Dennis

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Hello beautiful readers,

How are you? How are you really? (Let me know in the comments below!).

I know that this blog post is multiple days late and I am so sorry for that but I have an explanation. My blog posts go up at sometime on Wednesdays, that is something I have tried really hard to stick with. But this Wednesday my church family got some devastating news.

A person that has been in our environment for two years went missing on Thursday. On Monday afternoon a suicide note was found. And on Wednesday, the search team found his body.

To say that this family is devastated is an understatement.

His name was Dennis. He was a sweet man that was super creative, a good friend, and a fighter.

I didn’t know him well, but I am still devastated at his loss. I didn’t know how to post a casual blog post on a day with such a loss. It didn’t feel right. And since then, I have questioned how to post about Dennis.

Loss is not something most people are okay with, and when it is the loss of a life…it is much harder. It is sad to never see that person smile again, or hear their laugh. It is sad to know they are no longer here on earth. But, there is also a great beauty in celebrating a life.

I think that each life has a calling to inspire, encourage, and push people to greatness. Dennis has done that, even after his passing. I have heard sooo many people talk of the inspiration that Dennis has left them with.

I want to listen more.

I want to judge less and accept more.

I want to listen to my internal voice more.

I think that each person that has interacted with Dennis is currently reflecting back on all the inspiration he brought to their life and it has been an honor to watch people grow from the man that Dennis was. Although, we all wish he was still here with us.

I wanted to write this post not only to remember Dennis, but also to talk about suicide. Suicide is no joke. If you (or someone you know) has suicidal thoughts…ask for help. I know that it might seem scary, but it is a fear worthy of facing.

You deserve life, so I challenge you to fight for it. Even if it doesn’t seem worth it…get help. Regardless of who it is from, get help. (Here is a great resource!)

I promise, things get better. Regardless of what you’re facing…there is hope and breakthrough can be yours.

(I am aware that this post does not solve your problem. but I want you to know that there is hope)

Let me know how YOU are really doing in the comments below. And thanks for hanging with me, despite my delayed post. I love y’all.

XO,

M

Love heals.

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WOW.

I am shocked at the responses from last week’s post! (If you didn’t check it out…check it out here. It is all about my story with pornography & freedom). Thank you sooo much for the support and encouragement. It truly means the world to me.

After last weeks post, I really wanted to give some encouragement/hope to anyone that might be in the midst of struggle. (Whoops. I guess that applies to us all (; ) Life is hard and sometimes we simply need someone to tell us that it. is. possible.

Now, I know that some of you are not Christians and may not believe in God, but I also think that everyone is spiritual and desires spiritual growth. My desire in this space on the internet is to be a place where anyone, from any background, feels free to be. By this, I mean that I never want to push my thoughts onto anyone else…but I, too, want to make sure that I continue to allow myself the space to share what I feel needs to be said.

So, in this post…keep in mind that I honor where each and every one of you is.

Something that some of you do not know is that I work for a discipleship program. This is a spiritual program that focuses on working with adults to help them to heal emotional wounds, actively pursue personal growth, and urging them to connect deeper and deeper to God’s undeniable love for them.

Personally, I went through this program and was radically changed (you can read more about it here!) This program sees all kinds of people come through it’s doors: addicted, tormented, broken, hopeless, insecure, young, old, and everything in between.

I have seen LOVE heal each and every thing. I have seen LOVE mend the deepest of wounds. I have seen LOVE heal years of torment. I have seen LOVE show people to dream, love, believe. I have seen freedom from addictions. I have seen anger resolved. I have seen insecurities become areas of confidence. I have seen hope fill people’s lungs. I have seen dreams flood people’s minds. I have seen purity affect people’s lives. I have seen shame brush off of people’s shoulders. I have seen bodies restored. The healing, breakthrough, and freedom that I have seen in people’s lives is ridiculous (in the best of ways).

I do not know what you’re facing right now in your life. I don’t know what your past holds or what future complications you will experience. But, I want to say that THERE IS HOPE. Regardless of what it is…LOVE can heal.

I know that this is a little crazy…but today at work we replaced lies with truths. We went after the lies involved with comparison. For me, I was believing that that I was unworthy. After that, I apologized to God and to myself for partnering with that belief. And then, I was intentional to receive LOVE. After that experience, I feel so much lighter and fuller and happier.

