My Unfolding, When Love Runs Towards You


Almost seventeen years ago I told him to run and that loving me would be a little too messy for a pastor’s kid like him. He couldn’t help what his heart felt, love ran towards me instead of away. Sometimes messy, complicated love is what a structured renegade really wants.

He told me he would wait because he knew I was what he wanted. He stirred his hot tea and I felt sorry for my new best friend who made me feel safe. We were so different that everyone tried to keep us apart. My friends, his friends, my inner circle, his folks and even my mom had their doubts.

But love doesn’t run away from you, it runs towards you. We sure tried to listen to everyone, but we ran towards each other anyway.

Like the father ran towards the prodigal son, like a safe preacher’s son with a lovesick heart, he ran so hard towards me that love had to teach me how to run towards him.

God’s love stays the course even when the ride is bumpy and blinding and brutal. Even when loving messy, insecure hearts is baffling. Love still stays because it’s crazy-stubborn like that.

I still run sometimes, especially when I’m hurting or sick. I tried to run this weekend at a big conference reverting back to my ‘broken girl syndrome’ because I assume I’m only loved when I’m nice. Sweet. Annoyingly forgiving. Gah, that’s exhausting. I had nothing to give, but I gave anyways and God blew my mind, gave me new hearts to love, and open doors.

My heart knew who I could run to when I was sick, my Broken Girl BFF and soul sister, Keri. She took care of me, truth be told, she’s never witnessed me that ill or messed up.

She spoke truth into my heart like true friends do and she knew exactly what to do when my blood sugar level dropped so low I almost passed out. Later, she called me the equivalent of a spiritual lapdog who feels the need to stay by the side of someone who is hurting. She’s right. I run towards the hurting, but run away when I’m hurting and frail.

My heart gravitates towards certain people, our stories unfold and soon I understand why. Inside of our beating hearts is a gravitational pull, our hearts are like magnets. Together we are better and less twisted because in our brokenness we are the very same messy, complicated kind. The kind that lets us know we are not alone.

I still run, but this time I know who I can run to. Most of the time I just run to God like a rag doll and let him do His cutting surgery within. I’m so honest with Him, I always have been because His love pierces through me and sees every wrecked place. His love fixes me, His mercy is stronger than the frailty in me. His love makes me run toward Him and He runs to meet me.

I’m not the same girl my husband married sixteen years ago. I’m more confident and I’m less insecure. But sometimes when I’m weak and the furthest thing from the nice Southern girl who learned to turn the other cheek…I wonder if I’m still worth it. So I run away to my tender place with my first love, my Savior, and I’m reminded why He loves my fragile, complicated heart. And in that flailing moment, I know for certain I’m definitely worth it simply because I’m His girl and always will be.

Man, I wish I could be normal for like fifteen minutes…and then those fifteen minutes are up and I realize that those minutes were the most wasted, boring fifteen minutes of my life.

I can’t wait to share the rest of this Unfolding journey and the book I’ve been writing this year with you. I can’t wait for you to read more of Keri’s work…because it’s amazing and will help you. I’m her lapdog.

We are still Broken Girls, but this time it’s for a different reason, it’s for you and for the unfinished, unfolding story inside of you.

Much love,

Jennifer Renee


11 thoughts on “My Unfolding, When Love Runs Towards You

  1. Yes and yes. Love love this.
    I’d ask if I could call you right now, but it’s 1:58 a.m. and chances are you’re sleeping after haven gotten up early yesterday morning to get locked out of your condo and wake your preacher man.

    Today, let’s touch base – for literally 10 seconds if that’s all we can do (or longer). I need the connection – even if we can only share a couple sentences.

    • Sweet Sarah,
      Yes…we are due a phone call to catch up. Headed home & I will have time to call you. Love you!!

  2. OH my goodness, Jennifer! I’ve only read the first 3 paragraphs of this and am already leaving this comment to say….this is SOOOO my story! Jamie has been chasing me since I was 13. He grew up as a church kid—PeRfEcT—and I was always a mess. When we were 17, we’d sit on my front porch and he’d plead with me to just give loving him a chance. He was my very best friend but he wanted to spend forever with me and I would always refuse, telling him I’d “ruin him”. I already loved him—how could I not love this guy who had been Jesus to me no matter how badly I insisted on screwing up my life over and over—but there was no way I was going to let him throw away the obvious good plan God had for him on account of the fact that the real Jesus was too ashamed of me to give me a good plan too. When it was obvious to everyone else that I was giving in, my friends would get him aside and ask him what he was thinking. Even my Dad and stepmom invited him for dinner one night to tell him what a huge mistake he was making and to enlighten him on all my failures so he’d want to run. All that did was make him see how badly I needed that good plan God really did have for me. I love everything you’ve written here because it’s me. I’m so glad we’re becoming friends—I can’t wait for you to do something mean as heck so I can love you anyway. :)

    • Lostinavalonor,

      I’m Jennifer’s friend, Sarah. I just want to say what a wonderful reply you just left for her on this blog entry. Especially.the.last.sentence.

      I’d like to be your friend, too.

    • This ranks as one of my favorite comments ever…maybe because you are waiting for me to do something “mean as heck” and that statement alone makes me laugh. I think Jamie hit the jackpot with you, as in he won a really amazing, beautiful gift. I think all the really hard, broken things in life make us better and deepen the ways in which we love others. I can’t wait to hear more of your story…I’m so happy you landed at our church with your gorgeous family. Let’s get together soon and have cake and be nice…or mean as heck together. :) Much love to you!!

    • Thank you, Trisha! Our brokenness is beauty from dusty ashes…it definitely has made me a better person. I’m so happy we met at She Speaks! So looking forward to watching God do awesome things through you!

      Much love to you,


  3. That God would allow me to know and love you, sweet Jennifer, is such a blessing. I see a life so filled with love for Jesus and a heart filled with such love for all of us that I thank Him for you and your ministry. You are precious and I pray for you often. Always remember to take good care of YOU because there are so many who will be blessed by you and your ministry to hurting women. I love you.

    • Helen,
      I’m crazy about you. Loving you and knowing that I have your prayer support means the world to me. I promise you this, I’m learning how to take better care of myself and listening to your wise advice. I love you more.

      Jennifer Renee

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