12 Sep 2011

What women {in real life} can do for your soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
~Horatio G. Spafford

My mom chose that hymn for her funeral. It was her prayer for those of us left behind. And as her just-turned-eighteen-year-old only daughter I sang the words and they ached in my mouth. She left me stranded between two brothers and a father, with no road map into womanhood.

I wore my black boots to her funeral and ever since I’ve wondered if my clothes were a right choice.

This past week I spent almost every day barefoot. Barefoot alongside my baby daughter and a group of girlfriends.

Empty parts of me filled right up.

She helped me curl my hair one night. She framed memories of my daughter that make my insides hurt they’re so beautiful. She reminded me of the wildly gracious wonder of a servant’s heart.

She wound her way into each of our hearts like a stray, golden curl.

These women, they inspire in a hundred different ways. With their wit and their encouragement and their laughter. With their enthusiasm, their openness, their willingness to dream big and bold.

I met every single one of them through a computer screen.

It was a doorway into a world of real.

My toes curled into the dark wet beach sand as my arms wanted to reach for the sky. There is healing in doing life together, slowly, even if only for a few days.

And to have Zoe with me. To have her celebrated and photographed and smothered in the love of the women I love. It made me feel like this

To the women of (in)courage – I love you.

I love the missions you are walking into, the callings you follow with abandon, the passion you lavish on dreams, and the laughter you serve up like so much banana pudding.

Launching a real life version of (in)courage while all together was almost more than this happy heart could stand.

To the God who sees fit to use me in this community, please go ahead and use me right up. It is my honor and my prayer.

And to my mom, in case you’re wondering, it is well, mom. It is so very well with my soul.


DaySpring and Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce hosted the (in)courage bloggers for a long weekend of dreaming, praying, and planning for the (in)courage communityResort Rentals of Hilton Head Island generously provided accommodations, and DaySpring graciously took care of all the incidentals and meals for each of the (in)courage writers. Grateful thanks to Jessica Gardo from the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce for all she did to make this getaway so life giving. And my profoundest thanks to Ann, Emily, Dawn, and Lisa for photos of my baby girl that quite literally took my breath away.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    perfection! so happy for all of you & am praying God will continue to inspire, uphold, and thrill you.

  2. 2

    It amazes me how real our virtual friendships can become, especially when God is in them. So glad you’re running barefoot with these real women. These photos are stunning.

  3. 3
    Sarah-Anne K says:

    Oh Lisa-Jo, this is beautiful. It makes MY heart so happy to read this post, and I am rejoicing with you and the other women. Praise God for what He has done, IS doing, and continues to do in your life!! And in each of our lives.

    I wish I could be a part of this beautiful (oh your hearts are precious) community in HH, I AM looking forward to IRL in Santa Fe, I’m so thankful once we’re Home we really and truly WILL know one another–and we’ll have the TIME to know each other WELL, and I am grateful God has placed me precisely where I am, leading another group of mommies. I’m the president of a local moms’ group, and I feel pretty certain this is where God has me right now. Serving them, and loving my family. Thank you for what you share, and when the time IS right, I can’t wait to share my life with you on my blog.

    • 4
      Sarah-Anne K. says:

      ps – the photos of you and Zoe are stunning. You are RADIATING JOY!!!! And the other pictures? Oh they are filled with such love, compassion, happiness, and a sense of truly being content BEING with one another. God is SO good.

  4. 5

    Oh, that last line just grabbed me – throat, gut, eyes gushing. LOVELY, lovely, lovely – to read, to see, to marvel at. I hope this conference is everything you dream it can be and more/beyond/above/around.

    I’ll be in Michigan that weekend…maybe I’ll check in with Sandra Heska King (see comment above) and see if we can make our cyberspace connection look as well as feel real. I am loving (and deeply surprised by, to tell you the truth) the ways in which true community can grow across these wi-fi waves.

    And thanks for the stop-by today – the real Lisa-Jo left a comment. Stunned – and grateful. And I watched the clip I posted (again) – you are right – BEST.MOVIE.SCENE.EVER.

  5. 6

    Oh how beautiful, Lisa-Jo! What a blessing and what worship for you to speak of this beauty! I long for this, and for now I treasure your own story of grace.

    Rich blessings…always…

  6. 7

    Oh, friend, happy tears as I read these words and look at these pictures this morning. You are a gift. A beautiful, glorious, joy-filled, pinch-me-God-is-so-good gift. Thank you for being who you are and loving us the way you do. I’m crazy about you.

  7. 8

    How beautiful and what a gift to have such a wonderful opportunity. Thank you for sharing this, and all the other beautiful parts of your life with us.

  8. 9

    So beautiful. I know I said it on Twitter already, but I just love that picture with you, Jessica and the babies!

  9. 10

    I loved the pictures! Thanks for sharing the weekend with us through them. It makes me want to grab my “in real life” friends and give’em a hug and squeeze.

    Ps. Your daugther’s big smile is so adorable!

  10. 11

    In case I haven’t been clear before, I absolutely adore you. Beautiful, amazing, crazy-gifted you. Love you to pieces!

  11. 12

    what fun! amazing beautiful women!

  12. 13

    I love seeing the joy on your face as you look into and hold your new little girl. And I’m sure being in that location with those precious women just enhanced it all the more. :)

  13. 14

    Incredible pictures to match what I’m sure was an incredible experience! I love all the photos, but the one toward the bottom in black & white is my absolute favorite. <3

  14. 15

    Takes me right back there! Oh, how I love you all! So glad (in)RL will give everyone a chance to connect for real. And that hymn? It melts me every single time. And you? You are amazingly spectacular. I keep shaking my head in wonder when I think of you. Love you (and that little sweet pea in her pink tutu – please hug Zoe tight for me)!

  15. 16

    Oh Lisa-Jo. That last line brought tears to my eyes and a catch in my throat. :) Many blessings!

  16. 17

    I am sorry that you lost your mom at such a young age . . . and so glad you have a lovely group of godly women around you and your darling daughter.


  17. 18

    more than beautiful…

  18. 19

    I really enjoyed this lovely post. I loved the pictures. Friends are such a treasure.
    I miss my Mom everyday. Thanks for the great thoughts!
    Blessings to you and keep on enjoying the moments!

  19. 20
    Elizabeth de Wet says:

    What beautiful photos, and what a little munchkin Zoe is! Looks like a bit of heaven on earth you had yourself there …Love and Hugs and squeezes flying your way!

  20. 21

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

    I look forward to having this type of connecting and ministry connection with other women again one day.

  21. 22

    What a marvelous and inspirational post! loved it all… your mama would be so blessed with her little gypsy mama
    I am so glad you posted this song: I will have it on my heart tonight as I pray for a dear gramma to all the babies in the community here, a granny Ruth who is close to meeting her Saviour … we release her to his tender care.

    When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.
    ~Horatio G. Spafford

Hide me
Free eBook for Blog Subscribers!
Just enter your email & you'll receive a welcome email with a link to download the eBook. Easy Peasy!
Show me