brokenness, Christianity, Clinton Kelly, destiny, faith, fashion, God, growing up, healing, identity, loneliness, Macy's, Netflix, restlessness, soul, spiritual journey, thank you, The Chew, TLC, What Not To Wear
On March 15, 2014 I had the pleasure of meeting Clinton Kelly, host of The Chew and former co-host of TLC’s What Not To Wear. But this post isn’t about celebrity sightings or style tips (is it ever?) This post is about thanking someone who, unbeknownst to him, played a significant role in my journey of healing and wholeness. Come back on Friday when I post: An Open Letter to Clinton Kelly.
It was a late November night and all were sound asleep. I lingered in the downstairs family room surveying the scene. Everything was in its place and out of place depending on perspective. But no matter, here I was—alone. And alone is my reward at the end of a long day of schooling, directing, refereeing, cleaning, meal making, chasing, yelling, praying, and loving my boys. This is my cherished time to refuel in solitude before the sun and sons rise for yet another day.
But I come to this place bent and broken. The night cast shadows not only across the room, but also over my heart. Deep within me restlessness stirs and panic sets in. The walls of night close in around me and the haunting truth catches up with me—I’m not only alone.
I am lonely.
In the loneliness I find myself wanting, longing, and seeking more—but, not a good and holy kind of more. It’s the longing that looks and feels like a 14-year old girl trying to make sense of her parent’s divorce as she copes with her shattered heart. But I am not fourteen—I am 41.
I have fought, kicked, and screamed for healing for over a dozen years—and my God has delivered, restored and redeemed me. Yet here I am once again singing the tune of a broken hallelujah.
I relinquish the reigns to my broken and hurting 14-year old self. She leads me with her confused and lost heart. She is restless and knows only how to act out and escape. Tonight she escapes.
But all she needs to do is reach into her holy tool kit filled with the instruments of belonging and connection, community and encouragement, and always her God. Doesn’t she know her tool kit is equipped to strengthen and repair the weak places of her soul?
She doesn’t have a tool kit. The tool kit comes in pieces as she journeys through the pathway of healing and wholeness. She has nothing to reach for because she has not yet traveled the journey.
But I have.
My 41-year old self has made the painstaking journey to freedom. Yet, here I am—and here she is. And now I become frighteningly aware of my regression to a place where I don’t have holy help—and dare to not even want it.
Just give me Jesus?
No. Not tonight. Tonight I want to stay the teenage girl and just mope. I want to drown my sorrows in a bowl of popcorn and chocolate chips and just feel sorry for myself. Tonight I want to forget I am a devoted wife and mother. Tonight I don’t want to care about growing, healing, or anything good and holy. Tonight I want to cover my eyes like a child and hide from God. And what better way to escape than through a screen.
I flip open my laptop and click on my newly downloaded Netflix. It’s the base package—no frills and nearly nothing new. It’s been my go-to for pity party nights like this one. I scan the options and click on a fashion show I’ve never seen. It’s just what I need—white noise for the soul to woo restlessness and perpetuate my broken hallelujah.
I lean back into the couch and watch the show come to life. Fashion experts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, bring women out of fashion mishaps into beauty. Transformation happens before my eyes and I’m addicted from the first episode. I click on the next and the next and the next and the shows begin to blur one after the other…
In one episode Stacy and Clinton stand with a young woman in the 360 mirror giving commentary on the woman’s fashions choices of prairie skirts and peasant tops. I specifically remember the prairie skirts because I had my own collection hanging in my closet. In the moments that followed my hiding game came to an abrupt end as God peeled my adolescent hands away from my eyes and looked straight into me.
“You look like a 14-year old girl.”
Clinton’s words were caught in mid-air and with a holy thrust God drove them into the depths of my being—and my soul blinked awake. It was a holy ambush directed none other by the Lord Himself and my heart exploded into a flood of hot tears. It wasn’t about the prairie skirts, Lord no. It wasn’t anything remotely about fashion. It was about the condition of my heart. As the show continued on with style tips and trashing old wardrobes the Lord spoke…
~Beloved, you are acting like a 14-year old in your brokenness. Sweet daughter, be careful not to follow in the footsteps of your younger self. It will only lead you to heartache. The same restlessness you experienced as a teen is the same you feel right now. But you need not respond to it in the same way. Beloved, there is something you need to know. Your spirit is restless for Me. It is I who stirred your soul then—and I who stirs your soul now. Come to Me.~
“It’s time to grow up and be a woman.”
It was Clinton’s voice again coupled with God’s love-filled exhortation. Through teary vision I looked into the screen and saw the compassionate eyes of a man prophetically promoting this girl to womanhood. It was no coincidence God delivered His heart for me through a masculine voice. It was significant detail only the Lord knew I needed. Two major changes occurred within months of each other; my beloved father passed away, and a key mentor relationship came to a close. God knew more than anyone the emptiness I felt from the absence of strong masculine voices to speak encouragement and direction in my life. It was in these moments Clinton’s voice filled that void.
God’s personal pursuit of my heart overwhelmed me and I was completely undone. In my brokenness He pursued me. In my hiding He found me. In my loneliness He comforted me. In my restlessness He steadied me. That’s my God. He will stop at nothing to bring me close to Him, move me deeper in my true identity, and further into my destiny.
Who would have thought God would bring about personal revelation to me from a man on a reality fashion show. Not me. And yet, its significance to my journey is immeasurable. For four months you’ve only seen a glimpse here, here, and here into my season of growing up. And the times my soul gets a little wobbly I think back to Clinton Kelly—and I thank God for him.
It’s not uncommon to attach turning points to a place, song, or even a person. It gives our hearts a way to cement the memory into our story line. Many of my marker moments with God are attached to people. After all, life is meant to be experienced with God and people. We are all in this together; you, me, Him, us—together.
So when a blurb came up on social media about Clinton Kelly coming to the Macy’s literally three minutes from my house, well…what else do you do then go and seek him out and do whatever it takes to grab his hand, look in his eyes, and say thank you.
Because saying thank you is part of the healing journey. Saying thank you solidifies the holy deposit made into our soul. Saying thank you expands our capacity to receive—and to give.
As Clinton took the Macy’s stage, a couple hundred fan-crazed women squealed and a sea of smart phones rose above the crowd to capture his image. I stood in the back taking it all in. Clearly, I was here for a unique purpose than these What Not To Wear fans. I snapped a quick photo of my own and smiled knowingly. I couldn’t shake the feeling he was an old friend—one I’ve spent time with sharing tea and deep meaningful conversations. But I know better—he played his role on the other side of the screen and became a conduit for Heaven to flow through. That’s him, God. He’s the one you chose to speak truth to my heart, get my feet steady, and moving forward into my destiny.
When my turn came to meet him, I grabbed his outstretched hand, looked in his eyes, and said thank you. And you know what? I didn’t see a celebrity standing before me. I saw a human created by God to fulfill His purposes—and one little purpose was to deliver a message to a restless woman on the other side of the screen.
It’s time to grow up.
I’m growing up—one step at a time.
You have made us for yourself Oh Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. –Saint Augustine
On the journey together,
~Who or what do you turn to when you feel restless?
~How is God pursuing you?
Music for your restless soul…Come Away by Jesus Culture