Hidden Brokenness

She was about 13 or 14 I think. My kids were outside playing a game of basketball when the ball bounced up on the porch. My daughter jumped up the steps to get the ball but as she made her way down she missed a step and rolled her ankle. I knew it hurt and I knew it was going to be painful but I didn’t think much of it. I iced it, gave her some Ibuprofen and called it a day. The next morning it didn’t seem swollen and wasn’t even bruising so I sent her to school. She complained of how painful it was, but I insisted she was being dramatic and forced her to go. By the end of the day her ankle was twice if not three sizes what it should have been and bruised doesn’t even begin to cover it. We went straight to the doctor for an X-ray and found out her ankle was broken. I won Mom of the Year for that one!

I missed the bottom step of our basement stairs a few weeks back and rolled my own ankle. Oh, it’s nothing major and the carpet burn on my foot hurt worse than my ankle but it took me right back to the day my daughter was hurt. As that memory has been fresh on my mind and my own ankle has been healing I’ve thought a lot about brokenness that we can’t always see.

For whatever reason my daughter’s broken ankle wasn’t evident until she spent an entire school day walking on it. But, yet, the brokenness was still there. A lot of times I’ve walked around with a broken heart or spirit but no one had a clue. It took time for the brokenness to boil its way to the top and become visible.

I think as women we tend to believe the lie that we can’t show our brokenness to the world. We hold it all in and keep it to ourselves and honestly, we don’t even share it with God. Or, maybe that’s just me. There’s a part of me that thinks I have to always be strong and be numb to how I’m truly feeling. I’ve bought into the lie that I don’t deserve to be hurt or that I’m weak if I show my cracks.

But, ya know what I’m learning? The light can only show through when there’s cracks! Friend, when we hold onto our hurts and brokenness for dear life we’re never allowing God to heal any part of it. It’s as if we think the cracks will ruin us when in reality it’s the cracks that make us beautiful!

So, today, take your brokenness and share it with God. And, when the time is right, share it with someone else. You never know who needs to hear your story. Our stories are meant to be told. Their meant to be entrusted to our Father. Their meant to mold and shape us and if we keep them hidden all they’ll ever do is swell and bruise and cause us pain. Let it go, sister. Free yourself from the brokenness and trust the ONE who heals it all! ❤️

Forgive the Unforgiveable

About a year ago I did a thing! We only had one vehicle at the time and it was a truck that my husband loved. Me? I hated it. I work downtown so I park in a parking deck and I ran over everything and bumped into everything and I found myself anxious every time I drove it. It was nice and comfy when he drove it, but it was big and bulky when I did. I sort of sprung this random idea on him about trading it in on a car. He didn’t technically say no so I went to the local dealer and traded it in.

A few weeks past and the reality of what I had done settled in for both of us. While I was happy with the car and the fact that I was no longer a threat to society in the truck I felt guilty for the way I had handled it. I brought up the subject and he was honest and shared how he would have rather kept the truck and bought me a car and I was honest about my reasons (aka threat to pedestrians near and far). We both apologized and moved on.

Then one random weekend the subject of vehicles made its way into our conversation and the truck incident came up again. I felt this need to apologize and he stopped me and said, “You didn’t really do anything wrong, you’ve already apologized, I’ve just got to deal with the outcome of it all.”

His statement caused me to ponder which led me to a podcast where this same thing was mentioned again. The podcast was about forgiveness and how we not only have to forgive the person but we have to forgive the ripple effect of their actions. Not gonna lie…this one stung a little bit. Okay, okay…it stung A LOT. I struggle with forgiveness. I’ve been hurt…deeply hurt and I’ve got a lot of baggage because of it, and in that moment when I was listening to that podcast I realized that while I have forgiven the person, I haven’t forgiven the consequences of their actions and the deep wounds it has left on my heart. Deep inside I’m still holding on to my anger which, truthfully, is now shreds of bitterness.

