Hello Bravehearted Beauties! Can I just tell you how happy it makes me to know you’re still out there after all these months away?!?! I loved seeing your familiar names in the comments and emails. Made me smile! You are the dearest readers and a huge encouragement to my heart. I don’t have much time to write between now and our upcoming spring break, but I just wanted you to know how thankful I am for you!

PINITI also want to tell winter to BE GONE! It was 20 degrees on the farm this morning. Clear and beautiful, but way too cold in mid-March for this Texas-turned-Tennessee girl! Thankfully, we’re headed somewhere sunny and warm next week. I don’t think you’ll ever find me skiing over spring break. Not on the heels of my winter blues! It’s all about sunshine and vitamin D for me!

Before I’m officially done with winter, I have a little beauty to share from last weekend’s surprise snowfall and a few from early January. As much as I prefer sunshine, fresh fallen snow does make for some easy beauty hunting!

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And just because I can’t leave you shivering, here’s to the happiest flowers on earth! I love the way they burst through the brown and barren ground, heralding the beauty that’s to come.

Behold the daffodil!

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And fluffy chicken butts!

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Hugs and spring love to all of you!

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  • Laurie Tuttle - As usual, beautiful photos Lindsey! I also love daffodils. Enjoy the sunshine on your vacation!ReplyCancel

  • Tina Christensen - Hi! Oh, I am with you on finding a warm place for spring break if given a choice. I am ready for warmth and bright sunny days. Your photography is beautiful, as always. Fun to see your lovely girls and Buddy and Bella. I’d forgotten how big they are! (The pups, not the girls. Ha!) Hope you have a wonderful spring break!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - Beautiful photos! Your girls are growing too fast and they are so beautiful! Have a wonderful spring break.ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - I’m so glad your back as your words are so comforting! And your pictures are beautiful! I’ve missed you.ReplyCancel

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Hello Bravehearted Beauties! It’s been a long time. Too long. Sometimes the hardest part of getting back to something is knowing where to start. As a linear thinker, I tend to start at the beginning, or start where I left off, and go from there. But sometimes that feels overwhelming and keeps me from starting at all. So I’m just going to start right here with this one small post and a short little video.

 

 

Is there anything you know you need to start again? Is God giving you that gentle nudge or maybe even a not so subtle push to get started on something? To return to something? Or move forward on something? What holds you back? What makes it so hard to start? For me, it’s fear more than anything else. I hate fear. I know it’s not from God, but I wrestle with it more than I’d like to admit. And then God reminds me, right in the midst of my fear, what He sees when He looks at me: Bravehearted Beauty. Time to kick fear’s butt today and start again. Who’s with me?

I’ve missed you, Bravehearted Beauties!

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  • Tina Christensen - I’m here! It is wonderful to see and hear from you today. You look beautiful to me! I’ve been checking back every so often, hoping you’re well…. I love what bravehearted beauty represents. My little message here bears my thanks and encouragement for you to get back to beauty hunting and writing as Jesus puts it on your heart. xoReplyCancel

  • Lisa cohen - I’m here too!!! I’ve missed your writing but I trusted things were being worked out and it was a time of deep growth. I will say, the longer you spoke the less “tired” you looked….probably because you were finally not holding your breath any longer!!! So glad you are coming out into the light and taking deep breaths!!! Hugs!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jessi - I’m still here! The Spirit is so present as you speak … your words, presence, and care are huge gifts. You are brave and I honor you. I pray that God will fill you abundantly in this season <3.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Catherine - Welcome back, sweet friend! Missed your writing, and I’m glad you are starting up again.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Avery - Linsey, I am so glad you are writing again! Just wanted you to know that I am still here too and that I always find comfort in the words that you write. May God bless and strengthen you as you daily trust in him in his calling of you to share the stories and words placed in your life and heart.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - Welcome back Linsey! You have been missed. And I for one am so looking forward to whatever you might have to share! Isn’t our God amazing!?!ReplyCancel

  • Beth Berger - So glad to listen to and read your words! I have missed your words and you!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly George - Oh girl it is so good to hear your sweet voice! I look forward to what God has to tell us through you. You are a vessel and I am so blessed that you allow him to use you!
    ❤️
    KellyReplyCancel

  • Becky Mullowney - It’s good to see and hear you again, Linsey! You have been missed!ReplyCancel

