ShameFree

Blog Post

So, let me be honest.

Each blog post I have written so far has been fairly easy for me to write. The amount of transparency and vulnerability has been easy to swallow. But, today I want to write about something that is actually a challenge.

I have tried starting this post about 7 times and I keep having the faces of my sweet family roll through my mind. Isn’t it funny how it is easy to be transparent with strangers, but it is far more difficult to be vulnerable with those that matter? (I promise family, this story ends on a good note!)

I want to start off with a disclaimer: this is simply my expereince. In no way am I trying to push a belief system or be the moral police for any of you. Be the best version of you, whatever you think that that is. But I do feel led to share my story.

WELL, here goes…

About a week ago I was sitting in a room with a group of spiritual leaders that I trust. We were talking about sexuality (and all things related). A question got presented about pornography and it was referred to as a man issue. I was instantly irate. Because pornography does not just affect men and I think that needs to be talked about more.

It affects women. It affects people. It affects me.

I think I was about 11 or 12 when I began watching porn. I think it started from curiosity, turned into fascination, and remained an addiction. It was about 7 years before I got any freedom.

For me, watching pornography and masturbating was a terrible act that reiterated all the self-hatred that I had been cultivating inside me for most of my life (see my blog post all about my story to know more about that). It became a form of punishment and self-absue.

Now, this is where I remind you all of the disclaimer above…you can obviously make your own decisions about your own purity. But for me, watching pornography was horrible. I felt terrible after, I had to hide a major part of my life from the people that love me, and I felt violated seeing those images. The experience for me was one of shame.

Overtime I became numb. I struggled to make true, vulnerable friends. I put up a wall with my family. My identity became solidified that I am worthless and I deserve shame.

I was like two people: the good christian girl to the public eye and the shame-ridden worthless monster behind my bedroom door. I hated living like this, but it felt like exactly what I deserved. I tried so hard to “be a better person.” And nothing I would do made me quit (or like myself anymore).

Long story short, I applied to go to a christian ministry school and was asked to attend their discipleship school instead. When I got that news I was devastated. I told my parents and they did not understand why I didn’t get in. They attempted to learn more both about the discipleship school and the reasons behind why I didn’t get approved to go to the ministry school.

I was terrified that my parents would learn about my battle with pornography from someone else. I knew I had to admit to this problem. I sat my mom down and with big ol’ tears streaming down my face (just kidding. that sounds too put together…I was a blubbering mess) I told my mom my pains, shame, and problem with pornography. I asked her if she still loved me, to which she replied “Yes. Of course.”

Okay, I know this sounds absolutely insane…But I swear…after talking to my mom I was set free. The act of bringing something to the light, having accountability with someone close to me, and receiving love within the darkest parts of who I am…it changed everything.

This is really the heart of this post: get vulnerable and bring things into the light! Let trust worthy people see into you. Let them see the pretty parts and the yucky parts of you, your life, your thoughts. Regardless of what you have done, or what has been done to you, or who you think you are…YOU DESERVE LOVE. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE. 

It will be terrifying. It will be difficult.

but it is worth it.

Regardless of what your thoughts are about pornography…take away this: all of you deserves to be seen by trustworthy people. Even the parts you think are too ugly.

Being vulnerable, having emotional intimacy, changes lives. Allow yourself to be seen, heard, and loved.

After about six months, or so, of freedom from watching pornography, I began to struggle again. I fought off and on for some time. Vulnerability isn’t the cure-all fix to any problem. I had to make powerful choices about what I wanted in my life and who I wanted to be. I began to see that I deserved a pure love and deserved authentic intimacy. I decided that watching porn and masturbating was no longer an option in my life.

Because of love and because of powerful choices, I have freedom.

 

I will end with this…

My view on pornography is not just based on my faith. It has a lot to do with the fruit that it caused in my life. Everything that came from both porn and masturbating was bad. It pushed me to keep secrets. It pushed me to cultivate shame. It kept me from relationships. It reiterated the lie that “I didn’t deserve love.” So, I would say that it is really important to look at the fruit happening in your life. Surround yourself with things that bring truly good fruit into your life.

Thank you for reading and letting me share. Feel free to send me any questions or comment below!

XO,

M

Daphne

Blog Post

Introducing my newest little member of my family…

Daphne.

Daphne is a miniture pinscher and chihuahua mix. She weighs somewhere between 8-12 pounds. She is 10 years old and the sweetest little woman. She barely barks, gets along with everyone, sleeps like a teenager, and loves to snuggle.

I adopted her from the most precious rescue down in San Francisco, called Muttville. It is a senior dog rescue (meaning they only recuse dogs 7 years and older). They are the friendliest people. The process of adopting her wasn’t that fast of an experience. It required a lot of thought and research. I grew up with animals and so I knew the commitment and effort that they require. I did not make the decision to take on that responsibility lightly.

