I’ve invited my friend Betsy de Cruz to tell her story in the #BeBoldGirl series.  She shares my passion for Bible study and prayer, and knows her way around a suitcase like I do!  Welcome, Betsy!

I always said I’d celebrate my 50th birthday by getting a tattoo. But 50 came and went, and I didn’t get that tattoo after all. I was too scared. Scared of what people might think since I don’t exactly look like the tattoo type. Scared it would hurt too much and scared I’d regret it later.

But a friend’s tattoo keeps catching my eye. It says:

“Courage, dear heart.”

“Courage, dear heart.” The words speak to me because I may look brave on the outside, but on the inside I’m a chicken. I mean what woman is too scared to even get a tattoo? When I see the words on my friend’s arm, I remember all the times I’ve felt fear. Fear that would have paralyzed me had God not kept me moving forward.

“Courage, dear heart.” The words speak to me because I may look brave on the outside, but on the inside I’m a chicken.

God gave me boldness to do things afraid:

I was scared to death to get on a plane from Texas to Istanbul when I was 24. Even more scared when I arrived at my new Turkish home with people I could barely talk to.

When I could hardly walk at age 27 and the doctor said, “Rheumatoid arthritis,” I was terrified.

And when I got my second marriage proposal from the man who’d broken off our engagement four years earlier? I was scared silly to say “yes.” I’d have to go live in El Salvador to marry him.

Five years later when my husband and I loaded up our 2 toddlers and 17 suitcases to get on another plane back to Turkey, “overwhelmed’ does not begin to describe how I felt.  Even knocking on my neighbors’ doors to say “hi” made me nervous.

And when my dear husband had a mini-stroke at age 53? I felt anxious and fearful beyond words as I wondered, “What would I do if Jose couldn’t take care of me anymore?”

My hands would literally sweat when I started calling younger women on the phone because I sensed God calling me to a ministry of mentoring and encouragement. What if they didn’t want to talk to me? What if they thought I was an idiot?

When God called me write, I was petrified to tell people about it.  Would anyone even want to read what I had to say? Who did I think I was, anyway?

Courage doesn’t mean an absence of fear. True boldness does things afraid.

When we feel afraid, God calls us to bolder faith. When we feel scared, God leads us to new levels of trust. He calls us to pray, believing He can do more than all we ask or imagine. Sometimes He calls us to bold steps of obedience as we act on our faith.

What kind of fears are you facing?

Maybe you’re worried about your doctor appointment, or scared your depression will never lift. Perhaps you’re wondering if your marriage is going to make it, or if you’re going to make it through a difficult spot with a child. Tight finances might leave you panicked inside.

Whatever you’re scared of, God is bigger. You can be brave in the face of fear because God is with you. Courage doesn’t mean we’re not afraid. Courage means we take bold steps when God calls, in spite of our fears. Maybe your next step is one more prayer for your marriage, or one more hug for your strong-willed child. Maybe it’s sending out one more resume for your dream job.

It’s okay to be afraid. God’s voice whispers reassurance:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Take courage, dear heart. Be bold. God is with you.

Betsy de Cruz writes to encourage people to stick close to God, even when life gets bumpy and crazy. Most days she feels privileged to live with her family in the Middle East; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out. On her blog, Faithspillingover.com, you’ll find tips for Bible study, prayer, family life, and everyday faith. You’ll also find Betsy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Linking up with Angela Parlin at #RaRaLinkup

  • Amen, Betsy: “You can be brave in the face of fear because God is with you.” Thank you for encouraging my too often fearful heart. But taking the next step with God by my side.
    Love this series, Rachel!

  • I expected you to end this post by telling us you got the tattoo after all! 🙂 My 54-yr-old friend is about to get her first tattoo. Her 22-yr-old daughter wants to get matching crosses on their ankles, so she couldn’t resist that. I haven’t done it yet myself.
    I’ve always said that doing things scared takes far more courage than doing them unafraid. So you are very brave, Betsy!

