Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

Courage, Dear Heart (When You’re Scared Senseless)


Courage dear heartI 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. (I don’t exactly look like the tattoo type, you know.) Scared it would hurt too much. Scared I’d regret it later.

But since last month, a friend’s tattoo keeps catching my eye. It says:

Courage, dear heart.

Courage, dear heart.  As I think about those words, I remember all the times I’ve felt fear. Fear that would have paralyzed me had God not carried me through.

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.

Scared when I could hardly walk and the doctor told me I had rheumatoid arthritis at age 27.

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

Daunted when my husband and I loaded up our two toddlers and 17 suitcases to get on another plane back to Turkey 5 years later.

Nervous to take the first step and knock on my neighbors’ doors to say hi.

Even more nervous to call younger women on the phone when I sensed God calling me to a discipleship ministry. What if they thought I was an idiot?

Doubtful when I started home schooling my two kids. What if I messed up their education?

Anxious beyond words when my dear husband had a mini-stroke at age 53.  I sat in the hospital waiting room wondering, “What would I do if Jose couldn’t take care of me anymore?”

Petrified to tell people we believed God was calling us to plant a new church in our Muslim city. Who did we think we were, anyway? What if we failed? What would people think?

What kind of fears have you faced?

I don’t know what fears you might be facing today. Maybe you’re worried about that doctor appointment, or wondering if your marriage is going to make it through. Maybe you’re afraid the depression you’re under will never lift.

What I do know is this. Whatever you’re scared of, God is bigger. You can be brave in the face of fear because God is on your side. Courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. Courage means you keep going in spite of fear. You keep hanging in there when the going gets tough.

It’s okay to be afraid. God knows our weakness. His 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)

Take courage, dear heart. God is with you.

Joining up with Equipping Godly Women‘s Fellowship Friday and with Suzie Eller’s “You Don’t Have to Be Brave.” link up.
Photo courtesy of Zeynep A.


Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

31 thoughts on “Courage, Dear Heart (When You’re Scared Senseless)

  1. Amen! God really is greater than anything we face. I’ve feared many serious things raising kids as a divorced mom. I read Habakkuk this morning, and it encouraged me to trust God, despite circumstances. I’ve been learning all this year, actually, to trust instead of worry. God is in control, and he’s working out his plan. This is a great post!

  2. Thank you, dear Lisa. Do you know that I actually thought of you as I was writing it? For reals. God is with you. You are a powerful witness and testimony to His faithfulness. I love you, friend.

  3. I needed to read this today, Betsy. You know my present fears.
    Love you

  4. Great post, something that should be inbedded in us is that God is greater than all our fears, thank you for sharing. Blessings

  5. Thanks so much for this encouraging post, Betsy.

  6. Betsy,
    I’ve enjoyed reading a little more about your journey – how God has made you brave in the face of many fears. Our God is truly able! I’m with you…I’d be too chicken to get a tattoo – even one with a positive message 🙂

  7. Betsy, this is a timely post for me, thanks!
    What kind of fears am I facing? Many. Financial mostly. The portion of child support for my oldest ends next year when he graduates high school at 17, when I am facing the most expensive time in a parent’s life of sending a child to college. He will probably attend a university within driving distance. I can’t pay my rent without the help of that child support, and I can’t kick out my son at 17 so that I can rent a two-bedroom place with my daughter.
    I’m getting good at placing my fears in God’s hands, and I find that He cares for me better when I do that than when I try to carry the burden on my own. I knew He would take care of us.
    Now I am facing a new fear. Leaving a great job with the best coworkers and boss EVER to start over someplace else that I don’t know if I will like. Because God gave me a new job opportunity! And it pays enough money to alleviate the other fear of not being able to afford our expenses next year!
    I start on Monday, and I’ll be the boss myself there. I have many fears about that. When I drive to work on Monday, I’m going to imagine that “we” are going to “our” first day at the new place. Me and Jesus. That thought gives me confidence of being successful.

    • That’s a lot to handle Deborah. You are so right. You and Jesus have your first day of work at the new job on Monday. That’s enough to give anyone a butterfly stomach, but God is with you, girl!

  8. Courage! Thanks so much for posting this. I been having some health issues and my whole food diet has to change. I’m afraid that if I don’t make these changes my health will get worse. I’m afraid I will never get to eat the food I love. I am afraid that I will not stick to my diet in the long run. I act out and eat what I shouldn’t and than I feel horrible about myself. I’m making myself crazy with this. Your post encourages me to stop this nonsense and seek God to help me. I am also homeschooling and I daily I fear that I am failing my children. And again your post confirms exactly what I need to do. SEEK GOD and ALLOW HIM TO COMFORT ME.

