How to be a “Brittney”

How to be a Brittney - and impact many lives.

Today, at the exact time of this posting, many will gather in Mount Juliet, TN to worship God and honor Him for the life of His precious woman-child, Brittney Henslee. With all our hearts my family desired to be among those celebrating Brittney’s life {while grieving her death}, laughing {and crying} at the stories & memories, all the while consoling one another with the truth that dear dear Brittney is in the Perfect Presence of Jesus forevermore!  But as plans often do, ours changed last night. So while our friends gather together in honor of Brittney today, I’m gathering words to honor her on this blog.

Brittney was only 27 – and died suddenly last week. I’m not yet sure of the specific details… But one moment she was fine, and the next moment found her a mere hours away from meeting Jesus face to face.   It’s so sad for those she left behind, but a joyous gift for Brittney.


The most unique thing about Brittney was her contagious love of Jesus! It impacted everything she did. For years, Brittney poured into the lives of my children (who were in elementary school at the time) and brought such fun joy and silly laughter into our home. We ALL loved spending time with Brittney. And not just us…She impacted countless lives and families in the same way!  (Picture below: Brittney and a young Abigail)


As I was thinking about what made Brittney so special, I realized that her life centered on loving Jesus and loving and lifting up others. Brittney didn’t have a husband {other than Jesus} or biological children {though she loved on & ministered to hundreds of young ones and their mamas}, but she will be grieved over and terribly missed by so, so many – both in the Nashville, TN area and the Asheville, NC area where she unselfishly served the Lord and others.





Brittney’s life may have been short on years, but she will remain a wonderful role model for all of us as we live out our numbered days on this earth.

The question that has been beating in my heart this week is one I’m asking myself, our children, and now I’m passing it along to you:

Will you and I dare to “Be a Brittney?” Will we dare to live a life that positively impacts those it touches?

If so, here’s what my family learned from the life example of this fireball for the Lord:

How to be a Brittney


“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”  Colossians 3:15-17, MSG


Brittney Quote 1.
Brittney Quote 2.
Brittney Quote 3.
Brittney Quote 4.
1. Be grateful  – and share your gratitude.  Use whatever avenue God has given you to share the counting of your blessings and appreciate those God has placed in your life.  (Picture below: One of the MANY gratitude posts from Brittney on Facebook.)

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.  Psalm 50:23 (ESV)

Brittney- thankfulness


2. Be encouraging – It’s easy to spot the faults in others, which doesn’t honor or glorify God at all.  But it’s our calling as children of the King to lift up and encourage others.  (Picture below: a gift from Brittney to a young friend.)

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  1 Thes. 5:11 (ESV)

3. Be joyful and smile – I don’t remember ever seeing Brittney without a smile on her face.  Even on a “bad day” she always had a smile for others.  She lived, acted, and reacted with joy, no matter what.  (Picture below: Brittney and her beautiful mother, Michelle.)

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.  Prov. 17:22 (MSG)

4. Be unselfish – If we are truly living all about Christ, in Him and with Him… our lives will not be lived in a selfish bent.  Instead, we will live unselfish lives – with a willingness and desire to give of ourselves and our gifts, talents, and possessions freely… because we know that what we have ins’t really ours in the first place.  (Picture below: from Facebook)

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace… 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)



5. Be thoughtful and kind.  A kind response is always the best response.  (Picture below: Brittney and her loving dad, David.)

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Eph. 4:32 (NLT)
6. Be genuine – There was not a pretentious bone in Brittney’s body.  She was who she appeared to be – living day in and day out as a “real” woman who loved the Lord.


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Phil. 4:8 (ESV)

7. Be fun – Don’t take on so many burdens of life that there is no “fun” left to live.  Jesus tells us to cast our cares and burdens upon Him… to trade our yokes for His so that He can be the one to carry the full load… so that our hearts can be light. (1 Peter 5:7 & Matthew 11:28-30) This is so that we can spend our minds and time pouring into others and enjoying those God has placed in our lives.  God has given us all we need to have and share JOY – and that makes a fun person. 😉    (Picture below: Brittney and her “little sister” Haylee)

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. Psalm 4:7 (ESV)
8. Be loving to children – Children are just as valuable as adults.  Sometimes we tend to forget this truth.  Not Brittney.  Her quiver was FULL of them in both Tennessee and North Carolina! (Picture below: Brittney’s encouragement written on a gift to a child she loved)
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Luke 18:15-17 (ESV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.  Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV)




9. Be mission minded – Realizing that we are called to a greater purpose than the small circle within which we live, every one of us are called to reach beyond that circle and share the good news of salvation to those who haven’t yet heard.  Whether that means actually leaving our homes to serve across the ocean, or just across the street… or through faithful prayer… or through financial support… or through all of the above… we are to live mission-minded.  (Picture below: Brittney on one of her many mission trips)


And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race].  Mark 16:15 (AMP)


10. Be all about spreading the Light & Love of Jesus – Brittney did this daily by being interested in those who came across her life path, and by investing in the lives God continued to keep in front of her.  Not in her own strength, but by the strength and wisdom she gained from the Word of God.  (Picture below: one of probably HUNDREDS of notes Brittney was “famous for” – full of encouragement and God’s Word)


Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105


In this promise, as we think about Brittney’s short life, we can all take comfort:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jer. 29:11 (ESV)

No matter when, where, or how it played out… Brittney’s passion for Jesus Christ outshined all of her other wonderful traits.  Obviously, in her 27 years, she accomplished EVERYTHING God designed for her, or she would still be walking on this clay….

(Picture above: Brittney with my dear friend and hers, Christy, who was like a second “mom” to this sweet girl.  From Brittney’s 7th grade year and beyond, Christy discipled and poured into Brittney’s life, as Brittney poured into others.)

Well done, good and faithful servant Brittney! We will miss knowing you are on this earth with us, but rejoice that you are at Home, enjoying laying your many crowns at the feet of your Jesus. We love you, sweet friend and thank you for spending your life on us and so many others.  It won’t be too long until some of us will meet you in our Heavenly Home, but until then, may we ALL choose to live like you did.  May we impact lives around us and

“Be a Brittney.”  

With love,
James, Jennifer, Nathan, and Abigail

*All pictures were borrowed from Facebook posts of friends who loved Brittney dearly.

Jennifer Crawford Walker.

** For some reason I can’t get the spacing in this post to stay set… but hopefully the words remain true. 😉

About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at


  1. Jen,
    May we all “Be A Brittney” in this world! Thank you for sharing her “Jesus heart” and compassion with your readers. We loved her so much and even though we were only in Nashville for less than 5 years…we felt that she was a part of our family as well. (as so many of you all are). We wanted to be at the service this week too. We are so thankful that God allowed us the privilege of seeing what life looks like if you “let go and let Jesus lead without any resolve through Brittney.
    “We are resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world’s delights. Things that are higher. Things are nobler. These have allured our sight! We will hasten to Him. Hasten so glad and free. Jesus, Greatest Highest! We will follow thee!”
    Being Brittneys!
    Love you, my friend!

  2. This was absolutely beautiful and just what we all needed to read today. Well done good and faithful servant. Well Done!