The Em-Bolden Rule: Do It Scared

My heart was beating out of my chest. My hands and knees were visibly shaking. I held my breath as I looked out among the congregation.

It was the first time I had given my testimony. The first time I was truly vulnerable publicly about my past, my failures, my fragility, my salvation, my love for Jesus, and my desperate dependence upon Him.

To read the rest of the bold story, please click below as I was a guest blogger for my dear friend Rachel Britton’s #BeBoldGirl Series.

The Em-Bolden Rule: Do It Scared

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For All Hurricane Matthew Survivors


On these days following the Hurricane, I have more gratitude than I have words…

You may still not have electricity as you read this.

You may be living out of a suitcase in someone else’s home.

Your home may be water-logged.

Your yard may look like a lake.

Your street and yard may be full of downed trees and tree limbs.

You might hear chainsaws and generators for a while.

You might have experienced loss of some of your favorite treasures.

I wish I were there with you to clean up, to hug you, to sit with you and assess the situation.

Friend, Hurricane Matthew is the end of the beginning. The beginning of a new day, a new normal.

You are a beacon of Hope and Light for the world to see.

You shine.

You have life.

You are loved.

You are resilient.

You have it in you.

God is with you.

God will guide you every step.

Let’s band together as brothers and sisters.

Let’s hug our family and loved ones tightly.

Let’s unify.

Together we can.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

Do not be afraid, for I am with you… ” –Isaiah 43:2-3a,5.


–How have you been affected by Hurricane Matthew? Please comment.


–God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. –Psalm 46:1-3, 5.


Top Photo credit: Live 5 News.


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Finding Reassurance From the Faith of Others

Editor’s Note:  Please enjoy today’s guest blog post by my talented, dear friend Rachel Britton.  May this message inspire all of us, especially parents. rachel-britton-square-web-1950

A mamma is allowed to be a little apprehensive leaving her child at college in a different country, isn’t she? That’s how I felt a week or so ago when I boarded a plane back to America.

My son and I had arrived in London a few days earlier for international student enrollment. It felt a bit like cheating. After all, I am British and my husband is, too. My son, however, was born and raised in the States. He knows more about ordering Starbucks than how to make a cup of tea.

I waited in the Quad as my son stood in line to enroll. We had entered the central area of the college through an archway from the street, its large iron gates thrown wide open. Green lawns ran either side of a large paved area.

I sat on one of the benches bordering the grass. Other parents milled around me, speaking in Spanish, French, and Mandarin. Many stopped to take a photograph of their student with the main building in the background. Built in the 1800s, the white neo-Grecian structure with tall columns and a dome at the top dominated the Quad. Long vertical flags hung between the columns with the words: Welcome to University College London.


The building reminded me of a church. Finding a church was one activity I hoped to help my son complete.

Then I noticed a cart with a sign: Free tea and coffee from the Christian Union.

Enrollment was taking some time. The CU students were packing up their cart. Although I hesitated to get involved, I couldn’t let this opportunity go by.

“I got this for you,” I said, as I handed a card saying Welcome to the CU to my son. “I hope you don’t mind,” I added. “No, that’s great,” he replied.

I spoke to Max by phone the other night. He bubbled with excitement about his new CU friends; they’d hung out all week. Many of his CU friends go to St. Helen’s Church.

“We went to St. Helen’s yesterday,” he said. “Church!” I thought, “In the middle of the week?”

St. Helen’s stands in the center of the City, the financial district of London. It’s twelfth century tower dwarfed by modern skyscrapers with unusual shapes and names, like the Gherkin. It is the largest surviving parish church in the city of London, and sometimes called Westminster Abbey of the City. William Shakespeare lived within its shadow.


St. Helen’s has stood strong since 1210. It survived the great fire of London in 1666, and the blitz of WWII. It has been restored following damage caused by two IRA bombs that exploded nearby in 1992 and 1993. Yet, St. Helens represents more than a beautiful, solid medieval structure; it is home to a living Christian community.

The people who worship at St Helen’s today are probably far more diverse than those of the thirteenth century, yet no more significant. Men and women who do finance in the City, international workers and students who come for employment and study in London attend St. Helen’s.


My son joins people who throughout the centuries have worshiped God in this place. These are believers who have passed on the baton of faith to people who worship there today. They stand on the shoulders of the saints who have gone before them.

Knowing this history reassures a mamma three thousand miles away from her child.

Rachel is a British-born writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping women know their true worth so they can live boldly. Raised on the east coast of England, she now lives in New England with her husband and three children. Rachel cannot live without English tea and chocolate. Connect with Rachel at, on Facebook and Twitter @racheljbritton and Instagram @rachelj.britton


Do you think about the history of your own church building? The people who have worshiped there in the past? Please comment.

Have you considered who will worship at your church in the future? How will you pass on the baton of faith? Please comment.

Have you left your child at college this year? How did you feel? Please comment.


So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NIV)

I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. Jude 1:3 (NRSV)


We rejoice to use this glorious place to bear witness to Jesus Christ in the City of London. —

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True Vision

I admired her from a distance  as she walked into church with her guide dog, Fiesta. Julie was so joyful, wearing a big smile. Several excited children ran up to her, wanting to pet her beautiful Labrador Retriever guide dog. Julie let them pet Fiesta. Julie was confident, comfortable, effervescent.

