Heartbreak Examined; Knowledge Revealed



“If you want to know someone’s heart you have to know what breaks it.”  Jon Meacham was discussing his book on Bush 41 with Charlie Rose when he made this statement.  Charlie Rose finished saying it with him and I immediately wondered how I had missed this profound reality.

The people I trust, those who know my deepest thoughts are those I’ve connected with in heartbreak.  The people who I feel like I understand are those who have shown me their hearts in the positive and negative times. Whether it has been my heart or their’s, relationships have been built in the vulnerable seasons.

In the hard times, the wilderness seasons our heart is most exposed.  My wilderness was a time which revealed itself to not only break my heart but the hearts of many around me.  My doubts and frustrations became contagious for some and were confirmation of personal doubts for others. When I finally opened up and confessed my weakening faith my support system strengthened and my parched spirit was watered again.  Growth commenced where withering had occurred.

The paradox for me when it comes to heartache is that when I’m wounded I don’t want to connect with others.  I want to hide and wait out the ache. As I hid like a wounded animal my heart did not mend the cracks deepened.  God has a purpose for everything and a season in the wilderness is not different.

Isaiah 41:17-18 (NASB)

(Click link to read full chapter)

17 “The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none,
And their tongue is parched with thirst;
I, the Lord, will answer them Myself,
As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.
18 “I will open rivers on the bare heights
And springs in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water
And the dry land fountains of water.

Isaiah 43:19-20 (NASB)

19 “Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
20 “The beasts of the field will glorify Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.


“If you want to know someone’s heart you have to know what breaks it.”  The range of what can lead to feelings of ache within my heart have surprised me over the years.  Each process from an ache to healing has taught me something about myself and those in my inner circle.  Each heartache has also taught me a little more about God.

As I learned more about God, I learned more about myself and it because of this process Meacham’s words ring loudly in my ears.

The Invitation Of Wilderness

Today I start my weekly Wednesday wilderness (www ha!) posts!  I’m posting in full over at Lessons From The Wilderness Study….here’s a preview!


Loneliness had begun to be the banner that hung over me for years. Instead of clinging to God, allowing Him to fill my time, thoughts and surroundings, I kept myself busy with tasks. Sometimes I defined those tasks as a ministry, but because I wasn’t allowing God to fill me, as life got bumpy, so did my attitude. And that was a recipe for disaster.

Read: Genesis 37-40

Reflect: Genesis 37-50 tells the story of Joseph, son of Jacob.

Genesis 37:1-8

Keep reading HERE

Friday Five-Five Goals for the New Year

God laid on my heart back in October that my One Word for this year would be Growth.    At the time I had no idea all that would encompass, but as December has revealed itself Growth will be even more stretching than it seemed!

Five areas of Growth this year are…

Family– My boys are getting older, and I realize our days of influence are lessening. This year I’m looking for ways to connect with my boys individually, finding the “shoulder to shoulder” quality time opportunities to have fun and listen.

Ordell and I will be married 15 years this June.  There has been a lot of living in these years together, and my prayer is that as we grow older, we will grow together discovering, even more, depths to our relationship than this first 15 has brought.

Ministry- I’m in a sweet season of ministry these days.  Watching the women on our campus pursue Jesus with a new hunger brings me deep joy.  It is a privilege to be invited to be an influencer in their lives.  I’m looking forward to a retreat with them in January and attending conferences for myself in February and March!  We’ll also host our 2nd IF Local conference on campus as well.  My prayer is that God will clearly direct our ministry in the direction he desires it to go and that more women on our campus will feel loved and encouraged by it.

I’m feeling more determined to love on our team this year too.  We’ve tossed around some ideas, and I’m hoping to get to the point where I finally know ALL their names without the aid of uniform numbers 😉

Wellness Coaching- Although not something I write about often here, I have a “real life job” as a campus wellness coach, which will now support 2 college campuses.  As I obtain certification after certification, I’m reminded of how intertwined nutrition and wellness are with a balanced life.  I’ll wrap up my Naturopath Certification in the next month adding it to Diet and Nutrition Counselor, Mindful and Emotional Eating Counselor, Life Coach and Stress Management Counselor.  I want to continue to grow in my Coaching skills to best support my clients as they need.

