Flourish Flock Feature | Elizabeth Cox

Hi sweet friends! So VERY glad to be sharing with y'all today... I promise you, you aren't going to want to miss the feature below!!

I've not yet met Elizabeth {Liz} in person, but am certain it will happen sooner than later! I absolutely love keeping up with her via Instagram and initially connected with her through an online workshop that we've both spoken at.

As Liz says on the home page of her blog, "My hope is that you leave this space feeling a bit more uplifted & a little less alone than when you first got here" especially after reading her feature and any of the previous ones!

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Name:

Elizabeth Cox but most everyone calls me Liz!

Share where you currently live:

Lexington, Kentucky

Share where you grew up:

I was born & raised in Lexington. I always thought I’d get out and move somewhere for college or grad school but the Lord had plans to keep me rooted here.

Share about your family/your job/living situation:

Life is in a really sweet spot for me right now. Currently, I am a single, 26 year old small business owner who lives in the cutest one bedroom apartment in the heart of the city I love. I feel a little like the Southern version of Carrie Bradshaw, ha!


My career and how it came to be are truly testaments to God’s faithfulness and the truth that He knows me far better than I know myself. In a season of seeking and sifting through the unknown of who I was or what I was supposed to do with my life, the Lord provided the opportunity for me to become a part of a business that has changed the trajectory of my life. I help run two local bridal boutiques, Twirl Boutique and Meant To Be Boutique, here in Lexington and I consider it one of the greatest joys of my life to do something I love alongside a team of women I adore. I joined the Twirl team back in August 2014 right after graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Family Sciences and a few years of running my own wedding photography/videography business under my belt. My creative eye & love for people have blended together perfectly in my roles at Twirl and Meant To Be. In my job, I am given the unique opportunity to advocate for women as they discover their true beauty through personal relationships as well as creating content that engages, educates, and encourages brides as they journey through cultivating meaningful marriages. I never in a million years thought this would be the path the Lord had for me but it just goes to show that He can create a life far greater than we could've dreamed of on our own.

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Share your favorite book and/or podcast:

Oh gosh, this is so hard for me. I’m a huge audio books nerd and have binged on so many good ones lately. I recently finished Jamie Ivey’s book “If You Only Knew” and was deeply encouraged by it. She hosts a podcast called “The Happy Hour” as well which I love. Also, anything by Shauna Niequist is a winner in my eyes. I could go on & on with more but I’ll leave you with those for now.

Share your favorite quote and/or Bible verse:

Goodness, this is hard too! I’ll be honest, my friend Lara Casey shared the words “you can’t do it all and do it well” and they have been my heart song for the last year or so. They are so simple and yet so profound. I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves to be all the things for everyone when no one is actually asking us to do that. We need to throw off the lie that we have to do it all and be it all and just let God be God. He’s way better at it than we are. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” - 2 Corinthians 2:19. His grace is sufficient in our weakness so we need to walk in the freedom & beauty of that truth.

Share your favorite beverage: 

A yummy glass of Pinot Noir.

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Share one of the biggest losses you’ve experienced:

This may sound strange to some of you but when I think about my biggest loss in life, my gut response to that is “my loss of control” because it inevitably led to my loss of identity and worth. You see, when I was eight years old I was sexually exploited and mentally abused by a female neighbor. At the time, I had no idea that what was happening to me was wrong or that I was being manipulated and victimized. All I knew was that something in me changed. My need for control, to have the upper hand, was all-consuming. My sense of worth and intimacy were deeply broken and for years I sought restoration in anything I thought might bring wholeness. The saying “hurt people hurt people” was the anthem of my life for so long. My pain and reckless living never made sense to me though. The trauma of my childhood and the impact it had on my life didn’t come to light for me until almost four years ago. I was sitting in a child abuse training course and realized that the “red flags” being listed to look for in a child of abuse were actually a part of my own story. I can remember rushing to the bathroom, locking the stall door behind me, and falling to the ground while I wept over the realization and gravity of what had happened to me so many years ago. It was a moment of deep grief but also euphoric relief. Relief because my pain and actions finally made sense. My controlling, manipulative patterns were my defense mechanisms that had disguised themselves as safety. My desperate behavior in relationships was my cry for someone to tell me I’m worthy and that intimacy with me wasn’t a game to them. I finally had a name for my source of shame and that liberated me. The grief that this was my story was certainly not washed away but I wasn’t a stranger to grief. It was the relief that felt like a new friend and I welcomed it gladly into my life. I remember asking my counselor during a session, “What do I do with all this? It’s not like I can go back in time and never go to their house to play. What does healing even look like here?” With tenderness in her eyes she looked at me and said, “You find your eight year old self within you and tell her this wasn’t her fault. You live out that truth for her by walking freely knowing that shame has lost its power in this story.” I had finally been told, “your pain is real and it wasn’t your fault.” That truth felt like the piece of the puzzle I’d been looking for since I was little girl without even knowing it was missing.