  • Inga - Happy to see you and read and hear your wise words again!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - I’m here too! I’ve missed you and I hope all is well! Looking forward to hearing your sweet beautiful words again!ReplyCancel

  • Debora - I’ve missed you! So glad you’re back.ReplyCancel

  • Gracia @ Gracious Offering - Linsey, so glad you are back to writing! I so enjoyed your video too. Love the thought that “God is responsible for the beauty and will redeem the broken.” Still much brokeness in my own life and I need to be reminded sometimes that only God can redeem it and that it is not wasted…because some years feel wasted. Look forward to hearing more from you and seeing the beauty you capture with your camera. Welcome back! Love, GraciaReplyCancel

  • Wendy - I’m here Linsey. Been checking periodically for new posts. Glad to see and hear from you. Encouraging you to write what’s on your heart!ReplyCancel

  • Lexi - OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! You are finally back! Hooray! Linsey, as always please know there are so many people who’s lives you have touched with your sharing and your open beautiful heart. I hope 2017 brings you more peace and glory.ReplyCancel

  • teresa - L~
    So glad to see you! Glad you are back. Blessings!ReplyCancel

  • emi - Linsey, it is so nice to read/see a blog/video post from you. Yes, I too have missed reading your writings. Definitely looking forward to hearing from you soon. Love and life abundantly to you!ReplyCancel

  • Bobbi - Glad you’re back! I’ve missed you! I always enjoy your writing and your videos.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Davis - So glad to hear from you. I am eager to see where the Lord leads you 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Leah from Centre - I’m so happy to see that you are writing again and breathing again. Thank you for reminding me that God will never waste our brokenness. I am currently praying for healing for my children as they navigate through the pain and disappointment of my past divorce. I know that God is a miracle worker and I look forward to reading your blog! Love you, Lins!ReplyCancel

My dear Bravehearted Beauties, you are a gift to my heart! Thank you for reading and rejoicing in the story of the big brother I always wanted but never knew I had. Thank you for your prayers as I wrestled with fear and struggled to step into my brave heart. Thank you for your patience as you waited and wondered. Thank you for your life-giving words in response. And thank you for journeying with me as the story continues to unfold. I don’t know all that God is going to do through this story, but I get the sense that it’s a story with wings and has just taken flight. I’m expectant and hopeful about what is to come…in my life, and in the lives of others.

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In recent years, I’ve developed a “brave radar.” As I listen to people share their stories, I listen for the ways they are brave…both in big ways and in small ones. Many times, I see brave where people can’t see it in themselves. I love to call the brave out in others. And I love to honor the otherwise overlooked parts of a story that culminate in a glorious crescendo of beauty and bravery.

I don’t know if this story I’ve shared has reached its crescendo yet. Only God knows. {Personally, I sense there’s a lot more goodness, beauty and healing to come.} But today, I want to honor the brave ones who came before me in this story. Their specific stories aren’t mine to tell, and my short sentences won’t do their stories justice, but I’m so in awe of each of these people and want to their brave and beautiful hearts.

First, there was a brave young woman who made a brave choice to give life to a son she knew she couldn’t keep.

And there was a brave couple who made a brave decision to adopt a son as soon as they heard of his birth.

Hearts breaking. Hearts opening. Love is so very brave.

46 years later, there was a brave sister who followed her intuition and bravely pursued a big brother she believed was out there somewhere.

And there was a brave brother who received word of biological siblings out of the blue and bravely said yes to more without knowing a thing about them.

Then there was another brave sister who supported her brother of 46 years in his decision to meet two brand new sisters, and bravely embraced them with hugs and chocolate.

And finally, there’s me…bravely telling the story God is asking me to tell, knowing I’m not entirely supported, but trusting that God will bring beauty to every broken place. And believing that somehow the telling of this story will usher in more healing and goodness than any of us can ask or imagine. {Ephesians 3:20}

Will you dare to believe in the MORE with me? Not just in my story, but in your own? Let’s keep partnering with God in His story by being brave with our stories each and every day…both in the little things and in the big things.

Love to you with all of my brave and beautiful heart,

 

 

P.S. You don’t have to wait until a story is made beautiful to bravely honor and rejoice in it. I’m very much in the middle of my own pain and brokenness right now. Some of it is related to this story and some is not. But no matter how broken things look today, I know this much is true: there is a particular beauty formed in you through brokenness. Will you be brave enough to allow it? And even embrace it?

