I Have A Brother!

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.



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:


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