Health I wrote recently about my 22 month Thyroid Health journey. My doctor is working towards putting me into maintenance mode in the next few months.  This is an exciting step for me as it means fewer blood draws, less medicine, and fewer doctor appointments.  It’s also scary because it means I will be on my own to pay attention to symptoms that may need further attention, and of course, since it’s my job there’s a little extra motivation to stay on the right health track!  My desire is to grow in knowledge and understanding of my body and to be able to do my part to independently keep my thyroid as healthy as possible.

Relationship with God Certainly not least, but lastly, I’m hungry for growth in my personal relationship with God.  After a few years of a wilderness season, I’m finding I see and hear God in new ways.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I feel like I’ve learned some lessons from scripture that need to be shared.  As I continue to pursue God, I’m taking the time to reflect on what I’ve learned.  I’ll be posting on Wednesdays over on a separate blog Lessons From The Wilderness.  This will be Bible study format with my personal journey sprinkled in.  I’ve learned it’s impossible to move forward while trying to ignore the past. My prayer is that as I reflect in a more structured format, putting words to lessons God’s carried me through that growth will occur and the past will encourage future growth, and maybe you will understand something differently too!

I’m linking up with Mrs. Disciple. Check out the #FridayFive HERE!

On Growth

East river view

October of this year was an interesting one, with four home football games and a bye week it was the first October in our entire marriage that we slept in our own beds every weekend. We also hosted guests almost every weekend. Part of hosting new people in our town is bringing them up to East River Outlook. When weather allows you can several rows of mountains for miles and miles. We live in a gorgeous part of the country. Each season the tree topped mountains astound me with their vibrant colors and ever changing features.  Autumn is by far the most amazing.  The trees turn from green to gold, orange, and bright red plus ever shade in between.

The peak weekend seemed to be the second weekend in October. I was absolutely thrilled to see such awesome trees. It seemed that each day leading up to the weekend a few more trees had leaves that changed and then overnight POP! Colors everywhere. We had a great time taking pictures, driving around and celebrating God’s creativity.  The colors seemed short lived though and by the next weekend things were looking brown.  I was a bit disappointed.  I had remembered the previous autumn’s colors lasting longer.

fall in Bluefield

The busyness of the days continued and my daily trips from home to campus were distracted and rushed at times.  As Saturday arrived the boys and I drove to campus for the homecoming festivities I was shocked to see that what had looked brown and dead just a day earlier was now a vibrant red.

I gleefully exclaimed to my sons to look at the beauty all around. I muttered to myself how surprised I was that the red was there and that the mountains looked even more beautiful than the prior weeks.  As I sat amazed I heard God whisper.  “Yes the most beautiful things always come after the ugly things.”

I couldn’t help but smile. I had recently seen this play out in several ways for our family.  The ugliness that had created stress and fear had been replaced with abundantly answered prayers in the months prior.  God’s glory had fallen on us mightily. The visual reminder of the beauty that can grow from what looks dead was delightful. Scripture reminds us that God makes things beautiful where there was only ashes.

Isaiah 61:1-4 (New International Version)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

As 2016 begins I’m eagerly anticipating seeing God reveal Himself by continuing to create beauty in ashes.  My One Word focus this year is “growth”.  This is a word that is filled with hope for me, it is the reminder God gave me a few years ago as I walked through a dark season.  His words to me were very clear in my times of healing.  God revealed to me over and over in scripture how He uses our wilderness seasons to grow something new.  I’m looking forward to sharing with you as I spend time studying wilderness as scripture presents it!

One Word 2016

photos courtesy of East River Outlook Facebook Page