Hello Bravehearted Beauties. I felt a welling up of words in my heart this morning and thought I’d sit down and see what spills over onto this screen. But it’s been so long since I’ve written, and there’s so much I want to say, and so much I don’t know how to say, that I just feel overwhelmed all of a sudden. My brain feels all foggy. Just like the farm on so many early mornings last month.

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So why even try to write? Why battle the fog? Why not wait for my head to clear? Because I’ve tried that before. I tried that for all of November. It didn’t work. And that’s okay. I feel no shame, guilt or obligation to write. I just know writing can be a way forward for me. Sometimes you just have to move forward by faith, not by feeling, and trust there’s light on the other side of the fog.

Let’s talk about fog for a moment. How do you feel about it? When you see a thick blanket of moisture obscuring the view, what’s your first thought? Is it beautiful or burdensome? Cozy or confining? Mysterious or disorienting? Do you want it to lift or linger? What are you tempted to believe in the fog? Do you feel hopeful or despondent?

I’ve been all over the map on fog. When I’m at home in my introverted little bubble, the fog can feel cozy…an excuse to stay home. But if I’m on my dad’s boat off the coast of Maine, the fog feels eerie.

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As I look over the side of the boat, I feel the fear rising up. I feel it even now as I write these words years later. I know there should be a line out there…a line that separates the sea from the sky. A line that keeps you from feeling disoriented and seasick. I find myself wanting to raise that thick curtain of fog so I can see that line and fix my eyes on it. In a moment like this, I realize how dependent I am on seeing things to feel secure.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” {Hebrews 11:1}

Oh, God. Really? In this fog where I can’t see a thing, can’t even find the horizon line, you want me to risk believing that things are secure? Please let me see something! I just need to see one little thing.

Just as I feel like I want to jump ship, a vague shape of something familiar comes into view. And that’s when it hits me: everything is still there in its place, every bit as much as it ever was. The fog doesn’t change the placement of things, the coming of things, the movement of things, the goodness of things. It just obscures my view.

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The fog doesn’t mean the sun isn’t shining. Somewhere on the other side of this veiled view, light is breaking through…maybe just a little bit at first.

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Soon you’ll see that horizon line again under crisp, clear blue skies. Soon you’ll see things in all of their glory and goodness. And just in case you’ve forgotten: that beautiful place of light and life isn’t just meant for a lucky few who know how to navigate their way through the fog. It’s meant for you. 

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I still prefer the sunshine to the fog. I still prefer seeing glory to believing it’s coming. But I’m thankful for what the fog has revealed about the default of my heart. The truth is, when I can’t see a thing, faith isn’t my default. Fear is. But that doesn’t mean I have to stay with fear. I can choose faith. And faith doesn’t mean I’ll see the horizon line; it means I have a hand to hold when I can’t see a thing.

 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” {Hebrews 6:19}

My hope in the fog is God himself. He’s a God who draws near. Christmas reminds us that He is God with us. The crazy way He came still astounds me, but I know this: He still comes today. He comes right into the middle of the fog, takes our hand when we can’t see His face and can’t see a thing and says, “Do not fear. I am with you.” {God says this more times in the Bible than I can reference.}

And like my dad with his high-tech GPS navigation system, my God knows how to move through the fog. No matter how murky the past, how messy the present or how muddled the future appears, God sees what we cannot see. And it is good.

One more photo for you, taken here on the farm during a brief moment when the sun broke through the storm clouds during a very gray November.

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The sun didn’t stay long. And it’s still not shining today. But on the other side of this gray, I know there is light. By faith, I believe what I cannot see.

With a brave heart,

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P.S. For some, the entire holiday season feels like a fog. My heart goes out to you. I get it. But know this: the greatest light this world has ever seen has come for you. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” {Isaiah 9:2} And this light is coming again. All you have to do is come as you are, It’s not up to you to bring your own light into your darkness. God will do that. I’m believing that with you and for you. You are so brave, beautiful ones.

