10 Apr 2014

What to do with the broken bits and pieces of your story

Your broken pieces.

Your awkward parts.

Your jagged, learned-it-the-hard-way edges.

Those pieces of yourself that you offer us, that you melt down into words and shape into stained glass truth for us to hold up to the light of our computer screens, fill us with wonder.


There is nothing mundane in the magenta shades of your life.

In the cathedral of womanhood, marriage, and motherhood when I am kneeled over in despair at my small life, at my many failings, at my worry I look up and see your truth shining golden, pink, blue and orange streaming in through the windows above me. The colors of your life warm me. They illuminate this space. They remind me that we do not journey alone.

Did you know? Did you know that in the quiet dark we applaud your life and the Artist that lights it in all its broken beauty?

Do not doubt that what you share transcends how long it takes you to actually type it out.

Your story takes on a life of its own as soon as I read it.

Your story speaks into my story.

Your story helps me decipher my own.

Keeping spilling your light in this place, my sister. Keep piecing together the broken parts of your journey for Him to light and me to marvel at.

You are the most beautiful in all your broken glory.


That’s why we spend Friday’s writing. One prompt, just 5 minutes, a community of nearly 300 writers. All the details for how to join are over here.

And today the writing prompt is PAINT.


She always starts with just one paint brush. She doesn’t end there. I can tell it pains her to have to limit herself. But she does, out of respect for me. She knows I’m not going to be a fan of the mess. But she pulls me in – her gravity irresistible. How she needs to feel the colors. The purple under her nails. How she needs two full palms of pink before she lets go the little sigh that’s been bottled up inside her.

She’s all magenta and I’m all caught in the storm of creativity that isn’t interested in printed pictures of Dora but wants instead to go where there are no lines. Both hands, sometimes up to her elbows.

She paints. And I watch her. It’s getting all over the table and there’s nothing I can do about it. Well, there probably is but I’m past caring. I’m just watching her watch the red mix with the white and seeing it change color and kaleidiscope into something new, fresh, hers. There are her fingerprints across the bench and a trail of color down the one side of her sweatpants and her left cheek where she keeps brushing back her hair.

Art isn’t messy, it’s necessity.

A three-year-old reminds me. Paint brushes long forgotten she’s lovingly leaning into the paper now and her whole body has become the brush and she paints from the inside out. All this wonder and joy spilling out onto the construction paper that used to be boring. Nothing wasted. Nothing left out or left over she spills every last drop and lovingly traces it into circles and spirals and tells me this is her heart and that there is my face and we’re all abloom with spring.

Right there at the fifteen year old dining room table mess. All this ordinary glory.


PS: So many of you have ordered this book that Amazon can’t keep up. They’re flat sold out and busy restocking. But you can still find my own broken and tenderly pieced back together story over here at Barnes & Noble or even better at Givington’s over here who will make a donation with every sale to the Maubane Community Center that moms from all over the world are building together for 250 orphans in South Africa!

And guess what? The audio book that I recorded myself with my own confused South African accent is now available on Audible over here and iTunes over here! You can get a sneak peek at how the first chapter sounds by clicking over here.

Finally, next week I can’t wait to share a surprise we’ve been cooking up for surprising some of the mothers in your life in time for Mother’s Day. #SecretsAreHardToKeep #SurprisedByMotherhood #Squuueeeeeee!



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Love. Just love!

  2. 2

    Oh… and the pre-amble – all of it has been so on my heart these last few days… Love your words friend.

  3. 3

    “Keeping spilling your light in this place, my sister. ” <—That, right there. Thank YOU for helping us share in the space, friend! What a blessing this FMF community is each week!

  4. 4

    I love this: “She’s lovingly leaning into the paper now and her whole body has become the brush and she paints from the inside out.” I LOVE the imagery of leaning into something, spilling ourselves out onto the canvas with abandon. Thank you for creating this lovely community!

  5. 5

    Your welcoming heart and colorful words spill over with vibrant grace to the heart of this writer tonight. Thank you for the warm hospitality that comes with your encouragement as you open the door to what’s within and let His glory pour out.