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18, The Message

 

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  • Krista - Beauty can be made out of the ashes when we allow Him to do just that. It’s in the brokenness, in the rawness, where amazing grace takes place. It’s the surrender to allowing the One who is sovereign & all knowing to continue to write the story of our lives. I have learned this so much in my life this past year on my health journey. It’s having blind faith that know matter what our story is we are never alone, that it is all being worked out for our good. It’s knowing that we are loved in greater ways than we can ever imagine or fathom.
    Be brave little one, be brave because He’s got you.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Thank you for posting that verse, it was so timely. This has been a heavy hearted year for me, compounded by my inner circle of friends each being unavailable in my time of darkness. The Holy Spirit reminded me Jesus had the same experience with his closest friends so I know he understands my grief…I definitely needed a reminder to not give up.ReplyCancel

Hello Bravehearted Beauties. I hoped to be back just a few days after my last post to share the story I’ve been holding in my heart for months, but every kind of thing has gotten in the way. And if everyday life stuff weren’t enough of a hindrance to writing, there’s definitely an enemy who doesn’t want God’s story brought to light. But it’s time to be brave and let God’s glory shine!

Here’s what I’m learning about stories: the most beautiful ones are birthed out of brokenness. So it is with this story. Life is both beautiful and broken. We can be afraid of the broken parts and try to hide them, or we can embrace the brokenness and believe that beauty will rise right out of that cracked open place.

Before I begin…

Lord, be my words. You have invited me into a really big story…the best one of my life! I see You in every detail. I see how You were writing this story long before I was born and long before I could see You in it. I know I don’t have the full story, God; only You do. But you’ve given me a glorious portion to share. Use my words to reveal the portion of this story that brings You the most glory. Reveal your beauty in every broken place, both in my story, and in the stories of others. You are so, so good, Lord. Let your goodness be evident to all who hear and all who read. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

And now God’s big, beautiful story.

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I HAVE A BROTHER!!!

Meet Trevor…the big brother I’ve always wanted but never knew I had. I’ve only known him for nine months, but deep down in my soul, it feels like so much longer. He’s six years older and was adopted at birth. We both grew up in Houston, a few neighborhoods apart, went to rival high schools and know lots of the same people. {Some of my long-time blog readers and friends know him, and are just finding out today that we’re related!} He loves Jesus, loves his family, loves to write and loves to cook. He looks nothing like me on the outside, but is so much like me on the inside. And he loves being a big brother. He’s been one his whole life…to a sister no less! Really God?!?! Who gets the big brother of her dreams at age 41? Who gets to be this instantly loved, accepted and known? Thank you, God. You are so crazy good!

This story didn’t start 9 months ago. Or even 47 years ago when Trevor was born. It started in God’s heart long before our birth. Your story did, too. God says He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb {Jeremiah 1:5}…before we were even a thought to anyone on this earth! And He didn’t just have an idea of us, but an intimate knowing. I could write a whole post on that alone!

Back to the story. But first, a little set-up to the story from January 2014. I was battling depression and knew it was time to step back into counseling. In one of my first sessions, while trying to tell my story the way I had had always told it, I felt disoriented, sad and even scared. Who doesn’t know how to tell their own story? I stopped for a moment and said through tears, “My story doesn’t make sense. I feel like there’s a missing piece, but I don’t know what it is.”

Months later, in a time of prayer, God gave me the visual of a massive puzzle with thousands of tiny pieces scattered all over my long dining room table. It looked chaotic to my orderly firstborn self. But then I saw Jesus sitting at the table. A question burned in my spirit: “What if there are pieces missing…pieces that aren’t even on the table?” He looked at me with a tender, knowing smile and assured me He knew where all the pieces were. I didn’t have to find the pieces or even work the puzzle. He would do it. I decided to trust Him.

In January 2015, I was newly 40 and happy to be, not knowing it would be such a painful year: a broken ankle, a breaking down marriage, and an unexpected run-in with old trauma. It was also the year of a phone call I’ll never forget. My sister called one night in late March and said something like this: “Do you want me to drop a bomb on you or give you some backstory?” I said, “Go ahead and drop a bomb.”

My sister exclaimed, “WE HAVE A BROTHER!”

My response was surprisingly calm and instinctive: “I know.”

