Be Bold

Dear Emma:

When I was a young girl, our church had Neighborhood Bible Time every summer, and it was truly something I looked forward to every single year. For a week, we heard Bible stories, played games, did crafts, ate homemade cookies that the ladies of the church so lovingly made and served with the infamous Bible School lemonade, and we were challenged to memorize verses and to invite as many friends and neighbors as we could. Well, one year in particular, they started promoting a contest weeks before Bible School even began. Whoever could bring the most visitors would win a ten speed bike that was parked on the church platform. I didn’t have a bike, so I just knew this was going to be the way God was going to provide one for me. So, I began inviting anyone and everyone who looked the right age to go to Bible School with me. As I went door-to-door inviting kids, I would carefully write down all of their information so that I could follow-up on who was coming and who needed rides. The rule was that adults could not do the inviting but could help with transporting the children. Therefore, the night before Bible School started, I began calling all of my prospects. To make a long story short, we had to rent a school bus because I brought seventy-two kids with me to Bible School.

Your dad relentlessly teases me even to this day by saying, “You are such an overachiever. Second place only had five. You couldn’t have just brought ten kids and called it good. No, you had to make sure no one even came close.”  Years later, I received a letter from the Neighborhood Bible Time headquarters telling me that I still held the national record of most visitors brought to Bible School. Okay, so I know it’s a crazy story, but here’s the deal: I believed back then and I still believe today that we have a BIG God who can do BIG things in and through us–not just five-person things but seventy-two person things! If we will just have the faith to believe and be bold, then the sky is truly the limit in what God can accomplish through us!

Another story from when I was about your age in which God taught me how to be bold for Him was when my parents scheduled an appointment with a contractor to come and give them an estimate to build a family room onto our house. They had been talking about it for years, and then they finally looked up a number in the yellow pages of the phone book. The crazy thing is we did not know this man and we didn’t even have a referral. However, before the visit was over there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that God had sent him to our house for something far more important than an addition to our home.

From the moment he walked into our house until just before he left, I firmly believed in my little heart that this man needed Jesus, and I firmly believed it was my job to tell him. So without any inhibition or hesitation, I repeatedly interrupted the appointment to tell him about Jesus. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I even hopped on my piano to sing him a song about Jesus, and then when I couldn’t wait any longer I asked him outright if he knew Jesus and had Him in his life to which he quietly said, “No, I don’t know Jesus.”

At this point, my parents began to see that this was not about an overzealous daughter, but rather a God-ordained moment. They began to share their story of how God miraculously saved them and had made such a difference in their lives. Before long, with tears in his eyes, right there at our kitchen table, the contractor prayed to receive Jesus in his life.

I remember being so excited to be a part of such an awesome life-changing moment! And in my excitement, I quickly realized that this brand-new Christian needed a Bible. I knew we had plenty of old Bibles around and was just trying to figure out where to locate one, when my eyes landed on the perfect one to give him.

I jumped out of my seat and ran over to our coffee table and proudly picked up and presented our Jerry Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour Special Family Edition Bible that had decorated our coffee table for years. Anyone who is familiar with this particular Bible knows it is HUGE and very heavy. In fact, I could barely carry it. I’m sure my parents were holding back laughter and certainly didn’t have the heart to take back my generous gift. The contractor graciously took the Bible, thanked us for everything, and I can still picture him lugging the HUGE Bible out to his truck.

Weeks later, we received a very touching letter from him telling us that he had been searching for a long time and how that visit to our house had changed his life forever. At the end of his heartwarming letter, he told us that he was a personal friend of Yogi Berra from the Yankees and had him autograph a picture for me. While it was cool to get a signed picture from someone famous, I was even more moved by the contractor’s letter and to this day I still cherish the memory of this incredible divine appointment we had with him.

I share both of these stories because I think it’s easy to be bold and brave as a child, but then somewhere along the line we grow up. And instead of carrying on that boldness, sometimes the fear of what other people think can take over and hold us back from being all that God wants us to be. I just want to encourage you, lovey, to keep being bold and allowing God to use you. This month has been a big month for you. You auditioned for your youth group’s praise team which was something you were so nervous about because the song they picked out was kind of low and you weren’t sure you would even make it on the group. Yet, despite your nerves you went and tried out and gave it your all, and I am so proud of you for doing so and thrilled that you made it on the worship team. You also sang with me at a Pastor’s Wives’ banquet. This was something you also felt scared about, but you pushed through your fear and blessed all of the ladies’ hearts that night.  And then, just last week you started a Bible Study at school during lunch time with your friends. And I have to say, I couldn’t be more excited at how God is using your willing heart and the boldness you have to be a light for Him. I love the way you shine for Him with your friends, with your neighbors, at school, and wherever you go. May you always know that God has his hand on you and is equipping you, empowering you, and will continue to use you in ways you never dreamed possible if you will keep your eyes on Jesus and always live your life for Him.

Love you forever,

Mom

PS  And yes, I was the crazy mom in the back of the room videoing your song when you tried out for the worship team. I’ve included the link below so that it will always be a reminder to you of what God can do when you step out and choose to boldly rise above your fears and give your all to Him. Such an appropriate song– He will Do It Again!

https://vimeo.com/user42914763/review/298012035/c1b7117435

 

  1. Linda Handzel

    October 30th, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    I remember that Oldsmobile, and I remember the story about Bible School, because your Mom told me about it. She kept chuckling and her eyes glowed with pride as she related all the details.
    These are wonderful memories, and I’m glad you’re writing them for your precious Emma!

  2. Patty McLeod

    October 30th, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Hey! I know and love that little girl with the bangs. You have always blessed me and continue to do so. Love you,. Your First Grade Teacher, Miss Reneau

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