“I got sober October 1, 2012. The night before involved a state trooper, scripture being quoted and a trip to county jail.”
I first came to know Lindsey in 1994, maybe 95. She was in 1st grade. I was her Sunday school teacher but in recent years have become the student.
“Little Lindsey Whitmore” got her start in a small town in Texas. These days, she visits often and thinks that “the grass is a little greener there.” She grew up attending church at First Baptist Willis “every time the doors where open.” Many evenings were spent playing in the cul de sac of her charming little neighborhood in that small Texas town. She fondly remembers being outside until those pesky street lights came on reminding her that it was time to retreat to the confines of plywood and shingles until the sun came up. At some point, Lindsey knew our small town couldn’t hold her any longer. She had a “beautiful childhood” but “wanted to try something new.”
During her 7th grade year, I grew closer to this teenage girl, now singer, songwriter and grown woman.
Six years after our first classroom encounter, we gave it another go. Lindsey now in 7th grade, me, six years older with two kiddos of my own. The bond between the girls in our class was something special. Many of them remain friends to this day. Once again, unbeknownst to that group of young ladies, I was as much a student as I was a teacher, if not more. I still keep in touch with a few of them.
Lindsey would eventually escape the small town and forge out on her own, trying to find herself. Something went awry during this soul searching of sorts. I don’t know the details and quite frankly don’t want or need to. The outcome is what matters most to me.
At some point Lindsey would turn to “substances” instead of the Savior that she had known since early on. After that October night, she was “FINALLY sick and tired.” She felt “reborn and amazed at the miracle of being alive.” Through AA meetings twice a week with a “sponsor that taught her what a true friendship looked like” she “met God again in a new and deeper way” than before.
Two years into sobriety, Lindsey met her husband, Keith. Some call him Moses as that is his first name. Her Memaw always told her “you know when you know” like she did when she met Papaw. Like her Memaw, Lindsey knew.
Memaw spent many wonderful years with Lindsey’s Papaw. Both Memaw and Papaw are some of the finest Willis, Texas has to offer. Papaw passed several years back. I’d like to think that he spends his time tending gardens in Heaven. Lord knows there wasn’t a better gardener in our county. I’m a better person for having known him if only for a brief moment on time.
Today, Lindsey is sharing her story through thought-provoking, heart-wrenching lyrics accompanied by the background of her finely honed guitar skills. A guitar gifted to her by an acquaintance, someone she now calls a friend. She credits that ole six string as being “the catalyst for processing her early days of sobriety.” Folks, her voice will give you chills. Don’t just take my word for it, listen to I Can’t Stay The Same. Her voice is pure, raw and authentic. Wisdom, heartbreak and hope can be found lying among the vibrations of her vocal chords. In the simplest terms she is a singer, songwriter.
Most Sunday’s you can find her leading worship at White Oak Baptist Church. A chip off the old block or blocks I should say. Both of her parents are musically inclined to say the least. Lindsey uses her story to minister, another quality I admire in this young lady. She can be found every month sharing her heart and soul through song with recovering addicts, such as herself at Celebrate Recovery at Tallowood Baptist Church . Twice a month she takes her story and the message of grace and salvation to an all women’s worship service at Plane State Jail. Quite a remarkable woman to say the least.
Lindsey’s pain, struggles and transformation are inspiring. Notice I mentioned pain and struggles. Without those, she wouldn’t have experienced her transformation. Admitting that “sobriety is awesome but sometimes takes work” her story is still unfolding. She has grit and a love for a savior that has never once turned his back on her. He loves her, flaws and all. As He does all of us.
Alongside her grit and all that encompasses, coupled with the intimate relationship she has with her Lord and Savior, Lindsey also possesses something else I desperately long for. I watch from a distance, envious but with a full heart.
Ya see, Lindsey’s biggest fan is her mother, Peggy. She acknowledges her mom as the “most influential person” in her life “hands down.” Through her darkest moments and biggest mistakes, her mom “spoke grace over” her and influenced her by helping her “believe she could do anything.” Holding her when “she thought she was broken” and forever reminding her that “she was never too far from God’s grace.” Peggy is one of the most spirit filled, hard-working, kindhearted women I know. It is a privilege to know she and her husband Vance.
Lindsey, you stole my heart back when you were a kid. Today, you are part of my heart as I watch and learn. In your words, “KEEP GOING. Keep showing up and don’t quit til the miracles happen.”