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  • Gracia @ Gracious Offering - Linsey, what a beautiful, hope filled post. I too struggle with faith when things are unseen and so often pray like the father of the possessed son, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” The Advent season just spills with hope…as we wait expectantly for the skies to clear and His light to shine in the darkness. Thank you for your words…keep writing. Have a wonder filled Christmas with your family! Warmly, GraciaReplyCancel

  • Sandy - Oh Linsey, what a beautiful post! Well said young lady! Well said!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - I have no words to express my emotion right now. Your words are exactly what I need to hear as I buried my 35 year old son this week. My faith is the only thing that keeps me breathing and I’m in that fog. I pray God blesses you forever. You have spoken so perfectly and I thank youReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Oh, Sherry. I am so deeply, deeply sorry. My heart aches for you. That my words would be what you needed to hear today is evidence of God Himself with you and speaking to you. He sees you. I pray that you will feel His nearness in ways that go beyond anything you’ve ever experienced. Asking God to send you an extra measure of comfort and love today.ReplyCancel

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“Good morning!

You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,

Beautiful inside and out!

God be with you.”

L U K E  1 : 2 8

What a greeting! I couldn’t help but think of you when I read these words in The Message this morning.

This is the way the angel Gabriel greets a young, unmarried, little-known, virgin Mary. He’s about to rock her world {and ours} with the revelation that she will give birth to a son…the Son of the Most High God. But first, God greets her with what is most true about her: she is beautiful with His beauty.

Bravehearted Beauties, this is the way God greets YOU. You’re beautiful with God’s beauty. Beautiful inside and out. Not because you feel it, not because you try, not because the mirror, a man or your mother says so. You’re beautiful because that’s what God says is true about you. Beauty is what He sees when He looks at you. It’s who you are. It’s how He made you.

What if we let this greeting that kicked off the whole Christmas story be the greeting we hear as we rise each morning this month? What if we dare to believe these words are really true of us?

Enjoy the truth, Bravehearted Beauties!

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  • Dianne - So good to hear from you! Hugs!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - It made my day to hear from you again! Thank you for sharing this beautiful message. I am going to add it to our kitchen chalkboard so we can wake up to it day and begin to feel the truth of God’s message. Blessings to you and your family!ReplyCancel

  • Lexi - Your greeting resonated with me this early morning. So positive and full of love! So happy to hear from our Bravehearted Beauty again!ReplyCancel

Hello Bravehearted Beauties! Wow. Three weeks since I’ve written anything here. Aside from a few posts on Facebook, it seems that I fell off a cliff. Truth be told, I kinda did. Not the kind you might imagine. Not depression or broken bones. Nothing life threatening, though sometimes hard things feel like they’re going to kill you. The truth is, life hurts on this side of heaven. But today, I’m very much revived! God broke through in a miraculous way, and I’m honestly a little giddy with wonder and thanksgiving.

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But that’s a story for another time. Or maybe just a story for the pages of my personal journal. We’ll see. On this last day of October, I’m here to share the beauty that has rescued and revived my heart on the drive home this week. For just a brief time each year, the road home transforms into a golden tunnel. Our golden tunnel was gray and wet most of the week, but when the sun popped out, I grabbed my camera and came back to capture it.

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The Road Home is a Golden Tunnel. When I posted one of these photos with that caption, a friend said it sounded like a book title. My mind immediately turned to things I’ve not yet seen but sometimes dare to imagine: the road that leads to our heart’s true home. I imagine it’s far more glorious than the golden tunnel I’ve traveled through this week. For this world, even at its peak of glory, is only a veiled hint of what our souls were made to enjoy.

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There’s always a backstory to beauty hunting. And the backstory isn’t always pretty. In fact, it’s usually not. But it always ends in beauty. It’s out of the broken places that I have learned to wield my sword and fight for life most fiercely. The broken places drive me to look for the beauty, and God never fails to reveal it. Seek and you shall find!

