I am delighted to welcome Niki Hardy, a fellow Brit, to the BeBoldGirl series. She joins us with her #BeBoldGirl story and challenges us to be intentionally bold, even in the most difficult of situations. Welcome, Niki!
“Are you going to die, mummy?”
Inhaling deeply, I leaned in. Smiling, our brown eyes locked on each other across our worn, familiar kitchen table.
“Yes, darling, one day I will, but I pray not now; not from this.”
I exhaled, turning my gaze to include her older bother and younger sister, and smiled.
“I hope to be around for a long, long time, but whatever happens, God is good. We can trust Him, and He’ll will be with us every step of the way.”
The faith pep talk was as much for my benefit as it was for theirs.
Oh dear God … I believe … help my unbelief.
By stepping into that conversation, we inadvertently set the scene for how the Hardy’s would roll on this one. No blindfolds, half-truths, or white lies. Subconsciously, and without discussing it before hand, we had set the foundation for how we’d face everything going forward—together. As hard as it was to tell our children that I, like their grandma and aunt before me, had cancer, I have no regrets.
I had held my mum’s hand as her breathing became labored and she slipped away, the cancer finally claiming her, only to do the same for my sister seven years later, and six short weeks before my own diagnosis. To my children, cancer was a short, swift, painful death sentence, yet I had no regrets about telling them. That first scary conversation created an environment for the kids to be honest, ask questions, and share their fears, secure in the knowledge we’d tell them the truth. It brought life into a deadly situation and drew our family together, rather than dividing it with the cut of a half-truth.
At the time, we didn’t feel bold. We were scared — really scared. My diagnosis was terrifying and telling the kids was risky. What if we were doing the wrong thing? What if it all blows over and we’ve scarred the kids for life? What if they can’t handle it and we can’t handle them not handling it? If I’ve only got months to live shouldn’t we just enjoy our time together?
Looking back the choice we made was bold, even if we didn’t feel bold. Around our stained and sturdy kitchen table we unwittingly chose bold. It was a bold choice because it felt risky and scary. It was a bold choice because we could have taken the easier option of remaining silent; even if we didn’t believe that was the right choice. It had felt right to tell them; hard, but right.
But isn’t that always the way? The hard right always leads to a fuller life, however twisted and steep the path. Leaving an abusive relationship, forgiving the guy who left you at the altar, seeking family counseling when you discover your teen is self harming, or admitting your credit card debt is out of control, are all bold choices.
But so is going to work when your boss is a jerk, loving yourself enough to begin working out and shed the baby weight, showing up for a blind date because you’re fed up with being single, or saying, “yes, I’ll build a fort with you” when the new baby kept you up all night. Those are all bold choices, friend.
When our world shatters we assume we have to wait for the storm and pain to pass before we can live the “life in all its fullness” Jesus promised us in John 10:10. But I think that’s nonsense! I believe life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full, that there are rubies in the rubble of our most shattered moments, but it takes boldness to say no to the world and yes to God in order to find them and live them.
Choosing bold isn’t always big, but it is always intentional and leads to a fuller life. Let’s be bold!
Niki is a Brit in the USA, a cancer survivor and pastor’s wife, a fresh air junkie and tea drinker. As a speaker and blogger her candid, humorous storytelling helps us find humor and grace in the darkest place. You can find her and lots of practical resources on her blog, Facebook, or Twitter.