  • Oh Rachel and Betsy…this is good stuff! Your transparency encourages me because I get it! Bold is my word this year. And I was scared when I sensed God giving it to me! But I so pray I can walk out in humble boldness to go/do/share/minister/love wherever He leads. xoxox

  • Those are really powerful reasons you felt fear, but that’s why He says not to. And I’m not a tattoo person either. I rather just change clothes, it’s not as permanent.

    • You’re practical, Rebecca! (Changing clothes vs. getting a tattoo. 🙂 ) Yes, His Word tells us over and over not to fear because He knew we would.

  • Your words are near and dear to my heart Betsy! I not only wrote a book about Brave Faith but I struggle often with being brave for God. He is bigger, stronger, and better than adversity we will face. You can take that to the bank but in the moment of fear, I start to doubt. I have had many “yes” moments in the last few years and all I can do is hold on for dear life. I’m still here to tell about it so it is true that God is bigger! Thank you for these words today!

  • Betsy, your words are powerful. I won’t even try to count the number of times fear has held me back from doing something…and I later regretted it. Mark Twain had a quote similar to what you shared today. I don’t remember it exactly, but it talked about how courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s doing something in spite of fear.

    I needed your words today. Thank you!!

    • Praying for you now, Jeanne, that God will give you the boldness you need. <3May He even carry you forward when you can't walk anymore. <3 Thanks for reading.

  • Of all days and all things to read, this is what I was supposed to let fill my spirit. Thank you so much, Betsey. This post is dear to my heart as you may know. Have a beautiful rest of your week. xoxo

  • I get goose bumps whenever I read those words from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Just as Aslan whispered them to Lucy, I’m sure that God is whispering them to us, and we need to be quiet on the inside in order to hear clearly.
    Fun that we’re both writing on fear and Isaiah 41:10 this week!

    • Yes, I HAVE seen your nose piercing, Barbie. Sweet. If I loved my nose more, I’d totally go for that too! My 53rd is coming around soon, so I could still do it…

  • Betsy, you are one amazing writer, I know. The transparency and sincerity of this post…
    Courage even for the hardest things.
    May we see courage to do the things the Lord requires of us. Courage shows how much we trust Him to bring us to the place He has prepared for us.
    Girl, I am truly happy to read the rest of your testimony. Thanks for all those young women you are calling up. Your simple hearted obedience means You do it bravely for the Lord.
    Keep shining the light for Jesus.
    God Bless

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement, Ifeoma. Maybe I needed this today. I do see some of my younger sisters (and daughters <3) in person too. 🙂 I think having an "older" person interested in them and listening is what makes the biggest impact. More than what I actually say to them.

  • Thank you so much for this, Betsy. I absolutely agree that true courage means doing things even when we are afraid. If I waited until I was brave enough there are so many things I’d never do. Still, I so often find fear holding me back and keeping me stuck in procrastination or avoidance mode. I appreciate your encouragement and your honesty here because it helps the rest of us, who can relate, to take those steps too.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts, Jeannie. Your comments always mean a lot to me. So true that fear is often at the back of my procrastination too. 🙂 It’s a lot easier to say I don’t have time for something than to admit I’m afraid! Let’s keep walking forward?

  • Thank you Betsy for sharing just what I needed today, and thank you Rachel for this wonderful series. Betsy, I literally felt the tears welling up as I read this. Sometimes just another hug for that strong-willed child. Just what the doctor ordered! Love you, friend.

    • Oh Kristine. Friend, I’m praying for you. May the Lord strengthen you and give you joy today! Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate your friendship.

  • It’s great to see you here, Betsy, and I’m grateful for this encouragement: “Courage doesn’t mean we’re not afraid. Courage means we take bold steps when God calls, in spite of our fears.” If I waited for the feelings of fear to go away I don’t think I would ever do anything, but faith grows as we choose to step out and trust God despite our feelings. Thanks for sharing this post, Rachel.

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Lesley. I’m another one who would never do anything if I waited for the fear to completely go away. 🙂 I appreciate you and YOUR BOLDNESS, friend.

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