“What?!?! How did you know?” she asked. “I just know.” I didn’t know in my head; I knew deep down in my being. The missing piece. The piece of my story that didn’t make sense showed up on the table that night. And my spirit knew. I think my spirit has always known. When I was young, I begged my parents for a big brother. Even asked them to adopt one. I believe God placed that desire for a big brother in my heart because He knew I had one.

Who was he? Where was he? How much older was he? What does he look like? Of course I was curious, but I was mostly just thankful for the revelation of this missing piece in my story. It explained some things for me in a way I couldn’t have understood on my own or even with years of counseling. Thank you, God. Oh, and guess what?!?! I’m not technically a firstborn! Good news for a recovering perfectionist who’s been wanting to ditch the whole type A thing!

How my sister discovered we had a brother is her story to tell. It’s fascinating. As an adoptive parent herself, she has a unique perspective on biological siblings and adoption. She’s also a truth seeker with a passion and persistence that has always amazed me. So in the summer of 2015, my sister began a search. I remained uninvolved in the search, but prayed throughout the process.

God, you are in control. Not me, not my sister. And certainly not the brother who doesn’t know a thing about this. I’m trusting that what you reveal is intended to heal. Please protect this brother’s heart. Protect the hearts of everyone involved.  Bring your beauty to every broken place. I trust you, God.

I had my moments where I wondered, “What if he’s not a good brother? What if he’s in prison? What if he doesn’t know he was adopted? What if this revelation wrecks his world and everyone else’s?” But God. He continued to remind me He was in control. He made this brother known to us, and I believed He would only allow what He knew to be good.

In August 2015, my sister wrote a letter to our not-yet-known-to-us big brother and handed it over to an adoption agency. In February 2016, that letter landed in our brother’s mailbox. Almost a year after we discovered we had a brother, and six months after my sister wrote the letter. Trevor can tell the story of the significance of the delay for him, but I’ll just say this: God is in every detail of your life. His timing is perfect, even when your story isn’t.

And this is where the story gets really, really good. As in, details only God could write and orchestrate so perfectly! When my sister Holly wrote the letter, she enclosed this picture:

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When our brother opened the letter, the picture fell out onto the floor. When he picked it up and saw my face, he said, “I KNOW HER!”

Really God?!?! Of all the billions of people on the planet and all the people who could be one of his biological siblings, he knew who I was?!?! He recognized me from a small church we both attended in Houston. I only attended for 18 months before our move to Franklin, but it was long enough to form a memorable friendship with his wife, Karen. We met on a women’s retreat in 2010 and felt an instant connection. Of course, we had no idea that her husband was my brother!

I remember talking to Karen in the church courtyard one Sunday in 2010, and she pointed her husband out across the way. And then there was an actual introduction by a mutual friend in 2011. Our dear friends John and Cully came to hear our oldest daughter sing at Christmas. They were dear friends of ours from our old church. After the service, John saw an old friend from high school and introduced us. It was Trevor!

Who knew that this church we attended for only 18 months before moving to Franklin would become a significant part of a larger story that would unfold four years later? God knew! It certainly wasn’t my plan to attend that church. I honestly didn’t want to change churches. I was devastated to leave the one we had been so involved in for 14 years. But I followed my husband’s lead and trusted God was in it, though I couldn’t for the life of me understand what He was doing!

Is your mind blown yet? Our minds were blown every single day as more details clicked into place. After making the church connection with me based on the photo, Trevor and Karen read Holly’s letter. Another amazing detail revealed: Karen works with Holly’s husband! With all of these small world connections, Trevor wasted no time reaching out.

He hand wrote a sweet card and placed it in Holly’s mailbox the day after he received her letter. {They live only 10 minutes apart.} When Holly read the card, she called me crying hysterically. I thought someone had died! She struggled to speak through her tears: “He knows you!”

“What? Who knows me?”

“Our brother! He knows you from church! His wife Karen knows you, too. And she works with Josh!”

My first thought was: he knows me! My second was: he knows Jesus! And my third was: I love Karen! I could remember her face and our conversations as if I’d just seen her yesterday. I couldn’t believe her husband was my brother!

When I got off the phone with my sister, I called my friend John and told him his high school classmate was my brother. He flipped! He told me they used to carpool together, shared a few memories and then said, “I don’t know who hit the bigger jackpot…you for getting Trevor as a brother, or Trevor for getting you as a sister!”

