Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Today I was in inner-city Jackson at WE WILL GO. My family and I try to go there whenever we can to serve and to participate in prayer, worship, and Bible study.

P7081054 Betsie praying resized

I saw a quote from John Wayne on something, maybe a t-shirt in the clothes ministry? My Swiss cheese brain can't remember for sure where it was printed, but it was a strong enough message that I googled it to get the wording just right. Here's what it said:

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”

Now I have to confess, I'm not scared to death right now, but I'd be lying if I said I never got worried or fearful about things, including things that God is asking us to do.

I've had people comment before on how brave I am. They say that they admire me because I'm so courageous and willing to go do some fairly adventurous, perhaps even downright, risky things. I've tried to tell them that I'm really a chicken at heart but they just don't believe me. Let me tell you, just ask my family and they will tell you that I'm a big-time, scaredy-cat, worry-wart. I'm the mom that carries two or three bottles of germ-gel in her purse, double and triple checks the door locks at night when Jim's not home, and used to sleep with a butcher knife by my bed when I lived in Swaziland. I make my teenagers call me when they leave someplace at night and I don't let my kids spend the night at other people's houses til I've known both parents for at least a year. I'm the woman who uses the shopping buggy seat belt to secure her purse. I always, always, always wear my seatbelt. I make my kids go to the public bathrooms as pairs til they're pre-teens and, heck, I even homeschool them.

Yes, I am that mom.

I am also the mom that is praying about moving with her family to live in the heart of a city with one of the highest crime rates in the nation. I'm the mom who just took all of her kids to Africa and zipped across mountain gorges on cables and went on a safari in a 4-wheel vehicle with no seatbelts and nothing between us and wild, threatening creatures except for several feet of bare space. I'm the mom who takes her kids into questionable neighborhoods in New Orleans and Africa, alike. I'm the mom who is moving all of her kids to live and serve in a nation that has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world, black and green mambas that kill you if they bite you, river crocodiles that still eat people (including children), burglar bars and alarm systems on a large percentage of the homes, and on and on I could go with the dangers. In fact, when we were in Africa four years ago, we almost walked in on burglars who were in the process of robbing our guest house.

Believe me, I sometimes freak out just a wee bit. Okay, a lot. I let my imagination start running wild and my give room for my fears to grow. I watch shows and documentaries that only feed those anxieties. I start dwelling on the horrific possibilities.

And then God reminds me of who He is and why He is calling me. He reminds me of those hurting and dying. He reminds me of those living in darkness. He reminds me of those who don't know that a savior lived and died for them and loves them tremendously. He reminds me of those precious little children who need a mama's lap to sit on and daddy's arms to swing them high. He reminds me of the heroes of the faith who have gone before me. Those Bible folks and those in modern history who've been willing to walk the hard path, even the path that lead to death, in order to set the captives free.

And most of all, He reminds me that He is worth it all. My loving Father sent His precious Son to this world. My beautiful Savior left all the glories in Heaven to walk a hard journey here on earth knowing all along that his life would end in the ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

When I remember all He has done for me, I am reminded that He loves me so much and He also loves those dwelling in darkness so very much. He has given us the task of taking His light and love to them.

Yes, I get fearful at times. I am even slightly tempted to just say "no" --- to stay living our wonderfully sweet and safe life on our little farm just serving in our local church and reaching out in non-scary ways. Sure, from time to time go deeper into the dark, but to have our comfortable place to always come back to.

But that's not what He's called us to do. He's called us to risk it all for the sake of the call. He's told us to go and love even when it is dangerous, even when it might cost us everything.

I heard a long time ago that courage didn't mean you never got scared, it just meant you did what you knew you needed to do anyway.

That's what I'm doing. I'm doing what I know I need to do anyway.

And you know what? I bet He's telling you to do the same thing.

It might not be moving to Africa or even an inner-city neighborhood.

But I bet, if you're perfectly honest, there are things you know He wants you to do but you've been letting worries and fears hold you back.

Don't say no to Him. Remember that He is worth it. And living life fully for Him, even when it is scary and sacrificial, is glorious.

Now put those boots on your trembling feet, get those shaking legs walking out the door, and saddle up that horse!


Leslie said...

Beautiful post sweet friend. (((Elysa))) Wish I could give you a real hug.


Elysa said...

I would LOVE a real life hug from you, Leslie. I know that many days you have to get up in that saddle despite the fears.

I think you just need to come visit me in Swaziland some year in the future and then we can give each other lots of hugs as we laugh a lot and cry a bit about our sometimes trembling and tear-blurred views from the saddle of life.

us5 said...

:ha!: i LOVE this post, Elysa. i'm that chicken, too, and God is just getting all the more glory because this isn't about how brave i am, but it's about how strong HE is!!! keep preaching it, sister!! :hugs:

Elysa said...

That's so right. What you say lines up perfectly with the story of Gideon being called to lead his people into battle and how God kept sending away men so that when they won, it was obvious that it was because of GOD!

(Joshua 6-7)

Leslie said...

Elysa, I would love that!!! (((Elysa))) May have to try to make that a plan. Love and hugs to you friend!!!

Elysa said...

Leslie, start saving up that beaded bracelet money NOW! ;D

Of course, when we move to WE WILL GO, we'd love for your family to come do a family mission trip at the ministry base. They have bunk houses that will hold a crew for free. All you have to do is get here and provide your own food. Heck, I'll even cook for you some. :)