Arise, My Beautiful One


“Arise, come, my darling;

my beautiful one, come with me . . . .

show me your face, let me hear your voice;

for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”

(Song of Solomon 2:13-14)

What a stunning invitation and identity you have today, Bravehearted Beauties! My Darling. My Beautiful One. Can you believe this is how the God of the universe speaks to you? Can you believe that He would invite you to come away with Him? Can you believe He calls your voice sweet and your face lovely? Can you believe He wants to spend His time just hearing your voice and gazing upon your beauty? Talk about an intimate encounter!

How does your heart respond to such intimacy and affection? Can you receive the affection? Are you comfortable with the intimacy? Can you turn your face toward a loving gaze and hold it for a while? If yes, then I rejoice with you. What goodness! If no, I relate to you. And I’d love to help uncover some things that are in the way of receiving the love and delight you’re meant to enjoy.

If thinking about God in such an intimate way is a challenge for you, consider how you respond to love and intimacy in human relationships. That’s a pretty good indication for what we’re capable of experiencing with God. How we love and receive love and affection from others is an indication of how we love and receive love and affection from God. We don’t get to bypass our humanity or escape our wiring for relational intimacy by skipping over others and jumping straight to God.

What we feel in our physical bodies in the presence of love and intimacy can also give us some helpful clues about how we respond to it or receive it. Try reading God’s words above a second time, slowly, maybe out loud or in a gentle whisper, and notice what your body wants to do. Do you want to look toward or look away? Do you want to move toward or move away? Are you relaxed or are you tense? Are you breathing deeply or holding your breath?

For most of my life, I’ve been the girl who looks away, moves away, tenses up and holds my breath. I’m not one who leans into love and easily receives it. Sometimes I feel my body pulling away inside even as I’m leaning in for a hug on the outside. {That discovery has taken years to uncover and articulate, but I’ve felt it for as long as I can remember.} I thought maybe I was just wired that way. I convinced myself I wasn’t the “touchy-feely” type and that was fine. And while that explanation worked for awhile, it doesn’t make sense based on what science and God’s Word tell us is true: we are wired for intimacy…we are wired for love. And not just love as head knowledge, but love as touch, connection, attachment and affection…love as an experience. We need love as an experience to thrive. {Think of the studies with newborn babies who receive touch vs. those who don’t. The ones who don’t receive touch fail to thrive. Such a sad study!}

When we struggle to receive and believe we are loved, it’s not because something is wrong with us or because of some faulty wiring in our core being. It’s because things have happened in our story that have caused a rewiring. {Trauma does this. It literally causes our brains to change.} Or sometimes it’s not because of trauma in our own story, but in the stories that lead up to our story. The wounds of unhealed stories can be passed down for generations, and new wounds are added, compounding the lies and distorting truth of who we are. {There’s a saying: “Hurt people hurt people.” It’s so true.} So what can we do? What if we find ourselves unable to experience love in an intimate way? What if we want to believe the words God and others speak over us, that we are beautiful, a delight, a crown of splendor, but words of truth and love keep rolling off our hearts like water off a duck’s back?

One thing we can do is enter into our stories. It’s one of the bravest things you can do. I highly recommend a counselor for this. One who values the healing power of stories. And if not a counselor, a story guide, spiritual director or someone who is trained in story work. Another option is a therapy group that invites you into your story and helps you process it in a safe environment. Safety is key. Processing our stories with people who haven’t processed their own can be risky business. People who haven’t entered into their own stories and found beauty in their brokenness may not be the safest place for your story. At least not at first.