(Now, that does not solve all problems. I have to continue to be intentional to stick with the new truth that I have learned. But, I have hope that this new truth can be maintained)

So, whatever it is that you are facing, LOVE is enough. LOVE  can heal. LOVE  can restore.

This is a short post, but one I truly believe in. Also, I just want to say that I am here for you…feel free to reach out. I would love to connect and encourage you.

What is the new truth you’re believing? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

M

The Power of Me (Guest Post: Destiny Story)

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One thing I want to use this social platform for is to promote and celebrate the people around me. I am someone that searches for lessons & inspiration from those around me and I want to share those stunning people with you all!

This first guest post is by a woman that is dear to my heart. She has been in my life for almost two years and I am deeply blessed by her:

Destiny Story EFC06971-A31D-486D-A638-69E09A6FAE27.JPG

When I think about who Destiny is I think of one word: brave. She is a woman that looks at life, her challenges, her fears, her dreams and responds to them bravely. Destiny has bravely stood in the wilderness of life and come out to the other side. She has stood, alone and scared, and yet she has not turned away.

Destiny Story is a brave woman.

In this post she has written, she shares about some of her wilderness. She shares about a process that I’ve had the privilege to watch her walk through. And as a witness to this time in her life, I can safely say that she has a lot of wisdom & inspiration on the things she shares. So, let her sweet words inspire you!

XO,

M

Ps: You can check out D’s blog here: https://destinystoryblog.wordpress.com

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My whole life I’ve felt like I wasn’t enough, or honestly, that I was just too much. I’ve felt not skinny enough, not talented enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, not good enough. I’ve felt too loud, too tall, too fat, too opinionated, too passive, too emotional, too sensitive, too different.

I’ve always felt like I was different and I’ve spent most of my life just trying to decide if what made me different was good or bad. But I think somewhere around 7th grade I subconsciously decided that it was a bad thing, a really bad thing, that would forever keep me separated from those around me. I thought I would never be able to connect with people because it felt as if people never wanted to connect to me (my parents and friends) or that I was always “too much, not enough” for the people around me to connect with. I felt creative but was never shown it was okay to be creative in ways that didn’t quite make sense and I was never shown it was okay for it not to be perfect. I buried myself in perfectionism because it seemed all the amazing people were, and the sad part was that people around me wouldn’t have known because it was all in my internal world! It revealed itself in my self talk and my constant attempts to “fix” myself that only led to me feeling suicidal.

Even after I became a Christian, it only intensified. Except this time thankfully I was healed enough to not feel suicidal, but I did feel like the weight and the pressure of always doing things perfectly would eventually break me. I had somewhere, along my journey in life, picked up this idea that the real me was too messy and would never be good enough so I needed to make up for it with perfect actions. Ha! Funny, huh? I mean this was definitely not something I would consciously know I was doing! It would look like me trying really hard, being praised for my actions, and then making a mistake and beating myself up for it for days and thinking “what else could I have done? I’m doing everything I can and it’s still not enough!” and then eventually trying to make up for it by pretending like it didn’t happen and continue doing more things that would look perfect.

But the problem with this is that I had equated being “enough” to things that were unattainable, like never making a mistake or never hurting anyone’s feelings. Anybody ever been through something like this? Ever try to perform for love? I’m guessing that I’m probably not alone in this. I’ve noticed as a human race, generally we have more grace for others than we do ourselves.

But sometime last year I decided this thing that made me different may not have actually ever been a bad thing! What if my imperfections made me beautiful? What if my emotions made things fun and are natural? What if my sensitivity wasn’t a weakness, but a strength? What if my chubby body could be enough for me and eventually someone else? What if making mistakes only made me human? Could I still be loved if someone saw them? If I were fully me, mistakes and all, would I be enough?

These were the questions running through my head and I made the decision that I was going to try being seen. I decided to show people that I was different. I decided to try allowing myself to be loved through my mistakes. Because when I try to be “perfect” I still don’t feel like I’m enough, and I never get to be truly authentic. And that life wasn’t working for me.

I went to Oregon last year on a missions trip and after days of barely sleeping and not being able to control a single thing, I could feel my emotions starting to rise. And as they got closer to the surface I could feel them starting to bubble over into my actions. I was short with people and I was crying uncontrollably. I felt embarrassed but free. I knew that these people doing life with me would see a side of me I was afraid of showing to people that hadn’t been in my life for an extended period of time. But I couldn’t care anymore. I decided to take a risk and be vulnerable and see how they responded.