It has been only a few months since I had joined our church. They said I could show up on Wednesday nights to sing in the choir. Although not formally trained, I love making a joyful noise and singing those beautiful words of hymns, as well as praise and worship songs. I showed up to choir practice a few Wednesday nights ago and loved every minute.

This past week in choir was life-changing. Julie walked into the choir room with Fiesta and sat beside me on my left. Fiesta sweetly and obediently laid down on her left. And then I saw it.

As we opened our songbook binders, Julie opened hers. A lump formed in my throat. Braille sheets, printed out on card stock paper and perfectly three-hole-punched, filled her binder.

The musical accompaniment started for our first song. I watched closely as her hand gently started at the top left and followed every word and note. She sang beautifully, joyfully, confidently, not missing a beat.



Tears welled up in my eyes. I immediately thought of the Philippians passage:

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” –Philippians 4:12a-13.

After we practiced in the choir room and were about to process into the sanctuary choir loft, Julie asked if she could hold my left elbow as we walked. What a gift to me. I looked down and Fiesta patiently walked to the left of her master.


As we walked down the hall to the church sanctuary she told me of meeting her husband in college, who is also blind. I watched her face radiate as she described her family.

Both their precious sons are sighted. The two boys had joined us in the choir room, the children’s choir practicing one beautiful song with the adult choir.

I found out Julie is also a top seller of Mary Kay cosmetics. She even walks her sons to Taekwondo in downtown Matthews. Is there nothing this girl can’t do?

Julie, Fiesta, and I made our way up the two steps into the choir loft. We stood together to sing. We sang the hymn with passion, feeling the presence of the Lord in a way I can’t describe.


She had told me she would dismiss herself after the first hymn to go to her Sunday School class. She graciously declined needing my assistance. Julie is a woman on a mission.

Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

Julie has more vision than most sighted people I know. She is content in her circumstances.

She is such an inspiration and true ambassador for Christ.

It is an honor to sing off the same song sheet with Julie.  Thank you, Julie, for bringing more vision and clarity in my life. I pray to be more like Julie, my sweet new friend and sister in Christ.


Who is the Julie in your life? How can you be more liker her? Please comment.

Would you say you are content in your circumstances like Julie? Why or why not?


“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” –John 9:25b

“Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.'”–John 9:39.


High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all. —Be Thou My Vision (4th verse

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Fruit or Foliage?

The majestic Hendersonville, North Carolina mountains beckoned my friends. The air was fresh; the breeze was crisp; the sun was glorious; the fellowship was easy. We awakened all excited to visit Sky Top Orchard. We were going on an apple-picking adventure. So many lessons came to my heart on that beautiful orchard about bearing fruit or foliage.

Friends Bearing FruitIMG956157-1 IMG_1768

We pulled into the gravel parking lot and my heart beat quickened.  Acres of you-pick apples, jugs of fresh apple cider, and fun hay rides– all waiting for us.

The orchard was brimming with huge apple trees, as far as your eye could see.  It was amazing.  I climbed to the top of one of the apple trees, teeming with ripened fruit. All I had to do was barely shake the tree limb, and the apples fell effortlessly to the ground. The life application came to mind immediately…

How many of us have driven hours upon hours to the mountains of North Carolina or even flown to the Northeast in the autumn to spend a weekend “leaf looking”? The majestic transformation of the leaves in the mountains or in the Northeast is a sight to behold–for a few weeks. It is amazing to think that this beauty only lasts a mere three weeks or so. Then the leaves fall from the trees, withering and dying on the ground, crunching beneath our feet.

As I climbed down from the apple tree to pick up the buckets of apples on the ground, it occurred to me how fun yet full of hard work truly bearing fruit is. Flashy foliage is so appealing from a distance. Unlike the absolute majesty of “leaf looking,” would you make a special trip to see an apple tree ready to harvest? To see apples hanging on the limbs juicy and ripe, enough to feed a family sustainably for days, weeks, or years if needed? Sadly, the answer may be an under-the-breath “no.”

If you’re like me, at some point you may have started off doing a service for God, only to slack off in just a few weeks and get tired. I confess to you that in my past, some flashy foliage resulted instead of long-time sustainable fruit for God. Bearing fruit for Jesus Christ to better God’s Kingdom is exciting, yet not a glamorous job.

“‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit…This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples….You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.“–John 15:5-8, 16. NIV

May we all take a trip to our own heart’s orchard, knowing we are called to bear much fruit for Jesus. The message is that simple, is that hard. Let’s roll up our sleeves, delve into God’s Word daily, work diligently for the Lord and bear much fruit.

Editor’s Note: Thank you, Patti Lesslie, Lee Warlick, Sarah Lerner, and Renee Konieczny for bearing fruit with me. I love y’all! Photo Credit: Thank you, Renee Konieczny! You are a precious friend and amazing artist.


–What are your plans to bear more fruit? Please comment.

–How can you encourage the “flashy foliage” bearers in your life? Please comment.


–“‘ Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.'” –Matthew 7:15-20 NIV

–“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” –Galatians 5:22 NIV


–“If Christ, the heavenly Vine, has taken the believer as a branch, then He has pledged Himself, in the very nature of things, to supply the sap and spirit and nourishment to make it bring forth fruit…The soul need but have one care—to abide closely, fully, wholly. He will give the fruit. He works all that is needed to make the believer a blessing.” –Andrew Murray

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