Holly and Trevor met for drinks the same day she received his card. They spent several hours connecting dots and marveling over all the details. My sister called me after and said, “You know I don’t usually say this, but I’m pretty sure this is a ‘God thing.'” She also said, “You’re going to love him.”

I did a brave thing and booked a next-day flight to Houston. Actually, my spontaneous husband booked it. He was absolutely sure I needed to meet my brother. I freaked out and cancelled the flight, then rebooked it. I put on my favorite pair of boots {the ones I bought myself for my 40th birthday}, and boarded a plane. In a whirlwind 24 hours, I met the big brother I always wanted. It felt absolutely crazy and absolutely right at the same time.

The first thing I did when I met him was scan his face to see if there was any resemblance. I tried hard not to stare. I always dreamed I’d have a big brother who looked like me: blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin. {Interesting side note: I was often asked if I was adopted growing up because I didn’t look like anyone in my family, and here I was looking at an adopted brother who looked more like my family than I did.} You wouldn’t know we’re related looking at us from the outside, but on the inside, we’re very much alike. To start, we share a faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. I didn’t have the experience of a shared faith in my family growing up, so to start there with a new brother felt like a huge gift to my heart. And then there’s the way our brains work. Very much the same! It wasn’t long before we were finishing each other’s sentences and knew what the other was thinking before we even spoke it.

When I got back home to the farm, the first thing my husband said when he saw me was, “You look complete.” And that’s exactly how I felt.

Life changed for all of us nine months ago. It’s been a wildly good, beautifully broken, messy but glorious unfolding. This is a story only God could write. And it’s not finished! There’s so much more to the story…more than I can fit into a blog post, and more that’s unfolding day by day. In God’s time, this story would make a really good book! It’s a good thing our brother is a writer! There are some amazing parts of this story that only he can tell.

So how does this story of mine relate to your story? Only God knows. All I know is He wanted me to share it with you. And He knows exactly what to speak to your heart through this story of His. One thing I know for sure: God is doing so much more than we can see at all times. He’s always doing more than we could ask or imagine {Ephesians 3:20}.

Are you willing to risk your heart and believe that all the seemingly disconnected dots and broken bits are the framework for a beautiful story? God is dropping details into place even now. And in His perfect time and perfect way, He will connect the dots and reveal a thing of beauty! All He needs from you is a willingness to trust. I trust you, Jesus. I trust that You are doing more than I can see. I trust that You are working all things out for good in my story.

Believing in beauty with all of my brave heart,

 

 

P.S. Any story that involves more than one person can be told from many different perspectives. This post represents my perspective, written with God’s prompting and presence. I know others would tell the story differently, and I honor their stories. I’m just telling the story as God inspired it through me, knowing that it’s ultimately His story. I hope it blesses you in a big way today!

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  • Ashley - Beautiful story! Thank you for being brave enough to share. I am starting my day with a smile upon my face thanks to you.ReplyCancel

  • sherri cheney - Linsey,
    What a beautiful story! You shared in an honorable way. Thank you for telling us your experience, your perspective. It ALL matters. Prayers for the time spent growing in relationship with your big brother and new family…
    Psalm 40:1-3ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - I so appreciate your words about how I shared in an honorable way. That was my heart’s desire. Not everyone was ready for the story to be told, but after months of delay, I knew God was asking me to tell it. Glad it came out as honoring.ReplyCancel

  • Krista - What an amazing & beautiful God story! There is an incredible peace & beauty in seeing what He brings forth in our lives. I am happy for you, your sister & brother that He has brought all of you together. What a beautiful beautiful blessing! All things can be worked for the good if we allow Him to. ❤️💕❤️ReplyCancel

  • Mary Catherine - Love your beautiful story!Thank you for sharing. I agree completely…this is something that only God could write. His perfect plan in His perfect timing. XOReplyCancel

  • Missy Dollahon - …. I can’t make a comment cause I’m just speechless ….ReplyCancel

  • Christi Brennan - Linsey~ THIS is amazing…I KNOW what you are talking about knowing/not knowing. I met my birth mother/sister in Houston after we had moved to Southlake and the ways we were connected were completely God orchestrated! There is so much richness to be gained from adding another piece into your life puzzle. I am not a blogger, writer or have any aspirations of becoming one, but I did have thoughts of writing my story right after connections were made. Blessings to all involved and thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Means so much to hear from you regarding your own story, Christi. Wish we could sit down with a big cup of coffee or a glass of wine and talk for hours! It’s WILD how connected we can be to someone we’ve never met but were always meant to meet. Only God!ReplyCancel

