By: Elyse Roberson
She is staying
Heroes don’t always wear a cape, sometimes just a smile. Superwoman doesn’t always chase the bad guys away, sometimes she just stays around the good ones. Champions don’t always get it right, sometimes they just decide to try again tomorrow.
Brave doesn’t always mean winning, sometimes it just means staying.
Ever had a friend call you randomly and give you an accidental reality check in the best way? One of my best friends did just that a few months ago. We grew up together in Sydney and she moved to South Africa at the same time I moved to Los Angeles. She is, like, a really good Christian, seriously way better at it than me. She’s the girl you call at 2am when he didn’t text you back. She’s the one who will sit on the kitchen floor with you to drink coffee and watch back-to-back Friends episodes on the laptop, even though there’s a perfectly good TV and couch right there.
She’s the friend that won’t let you forget your dream, even when life feels like a nightmare. Every girl needs one of those friends.
Not long after my friend moved overseas, she had every reason to quit. While I was trying to figure out how to drive on the other side of the road, she was trying to figure out how to drive 20 kids to youth group, with no car or money. While I was annoyed that I couldn’t go to Vegas for the weekend, she was annoyed that she couldn’t get more teenagers to camp. (I’m a baby, I know).
She was my weekly reality check.
And yet, through the tears and the disappointments, she stayed. Through the heartbreak and loneliness, she stayed. Through the false starts and delayed promises, she stayed.
It had been about a month since our let’s-change-the-world conversation, but a few months ago, out of the blue, my phone rang. I was getting ready to speak for a conservative Christian conference, and was stressing over whether red lipstick was acceptable to wear, or clear would be more appropriate. I went with the red, because YOLO.
I answered the call only to find my friend sitting in her car, crying more tears than an Undercover Boss episode.
“I have never…. been happier… for you to answer my call… than right now,” was all she could manage.
What’s happened now? Did she have another person tell her to give up? I’ll punch them in the face. Did the boy that had changed her life throw away her heart? I’ll kill him. Was someone eaten by a lion? Not really sure to do with that one.
“Elyse, I stayed. I stayed and God is so faithful…. The bus… With the kids… and I started crying… He’s so faithful. I stayed.”
I didn’t understand the bus or the kids at first, but there was no mention of a lion, so that was a relief. Once she breathed, she began to explain a little more. She had set a personal goal at the start of the year to see 163 students come to Jesus, a bus full. And because she stayed, that night, she finally saw it.
Like, what?! I’m the worst Christian ever! After feeling completely convicted and deeply disturbed that I had just been trying to figure out when I could fit an afternoon nap into my day, I began to feel every bit of pride for my friend. The things we talked about on the beach all those nights ago, with the stars as our witnesses, were actually happening. After cyber-hugging and squealing for a few minutes, we said goodbye. I hung up the phone smiling.
Today, I want to be that friend that reminds you of what your heart is whispering. Stay. Though the marriage feels hopeless. Stay. Though you’re not where you thought you would be. Stay. Though your boss didn’t give you the promotion you deserved. Stay. Though the doors keep closing. Stay. Though it would be easier to leave. Stay. Though your heart is broken. Stay. Though it hurts. Stay.
Because perhaps the bravest thing you can do today is stare fear in the face and let it know that this time you’re here to stay. Not run. Not give up. Not quit. Stay.
Stay little one. Just stay.