin felt like the luckiest man alive because he’d unknowingly married an adrenaline junkie. Oh, what adventures we would have!

Fast-forward 13 years. In honor of our wedding anniversary, we took a ski trip to Canada. I had not snow-skied at all since that one glorious day.

Our first morning on the slopes, we got off the lift halfway up. Kevin gave me time to get ready — time to look down and realize that Canadian mountains are a gazillion feet higher than North Carolina mountains. Time to ponder the four children I left back home. Four children who enjoy having a mother who’s A) alive, and B) in full-possession of all four limbs.

I started down the slope, snow-plowing in the tightest S-curves imaginable, ‘til I was inching forward in tight-looping curlicues — sometimes making full circles. All. The way. Down. The mountain.

It took me about 1,000 hours to get down.

I wish I could say I got braver, that Adrenaline Junkie Elizabeth made her rip-roaring return, and Kevin and I zipped down the mountain in romantic bliss … but I didn’t. Instead, I cried my way down several slopes, begging God to get me home safely to my sweet babies.

What was so different that second time?

My life. I had lived more, hurt more, lost more. I had seen more accidents, heard more horror stories, experienced a waterskiing injury that taught me my body’s limitations. I had children now — I wasn’t just risking my own neck out there; I was risking four small people’s mother. Thirteen years later, it was harder to be brave.

Have you been brave for God in the past? Have you once pulled a Peter and leapt boldly out of the boat ... but then clambered back to safety, soaking wet and soaked in shame, because Jesus-or-no-Jesus, What kind of fool tries to walk on water?

“‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Matthew 14:28-30)

I want to walk bravely like Peter. Yet too many times, fear has kept a stranglehold on my life. Too many times I have given God less than my best because I was afraid of being hurt. Too many times I have huddled down in the boat, safe from the storm. Still alive, still faithful, but not walking on water. While I haven’t drowned, people can die in boats, too.

Ask yourself: What would it look like if I gave Jesus everything again? If I could be brave again?

Would you finally have the conversation you’ve been avoiding with your friend, your spouse, your child?

Would you unlock the door guarding your heart and let people in — in where it’s cobwebbed and messy, but where it’s also honest and real?

Peter teaches us that sometimes the greatest courage is in not giving up. It’s in rising from defeat, daring to walk with Jesus another day.

Sometimes the greatest courage is in strapping on skis with trembling hands, inching down the mountain, all the way to the bottom.

Sometimes the greatest courage is in standing again on shaking knees, saying, Here I am, Lord. Still Yours — all Yours. Trusting that though the waves may be wild, our feet will stand firm.

Father, please help me take my eyes off the storm and keep them on You. Please give me Your courage as I face challenge and change. I want to go all in for You at every stage of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Psalm 71:5-6, “For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.” (NIV)


To laugh-cry your way to greater courage, you’ll appreciate Elizabeth Laing Thompson’s new book, When God Says Go: Rising to Challenge and Change without Losing Your Confidence, Your Courage, or Your Cool. Or visit Elizabeth at her website,


How’d you like to WIN a copy of When God Says Go by Elizabeth Laing Thompson? To celebrate this book, Barbour Publishing is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, July 2, 2018.}

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How has God comforted you, strengthened you or rescued you through scary times in the past? In which new areas of life do you need some courage?

© 2018 by Elizabeth Laing Thompson. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Barbour Publishing for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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