  • Alison Fleming - Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, Linsey! I love seeing God weave and complete us in His glorious and perfect way! Big brothers are a treasure! I am sure He has many more surprises in His perfect plan for you and each one of us! We miss your smiling face in Houston! Much love and prayers! AlisonReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - So good to hear from you, sweet Alison! Thank you for reading along, and YES…a big brother is such a treasure! Worth the wait for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Gracia @ Gracious Offering - Linsey,
    What an amazing story! Our God certainly is the master weaver of our life’s stories. I love my big brother and I’m happy you have one now too! Your words give me hope that God is still is working behind the scenes to bring beauty out of some very broken pieces in my life. Thank you for sharing this story of wonder and encouragement. Warmly, GraciaReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - He’s ALWAYS working behind the scenes. I’ve got some hard things happening now where I just keep reminding myself that He’s doing more than what I can see. Let’s keep looking for the beauty and remain expectant of the good to come!ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda - Your blog is such an inspiration to me. I continually see miracles through your story. Thank you for being so open and honest because that is where the healing begins. Gods blessings to you and your family.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Thank you for your life-giving words, Rhonda. And YES to the healing that comes with an open, honest heart. It’s hard to stay open sometimes, but the healing is worth it!ReplyCancel

  • Will Otto - I was there! Very cool story.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - You were not only there, but you are a big reason why we have that little detail in our story of how we were introduced at GBC. Because YOU invited Hallie to sing and lead worship a number of times. Thank you ALWAYS for recognizing her God-given gifts and giving her an opportunity to use them. We’ll always remember you in a special way for that. Blessings to you!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney S Vandiver - So blessed by your wonderful story and think it’s so funny that I met you at first as a customer and was at the small church in Houston, and am friends with Karen, their sons and Josh!ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Courtney! I love small world details like that! Love that you know us all in some way. God is really something, isn’t He?!?!ReplyCancel

  • Holly Parkee - Thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony to God’s provision & timing! Proud of you and your family. Praying for continued healing and joy that runs deeper than you can even imagine!ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - I love your prayer for continued healing and joy that runs deeper than I can imagine. I’m already experiencing both and will gladly receive MORE! xoReplyCancel

  • Brenna - Linsey – I’m in Trevor’s community group and have loved hearing this story that God wove together. It’s been so great to watch. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Brenna, I love that you are in his group and got to hear his perspective. He has so many amazing details to add to the story. Hope we’ll get to tell it more fully someday! Blessings to you!ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - SO that makes you a middle child now, doesn’t it? Welcome to the awesome club!! I love this story and so excited for all of you! Really incredible on many levels and you have shared it so dearly. Excited for what the future holds! JD gets a brother, too! Hugs from Houston-CReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Middle child…how crazy is THAT?!?! I told my brother the first day I met him that I was turning in my firstborn duties and letting him carry them all. 😉 And how sweet of you to look at the gift God has for JD in this. I think so, too! Love you, my friend!ReplyCancel

  • Molly Urbani - Hi Linsey-
    What an amazing work of the Lord! I am thankful for this gift of a brother to you, and for the joy so evident in your life. It has been encouraging to read your blog. Over the past few years, I see God working in my life in similar (at times painful) ways as He brings His beauty into brokenness. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing…it has reached into the depths of my heart and mind, and ministered richly.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - So good to hear from you, Molly! Thank you for your encouraging words about my brother and my blog in general. It’s a gift to my heart to know you’re reading along and experiencing God in deeper ways. Hugs to you!ReplyCancel

  • Honoring The Brave Ones » Bravehearted Beauty - […] Beauties, you are a gift to my heart! Thank you for reading and rejoicing in the story of the big brother I always wanted but never knew I had. Thank you for your prayers as I wrestled with fear and struggled to step into my brave heart. […]ReplyCancel

Hello, Bravehearted Beauties. I’ve been away far too long. So long that I forgot how to log in to my own blog! I didn’t intend to take a break from writing. And the truth is, it’s not good for me to stay silent for so long. I’ve said many times over the last seven years of blogging that words are like the air I breathe…essential to feeling alive and well. When I go silent and keep the words bottled up inside, I start to feel like I’m choking or suffocating. It’s not good for me.