Share some of the choices that have been most helpful in continuing to move you forward and support you while you are healing:

The last several years have been such a mix of emotions. I think one of the most helpful things I did was allow myself to really feel every emotion. Suppressing emotions was no longer an option for me. If I felt angry that the Lord allowed this to be my story then I got angry with the Lord. If I felt sad over the harm my wounds caused others then I let myself be sad. If I felt joy because the Lord has made freedom real for me then I let myself rejoice in that freedom. Allowing trusted friends into those feelings with me was also so valuable. My friends have wept with me, rejoiced with me, and prayed with me through every high and low. I’ve also had to let them in so that I don’t wallow in any of the dark feelings for too long. Allowing yourself to wrestle through your feelings is good and necessary but there are some that are harmful to your healing process if you get too comfortable with them. Invite people into your life that will hold your story tenderly and point you towards truth as the Lord restores you. Also, and this should go without saying, professional counseling is a gift from God! Do not ever let your pride prevent you from allowing the Lord to heal you through people he has specifically called to help you through your suffering.

Share some ways you have tried to incorporate laughter and fun in the midst of the hurt:

Honestly, movie nights with my best friends were so life giving to me during my dark seasons. To be with my people and not have to talk about my feelings but still have a shared experience together, usually over a movie that would make us all laugh, was such a gift and a mercy to me. I was known and loved but no one had to say those words for me to believe they were true. The act of being together spoke louder than anything else during those times.

Share how this experience has been instrumental in leading you to where you are today:

Gosh, how has it not?! I’ve learned in profound ways that repentance to God, to others, and to ourselves is one of the greatest gifts we can give and receive. I’m also learning to stop white-knuckling my life. My desire for control comes out of the need to know that I am safe. I believed the lie for so much of my life that if I had the upper hand then I’d be able to protect myself from getting used by people. I’m continuously discovering though just how terrible I am at being my own protector and that Jesus truly is my great comforter. Intimacy with me is not a game to him, it is a delight and something to be treasured. So much of my healing has been in learning that I can hold my life with open hands and trust that I have a good Father who is in control. That doesn’t mean I will walk through this life unscathed but it does mean that He has not left me and will fiercely protect me so I don’t forget where my worth lies. His scars bore witness to his deep love for me and mine will do the same for him.

Share any tips/advice/love for others who have gone through something similar:

Do not be ashamed about where you are or what your story is. Hiding behind shame can be your biggest enemy in all of this. Trust me, I hid behind my shame for far too long. John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Do not let your loneliness, bitterness, sadness, or shame stay in the darkness. Bring your emotions, every last one of them, to the light. Freedom is yours to have, Jesus promised you that. Exposing your weakness – being honest about where you are – can feel absolutely crippling. Again, trust me, I know. But take it from me, the richness of the light far outweighs the fear of letting it in. Fight for freedom. Better yet, let the Lord fight for you. You are not a slave to your heartache or loss. The Lord wants to break those shackles for you and carry for you the burden you were never intended to carry. “The darkness has not overcome it.” Freedom happens when we expose it all. It feels scary and impossible, but let me fill you in on a little secret – you are far more brave than you think you are. So go ahead, let the light into the void your loss has made inside your soul. Freedom and healing are going to feel so sweet, sister – so very, very sweet.

(Even more words of encouragement around this subject can be found in this post: http://www.alifeoflaceandgrace.com/blog/2017/10/17/dear-beloved-me-too)

IG: @_elizabethcox

Blog: www.alifeoflaceandgrace.com

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Work IGs: @twirllex@meanttobeboutique

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