    • Blessings and grace to you, Lisa. I think health issues are the very hardest thing to deal with. I’m praying right now that God will put His hand on your shoulder and give you a strong sense of his presence. I pray for my kid’s education all the time, sometimes throughout the day when I’m feeling particularly incompetent! 🙂

  9. What a wonderful and comforting promise it is, to know that the Lord is there with us and He is strong for us! Fear is indeed something that so easily takes hold of my heart. I love your point that courage means that we keep going on even though we fear. This is something I think I need to tell myself more, that it’s okay to be afraid at times but that being afraid also doesn’t mean that I should give up. Thank you for this great post, Betsy!

  10. Beautifully said and great encouragement for those of us (me) who are fearful! Thank you Betsy!

  11. Amen! Such words of wisdom and faith! While I’ve been courageous enough to do things many of my friends and relatives would never be brave enough to do (like go to the mission field in S. America and Africa), I have always struggled with a variety of fears and what-ifs. Currently I’m writing my second memoir, this one about three years in S. America, a very dangerous place and time, to prove to myself that God has always been faithful and powerful enough to help. He has never failed me. While I write these stories, I’m recognizing that I can trust God and be brave for future challenges. Thanks for your words of inspiration today, Betsy. Right on! (I should also say, “Write on!”)

  12. Thanks for your comment, Linda. I’m glad to hear from you. Blessings to you as you write your second memoir! What an exciting project!

  13. Beautiful, Betsy! Do it afraid is my mantra. I see it is yours, too. No wonder it felt like sisters of the heart from day one!

  14. You are a very brave woman, Betsy, even when you’re scared! Very inspiring words here. I’m finding that the more I take that next step in obedience, the more I see God’s faithfulness. He equips us even when we are scared. Thank you for sharing. Truly blessed by this.

  15. Love this! I definitely know what you are talking about too. Being courageous and doing things for God IS scary! I feel it all the time. But you just have to do it, even when it’s hard!

  16. Pingback: Featuring Faith Spilling Over - Equipping Godly WomenEquipping Godly Women

  17. Betsy, I’m a relatively new blogger and every time I press publish on a post, I feel terrified. All the “what if” questions start running through my mind and I second-guess everything I wrote.There’s a vulnerability to sharing your heart so publicly that scares me! I just wrote your words (inspired by your friend’s awesome tattoo) on a post-it for my computer monitor as a blessed reminder – “take courage, dear heart.” Thank you!

    • Oh Tarissa, Your comment means the world to me. I can so relate to your fears about posting. In fact when I wrote this post, “Courage, Dear Heart” I was scared to hit “publish.” I had written it quickly and straight from the heart, and honestly I thought people might think I was crazy. 🙂 Blessings on your writing.

  18. I think this is such a common but ‘taboo’ subject to discuss, the being afraid. As if being a confessing Christian and being afraid are not possible to say together, but God… that’s the answer. But God, he gives us the courage and strength of heart to face every situation so that no matter what we think we can do, He can do through us. Your story sounds amazing, the journeys you have walked. This was a blessing, Betsy. I wrote about facing fear today, too. It is a timely message.

    • I look forward to reading your post about fear too, Dawn. Thanks for stopping by here today. Yes, we often feel that we should not be afraid. I like Suzie Eller’s motto “Do it afraid!” (Suzie is a Proverbs 31 author and speaker.)

  19. Betsy, it’s lovely to meet you and read your powerful post here. Brittany featured your words and I am SO glad she did!! I love everything about this… and your list is both beautiful and inspiring. That scripture speaks to my heart. And I absolutely LOVE the tattoo message. ❤

    • I love the tattoo message too. If I ever get up the courage to get one, that’ll be it! Thanks for stopping by here today. May you take courage on your new endeavors, whatever they are!

  20. Loved these words! Funny thing, I wanted to have “Be Brave” tattooed on my wrist. My husband talked me out of it. 🙂 I have faced so many fears lately as I have followed a call the Lord has placed on my life…insecurities I never knew I had before. God has faithfully written “be brave” on my heart and anchored me to His word (1 Cor. 16:13). He has proven Himself bigger than the fears. They still exist, but in light of His grace, they fade into the background. Thank you for sharing!

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