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

Y E S .

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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

Rise Up

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This is for the ones that are struggling,

the ones that need support.

This is for the ones that are having a hard time.

This is for the ones in battle,

the ones that need someone.

This is for the weak.

This is for the broken.

This is for the sad…

you

are

worth

more

You are more than the things that you are facing.

You are more than the scabs and scars found upon your arms.

You are more than the weapons in your hands.

You are more than the thorns around your ankles.

You are more than the weakness of your knees and your bloody knuckles.

You are more than the dark nights of lonely tears.

I am here to tell you that YOU ARE MORE.

This is your call to action.

This is your sign that you deserve more.

If you are settling for anything that doesn’t push you to your greatness or

if you are content eating the crumbs of life.

If you are surrounded by poison or

trapped by societal expectation.

If you are held down by fear.

If you are held captive by insecurity…

say “No.”

Say “no” to the things that are holding you down.

Say “no” to the people that are critiquing you.

Say “no” to the people and places that are feeding you crumbs.

Say “no” to fear, insecurity, anxiety, and comparison.

And say “yes”to your magic.

Say “yes” to your inner power and capability.

Say “yes” to the greater things

Say “yes” to a better tomorrow.

Say “yes” to more laughter.

Say “yes” to fullness.

I do not care what it is that you are facing or what your reasoning for living less than, it is a lie.

It is a lie that you cannot overcome everything that gets in your way.

Imagine the possibilities if you would only believe in your inner power and capabilities.

Imagine if you took responsibility of your life and fought for the deep desires inside your heart.

So, Rise up.

Make life the way you want it.

Embrace every pain.

Love every curve.

Kiss every day.

Be brave.

Stand tall.

Buy the dress.

Eat the cupcake.

Sing louder.

Speak your truth.

Rise up.

Missed Opportunities

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Hello Lovely Humans,

I want to start by saying thank you for reading this post (& for checking out my blog!) It is such an honor to have each view, like, and comment I get. MarandaTaylor is a dream come true.

I have mentioned it before and will mention it again (somehow it comes out within each blog post I have)…the topic of

Self-Love.

Self-love is a subject that has many opposing views. Ultimately, to me, self-love is the intentional act of accepting oneself, fighting for one’s desires, and expressing love towards oneself. Self-love is not thinking that you are better than everyone else, but it is treating yourself with the same kindness you treat others with. Self-love is being gentle, gracious, and forgiving towards your being, actions, and body. Self-love is brave. Self-love is wild. Self-love is complicated.

Self-love has become one of my all time favorite topics. I believe that self-love is a journey, one we never arrive to a destination with. We are always learning new ways to love ourselves. And we are always presented with new opportunities to practice our new ways of self-love.

Now, I know that society hasn’t easily accepted self-love as a common practice, despite the strong efforts of men & women that are fighting to create a culture of self-love. Growing up, I didn’t know anything about self-love. I did not realize it ought to be a priority in everyone’s life. I never heard that my self deserved love.

If that is you, this is me telling you that your self deserves love.

Because society isn’t sharing about self-love enough…I want to. I want to share everything I learn about self-love and I want to constantly encourage those around me to love bigger and accept more.

Recently, I have been recognizing that there are so many opportunities for me to practice my self-love. Everyday I wake up and I get a chance to love myself more. But recently, I have been settling for convenience more than I have been choosing love. I choose convenience in my actions and choices. (For example, it is convenient to get some greasy food to-go as opposed to cook something healthy at home. Or it is convenient to not make my bed as opposed to take the time to create a clean atmosphere of a made bed.) I became convicted at the opportunities that I was missing.

I don’t want to look back on my life and see missed opportunities. So, I have been challenging myself to embrace the moments that each day has. This means infiltrating my life with things that make me feel loved. I want to decorate my life with things that bring me joy.

Have you ever spent quiet time with yourself to really discover what brings you joy? Have you ever spent time to ask your heart, what makes you feel alive? Well, I did that this past weekend and these are a few of the things that I have come up with…

a fridge full of fresh food,

essential oils diffusing through out my house,

sleep at a decent time,

long phone calls with old friends,

baths with a good book,

a clean and tidy home,

fresh flowers,

open windows at any chance I can get (in my house, my car, my office),

tween fiction novels,

face-timing my nieces,

slowing down for sunshine,

and journaling anything and everything that happens in my life.