I’m 21 months into my current counseling journey, I’m in a story group, I’ve been in a spiritual direction group, and I have a few friends who are safe places for my heart. But even with all of that, the most powerful healing and transformation I’ve ever experienced has come through intimate encounters with God. Healing has come through reading words like the ones He speaks above and noticing where I struggle to receive or believe it. It’s come through asking God to reveal what I’m believing about myself, about Him, and about others. It’s come by asking God to replace the lies with the truth. It’s come through asking God to show me where in my story I began to believe the lies. And the most powerful healing of all: inviting Jesus into specific places of wounding in my story. {This is what many refer to as “inner healing” prayer.}

Oh, friends. This is where I could write a good, long book. When we invite God into a specific memory or theme in our story, healing happens. When you give Him access to your heart, mind, memories and story, He brings things you didn’t even know you needed. He may speak to you, hold you, sit by your side, comfort you, care for you, fight for you…He knows exactly what your heart needs in that moment and loves to give it to you. His presence in the memory doesn’t change the event, but it transforms your interpretation and brings truth to the lies you believed as a result of that event.

When I first started inviting Jesus into memories, I thought I had to stick to the memories connected with the ages that I’ve known the Lord. How on earth could I invite Jesus into a memory at an age where I had no clue of His existence? How on earth could He show up for me in those places? Well, I don’t know how He does it, but He shows up. I didn’t grow up knowing Jesus, but He knew me growing up. And He knows exactly what my little girl heart needs to know, needs to hear, needs to say, needs to feel.

If you’ve never experienced this kind of intimacy with God, it may sound a little freaky. Especially if you have intimacy issues. That was me. I didn’t think He’d do for me what I heard He was doing for others. And frankly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted Him to. But after awhile, the desire to believe what God says about me – that I am His darling, His delight, His beautiful one, His crown, His beloved, His Bravehearted Beauty – led me to risk whatever it took to receive those words of intimacy and identity deep down into my soul and story. And friends, it’s happening! For real. I hope I get to spend the rest of my life helping Bravehearted Beauties like you believe that what God says about you is true. Really true. I’m wiling to do whatever it takes to remove the obstacles, expose the lies, speak the truth in love…all so that you can experience the intimacy and identity that God intends for you.

Now back to the invitation to come away with the One who calls you Beautiful. What might going away with Him look like for you today? For me, it looks like going away to a retreat in Colorado. I leave Wednesday and return late Sunday, and even though I’ve always said I’m not a retreat girl, I can’t wait to spend this time with God! For you, it might look like closing your eyes or turning away from this screen right now and asking God to capture your attention. Maybe He wants to direct your gaze toward a particular place of beauty outside your window. Maybe He wants to whisper something to your heart through all of these words you’ve just read. Maybe He just wants to sit with you, right where you are, and give you freedom to do absolutely nothing in His presence. All I know for sure is that He wants to be with you. His desire is for you.

You are His darling, His beautiful one. Your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.

So much love to you,

Linsey signature 100pix



P.S. If you’d like to listen to a powerful conversation on healing your wounds and restoring your heart, I invite you to tune into John Eldredge and Dan Allender HERE. In the second half of the conversation, Dan Allender, a PhD, skilled counselor and master storyteller, shares the healing He received when Jesus entered into a painful place in His story {the loss of his father as a young boy}. He describes it as one of the most important hours in his entire life. That’s saying a lot for a man who’s dedicated his life to healing!

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  • Jennifer - This past week, God has led me to Journaling Bible Community on Facebook. Please check it out. It is filled with beauty. Bible journaling is not something I had heard of and I find it inviting, beautiful, and such a neat idea. Have a wonderful time at the retreat. God bless you.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I really really loved this, Linsey. I felt like you were writing about me. I feel like the Lord revealed what I need to be working on NOW. And faithfully working on it–not stalling out, giving up, or moving on. Not letting the general busy-ness of life get in the way. Thank you for these tender words this morning. I can’t wait to see what your camera captures in CO! Love you wildly Girl!!! AReplyCancel

  • Melissa S - Wow- beautiful, powerful, thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Dianne - When you go silent I worry about you. Hope all is well. Miss your posts. Hugs!ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - I’ll be here writing soon I hope! It’s been a mix of beautiful and broken here. Lots of journal time. That’s where all my words have gone. 🙂 Thanks for checking in!ReplyCancel