So, here I am being as raw and real and exposed as I’ve ever been. Trying to process what God has shown me and looking for the courage to forgive what I would consider unforgivable. But, you know what….out there in this big ole world there’s someone who is struggling with forgiving me and the consequences of my actions on their life. Grace goes both ways. I’ve been wronged but I’ve also handed out some wrong of my own. So, it’s a new day and a new chance to do the unthinkable… to forgive the unforgivable 💛

Street Lights

Have you ever watched street lights as you pass by? As you approach a street light there is the slightest hint of brilliance that illuminates your path. The closer you travel toward the light the brighter it all gets and as you move on past, the light begins to filter across your back. You quickly enter a brief moment of darkness and then suddenly you’re in the next light’s shadow and it starts all over again.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

I was driving home recently and was noticing the dark places between the lights and it got me thinking about times I have been in dark places spiritually. There were times that I couldn’t utter a prayer or even comprehend scripture and I felt dry and almost brittle. But, without fail, a friend would randomly text me a verse or offer a word of encouragement. I would hear a worship song or a hymn would come to mind. It was those moments that the shadow of light would illuminate and guide me to my next breath.

God is so bright when we stand directly under him, but he casts quite a shadow of light when we tend to veer off our path. It’s in those dark moments that we desperately need our people…our sisters to shine their lights so we don’t lose our way.

When that friend randomly pops in your mind, send her that text…even if you think it seems weird. When you feel the drawing to stop and call out that friend’s name to the Father in the bathroom stall at work…do it. We’re all fighting battles and some of us are standing directly beneath the light and we feel like we could reach out and touch heaven. Some of us are in the shadows and while we can see the light it’s hard. But there are even more that are in the dark. They know the light is there but they can’t seem to find it. So, friend, be her light for this moment because you just never know when in the blink of an eye you’ll find yourself in the dark. We aren’t called to always have it together, but we are called to allow Christ’s light to shine through us. Imagine how bright the world would be if we all just shined his light! 💡

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

Fall

Fall… it’s my favorite. I love summertime and swimming…watermelon and lightnin’ bugs. But, Fall…it sort of speaks to my soul. Buffalo Check is my favorite “color” and pumpkin spice is my favorite smell. One thing I love most about Fall is the changing of the leaves. The way they finally let go of that branch and turn the most beautiful colors of yellow, orange and rust seem to melt my heart in a magical way. When they fall on the roads and dance around as you drive by, it makes my soul almost dance with them.

I was admiring a tree the other day that is slowly turning from green to burnt orange. I was thinking about all the leaves that tree had seen come and go over it’s life and it got me thinking about my own life. I’ve gone through many a season in my 48 years and I’ve weathered a few storms. My branches have been blown about and my leaves have fallen to the ground year after year. But, just like that tree, God breathes new life into me time and time again allowing new leaves to grow in the bare places. When those branches broke and fell, he healed my wounds and allowed a new branch to grow in its place. I have spent a few seasons of fullness like summer, and my life has yielded beautiful colors of yellow and orange as the time to shed drew near. And, I’ve spent a few seasons where my tree remained raw and bare like a tree in the winter. But, God is so faithful and time and time again he has brought Spring to me and restored me and beautiful leaves have grown again.

I pray my life sees many more seasons, and I can honestly say that if storms blowing through bring me closer to Christ I will willingly weather them too, because I know God, without fail, will never leave me raw and bare. Hard times are…well, hard. But the harvest can’t come without the plowing of the field. So, dear friend, if you’re in a season of plowing or maybe your leaves are falling to the ground one by one take heart knowing that this season of your life was specially created for you, and God has not and will not leave you. You, sweet friend, are his precious daughter! ❤️

This Ole House

The past few weeks and months have held a good bit of travel for me. Vacation to South Carolina, quick girl’s trip to the beach with a friend, and of course the weekend bike rides with my guy. I’ve ridden the interstates, the backroads and what feels like every road in between.