 

Now, it might not seem like much but as I have been pressing in to this list of things that I love, I have been enjoying my days in a more fuller way. At the end of the day, I couldn’t tell you why I have had such good days but I think it is for pressing in to these things. I believe that it is these simple acts that elevate our lives from mundane to sensational. I believe that our lives can be full of vibrancy, but we have to actively choose that.

This topic of self-love is a big one, but it does not have to be overwhelming. Each day, you can practically love yourself. What is unique to you? More than just answering the question “how do you practice self-love?” I want you to feel inspired to put action behind your list of joy things.

It is people like y o u  &  m e that will create a society, a culture, of more love. So, start with yourself…you are stuck with you forever, anyways (;

Let me know in the comments what you did to spread more love today! (PS: Make sure you subscribe to my blog!)

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

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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

#BodyLove

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Happy February! The month of love! This month I have challenged myself to be a bit more active in my relationship with myself. I want to be more intentional about the love I am extending to me.

To start this month off, I wanted to write about the power of loving your body (yiiikes).

#BodyLove

As someone that has struggled with body image issues my entire life, I know that some of you will not want to read this post. I wouldn’t have, but I promise it is worth it! No Shame Allowed.

Why should we pursue a positive attitude towards our bodies?

Our relationship with our bodies affect everything. It affects our quality of life, our confidence, our perception of the world, our adventures, and our relationships. It affects our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Our bodies are a representation of ourselves. Our bodies are the first thing we share with the world. Our bodies is what takes up space in this world (a space that each of us deeply deserve).

The beauty standards of our society (at least in America) are impossible. Did you hear that? I M P O S S I B L E. Jes Baker, in her book Things No One Tells Fat Girls, states that for 95% of women it is completely impossible for their bodies to achieve the current beauty standard of America. In order for a man to achieve the current beauty standard of America, that man would have to dedicate his entire day, everyday, to achieve that body. To me, these statements make the beauty standard null and void (but does not diminish the pressure to achieve those standards).

Lastly, if we added more acceptance, more love, and more positive attitudes towards our bodies, we would change the world. The world is filled with comparison, anger, anxiety, and filled with people that believe they are worthless. If we all began to accept our bodies, allowing ourselves to take up space in this world, we would fill the world with more life. The world would become a fuller and more beautiful place.

How do we pursue a positive attitude towards our bodies?

I think it begins by making the powerful choice to fight. You must decide to face the monster of body-hate and instead, actively pursue more acceptance and more love towards your body.

After you’ve made the brave choice to fight, you have to be gracious to yourself. For me, I have about eighteen years of bad habits towards my body…I need to recognize that I won’t solve those in a day or two. It I going to take time. It takes time to change those patterns. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days. I have bad body days and so does the next body positive advocate. So, be kind to yourself and recognize that body-love is not just a switch of a flip…but taking a step forward each day.

I think the act of body-love looks like acceptance. It looks like you stop fighting against your body and instead fight for your body. Instead of hiding who you are, boldly share who you are with the world and yourself. Acceptance is a journey, but each day you are presented with small opportunities to accept your body.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, flood your life with truth. This looks like being educated on topics about bodies, and specifically your body. This looks like surrounding yourself with people that are fighting this battle for body acceptance, too. This looks like drowning your thoughts and talk with truths. This looks like declarations (declaring what you want, higher truths, and positive things). I read this book once, Love Yourself: Like your Life Depends on it by Kamal Ravikant, about a man that hated his life and wanted to die. After spending one month consistently telling himself “I love myself” his perspective about himself and life completely changed. ONE MONTH. Declarations change things!

Body love isn’t an easy thing to talk about, face, or pursue. But, as a woman that has fought hard for the love she has towards her body…it is  w o r t h  it! If you are just beginning to give your body the attention and love it deserves, don’t worry! You aren’t alone and welcome to the #BodyLove club!

I want to leave you with this quote from Jes Baker (from her book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls)…

“We build our lives around the belief that we are undeserving of attention, love, and amazing opportunities, when in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.”

To all you lovely men and women, YOU deserve some body love, too! I would LOVE to continue this conversation down below. Leave your comments, questions below. Also, tell me how you are loving your body boldly today!

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