How Brokenness Leads to Bold Faith with Mo Isom

Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and today’s guest is Mo Isom.

All-American soccer star Mo Isom shares her powerful testimony of meeting God in tragedy. Outwardly, her life seemed like a success, but she was battling an eating disorder, the suicide of her father, and a horrific car accident. It wasn’t until God wrecked her life that she fully realized the power of the Gospel. She will share her story on today’s podcast.

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Transcript:

SHELLEY. Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast. I’m your host, Shelley Hitz, and today’s guest is Mo Isom. Hi, Mo!

MO. Hello, thank you so much for having me on!

SHELLEY. You’re welcome. I actually had some listeners tell me, “you have to have Mo on your podcast!”

MO. Yeah!

SHELLEY. So, I’m so glad that it’s worked out. I’m just going to tell our listeners a little bit about you. Mo was an All-American soccer star, and she shares her powerful testimony of meeting God in tragedy. Outwardly her life seemed like a success, but she was battling an eating disorder, the suicide of her father, and a horrific car accident. It wasn’t until God wrecked her life that she fully recognized the power of the Gospel. So, she’ll share more about her story on today’s podcast. Even in the introduction we already know somewhat of what your Broken Crayons looked like but tell us a little bit more of what the Broken Crayons in your life looked like.

MO. Yeah, you know my life really has been riddled with Broken Crayons, to be honest. You covered a few of them, but even deeper than that, raised in the church but struggling, the shallow faith that becomes identity issues; not fully knowing my worth that manifested then into an eating disorder, and struggled with that for years. Then, as I sort of came out of that, faced the very unexpected suicide of my father, just out of the blue after my first year of college.

Then, a short while after that, after my second year of school, was in a really horrific car accident. But, it’s amazing, because it was through the Broken Crayon, it was honestly if you want to add on so much brokenness that was included in there too, it was just wrestling with who I was and giving pieces of myself away to find my worth. A lot of, a deep sexual testimony and sexual sin struggles were all in the midst of that. So, it was just storms, storms and God used every single one of them to reveal himself to me in a really incredible way, that absolutely transformed my life. It was actually in the car accident, in the midst of one of the Crayons that looked so broken.

SHELLEY. Yes!

MO. It was where He just encountered me and changed everything.

SHELLEY. Yeah, were talking about the car accident and God transformed you. Would you say the car accident was your low point?

MO. I would say the suicide of my father was really my lowest point. That was definitely at the depth of so much of my brokenness. What grew out of that was really running from God, it was depression, it was anxiety, it was promiscuity, it was any sin sized piece I could find to fill the God sized hole in my heart in that year following my dad’s death. I would say that was probably the lowest point, if not the catalyst, for the lower and lower points I sort of spiraled down into. It was actually the car accident became my highest point.

SHELLEY. Wow.

MO. It sounds like such tragedy, and it was certainly physically painful, but it was hanging upside down in that Jeep where the Holy Spirit just entered into that wreckage and the weight of it was crushing, it was surreal, but also the fullness of God’s spirit and power was completely renewing. The hole in my heart was filled, in the midst of that broken place isn’t that where God meets us?

SHELLEY. Yes.

MO. That was definitely a hard spot, but it actually became the most holy spot in the whole story.

SHELLEY. Wow. So, you went through your father’s suicide and had all of this brokenness, like almost a numbing, and trying to just figure out, “what’s going on?” Then, you have this accident and that sounds like another Broken Crayon, but it’s actually your turning point. What did God do after that moment, and in that moment, that then brought the transformation of where you’re at today?

MO. You know, that moment was such a literal and a figurative collision point in my life. It is where God really just intersected my story in such a powerful way and said, “be still and know that I am God.” John 16:33 was just downloaded into my heart, “in this world you will face trouble, you will face trials, understand the enemy is going to wage battle after battle, but take heart and have courage. I am the general, I have already won the war, I have already overcome the world.”

So, it was really this moment in that wreckage, literally laying on the roof of my car, because my car was upside down and just annihilated, and I was laying on the ceiling of my car, on the inside, and God just downloaded the depth of the Gospel into my heart, just brought it to life for me, and really told me in that moment, “you must chose. This lukewarm roller coaster ride, it’s not serving anything but the sin in you. You must choose right now, will you continue to trust the haphazard winds of life to maybe blow your broken pieces back together, or will you trust me as the master artist, the one who knit you together, who has plans and purpose for you? Will you trust me in the face of all this brokenness to restore you, rebuild you, and use you for My glory?”

So, it was this, I think God knows I’m this stubborn, type A, He’s got to really get my attention. It’s amazing because, sanctification is certainly a process, but salvation can come in a whisper. It was a whisper from His heart to mine of, “come here, come here, daughter. I have more for you.” It just changed everything, climbing out of that vehicle, literally, I was a new creation. Life has looked different from that point forward. Still Broken Crayons, obviously, but there’s a divine hope in the valley when we know the One who has won the war.

SHELLEY. Yes. I think Corrie Tin Boom said, when it says, “you walk in the valley of the shadow of death,” she says, “because there’s a shadow you know there’s a light.” So, you know. It’s like, when you go through hard times, when you go through difficult times, now you’re like, “OK, I know the light. I know who is the light.”