We took a bike ride a few weekends ago and I was soaking in the scenery on an old country road. You know the kind…full of pot holes and faded lines. Barbed wire fencing lined the pastures, and moss hung off the trees so low I felt like I could reach up and grab it. The old country road was full of miles traveled by many people. I thought about how many mommas had driven up and down that road rushing their kid to and from school and all the daddies who had traveled that road late at night after a long shift at work.

As I changed my view from the road to the houses I started noticing the older homes. While some still had families, I was drawn to the ones that were empty. I started thinking about the life that had been shared inside those old walls. I’m sure laughter had riddled the hallways a few times. Sunday lunches were cooked in the kitchens and babies were brought home through those front doors. I’m sure some heartbreak landed on those front porches too. Right there on those steps some mommas were told their babies weren’t coming home from a war. And, some kids left for college on the same ones to never return.

The empty houses looked lonely. Most of them had holes in the roof. The grass was tall and the doors were a little uneven. Even though they were in rough shape I couldn’t help but think about how quickly they could be restored. Roofs can be replaced and grass can be mowed. The siding can be painted and doors can be rehung. Patience, love and hard work can do a lot to an old house.

As the old country road ended and we turned onto a highway, I couldn’t help but look back. I started thinking about my life and my heart and how so many times throughout the years I’ve had the same thing happen to me. I took a few shots and found myself pretty empty and lonely and my grass grew pretty high. I remember that one heartbreak where my roof fell in. And, I’ll never forget that storm that almost blew the door off my heart. The further we drove down the highway I found myself finding a new thankfulness for the Cross. I was thankful that Jesus had fixed my brokenness. He had restored my walls and brought me back to life. He cut down the grass where pruning needed to happen, and he rehung the doors to my heart in the perfect way only he can.

Life often tatters us. We get beaten down by the winds and rains. Sometimes we give up on ourselves and let it all go to shambles. But, never, not once is it gone too far. Every breath is a chance to take a step forward. Every moment is an opportunity to take a different path. Life…it ain’t easy. Walking with Jesus doesn’t make it simpler…it just makes the walk have more hope. ❤️

On Display

I recently found myself walking the paths of a local flea market. I was in search of a table or bar or something for the kitchen. While I could envision it in my mind, I could not find the words to describe it well enough to do an internet search, explain to my husband or search online groups. So, to the local flea market we went.

Up and down the paths I strolled. Each booth was as unique as the one before. Many were crammed so full of content that I could not make out one sale from another. In one booth clocks would be stacked on top of toys and home decor from the ’80s was tucked in the corners with a few VHS tapes sticking out from underneath tattered books. But, the very next booth would be well laid out and a delight to browse. Everything considered wall decor was neatly placed on the lattice walls and the furniture was displayed in a way that I could almost envision it in my house.

I found myself taking a right into a room with glass cases. Some were filled with knives and manly type things and others were filled with Batman cars or Star Wars memorabilia. The thing that struck me was that no two booths were the same. Even the cluttered booths had a uniqueness about them. My husband looked at me and said “Man, you sure can tell a lot about a person by what they display.” Literally, I stopped dead in my tracks. His words begin to ring in my ears louder and louder. And, naturally, it’s got me to thinking. What do people see when they walk past the display that is my life?

Y’all, my display is sort of an ever-changing collage. One day it is neatly organized and full of love, patience, kindness, joy, faith, determination, sacrifice and humility. Other days it is scattered with anger, hatred, frustration, humiliation, pride, self-centeredness, cattiness, negativity and any other self-loathing, world-hating description you can insert.