Eventually I began to feel stressed about it all and I felt like the Lord told me that He had “the perfect one for me.” I chose to trust Him and that same day, this dog seemed to fall into my lap. She was uploaded to Muttville’s website. Her breed, size, and gender were all things that I really wanted. And, that tongue was officially what sold me. There were so many other parts of this adoption that made it perfect. Everything seemed to confirm that this precious girl was meant to be mine.

After receiving her, I felt like The Lord has told me that she is going to teach me many things.

Well, let me tell you…He did not lie! I have had her for a total of five days and I have already been stretched so much. It hasn’t been the multiple walks a day or the other required responsibilities. The thing that has been so stretching is it has required patience for myself.

As soon as I got her I felt so much pressure to feel a certain way about Daphne. I felt like I had to love her completely instantaneously. And if I am being completely honest, that has taken time. This whole process has brought up a lot of fear, too. What if I can’t do this? What if she dies? Is she throwing up? Is she about to pee? What if she runs away? Is this food okay? Is she happy? I’ve been so afraid. And all of that fear has kept love at a distance. As I began to realize that I was fixed on the fear, not on the love, I have gotten some clarity:

this is just taking me time.

I need time to get used to being a dog owner. I need time to get used to Daphne’s personality. I need time to learn our new routine. I need time. But, yet, I have just been adding more and more pressure. (disclaimer: on day 5, I am head over heels for Daphne. But all this fear has made it all difficult)

Yesterday I was talking to a friend. He proceeded to quote 1 Corinthians 13 saying that “love is patient, love is kind…” and as soon as he said that I realized that I have needed new levels of patience for myself in this whole dog process. I have needed to give myself the time and grace required to fall in love with this new friend. I have needed to be allowed to take time and I have needed to give my grace when the fears come up, or when I spend money on food she doesn’t like, or when I go to work.

I am growing. I am learning. I deserve patience.

So, I have begun the process of changing my perspective and incorporating a new aspect of self love: patience. This process begins by simply keeping this new truth at the front of my mind: I deserve to have patience with myself. I keep thinking about that concept and I keep repeating the truth. The next step is to actively act on this new truth. I must have patience with myself.

How do you have patience with yourself? Give ya girl some tips below! PS: make sure you’re subscribing to my blog! (on the right hand side) By subscribing, all new blog posts will be sent directly to your email!

Sending you all the love…

XO,

M

Y E S .

Blog Post

Recently life has felt a bit mundane. It feels like I have fallen into a rut of doing the motions of what is required from me…wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. How boring. I absolutely do not want to live my life in a boring and mundane way. I want to live with vibrancy, excitement, and enthusiasm.

One of the things that has felt particularly important this season is the word YES. Every time I say “yes” I feel this extra level of responsibility. I feel this extra level of importance behind each of my agreements. I have been feeling like I really need to say “yes” more.

I have talked to a friend or two about their life and they have had a similar feeling of mundane. (Have you been feeling that, too?)

So…what to do with all this information?

I have decided to be a bit more intentional with my “yes.” (I use the word “intentional” quite a bit. So, I thought I would explain. I use the word “intentional” to mean actively pursuing or going after with ferocity.) By this, I mean that I am searching for moments to say “yes” and I am embracing them as they come. I am eagerly saying “yes” to most of the things that have come my way. And with each of those opportunities, I am sacrificing.

I am sacrificing my original plan. I am sacrificing my normal. I am sacrificing in order to embrace the new “yes.”

I am learning a ton.

What if I did not plan every moment of every day? What if I said “yes” to fun as opposed to “yes” to plans? What if I embraced my opportunities each and every day?

Some of you might be thinking…”Well, that’s a great concept Maranda…prove you’re doing it.” Well, about a week ago I got asked to attend a concert three hours away. They needed an answer pretty immediately and I had about 30 minutes to think about it. A prayer and a good song later, I was committed.

Two days later and I was in the car and on my way.

The concert was great, but the friends were even better. We heard great music, got out of town, and laughed the entire trip. I am so happy that I went. But, in order to embrace that experience…I had to sacrifice my time, sleep, and money in order to go.

Now, this is a great example that makes the sacrifices completely seem worth it. But, sometimes the sacrifices aren’t as easy to make. Sometimes, they create some discomfort. And sometimes, the “yes” was not worth it in the end. But, better to try than to question what if.

So, I write this blog post to urge you to embrace life a bit more. Say “yes” to the scary things. Say “yes” to the dreams. Say “yes” to the new adventures (even if that just looks like taking yourself out to coffee!!).

Your life is what you make it.

What is your newest (and most exciting) “yes”? What are you embracing in your life? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading.

XO,

M