  6. 6

    I sit at my computer working and refreshing your website, waiting for your FMF post.

    It always greets my heart and soul with hope and wonder and passion. The word pictures of your life invite me in and I sit at your 15-year-old dining room table and we laugh about the messiness and the art and the broken pieces of motherhood that seem to fit perfectly together when shared with other mamas.

    Thank you for your creativity. Thank you for your heart. Thank you for breathing your story, your life, into mine.

  7. 7

    So much beauty and loveliness here. I thank you for inviting us in every week! :)

  8. 8

    Thank you for giving us the space to write and share our own stories and learn from you even as you learn from us! Today’s prompt was a challenge but finally the inspiration came!
    Start: 12:09pm Kenyan time
    Have you ever watched a sunrise? It’s one of the most beautiful sights to see; when night becomes day, and darkness slowly gives way to light. When the Greatest Artist of all time takes His paintbrush and paints the sky with all the colours of the rainbow; when reds and pinks and oranges herald the beginning of a new day. It truly is a beautiful sight. And a reminder that even in life, darkness gives way to light. The hard times won’t last forever, just like night doesn’t last forever. No matter how long or dark it seems, soon the sun begins to shine. Snow begins to melt into spring. The cold hard soil begins to soften and barren trees come alive with tender shoots and green leaves. God never lets the hard times last forever; no matter how long they seem. So to anyone feeling discouraged or down in the dumps, this is for you: Take heart! The night will give way to morning. Just keep watching the sky. Keep your eyes focused on the One who holds your life in His hands. And watch how He will transform the darkest of times into a beautiful testimony for His glory.
    Stop: 12:14pm

    • 9
      Leilani W says:

      Wow. This was beautiful and made my morning. I can perfectly visualize and internalize your words of the sky and the tender green shoots. Reading this made my morning brighter. It’s not un-bright but this just added a beautiful sunset to my early morning. Thank you!

    • 11

      wow! I think that was the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever read! So beautiful description!

  9. 12
    Jess Orso says:

    Lisa-Jo I went and bought your book at Barnes and Nobel. I felt like you were there in that store holding my hand! (ha!) Then when I got home. God laid it on my heart that the book wasn’t mine to keep.

    I was preparing a gift for a tiny baby who I’ve been watching in the nursery where her mother teaches preschool. This baby came into this world with a twin who went on to heaven instead. I’ve grown so close to this sweet baby (who’s now crawling and expressive and loving) and her mommy after the last several months, but they’re moving away for the husband’s work. It’s heartbreaking for all of us who aren’t able to see the whole of God’s plan, but we’re trusting.

    Anyway, I passed your book on to her mother yesterday and with both of us crying in the hallway of the school I confessed I hadn’t yet read a page of your book. I had bought it for myself, but that God had lead me to give it to her. All I knew to tell her was that you, Lisa-Jo, had been given the blessing of encouragement and there was going to be something in there for her.

    So. I suppose. I need to go buy another book. ;)

    • 13

      This is so beautiful Jess. Those are the best kinds of gifts aren’t they? When we give a piece of ourselves away with them….

  10. 14
    Leilani Warden says:

    5 minute Friday – 1st timer here, go easy. Ha ha.
    We paint a picture of how we want our lives to look to the world – of how we want to look to ourselves, to be to ourselves. Some parts come out looking like we want and others fail miserably. All in all it muddles into something. I like this better than letting someone else paint our picture. Someone who knows nothing of our unspoken aims and goals – the ideals we daily strive for. From the outside our picture looks fabulous. Inside it can be and many times is. What I realize in looking and in living our real life painting is that all of us – every family – has the blotched up areas, the muddied colors – the dull mixed with a vibrant streak here and there, the smears and even tears to their canvas. Tears (rips) and falling tears (boo hoo) onto the canvas of life. But when you stand back you behold quite an individual masterpiece meant to last thru the ages. I wonder if God looks at all of our lives as many canvases spread all around. What variety! What colors! What stories they tell. Amazing.

