setting captives free.

and then there are some quiet spirits which require no grand introduction.

there aren’t a lot of ‘reasons’ or ‘why’s’ you love this person. you just…do.

beautiful elora is that person.

{i don’t know how or why or what for, but from the moment we ‘met’ i have only called her ‘beautiful elora’, for reasons that have no words but are made plain in this post.}

what draws me most to her is her gift of brokenness and her willingness and desire to be healed and made whole. she’s putting forth the work and isn’t taking any shortcuts. she isn’t pretending like she has all the answers; in fact, her sheer vulnerability is exposed through her daily walk with jesus.

and it is clear where her steadfast hope lies and where her faith remains.

i shall say nothing of her incredible character, her gentle beauty, her tender spirit or her loving kindness.

you will experience that in her words that follow.

thank you, my friend. for sharing this story of your brokenness and god’s amazing grace over your life here in this community. love you.

* * * * * * * * * *

my guest post was going to be anonymous.

i didn’t really think anything of it. the story i planned on telling is a piece of who i am – the reasoning behind some of my hang-ups. but i didn’t want certain people getting a hold of it, and so i requested anonymity.

the more i thought about it, the less at peace i felt. i brushed it off as just cold feet but i knew there was something deeper at work. it wasn’t until yesterday everything made sense.

{i didn’t say anything to you, beautiful elora, about this because i knew it had to be your own, but i didn’t have total peace about it, either.}

let me back track a few weeks. in june, i went to michigan for a conference involving my new position at work. at the very core of who i am as an educator, this position excites me – it involves creativity, collaboration and technology. for some reason though, that week i wrestled with the tendency to fall back behind the scenes. one morning, the sense of heaviness almost got the best of me. words spoken to me years ago were repeating themselves through the actions of my coworkers {unbeknownst to them} and i began to understand, once again, just how broken i am. 

and then i read catherine’s story.

this would be the second time a post from mary kathryn’s blog provided such clarity for me it changed how i viewed myself. never before had i considered invisibility an issue – even though i hate crowds. even though for the past five years i’ve joked with my husband about him being anti-social and me being the social butterfly { it’s been painstakingly obvious these past few months who the real social butterfly is in our relationship}

the clincher? what makes this all so difficult to swallow?  not only do i feel invisible, i don’t want to be known. i fear it.

because if someone knows me, they may reject me.

and my wounded heart just can’t take any more rejection.

i had this moment of clarity a couple weeks ago and the very next week i was writing a post for mk’s blog and requesting anonymity. obviously i learned my lesson. ahem.

so yesterday, i woke up realizing i had an appointment with my therapist. all morning long i dreaded her office. all morning long i fought back thoughts of this is stupid and you don’t need a therapist. i felt detached, numb and ill-focused. i felt guilty for waiting so long to see her. i didn’t want to disappoint her in my progress. my heart winced at the inevitable pull-back of hurtful memories.

and here’s a little something about me: in any situation i’m avoiding or feeling hesitant, my first inclination is to run to the farthest point of contact.

yesterday? i wanted to cancel my appointment and then hide in my bed.

but i didn’t. i held my ground because thanks to catherine’s story, i was recognizing a pattern. and wouldn’t you know i didn’t even make it to my therapist’s office without having to fight invisibility.

on the way, i stopped at a starbucks. as i was backing out of my parking space, i scraped the car next to me. i pulled back in to my spot {having to scratch her car some more in the process} and sat there shaking. i knew what i had to do. i knew she deserved a note. hurriedly, i scratched an apology with my phone number and took a picture of the paint for insurance. i hated that i made this mistake. i hated that i’d have to tell russ. i hated knowing that if i had just canceled, i wouldn’t be faced with this situation.

and then the lady walked out of starbucks and toward her car.

i had a choice then. i hadn’t placed the note on her windshield. she walked around her car and opened her door without noticing the scratches. i could have let her drive away. i could have hid.

but i didn’t.

i opened my door and got her attention, letting her know i scratched her car while backing out of my space. she tilted her head and placed her hands over her heart.

thank you so much for telling me, she said. i’m not even worried about the scratches – i’m just so relieved someone had the decency to let me know they did something. there really are good people in the world.

and then she turned around and walked to her car.