In the past I used to fuss at my inner self to get it together, do better, stand up, straighten up, bite that lip, put on the pretty display that I think others want to see. But recently I’m finding myself searching for a little more grace and patience with myself. That anger…it’s there because I’ve been hurt and the more I keep it open to the perfect air that God creates the more he can heal it. That insecurity that you see in the corner…it’s on full display because I am learning that I am never alone and the only one that I yearn for their approval is my Jesus who accepted me so much that he died for me. And, let’s not forget that regret that is thrown around on the floor. It’s a reminder to me of what Jesus has carried me through.

As a woman we have a lot riding on our displays. But, can we just give each other the grace and safe space to be a mess? When motorcyclists pass each other they throw their arms down towards the ground and hold out two fingers. It’s their way of saying “stay safe” or “praying for you” or “I see you, man.” So, here I am… a display that is a beautiful cluttered mess throwing my arm out, pointing my two fingers to my fellow sisters shouting “I see you and I accept your chaotic mess!” ❤️

God is so good. He reminds me of His promises in the coolest ways possible, and I share them all on my personal blog Twenty-Nine Thirteen. I would love for you to join the journey! You can find me at http://www.twentyninethirteen.com and on Facebook @twentynine13.


For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Missed It All

My husband is a biker dude. He’s a leather chap wearing, tattoo loving, motorcycle driving biker dude. His love for Jesus is strong and wide and his love for bikes runs a close second. He has three bikes. I once caught him in the garage measuring and when questioned he informed me there is just enough room for “one more bike!”

He tried to teach me to ride. He bought me a scooter. I had THE BEST time in the church parking lot. I would toodle by him blowing my horn and waving while he sat on the curb watching me. I could take those turns and weave in and out of the parking lots, but every single time I took my scooter out on the road with real cars and real people I became hysterical. The amount of screaming that occurred. The near misses where an angel literally had to push me out of the way of another car are more than I can count. My guy finally sat me down and explained that my fear was just as dangerous as if I were a dare devil, so the scooter had to go. I choose to miss the part where he called out my fear and instead focus on the part where he compared me to a dare devil! 😊

Being a passenger on a bike where I have zero control has been a learning curve for me but I am adapting. We went on a trip with some other bikers and took a fairly curvy road. To hear the others talk it was a normal road, but to this girl IT WAS CURVY! Left and then right and then hair pin and then left again and as soon as I caught my breath we were leaning right. I kept breathing and before I knew it tears were streaming down my face. I dared not cry out loud because who wants a bunch of bikers to know I’m crying! My guy kept patting my leg and doing his best to comfort me, but I just couldn’t calm down. I kept wiping my tears with my leather glove and doing my best to let the wind take any redness out of my face.

I noticed the biker and his wife in front of us and she was taking pictures at every curve. She was twisting left and right and forwards and backwards and had not a care in the world. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER? I thought to myself. The ride ended at a cute little pizza place and the woman started sharing the photos she had taken. They were breathtaking. The views she was able to capture were nothing short of God’s art work. Fog hugged the tops of the hills and the valleys were full of the upcoming freshness of Spring. My heart fell. I had missed it all. My fear had held me back.

So many times in life I am gripped with fear. I make decisions based on the safest bet and sadly, I often miss opportunities God is laying out before me because I am afraid. My guy took me to the motorcycle store and hooked me up with some protective gear. He explained that in the event of a mistake and my body hits the road the gear is gonna literally save my hide. I was gearing up recently and as I slid my pants on I thought about the belt of truth being buckled around my waist. As each arm slid into my jacket I thought about the breastplate of righteousness. And as I slid my helmet over my head I thought of the helmet of salvation. Y’all, God always prepares the way. He’s got it all worked out. All we gotta do is armor up and trust him!

So, here’s to not being the biker girl who cries during the ride. Here’s to letting go of the chrome bars and holding up my arms towards heaven enjoying the ride that God has me on. Here’s to gearing up and letting go! ❤️

God is so good. He reminds me of His promises in the coolest ways possible, and I share them all on my personal blog Twenty-Nine Thirteen. I would love for you to join the journey! You can find me at http://www.twentyninethirteen.com and on Facebook @twentynine13.