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You might remember that I didn’t learn to hunt for beauty on back country roads in a picturesque small town. God taught my eyes to see His glory in the middle of a concrete jungle! So no matter where you are today, if your heart needs a rescue, hunt for some beauty. I promise it’s there…even in the most hidden, broken or unexpected places!

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Every day and every place has a beauty all its own.

Let’s go find it!

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  • Gail Sciortino - Hi,
    New to ur blog. I’d love to be able to live in the south. Calif isn’t good. I was wondering, are the summers really HUMID in Franklin? We have dry heat here…
    Nice blog 🙂
    Gail S.ReplyCancel

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“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,

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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

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You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand . . . . 

No more will anyone call you Rejected . . . . 

you’ll be called My Delight!

(Isaiah 62:3-4)

These words have been speaking to my heart all week. At first, it was the word crown that caught my attention. I love crowns and have been collecting them for years. They’re displayed around my house as a daily reminder of my truest identity. I am a daughter of the King. And so are you.

But then there’s the word rejected. Contrasted by the word delight. Do I believe it? Do I believe that I am His delight? Or do I more often believe I am rejected?

We come to believe all kinds of things about ourselves though our story…the things that happen to us, the things that are spoken over us, the things we choose or don’t choose in life. Some of the things we come to believe about ourselves are good and true. Other things…not so true. In fact, we can believe all kinds of lies about ourselves without even knowing it.

Lies enter our stories through places of wounding, and one of the deepest core wounds of anyone’s story is rejection. It seems that we’re either experiencing it or fearing it at any given time. No matter how hard we try, we can’t prevent it. Whether it comes to you in the womb, early childhood, college or career…through friendships, family, romantic interests, church or community, it will come.

Even Jesus knew rejection. He was hated and rejected to death. Literally. But he didn’t let the rejection or even the pain of it define him. Rejection was his experience, but it wasn’t his identity. And that makes all the difference. What we believe determines how we live. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 27:3). A huge part of our belief system is rooted in identity. Our wounds tell us one thing, but God tells us another. Which will we choose to believe?

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When our wounds tell us we are rejected, and we choose to live out of that identity, we go into deep hiding from God, others and even ourselves. We hide what our wounds have told us are our “rejectable” parts and present only the parts of ourselves that we think can be loved and accepted. {Read Hiding From Love if you want to dig deeper into the discovery and healing of your hiding patterns.}

But even our “acceptable” parts aren’t enough to keep us from experiencing further rejection. And over time, despite all of our performing and preventing, our core identity takes a hit. To the point that we begin to lose and even hate ourselves. And because self-hatred likes to stay hidden, you may not even realize it’s there. Over time, self-hatred and self-contempt form like callouses around the rejection wound, and our hearts harden to the truth of who we are.

But in God’s story, rejected isn’t your identity. As true as the lies can feel at times, the enemy’s rejection arrows don’t stand a chance against the truth and love of God! In Christ, your identity is fully established: a daughter of the King is accepted, chosen, wanted and worthy of love and delight. 

Oh, Bravehearted Beauties, will you dare to believe that you are a delight today? When those rejection arrows fly, will you dare to see yourself as He sees you…a stunning crown in the hand of God?

Delighted in by the King,

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  • Julie - Beautiful message, Linsey! Thank you, ~julieReplyCancel

  • Amy Avery - Oh my, Linsey! This is such a beautifully written post and speaks so clearly to my heart. I see and hear the Spirit of our Lord speaking through your words. Thank you for allowing God to use your gifts and talents to minister to the hearts of his beloved.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Thank you, Amy. Really had to surrender to the Spirit on this one. Several times while writing. So it’s awesome to know you could sense the Spirit speaking. xo!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - You are like my own private, little bible study. Thanks for being you. You are an amazing and delightful woman of God.ReplyCancel

  • Arise, My Beautiful One » Bravehearted Beauty - […] 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 […]ReplyCancel