an hour later, i sat on the couch in my therapist’s office. i didn’t tell her about catherine’s story. i didn’t tell her about hitting the car on the way to my appointment. i didn’t tell her i wanted to cancel because i wanted to hide.

but i did tell her about how i’m struggling with my husband standing up and fighting for me.

i did tell her about the voicemail greeting where i’m the only daughter not mentioned.

i did tell her about the moments of pain and the confusion and the shame i still experience. i told her all of this through tears – and she sat there and watched me. noticed me. saw me. 

at the end of my session, she reminded me of my identity in Christ. how even though others built in me a feeling of worthlessness and invisibility {yes – she said the word} He chose me. my abuse and my shame mean nothing to the One who died on the cross for me. 

and even more: i’m worth fighting for – my heart’s worth the effort it takes to heal.

walking out of her office i knew this to be true.

and when i spoke to my mom last night on the phone and once again the feelings of invisibility creeped their way into my heart, i recognized them for what they were and i chose to step into the light.

* * * * * * * * * *

Elora lives in Austin, Texas with her chef husband, Russell, & surrogate son, Devonte. She loves words, orphans, coffee, books, Africa, hip-hop and hope. She believes in playing in the pain, breathing in grace and leaning into Jesus. 

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37 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steph
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 08:09:45

    Awesome. Just awesome. From one person who struggles with invisibility to another: may you always be seen as you are seen in God’s eyes. Amen.
    Thanks sharing Elora!


  2. Melissa
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 09:02:24

    I was about to say, we could start an invisibles anonymous group until I realized the irony…

    Thank you for coming out and sharing this story, your story. It’s encouraged me to keep going after this.

  3. HopefulLeigh
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 09:47:06

    Oh, Elora, I have tears in my eyes right now. I wish I could give you a hug! I’m so proud of your realizations this past week and all the growth that’s occurring. We do have a choice of whether to confront our tendencies or not. Thank you for attaching your name to this post (though I’m fairly certain I’d recognize your words anywhere, regardless. But that’s not the point, is it?) Catherine’s story resonated with me as well. No great clarity has emerged quite yet but I am grateful for Mary Kathryn’s space over here. God is making all things new!

    • eloranicole
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 09:59:30

      all things new. this phrase has echoed itself across my life these past few months. even though at times it feels like i’m stumbling through my day, i have to recognize His handiwork because i AM changing…thank you for the reminder, sweet friend.

  4. lauren
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 10:03:21

    “because if someone knows me, they may reject me.
    and my wounded heart just can’t take any more rejection.”

    me too, love, me too. that exact thing was the theme of my counseling session yesterday. thank you so much for your words. . .a balm to my ‘day after counseling’ heart. . .

    • eloranicole
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 10:46:27

      day after counseling heart…

      oh gosh. i love this. and can i just be honest here…i’m having a “WEEK after counseling heart…”

  5. rain
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 10:42:11

    wow….in tears, dear elora. especially the “voicemail…only daughter not mentioned.” you are so brave and i am proud to catch a glimpse of your heart. it is beautiful.

    you are beautiful.

    • eloranicole
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 12:26:27

      you have been such a healing presence, rain. thank you.

      {your own words have been causing many tears these past few days, by the way. loving your book. loving you more through it.}

  6. eloranicole
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 10:45:35

    by the way, mk – your introduction was exactly what my heart needed to hear today. thank you, sweet friend, for your encouraging spirit. i’m so thankful for you.

  7. Heatherly
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 10:50:35

    Beautiful, Elora.

    Thank you for your transparency.


  8. dougy
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 10:55:02

    I appreciate hearing about the struggles and growth of others. It’s very nice to know that I am not alone. and that we don’t have to struggle by ourselves. I appreciate the honesty you give in sharing, the integrity you show in opening your heart. We stand with you in prayer. Keep stepping in the light.

    • eloranicole
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 12:29:56

      it really is amazing to me the camaraderie that immediately follows in sharing something vulnerable. thank you for commenting, dougy. and thank you {so much} for the prayers.

  9. Liz McLennan (Bellymonster)
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 11:07:52

    How does MK do this? How does she flit about finding such beautiful people to pen such beautiful words on her site? Gah. I have to gird myself to come here, knowing that with each post, a tiny part of my heart will break…and another piece will be healed.