The Wrong Rug

It was 2014. There were protests in the Ukraine. There were bombings in Russia ahead of the Olympics. A chemical spill in West Virginia caused a water ban and President Obama was in office. While the world was raging with chaos my little part of the world seemed to humming right along. My daughter was getting married! The house was full of wedding chatter and every conversation was consumed with the details. My father, who was a pastor, was going to be marrying her just as he did my sister and me and the legacy seemed pretty well set. But, as the wedding date approached we realized that something just wasn’t right. Daddy didn’t seem well. The wedding went off without a hitch and my daughter and her new husband started their lives. And, then the world changed.

Daddy’s doctor appointments were numerous and long and as the year progressed we learned he had cancer. There wasn’t anything anyone could do and it was just a matter of time. Everyone’s minds shifted to making the most out of the days we had left and while I would love to sit here and say I remember every single moment and every single detail I can’t. It’s all a blur. But, I do remember him laughing and enjoying all the attention. I remember his words of wisdom that he tried to pour out on every person he saw. And, then, October came. It was his time and he was ushered from this world to heaven in the most precious, sweetest, beautiful way possible. The chaos stopped for one brief moment.

The next day my sister and I noticed Momma didn’t seem right. She seemed to struggle to breathe. I called the doctor, made an appointment and sat completely stunned as I heard the doctor tell me her lungs were full of fluid.

One massive decision after the other led us to a long hospital stay with no answers and many procedures. The chaos was worse than before and seemed to be never ending. Someone told me that when you’re grieving you shouldn’t make life changing decisions but it seemed those were the only decisions I was being forced to make. Wind and rain, lightening and thunder roared every way we turned.

And, then, we sat in yet another doctor’s office to only be told Momma too had cancer. However, there was a chance, a small one, and we took it. And, God, in his divine wisdom, saw fit to heal my Momma this side of heaven.

I wish I could tell you how strong my faith was during that tornado of a year. I wish I could tell you that I walked so closely with Jesus in 2014 that my face shone with his glory. But, I can’t. I struggled. I struggled to get out of bed every day. I struggled to make sense of the chaos around me. I was angry. My son was a senior in high school and I was missing those milestone events. My daughter was a newlywed who needed her momma to lean on and I was absent.

A friend saw me drowning and took me to dinner. We sat there while I cried and poured out the deep, dark, ugly truths of my heart. I told her that my life had never been easy, but it had never been like this. I tried to paint a picture for her of the ache that was within me and I said “The rug…it was just pulled out from under me and I am falling.” She patiently listened, never interrupting. She handed me napkins for my tears and reached across the table a few times. And, when I finally took a breath and she knew I had reached the end of all of my words she said, “Lori, you’ve been standing on the wrong rug.” Y’all, I felt like the air had been sucked out of the room as she continued to explain to me that all this time, all these years, I had been standing on the comfort of things I could see. Everything I held so tightly was tangible. I had never trusted God enough to say that no matter what happened, no matter what storm brewed in my life I would know that I was firmly planted on the solid rock. I knew my salvation was secure, but in that moment I also knew that I had built my house on the sand and had built my life standing on the wrong rug.

It’s 2022 now and life has been a little challenging, but nothing like 2014. Life has thrown me some curve balls and some days I’ve stared in the mirror and asked myself which rug I’m standing on. I’ve had to pick myself up, dust myself off and remind myself who I belong to many times over. Each time I stand back up I’m reminded that God is the best foundation. He’s a foundation that never cracks and one that can never be pulled out from under me. So, sister, if you’re feeling a little shaky, stand up! Dust those feet off and plant them firmly on the rug that never moves!

God is so good. He reminds me of His promises in the coolest ways possible, and I share them all on my personal blog Twenty-Nine Thirteen. I would love for you to join the journey! You can find me at http://www.twentyninethirteen.com and on Facebook @twentynine13.