Bravely Believing and Desiring MORE

Hello Bravehearted Beauties! You are closer to my heart than you know today. As the snow melts on this Monday after my 41st birthday, I’m sitting in a cozy chair with a cup of tea re-reading my box of 40th birthday letters. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! It may take me a lifetime to absorb all the kindness and love in this one box.


As I grow in my ability to receive love and believe the truth about who I am, I’ve learned that re-reading or even asking a loved one to repeat life-giving words is so helpful. And you know who is especially fond of repeating and declaring his love to you? You guessed it: God. He never tires of making His delight and affection known. What a relief for those of us who need an abundant overflow in hopes that some of it will soak down deep and stay.



So what is it I’m here to say on my day after birthday? At first, I thought I would ask you how you feel about your own birthday and remind you how worthy you are of celebrating. But as I sit here for a quiet moment, I sense I’m here for another reason. And I think it has something to do with feeling like my 40th year wasn’t what I thought it would be. It was much, much harder.



I entered into 2015 saying YES to more. I felt brave about a new year. I was looking forward to turning 40. And finally, I don’t know that I shared this on the blog, but the words I heard God speak over me last year were joy and playfulness.

All of that sounds like a recipe for a really great year. I was hopeful and expectant. I put my Bravehearted Beauty boots on, raised my sword, and embraced a new year of life with my heart wide open. Ouch. It can really hurt to live with your heart wide open, but even now, I can honestly say, I don’t want to approach life any other way. Because you can only know as much beauty as you know brokenness. I’m more convinced of that now than ever.



So 40 wasn’t the wilderness-to-promised-land year that I thought it would be. Not even close. It was the year that a broken ankle cracked open a vault of old trauma and left me totally incapable of ignoring what was buried inside. The unearthing of all that trauma was far more painful than a broken bone. And then there was my husband’s run-in with PTSD…also rooted in old trauma. His childhood stories were mostly known to me, but the intense, unexpected reactions that he was having decades later were unlike anything either of us had ever known.



Now try to imagine how all this run-in with old trauma played out in our marriage. We were like fully exposed hot wires that sparked at even the slightest touch. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. Some days, it was more like a war zone with hidden landmines that exploded with every misstep. And there were lots of missteps. We couldn’t keep the peace if we tried. All we could do was react and self-protect. There were days when marriage went from being a whole lot of hard with hope…to a whole lot of hard without hope. On those dark days, I asked others to hope for me. {There’s nothing wrong with asking others to hold onto hope when you feel like you can’t. Even Moses had to have his arms held up in times of intense, ongoing battle.}

Here’s the good news: we survived. And though it’s come at a cost, we’re on a journey to healing and living more fully in our present than in our past. Someday when things aren’t so fresh and raw, I hope to share more about our healing journey. I never imagined I’d become so passionate about healing, but often our passions choose us. I’m even beginning to believe that it’s out of our greatest woundings that our greatest callings rise.


So why on earth did I want to tell you how hard my 40th year was? Why not just toss that one aside and move quietly into 41? Because life doesn’t work that way. Our lives are a continuous story, and there’s no such thing as a missing segment, no matter how much wish you could block it out. And there’s no such thing as unhealable, irredeemable segments. Oh, there are painful, unwanted, undeserved and even evil segments. Ones we wish we could remove or rewrite. But even the darkest segments of our stories can give way to unimaginable beauty.{Remember Joseph’s story: what was meant for evil, God will use for good.}


And there’s another reason I wanted to let you know how hard 40 was: because it was the very opposite of what I hoped or expected. And when the life’s hard appears to be in stark contrast to God’s promises, we can feel betrayed. And when we feel betrayed, we can shut down our hearts and refuse to open them back up to the goodness and hope that is still very much for us. I don’t want that. And I don’t think you do either.


So when things are hard, are we foolish to hope again? When life hurts, are we crazy to believe that joy is still for us? Should we hope less, expect less, believe less? No, I don’t think so. I think this is exactly where Bravehearted Beauties dare to hope, expect and believe even more. WE ARE BRAVE! We open our hearts wide and dare to hope in things not yet seen!