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And it’s not good for you. God has made it very clear to me over the years that I don’t write just for me. God has given me this way with words…this way of speaking to your heart as He speaks to mine. There are things He wants to say to you through me. There are places He wants to access in your heart as I reveal my heart before you in vulnerable ways. There is beauty He wants to reveal in your brokenness as I share my own journey of beauty and brokenness. And there are stories He wants to tell. Not my stories, but His stories. He is the ultimate author. I’m honored to be His mouthpiece. And sad that I’m silent at times.

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I have a really big, beautiful God story to share. I heard God asking me to share it before I even knew what it was He wanted me to share. In January, God said as clearly as I’ve ever heard Him: “Tell your story so I can tell Mine.” I said, “Yes, God.” But I didn’t know where to begin. Then in February, God revealed a huge missing piece of my story. {I always sensed a piece was missing, but couldn’t have told you what it was.} In March, I knew this was the story I was meant to share. A story far greater than myself or anyone else involved…a story meant to glorify God. In April, May, and most of June, I stayed completely quiet in an attempt to honor others involved. In late June, I told you I was living a great story and couldn’t wait to share it. In July, I told you I was bursting at the seams and still couldn’t share it. But that’s exactly when I wish I had broken the silence. Because in June and July, God told me it was time. But I delayed. And since then, my silence has come at a cost.

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So why the long silence? Why didn’t I write sooner? God is asking me to be honest with you here. I think He knows you’ll find more of yourself as I share more of myself. So here is the truth:

I allowed fear to silence me. I allowed the fear of others to become a louder voice in my head than the voice of God in my heart. I allowed my fear of a few who don’t want me to share the story keep me from writing the story God has asked me to share. I have feared the reaction of a few, discomfort of a few, disapproval of a few and rejection of a few. So much that I stayed silent when I knew it was time to write. What began as a loving desire to honor others grew into a fear of others. I hid behind honoring for too long, and today, I’m calling it what it is: fear. Fear isn’t honoring; it’s dishonoring…to my God and to myself.

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Bravehearted Beauties, your voice is needed. Your stories are needed. Especially when God tells you it’s time to speak them. There’s no good thing that comes from fear-induced silence. Trust me. I went from feeling fully alive in the story I was living to feeling burdened, trapped, small and stifled. I turned inward and have felt dangerously close to my previous battles with depression. {Depression rises when I shrink inward and make myself small. I don’t want to shrink anymore.}

A recent declaration from Brené Brown and Glennon Doyle Melton captures some of what I’ve become aware of in my own battle with silence and smallness:

“My silence is not going to be your comfort. My job is not to make you comfortable by dying on the inside and staying small and quiet.”

Dying on the inside. That’s what it feels like when you’re keeping silence out of fear…all in an attempt to appease others. Dying on the inside is what depression feels like, too. So…appeasing in order to make others feel more comfortable while I remain silent and spiral into depression? No, thank you. I’m done. It’s time to share the story God has asked me to share. It’s time to give Him the glory and give myself the freedom and healing that comes with speaking my voice and using the gifts He’s given me.

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This is where I need to remember how God sees me, who He made me to be, and the new name He calls me: Bravehearted Beauty. I don’t rise up and speak my voice or share my story because it’s easy for me to do, or because I’m good at it, or because I have the support and blessing of others. I rise up and speak my voice because God calls me to do it…and because God calls me brave. And remember, bravery isn’t the absence of fear. Bravery is stepping right into the fear. It’s saying, “I see you fear, but today, I am not ruled by you. I am ruled by my God who makes me BRAVE!”

So Bravehearted Beauties, I have a big, beautiful God story to share. And this time, I will not let fear keep me from sharing it. I’ve heard God say, “It’s time.” And this time, I’m going to honor His voice above all others. I’ll be back soon!

With all of my brave heart,

P.S. In case you’re tempted to think I’m good at being brave and you’re not, let me tell you: I ripped a couple fingernails off in the first few paragraphs of this post. And even as I finish writing, fear isn’t absent. I don’t know if it ever will be this side of heaven. But we step into fear because being ruled by it wrecks all kinds of havoc on our hearts, souls, minds and bodies. You can do this brave thing today, Bravehearted Beauties! Even if you pick a few fingernails, fall down, fail or whatever else along the way. Keep choosing the brave thing in the midst of fear. And when you do, fear will lose its power, leaving you more free!