And to my freaking surprise they still loved me!

And not only that, they complemented me! They asked me what I needed, they encouraged me, and they loved me through it. And not just once, but repetitively. I was UNDONE. This was not a way of life that I was familiar with! But I knew I could never turn back.

I’m coming up on a year since that trip and as I reflect I see that my journey of accepting myself and being vulnerably me, has not been a fun or pretty journey. I have hid, I have made some of the most painful mistakes I’ve ever made this past year and I’ve been the most myself I’ve ever been in my whole life. I’ve never been as open with those close to me quiet like I have in this past year. I’m loving who Destiny is more than I thought possible and I know there’s only so much more!

You see, perfectionism tells you that until you do everything right, you aren’t enough. But a life of freedom looks like vulnerability. It looks like showing the world who you truly are and not wavering in the truth that,

you are enough. No questions asked.

A life of freedom consists of making mistakes and allowing the people who are close to you into them because you do not deserve to be alone during it. A life of freedom looks like you being confident in what you enjoy doing and wearing. A life of freedom looks like creating without comparison.

Being vulnerably you will set you free from perfectionism or performance. There’s nothing quiet like when you allow yourself to be who you’ve always been in the inside. And I promise dear friends, there are people who are dying to love you as you. All your unique characteristics, all the things you’ve thought were too much, all of the parts of you that you thought weren’t enough, they are worthy of love. Because we all have them, let’s be honest. None of us have it all together. But none of us have to pretend like we do anymore. I’m starting to see that the people I admire the most are people who are unashamedly them. Unwavering to the opinions of others, they stand tall in who they are and they let themselves show. This is strength. This is vulnerability. Vulnerability is strength. And this is who I want to be. I am deciding that I will no longer look at people on social media, the models on tv or Pinterest, or even the people around me and think “I wish I were like them”, but instead I will say

“I’m thankful that I am ME. Because no one can be ME.”

So dear ones, will you join me in living a life of being vulnerably us? Will you join me in leaving perfectionism and comparison behind?? Let us celebrate who we are and what we create and what we do well, because we were always designed to do it the way only we can do it.

Xoxo

Destiny Story

#MoreSelfLove

A New Day

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For now, I want my main posting day to be Wednesdays. My thought behind this is that I feel like Wednesday’s could use some more lovin’ and because it seems like everyone needs a pick-me-up on Wednesdays.  But, the idea of being confined to just posting once a week sounds far too restrictive. So, be prepared for weekly Wednesday posts but also, some weeks you might get a little extra lucky and hear from me twice in one week.

I am sure most of you, if not all, have seen the wave of responses to Oprah Winfrey’s 2018 Golden Globe speech or the #TimesUp hashtags. (Warning: this post is about that, too!) She became the first African American woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Award. During her acceptance speech she mentioned racial injustice, freedom of speech, sexual harassment, and the women that have fought for their lives & rights. I have listened to Oprah’s speech multiple times and each time I am moved to tears. Her eloquent, yet simple, word choices mixed with the depth within her voice expresses the intensity of her messages. (Does anyone else want Oprah to read them bedtime stories?! or is that just me….)

I do not know what it is like to be an African American, or to experience such an impactful moment for my race, but I can recognize this as one of those moments. I am moved by the honor it is to witness one of these moments.

More than this being a speech that has racial impact, this speech (and the attire color of the Golden Globes) has major gender equality impact. Everyone in attendance decided to wear black to support the #TimesUp hashtag. The black attire was to draw attention to the gender inequality and sexism that this world is, and has, experienced.

I recognize that I haven’t given either of these topics (race, or gender equality) the time they deserved. I don’t mention these deep topics to make light of them,  but to shine light on what was talked about. But also, I want to point out the fact that I am a privileged white woman. I know that because of that fact I can never know the experiences of someone that is not like me.

But, I can recognize when I see a moment that changes the course of history.

This speech created a wave that will, hopefully, change the current way of doing things. I cannot listen to this speech without feeling the impact of the women, people, and leaders that have walked before me. I cannot listen to this speech without feeling a change within my own heart. I cannot listen to this speech without an overwhelming sense of pride in being a woman.