And even if your heart doesn’t feel very brave or wide open today, there’s something you need to know about God’s heart. He is the God of MORE. And not just more in the ways that we expect or understand, but immeasurably, exceedingly, abundantly more than ALL we can ask or imagine! {Ephesians 3:20 is one of my favorite declarations.} He’s not the God of hold back, dial it down, ask for less and expect less. He’s the God of MORE, and His more is FOR YOU.

So as I enter my 41st year, I’m daring to believe in the MORE. I’m risking living with my heart wide open and saying YES to more all over again. Not just for myself, but for you, too!

With all of my brave and beautiful heart,

P.S. Valuable healing resources: (1) The Body Keeps The Score. I affectionately call it the “Trauma Bible.” Dr. Van der Kolk’s research and expertise is mind blowing, eye opening, heart engaging and hopeful. (2) Emotional Geographic. Gretchen is an excellent writer, trauma survivor and PhD. She puts words to things that few can. (3) Ransomed Heart. Treasure upon treasure is available to you here, trauma or no trauma. I’m super passionate and excited about their upcoming conference: Restoration of the Heart. Which leads me to: (4) Dan AllenderHis work spans decades and his teaching is renowned. He engages story on a deeper level than anyone I’ve encountered and reminds me why our stories matter. He’ll be teaching with John Eldredge at the Restoration of the Heart conference. Talk about power packed! Can’t wait. (5) Good counselors. If you’re healing from trauma, you need a counselor who specializes in trauma. {They are usually trauma survivors themselves.}


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  • Gracia @ Gracious Offering - Linsey, I opened Facebook this morning to wish a friend a quick Happy Birthday before I dove into my devotional time, but your post caught my eye. As I read your words, I knew that God had just given me the hope and encouragement I needed for this day, this time in my life. Yes, life has been “hard in stark contrast toGod’s promises.” Holding onto hope is a daily battle and God’s word and words like yours are life giving. So thank you. I know it is not easy to be open and vulnerable in a public forum, but you are BRAVE! With love, GraciaReplyCancel

  • Ardith - This is an important post, Linsey, for you, and for others. While our minds work to compartmentalize, even bury trauma, our bodies store the memories in a very visceral manner. It’s as though the true emotional reactions we have to trauma are redistributed to either specific areas or throughout our entire bodies. These become toxins that can later endanger our well-being in any manner of ways. That is one of many reasons why it is important to confront the resulting emotions of a trauma as soon as possible—certainly as soon as we are aware of the trauma. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience and recommendations.ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - Beautiful words. Thank you! And…..I could just eat up that sweet puppy dog! He is gorgeous and I love him!ReplyCancel

  • Dianne - I admire your bravery and strength as you go through all of this. However, I cannot help but wonder how it has affected your lovely girls. Are they aware? Has it made them stronger? Has it wounded them?ReplyCancel

  • Eleanor - Linsey,
    Your words. So many things I want to say…my heart is bursting with so much.
    We just moved to Franklin from the East Coast chasing a dream God put in our hearts quite some time ago. Things have not unfolded as smoothly as we anticipated and 2015 was a bit of a rollercoaster for us too.
    But his goodness always shines through and your words today have reminded me of just that.

  • Krista - God is so good & faithful. He brings healing & restoration to our lives in his timing & infinite wisdom . Having said that, your sharing here is purposeful. I needed this encouragement right now in my life. I love how you said that on days when you didn’t feel hope, you asked others to hope for you! Like you, I have been going through a season. I want to grow closer & be in deeper relationship with the Lord. I know he’s taking me through some painful things, but my hope is that one day I can share a great testimony. Thank you for being honest & transparent here. I know that it’s not easy sharing & being vulnerable with others. Yet, God is gracious, loving & kind. He is using you & your story to give others, like me, hope & encouragement.ReplyCancel

  • katrina - how do we know if it is trauma?ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I would love to hear more, (that you are comfortable in sharing, of course)about your experience with ptsd. My 18 year old daughter is facing this after a concussion and bullying, following a cheer stunt fall. So much healing needed, and I am interested in all help I can find or provide. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. Praying this year is full of joy abundant!ReplyCancel

  • The Beauty of a Broken Heart » Bravehearted Beauty - […] beauty. How do I know this is coming for you? Because I’m standing on the other side of the most broken down year of my life, and the beauty is […]ReplyCancel