The Bible describes a wife of noble character as one who “provides food for her family” and “sets about her work vigorously.” Proverbs 31 tells of the woman who “opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy” and is “clothed with strength and dignity.”
And so the question is: a woman of noble character who can find? It’s been months since I’ve seen the movie Noble, but as I go through my own #BeBraveChallenge, I’d like to highlight people I’ve met or come to know about who exhibit bravery of such grand proportions that they make me want to be a braver woman. Noble follows the story of a woman who not only exhibits the trait, but also bears the last name. Christina Noble is a woman who has all the reasons in the world to be bitter, self-protecting, and resentful toward God and others. And yet she manages to keep her faith through many trials that often draw people away from God.
The movie begins in 1955 in Dublin as Christina faces the loss of her mother, separation from her family, and goes on from there to chronicle abuse of power and person in her young life. And in every hard time, she goes to church, seeking the Lord for His plan in her pain. At one point, in her brokenness she cries out, saying, “You’ve let me down very badly and I want to know why. So You better have something very good in store for me to make it up to me. Alright, God?l” Her deep pain is met with God’s deeper grace and He redeems her pain as He lays out a path for her to minister to those who share a similar story. After yet another tragic incident and another heart-wrenchingly honest prayer, Christina falls asleep and dreams of Vietnam.
She takes it as a divine sign and promises “I will go to Vietnam. I swear to Almighty You. When the time comes nothing would stop me. And You better be coming with me.” The movie swings between Dublin and 1989 in Ho Chi Minh City, when Christina fulfills her promise to go. She encounters children who are abandoned and abused and she finds that her story of betrayal and pain makes her the perfect woman to make a difference in their lives. To stop the cycle of abuse, to bring education, adult consistency and societal change.
When I saw this movie, I told practically anyone who would listen about Christina Noble and her bravery in turning an unfathomably painful past into a starting point for helping others. And every time I talked about her (and still to this day), tears come to my eyes. Why? Why is it that intense sacrifice, boldness and change make such an impact in our lives?
I think it’s easy to become numb to the horrible things we see and hear about on a daily basis. We hear stories about school shootings, Syrian refugees, racial tension… and after a while, it becomes background noise. Our brains have to tune it out because the magnitude of the pain is just too much to handle. And yet…. there are Christina Nobles in this world. Ones who know that they can’t make a difference in every tragedy, but strive to be the change in one situation or to one person.
A wise pastor once said that it’s what’s after the ‘but’ that counts. You know… “I love him but…” or “Dinner was great but…” What if our goal wasn’t to change the world (what pressure to put on ourselves!) but to be the person who causes a ‘but’ in someone else’s story? “I was failing my classes BUT I met this great mentor who showed up in my life” or “I left my country as a refugee with nothing BUT I met this person who took a chance on me and gave me work” or “I was pregnant and disowned by my family BUT there was someone who came and met me where I was— judgement-free— and helped me be a good mother to my baby.”
We are all gifted differently and have different passions and different past stories and that’s the way it was intended! Where have you been placed so that you can make a difference?
How do you change the world? One person at a time.