    • 15

      This is so true! I’m so glad that we get to choose how our lives turn out, rather than let other people paint the picture of our lives. And that ultimately our lives are in the hands of the Master Painter, who takes our muddled lives and turns them into masterpieces for His glory!
      Welcome to 5 minute Fridays! Hope you become a regular :-)!

  11. 16

    These words are so true “Art isn’t messy, it’s necessity.” And when we try to live without it, we wither up and a little piece of us dies. Thank you for hosting this crazy get-together and community!

  12. 17

    I hope your daughter reads this post when she grows up. It’s such a beautiful image of art and life and beauty

  13. 18

    A million times Yes! To when the body becomes the brush. Weekend blessings and lots of kitchen table love to you and yours.

  14. 19

    From someone who was, herself, elbow deep in painting yesterday – I LOVE LOVE LOVE this, my friend!

    And this: “But she pulls me in – her gravity irresistible. How she needs to feel the colors. The purple under her nails. How she needs two full palms of pink before she lets go the little sigh that’s been bottled up inside her.
    She’s all magenta and I’m all caught in the storm of creativity…”

    So Much Amen, sister!

  15. 20

    This is my first week writing with all you wonderful ladies here on Five Minute Fridays.
    Thanks, Lisa-Jo for helping me stop over-thinking my writing and just do it. Five minutes is totally do-able and forces me to just get my thoughts out. Thank You Thank You! I needed this. I am enjoying checking out everyone’s pages and reading their posts. <3

  16. 21

    “All this ordinary glory.”
    I think I have to co-opt that line for a scrap page title. It is beautiful.
    Mahalo for always sharing your heart

  17. 22
    Mary Ann E says:


    Funny thing, we just painted our bedroom this week! It’s called Bluish. From a party green,kind of bright, but it did not fit any more. Looking through magazines, blue appealed to me. I thought I would Never have a blue bedroom! The thought never appealed to me, infact, it repelled me! Blue was somber, sad , in my mind. But now I have a blue bedroom, blue like the color of the sky on a beautiful deep blue sunny day! My husband painted as i had a broken foot, it is a work of art! I taped, he primed, painted and created our new bedroom! Oh, the happenings that will happen, the thoughts that will be thought, the actions that will be acted, in our new blue creation! I never thought i would like it, but it is love now! It is serving the purpose of new, of being reminded that the sky is always up there, look up! Think good, optimistic thoughts while you look up, new beginnings every day, from the artistic, creative, act of painting a room !!

    Thanks Lisa Jo

    Mary Ann xo

  18. 23
    AineMistig says:

    I do story time at my son’s preschool periodically, dressed up like a gypsy (although my husband swears I look like a pirate), and we actually TELL stories along with reading books — just the canvas of our minds for the pictures. Yesterday’s story included the tale of a little boy who helped his family pack for a move but didn’t safely pack the last box of plates. When they arrived at their new home, the plates were broken. His grandfather took him to a pottery place where the pieces were sanded down, and they turned all those broken pieces of glass into a mosaic stepping stone art. We ended saying that sometimes when you make a mistake it’s like the story — if you don’t give up, the broken pieces can be turned into something beautiful, and I trust that God will later reveal in their lives that He is the one who can take all our broken pieces and turn it into something beautiful. This story time was also particularly dewy-eyed for me, because it will probably be the last time my son is a part of the preschool audience. Hopefully I can do this for his kindergarten next year, but I’m the sentimental type, what can I say.

    Seeing the title of this blog entry in my inbox gave me a smile and a bit of peace. God is so good, His timing is always perfect. Thank you again, Lisa-Jo, for sharing your gift with us.

  19. 24

    beautiful post! i seriously want to go find a kiddo to paint with me now!

  20. 25

    Right now I’m painting the long forgotten numbers of my heart. Uncovering the beauty beneath 34 years of drab, of desperately seeking approval, of trying to paint the picture perfect image that was expected and wanted of me. Right now is my creative moment, my moment of artistic glory, and I’m swishing and swooping the paintbrushes with joyful abandon. I too am elbow deep in primary colours, melding and mixing them to reveal the real and long buried me.

  21. 26

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  22. 27

    Hey there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get
    a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as
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