Oprah said that “a new day is on the horizon” and I am deciding to walk within that new day. I am believing for racial equality. I am believing for gender equality. I am believing for a better tomorrow. So, I urge you to rise up and walk within the light of this new day.

This post isn’t my commentary on the topics she mentioned, but it is my response to this wave and new day. I could not let this moment pass without responding. I refuse to look back at this moment and have not responded.

Have you watched her speech? How are you going to respond to this moment? Let me know in the comments!

XO

M

History

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I have spent my life bound within the prison of this body. Trapped tightly by each layer of my skin. My internal reality cloaked in darkness, despair, and disdain. I felt fire in my toes, highlighting the truths I clung to: you’re unwanted, you can’t do it, you’re ugly, you’re too fat. Everyday I experienced the burns from my lies. The pain I felt was all I had known and all I expected to ever know.

I was born & raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was a blessed little girl. I had parents that really believed in my dreams. They allowed me to chase after them, regardless of how odd they seemed. At 8 years old I was convinced I wanted to be a missionary. I dreamt of living in dung huts and being covered in babies that needed love. I chased after that dream for quite a while; it took me all over the world. I went to Mexico multiple times, South Africa, Tanzania, and Brazil. Missions, serving people, and loving on those that seemed to need it most was the only thing that I really knew I was good at. It was the only thing that made me feel slightly important.

Of course, I had moments that told me something beyond my common reality. I sometimes had fleeting thoughts of being a nice person, of being a kind woman. But, those thoughts never stayed very present. I was more satisfied by the pain inside. Instead, I could rely on my consistency to buckle under the pressure of my inner demons. Those demons hung around, day by day, moment by moment. I was never alone.

As a little girl I held onto my baby weight. I was always a little rounder in the face and stomach than a lot of the petite people in my life. At a very young age I became aware of my body and understood the societal truth that my weight mattersI have control over my weight. There are stories and memories of me lost under the pressure to be skinny. I don’t know when or how I decided that I was too fat and that I didn’t matter but I believed these things to the core of my being.

I was branded by the weight I owned. My own body had betrayed me. It believed the lies, too. Marks of stretching across my stomach, chest, and thighs. I couldn’t escape these chains.

Church was my sanctuary. Hearing of a loving God, one that believed in me and sacrificed for me, it showed me that there had to be something within me worthy. I couldn’t deny the powerful things I had seen from Him.

Battle scarred and doubtful, I discovered hope.

Those two things shaped me into the woman I am today: love & self-hate. I knew love existed and I knew that it was a ferocious force that deserved to be pursued. I knew that love existed because of my moms relentless acceptance of me. I knew love existed because of the sacrifice I had seen from sweet Jesus. I, also, knew that my personal life was laced with self-inflicted internal pain. This pain did not come from parents that did not love me, or a violator taking advantage of me, it was something I simply picked up along the way. At some point in high school I decided to forego the traditional paths after high school and instead, my life’s mission would be to pursue all of the love this world had to offer until I experienced it within my inner prison. With adventure in my heart (and a mission to replace this self-hate) I moved across the country to Northern California. I attended a school that centered around the truth of a loving God and I began to face my beloved demons.

I seemed to have found a key. A skeleton key that might possibly unlock me from my misery. With cold, deprived hands I fumbled at the locks that had become my chosen royal garments.

For the next three years I spent my time captivated by the possibility of love. I explored the ins and outs, the ups and downs. I experienced heart break and I experienced self-love for the first time.

With the bravery of the stars, I began to look at my body without those judgmental eyes. I saw the thankful things that existed too. I began to cultivate the garden of happy, of thankful, and beauty. What if all I had known had been a perfectly crafted lie? What if I didn’t deserve darkness, but was actually made for the light?

Now, I work at the school that saved me & showed me the truth about myself and the truth that I, too, deserve love. Regardless of what I have done, what I will do, or how much I weigh… I deserve to be loved. My mission is to deliver those keys to the world, to others like me. I am determined to show the world that our bodies and selves deserve love. I haven’t completely overcome it all, sometimes I still find myself stuck in my cage, but I now know that I deserve to live in freedomlove.

Have you ever struggled with self-hate? What is your greatest self battle? Comment below & lets get the conversation started about the struggles of being a human.

XO,

M