MO. Exactly.

SHELLEY. So, I’m curious, how old where you when all of this was happening? You were in college?

MO. Yes. So, I wrestled with the identity issues and eating disorder through high school, really all of my high school career. The suicide of my father was after my freshman year of college, so I was 19. Then, the car accident I was still 19, it was at the end of that calendar year. All this transformation, all these struggles and transformation happened very young. I am 28 now, so it’s almost a decade now of truly walking with Christ. I know that’s still so young, there’s probably listeners like, “what is she talking about? Young, she’s only 28.” It felt like a lot of life to live in a short amount of time.

SHELLEY. It was. I think that’s very powerful for parents that are listening that have young children, prodigals, or children that are not following the Lord even though they’ve been raised in the church. You were raised in the church, right?

MO. I was.

SHELLEY. Then, also for the young people listening. God cares, He cares about you. He saw you in that situation and He cared enough to do a rescue. It’s almost like a rescue.

MO. Exactly.

SHELLEY. So, you’ve been through so much, and you’ve already written two books, so I know you have a lot that you could share. What advice, for those listening, if you could just pull something out of your heart that you know, you know that you know that you know, helped you transform from this tragedy, what would you share with listeners?

MO. The scripture that really stuck with me, to put it in churchy terms, has been my ‘life verse’, is one I just always kind of clinged to. It is Romans 5:3-5

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

It calls us to rejoice in our adversity, knowing that adversity produce perseverance, perseverance produces character, character produces hope, and hope in the Holy Spirit never fails us. It is such an illogical thought, that we would rejoice in the midst of our trials, that we would rejoice in the midst of our Broken Crayons. Scripture isn’t calling us here to be sociopathic, to face death and cheer, that’s not the case at all. It is saying, you can grieve, life is hard and it’s painful, but at the end of the day you can also stand. Stand firm knowing that the trials that have come are growing you in perseverance, growing you in character, and growing more and more in you the power of the Holy Spirit to operate in you and reach places that maybe that light couldn’t have shone even prior to your struggles.

 

So, it was this sort of illogical thought of, “man, all this hard stuff, but at the end of the day I can trust that God is good, I can rejoice that He is doing a good work, and that He uses all for His glory.” If I can say anything to anyone I would say, man, be still and know that He is God. Know that it is not outside of His grasp, know that your sin is not too deep, too dark, too dirty to reach down and resuscitate with glory. Know that He sees you, He knows you, He loves you fiercely, and He is in passionate pursuit of your heart.

I’m sure this is so basic, white girl, Christian girl right now, but I love Cory Asbury’s new song Reckless Love. Those lyrics just resonate so deeply. He will light up every shadow, He will do all that it takes to save you and to save your eternal story. Just know that you’re seen, because I think a lot of us sit in our mess amongst the Broken Crayons and we feel like we’re invisible, like God has forgotten us, and that is just so contrary from the truth. He is with us and He is for us, and He uses every bit of everything for His glory if we will let Him.

SHELLEY. Yeah, I always say, God never wastes anything.

MO. Exactly.

SHELLEY. So good. Well, you have, like I mentioned earlier, you’ve written a couple books, you speak, so where can people find more about you, find out more about your books, or read more about your story if they are interested in connecting with you further?

MO. The best place to jump over to is http://www.MoIsom.com. That’s just my site, I blog on there, but also it will point you straight to the books. My first book, Wreck My Life, was a New York Times Best Seller, and it’s really that coming to faith testimony as a whole, where people can dive in deeper if any of that resonated with them. My second book that just came out, and God’s been doing some amazing things with, is called Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot. This dives in deeper to my sexual testimony that really paralleled so much of that coming to faith testimony, but I couldn’t sell it short and squeeze it into one book because there’s a lot of us wrestling with some hard sexual stuff. So, they can find the books on the site. I’m also super active on Instagram, I just love it.

SHELLEY. Yes!

MO. They can find me on Instagram @MoIsom. Also, on Facebook and Twitter at @MoIsom. But, the website and Instagram are really the easiest places to go and learn all about what that looks like, and book me to speak if they’re interested, or read some of my writing, it’s all right there.

SHELLEY. Awesome. I actually just, I’m obviously following you, but I saw one of your Spoken Word videos on Facebook the other day about the sexual topic. It really is close to my heart, because I’ve written a book for Christian women struggling with pornography, because that was part of my testimony. I was like, “yes! Someone else is talking about this!” I was like, “oh it’s so good!” So, I definitely recommend connecting with Mo, checking out her resources, and read her books! Read her books and buy them for the people who might be in need of them and inspired by the story. Story is amazing, Jesus spoke in parables, and He spoke in stories. So, when we share our stories it is just so powerful. Thank you so much for your willingness to come on to the podcast today, your willingness to be vulnerable to share your stories and your books, and just all you’re doing for the Kingdom of God.

MO. Thank you so much, it was my treat. I appreciate you having me on.

SHELLEY. Yes, you are so welcome. In closing, Mo’s story is just one more example of how God can turn our messes into Masterpieces. There is always hope, like she said, no matter what you’ve been through, what you’ve done, what’s been done to you, there is hope for you in Christ. So, thank you so much for joining us today.

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