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  • Amy L. Sullivan

Real-Life Gutsy Girl: Twelve-Year-Old, Hannah

If the attacks in Paris this weekend have left you feeling helpless, here’s a giant helping of hope from our twelve-year-old guest, Hannah. In celebration of the release of Gutsy Girls: Strong Christian Women Who Impacted the World, Hannah’s post is a part of a month long series on real-life gutsy girls.

(Text by twelve-year-old, Hannah. All photos taken by Hannah’s mother, Alicia Bruxvoort)

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I don’t know many little girls who dressed up as a missionary for career day in second grade, but I did.

I don’t know many little girls whose favorite game involved gathering all of her dolls and playing “orphanage” in the yard, but I did .


I don’t know many girls who begged her mom to help her organize lemonade stands and plan parties to help the poor, but I did.


And I don’t know many little girls who were sent to time out when her mom glanced out the window and spotted her leading her little brother and sister barefoot across the snow as they re-enacted the life story of a famous missionary. But, maybe that happened to me once.

No, I’m not really an unusual girl. I just happen to love the idea of making a difference in this world. (And sometimes a little girl just has to fuel her playtime with some big dreams).

For as long as I can remember, I have wished and longed and prayed for the day when I’d be able to do something BIG for Jesus, to be gutsy for God.

Gutsy is an adjective meaning brave, courageous, daring.

However, there is just one problem with my dream… these words don’t describe me.

In fact, of all my siblings (and I’m the middle child of five kids), I’m sometimes called the “scaredy cat.”

When we went to the amusement park when I was little, the thought of joining my family on the rollercoaster brought me to tears.

When we took boat rides as a family, I would pass on riding the tube behind the boat when my siblings were begging my dad to drive fast.

And not long ago, when I moved to a new town, I was sick with fear the night before I went to my new school. I didn’t feel brave and ready to make friends, I just wanted to hide in my closet.

I’ve never considered myself incredibly gutsy.

And, according to the world’s definition, I may never be.

But the thing about courage is this– God defines gutsy differently than the world does.

And saying YES to God often puts us on a rollercoaster ride of faith that brings out a courage inside of us that we didn’t even know we had.

And sometimes it just helps to hear the stories of ordinary girls like me who have discovered they are braver than they think.

That’s why I love the story of Gladys Aylward.


Gladys (that name doesn’t even sound gutsy!) was just an ordinary girl, a parlor maid who was good at cleaning…

At least, that’s what the rest of the world thought.

But it turns out, Gladys wasn’t just good at cleaning, she was also good at dreaming.

Gladys was the child of a great big God (like me and you). And He had planted a great big dream in Gladys’ heart.

She wanted to be a missionary, even though she had failed out of missionary school.

But that dream in Gladys’ heart just wouldn’t stop growing, so, finally, she decided to leave her life as a maid behind and take a courageous leap of faith. And that ordinary girl took an extraordinary journey to China to share the love of Christ.

She traveled by boat, train, and bus across a war zone and over perilous mountain ranges, putting her very life in danger more than once.

And that was just the beginning of this gutsy girl’s story.

Before Gladys’ tale was finished, she served as a spy, a rescue hero, and a foot inspector. And God used her to change countless hearts across the globe.

It wasn’t that Gladys was born with an extra measure of courage.

It’s just that God loves to use an ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Or maybe you could say God just brought out the “GUTSY” that was hiding in the heart of an ordinary girl.

I love the story of Gladys Aylward because it reminds me that in God’s eyes, we can all be gutsy girls (Even if we never climb aboard a rollercoaster!).

We simply have to trust God to give us the courage to be gutsy wherever He leads.

And those dreams tucked somewhere deep inside?

The ones that seem ridiculous? (The ones that just might drive a girl to drag her siblings barefoot through the snow….)

Those crazy dreams just might be the beginning of a gutsy story for God’s glory.

I’m not sure if I’m ready for riding the waves behind a full-speed boat, but I’d love to grab my Savior’s hand and walk on water.


I think I’m ready to let God bring out my GUTSY.

How about you?

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Thank you, thank you for letting me share your words, Hannah!

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