what jimmy taught me

I still can't really come up with all the words. My thoughts are still such a blur. But I have to write something.

Two weeks ago today, on July 31st, I spent a beautiful day with the staff of TeenPact Survival Northwest. We hiked up part of Steamboat mountain and marveled at the beauty of what God had made. Getting back to camp, we went swimming. A couple staff went further down the river to see an incredible waterfall. That was the last time I saw Jimmy Brazell this side of Heaven. But I know I'll see him again when I go Home too.

Jimmy was an indescribable person. But... I'll try to describe him anyway with some key words. Please read each one slowly, they are each such an beautiful part of who he was.

Love. Passion. Smiles. Understanding. On fire. Worship. Genuine. Excitement. Adventurous. Eternal perspective. Encouraging. Faith. Musical. Peace. Funny. Depth. Laughter. Wisdom. Pure in heart.

I only knew him for one week, but his impact has already been astounding. Here are a few of the most important things that Jimmy has taught me.

.jesus is worth everything.
As Jimmy would lead worship, read scripture, pray, or simply talk with you, there was this ever-present joy and excitement because of Jesus. He could turn any conversation to his savior or heaven or God's calling on his life or yours. While in Texas for the funeral, I got to see his bedroom and saw the words and phrases he'd written on everything he could; things like "passion," "humble spirit," "gifts," "Your love is amazing," and so, so many more. Scripture was written and posted all over the room. And these things just demonstrated all the more to me that every part of Jimmy's life revolved around his God. He told me how he had many things in life he hoped to do, but that he was completely open to God's plan. He knew that only a life for Jesus was worth anything. And he knew that Jesus was worth everything.

.life is a gift.
Throughout his life, Jimmy had several near-death experiences that God miraculously pulled him through. Because of this, he viewed every day as a gift from God. That perspective caused him to live all-out, on fire, not holding anything back because he knew that any day could be his last. He loved God passionately. He loved people fiercely. His whole mind-set seemed focused all on Jesus every moment of every day because he knew life was a gift.

.live with joy.

Jimmy reminded me of how much there is to be joyful for. No matter how I might feel at a certain time or place, there is always salvation to find joy in. And that joy is far greater than anything else in this world. Jimmy reminded me to live so that people will see that joy and want it for themselves. I can barely picture Jimmy without a smile on his face because no matter where he went, he was sharing the joy that just bubbled over from his soul. His life goal was "to bring everyone I come in contact with closer to Christ." His joy did that. That's how I want to be.

.worship is constant.
Jimmy loved to lead worship on hi
s guitar. And the way he did it brought everyone worshiping with him closer to God. But one thing I noticed was that after he was done, his attitude wouldn't change. He lived his life always overflowing with praises and adoration for his savior. Sometimes that meant quoting a beautiful psalm. Sometimes it meant writing a new worship song. Sometimes is meant jumping up and down. Quite often it meant bursting out into song at any time, anywhere. But what I learned from being around him was that worshiping God is so, so much more than singing praise songs. It's a constant state of praising God for everything. The good and bad, the ups and downs. We should continually praise him not because it makes us feel good or we like the music, but simply because our God is so worthy. So holy. So beautiful.

.be ready.
Jimmy didn't want to waste a day.
He knew life was short. So he lived ready for whenever that day would come. Over the weeks since, I've thought harder than maybe ever before about what that means. In general, we take life so for granted. But God already knows the number of our days. It could be tomorrow. Or it could be in one hundred years. But we will never know. Jimmy was ready, more ready than anyone I've ever met. And I know that I can be too.

.look forward.
Life is not about this life, it's about the one to come. And Jimmy reminded me even more of this. I loved seeing his pure excitement for heaven. He seemed to always see it much more clearly than I ever have, and he lived passionately striving to be at his best when he arrived there. Any time the topic of heaven and seeing Jesus would come up, a huge smile would light up his face. His dream was to see God. To see his Creator. To see his Savior face to face. Jimmy knew God gave him life on earth to love others and glorify Him, but his excitement came from looking forward to his true home.

What a blessing. Jimmy has impacted me in so many ways. And I pray that whether you knew him or not, you won't forget the things he showed us in his life. Remember that Jesus is worth everything. Remember that your days are a gift, so live them full of the joy of our salvation. Remember to constantly worship our God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And be ready each day for what we should treasure and look forward to the most: living eternally with the Lover and Savior of our souls.

Jimmy, I miss you. So many of us miss you. So many are hurting. And in the midst of it all, we know you are where you wanted most to be. You are seeing God. I'm sure God spoke to you those words you so longed to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Thank you for being that good, faithful servant of God, and thank you for inspiring us to do the same.

See you there.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this, Shelby. I didn't know Jimmy, but you're right, we always should remember those truths, and for some reason, it's hard to! I've been praying for you =)

  2. Thanks so much for posting this Shelby! Definitely an encouragement to me.
    Wish I could have met Jimmy, but even though I didn't - he touched my life.
    I hope my life can be like that. When I'm gone people will be able to say that all my conversation, what I did, was always for Christ and turning towards Him.


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