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  • Krista - You are exactly right when you say that God has used you & the words that you share to bring hope among other things to those who need it. I ❤️ God’s divine timing. I was struggling yesterday with sharing what God has put on my ❤️ to share with others.
    It has become apparent in the past few years that He has called me to be an encourager. He even spoke those words over me one day. One of the areas He has called me to encourage in is about babies. He gives me very specific encouragement to share with those I know personally & even those that I don’t really know. Like you shared, sometimes I let the fear of what the person I am led to share His words with, put the wedge of doubt in me. Then I think of what Jesus did for me on the cross. How can I not honor the mighty & sovereign God?
    I was prompted to share encouragement with a popular blogger who has shared her struggles with pregnancy. I sent her an e-mail telling her what God revealed. When I didn’t get a response, I was able to contact her & explain about the e-mail. She still hasn’t responded to the e-mail. On her blog yesterday she spoke of an incredible weekend that she had & described many God moments. My ❤️ became sad. Not for me,but for the fact didn’t reading His revealing in my e-mail speak to her as well? Did she think that I am some random crazy person claiming something that is false? Should I really put myself out there & be vulnerable to being unheard or rejected?
    But then God. This is what He told me. He said that it’s not about me. It’s about being obedient to Him. He then reminded me of the apostles & how they spread the good Word despite being ridiculed, mocked, rejectted. In that moment I saw the one who was treated worse than I could ever imagine being treated. He hung on that cross for me. He endured it all. Far be it from little ole me to allow fear & doubt creep in & not share the words I am called by the most Holy to share.
    We need to not allow the enemy steal, kill or destroy what God has entrusted us with.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - “It’s not about me. It’s about being obedient to Him.” That’s the heart of it right there, Krista. Well, said! Thank you for that truth, God!ReplyCancel

  • Patti - I do hope you come back soon! I was so hoping you’d be telling the story today!ReplyCancel

  • Talia - Hoping to hear the story soon!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Catherine - Welcome back Lynsey! Thank you for your beautiful writing and honesty! I look forward to reading your brave story!ReplyCancel

  • Guest - I love how singer Sara Bareilles says it: “Say what you want to say and let the words fall out…show me how big your brave is….” I cringe to think what you’re about to say (because I feel the discomfort you are experiencing, even though I don’t know you), but I stand with you as someone who feels stifled. And being stifled (or FEELING stifled) does a number on your body, mind and soul…and you’re right, it’s a burden you were never meant to carry (and why we’d think otherwise is just crazy!).ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Love those lyrics! Thank you for reminding me of them today. And yes, there is discomfort for a pleaser who’s been addicted to keeping the peace. But God has a story to tell, and He’s given it to me to tell. So…here we go! Breaking free of the silence I’ve kept will surely feel better than this!ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - Great post, Linsey! Miss you and hugsReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - Just read this Linsey, and I so admire your bravery! I know that fear has played a huge part in my life and my family’s lives the past several years. Sometimes life does not go as planned, and circumstances and events can change us forever. I believe that God can make beauty from ashes and that our mess really becomes our message. You are so special and such a blessing! Thank you! ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Sheila Reinstein - Looking forward to hearing your inner beauty tell her story. Henry is wanting to go to Vandy ED so maybe I will get to see you in the near future! Miss you!ReplyCancel

  • Sherri Cheney - Linsey, your openness and vulnerability is refreshing. The way you express yourself is both tender and courageous. Your pursuit in following Christ is an encouragement to me. I have been on my own journey of life recovery and transformation for the last 3 years. No more games. I have worn many masks, many at the same time. What will please the one I am with? What should I be to gain love, approval or acceptance? How lost I’ve been in my own head and heart… it has kept me from being present with those I am love and not being (or knowing) who God created me to be or using the gifts He gave me. Thank you for sharing your story. I am better by knowing I am not alone. Sending warm hugs to you my blog friend!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - I’ve so missed you. I checked often for an update. I’m excited to read your next post.

    Bless you.
    Lisa from IndianaReplyCancel

  • Lexi - So glad to see you are in a place of growth and light. The truth can’t hide in the light. I know your story will help so many others and your courage for telling it is amazing. Thank you for sharing your heart with us Linsey. ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Jamie - Hi there 🙂 I keep checking in to see if you have posted a new post. Praying for you as you work on your story.ReplyCancel