    This is stunning, beautiful Elora. It is painfully honest yet shimmers with hope and grace. He chose you. You are wise and gifted, sweet thing. Beautiful.

    And you are not alone. Or invisible. Not. any. more.

    • eloranicole
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 12:32:24

      and your comment just made me cry.


      thank you, new friend. {because you are – i can already tell we’re destined to be friends} i totally get you “girding” yourself to come to this site. mk has built a beautiful space here where so many of us are welcomed with open arms. she shimmers with His grace.

      • mary kathryn tyson
        Jul 19, 2011 @ 13:09:12

        um…and now *i’m* crying. my goodness, y’all are so kind. i am so, so thankful for this space and for the friends that have landed here.

        ‘shimmer with grace’…gosh. how i want that to be true of me.

        love you both.


  10. Felipe Neumann
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 12:20:30

    We all have something great to be shown, something worth sharing, even if it’s just an apology for scratching someone else’s car.
    I strongly believe that just the fact of letting ourselves show can be special for other around us in ways we don’t even realize, like the woman that showed herself so thankful for hearing you say you actually did scratch her car.
    Doesn’t it feel good when we pop the bubbles we hide in and we help other popping theirs?

    • eloranicole
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 12:33:01

      popping the bubbles we hide in…i love that, felipe. and yes. it feels SO good.

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 13:10:38

      felipe, you are a wonderful addition to our community here! glad you found us. love your words and encouragement.


    • Felipe Neumann
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 13:23:17

      I’m glad I found your community as well, I’m still getting used to blogging and everything related to this virtual way of encouraging people that we, sometimes, don’t even know in person. :)
      I recently lost someone important and decided to write about it (it’s ironic that even though I’m a journalist, I’ve never really tried writing about myself).
      It was scary at first – getting those words out of my chest and getting rid of the extra baggage, but it certainly made me feel better and still does.
      I’ll be happy to share the knowledge I got from my inner struggles and help others because reading about other people’s experiences helps me as well.

  11. Catherine
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 13:03:03

    He chose me…I am worth fighting for…my heart’s worth the effort it takes to heal…I recognized them for what they were and I chose to step into the light.

    What a beautiful journey. What a blessing to get to watch this piece via MK’s blog.

    I honor you for the gift you have given the King here and in your walk.

  12. Prudence
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 13:30:19

    I’m proud of you for taking the veil off. It’s difficult. Anonymity and invisibility are comfortable places to be, especially when conflict and rejection may be there to attack.

    • eloranicole
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 14:07:16

      and did we not just have a texting conversation about this? when i was talking with my sponsor today, i told her about this past week and i paused because something registered: much of my tendency to go numb stems from a comfort idol. talk about a statement that brings DIScomfort…

      so thankful for you walking this road with me….even if it’s from a few states away. love you.

  13. Carmen
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 14:06:50

    I am crying Elora. This was beautiful. I just found your blog the other day, and I LOVE that I just got to know you a little bit more. Also, someone scraped my sister’s car the other day in a parking garage and they did own up to it. So FAB for multiple reasons that you did. And finally, the “running to the furthest point of contact” thing…I sooo get that. Usually in my case I want to do that as a result of confrontation.

    • eloranicole
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 14:15:32

      carmen, thank you so much for commenting. i have to admit, i started freaking out a bit when you said someone scraped your sister’s car – i thought it might have been the same woman until you mentioned it was in a parking garage. {ha!} and trust me – telling her {for whatever reason} was gut-wrenchingly difficult. her grace toward me was balm for my heart and just what i needed to truly understand this whole “invisibility” thing.

      also: confrontation and me? we aren’t very good friends. i think you & i could probably get along just fine. :)

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  15. Megan at SortaCrunchy
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 07:03:30

    Oh, Elora. Yes, you are so beautiful. It is a gift to be able to translate the little moments of the day into illustrations of the bigger work at hand. Like you, I can play social butterfly quite easily, but when someone moves in close to really study me, I will fly away with nervousness and a self-protective nature that doesn’t want to be really seen.

    I’m really proud of you for shirking the anonymity and walking into the light.

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