Finding the Real MK

The best friends a girl could have. #beyondblessed

The best friends a girl could have. #beyondblessed

As I was setting up my new room I came across some old photos of myself and by old photos I mean ones taken nearly a year ago. I took a moment and I starred at the girl in the photo and I didn’t recognize her. Sure she looked healthy. She looked happy. She was beautiful. She looked like me, but was she really me? I knew within an instant that she wasn’t…

One of the most important aspects of my recovery has been discovering who MK is. What does MK like? What does she dislike? What is she about? What does she want for her life? However, at the point I was at in my recovery a year ago I wasn’t strong enough to stick to many of those things. I wasn’t ready to be me…I still wanted to be the people-pleaser I was during my time with Ed. So I became someone I wasn’t. It was no one’s fault but my own. I caved to the pressures around me because it was easier to say and do things that others liked and wanted me to do than to be me.

However, this MK, a year later is different. She is stronger in her recovery and she knows what she stands for and what she doesn’t. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have bad days but she is able to talk about them and be open with the mess. She has learned who she is and who she is not. For me the refusal to people please at the expense of my own self worth is still one of the hardest parts about recovery. On some days I do better than others but I know what choosing to view others ideas and standards above my own, does to me. So for my own sake, I came up with a list of certain truths I cling to and certain ones I don’t, that way if I was ever uncertain about my decisions I could come back and remember who I am at the core.

  • I cling to the gospel of grace. That is what directs my life.
  • I strive to live a life filled with grace not striving for perfection.
  • I share my mess (even when it is hard).
  • I protect myself and don’t put myself in situations that are harmful to my recovery.
  • I take care of myself  and rest, even if it means not hanging out with friends every night.
  • I express my emotions and feelings. This means, I allow myself to cry when I need to and laugh when I want.
  • I am honest about where I am at on my journey and my recovery with others and myself.
  • I ask for help when I need it and I am not ashamed of asking for help.
  • I don’t say yes to everything. In other words, I don’t over commit and wear myself out.
  • I allow myself to mess up and make mistakes. Sometimes my failure brings out my greatest strengths.

Just like MK a year ago wanted to cave to who she thought everyone wants her to be, MK today does that as well. And the other day, as i sat across the table from two of my very best friends and shared my heart I had to remember this list. I had to remember that they were my home team. I had to remember the real messy MK was who they loved and because of that they wanted to keep me accountable in my recovery. Sometimes it is harder than others to remember and stay true to this list. I grew up the girl with the smile plastered to her face, the one with no real problems, the dream child, dream student, perfect youth group attendee. That’s a lot of pressure for a kid and even now an adult. I don’t want to have it all together and frankly most of the time I don’t.

If you took a look at my real life you would find out that despite my immaculate room, my closet is a mess, My hair most days needs to be washed, I hate ironing and so my clothes are most likely a little wrinkly. If I could I would live in over sized shirts and yoga pants. I love parties but I hate nightlife and crowded hangouts. I am incredibly nerdy and don’t know near enough about pop culture to hold a conversation.  I hate goodbyes and they tear me apart longer than they should. I love (capital love) cheesy ABC Family dramas and could watch them for hours. Some days I spend way too much time deciding if a piece of jewelry goes with an outfit and as a result I do my hair and makeup in ten minutes combined.  I am addicted to Diet Coke and drink way more than I should. And honestly, some days are just harder than others when I look in the mirror. The people who love me for who I am know all these things just like my two best friends who sat across the table from me. They could tell you the items of my list without knowing about it because they know who I am at the core.  Even more, they embrace this MK and they love her for her broken, messy, energetic, and sometimes crazy self. Many of those things about my real life are things I am scared to share when I am most vulnerable because they make me the quirky messy person I am. However, as I looked back at those photos from a year ago I realized I would rather be this real version of myself than try to please all those people around me… I would rather be myself than lose part of myself…

I don’t know if that resonates with you my friend. Maybe you like me spend too much time caring about what others think of you, and you end up losing part of your self. I want you instead of focusing on how to please others, think about focusing on who you really are at the core. I can promise you my friend, people pleasing only leads to heartache and losing yourself. So this week forget what other people think and learn about yourself and what you are all about. Something tells me you are pretty amazing and I hoping this week you realize that too! And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK

What’s Inside Your Heart

“What you do shows what’s inside your heart”-Nicholas

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Six years. That is how long we’ve had together. One week. That is the time we have left. As I sit here and begin to tell you about someone who means the world to me, tears are beginning to cascade down my face. These are happy tears. They are filled with joy for the time we have spent together and the memories shared. They are filled with hope for the future and all that will happen in both of our lives. And they are filled with a full heart for all he has taught me in the last six years. However, I would be lying if I said the tears were not mixed with a hint of sadness because selfishly I don’t want him to go. You see in one week we won’t live five minutes from each other, we won’t be in the same time zone let alone the same country. Communication will be a mix of face timing, texts,  and fb messages scattered in with some phone calls. And while it will be more difficult than I could imagine, it will be worth it. He is going to make a difference wherever he goes and I have the joy and the privilege of saying always, that’s my big brother…

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If you know me than you know about Nicholas. You know what a huge part of my life he is. And if you don’t then let me clear up some misconceptions for you. We are family, we are brother and sister. He is my big bro and I am his little sis. Not by blood, not by formal adoption, but by heart. And let me tell you I am willing to take down anyone who tries to tell me differently. 😉  It didn’t happen overnight but through the years he has become my big brother, my protector, my adviser, my advocate, my partner in crime and my best friend. It is no crazy accident how we became friends, in fact if you know the story you are laughing at how our friendship began. I could sit here and tell you about the lock in where we became real friends, or the family bonding, and meals that made us siblings but this post isn’t about that. It is about Nicholas.

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Some people radiate and you can’t help but notice them and if you have ever met Nicholas you know this true of him. From his smile, to his charisma , to his humor and intelligence he shines. His story is one of perseverance, love, and truly miracles. You could never imagine how much this guy has gone through to bring him to where he is today but that is the most amazing part about him is if you met him you would assume he has had the best life imaginable to bring him where he is. That is the most precious part about him, he his humbly grateful no matter where life takes him. The quote I used to begin this post,  is one that Nicholas said to me many years ago and it hangs painted on a canvas in my room as a reminder that all I do shows what my heart is about. Nicholas lives out this statement in every aspect of his life. He lives to help and serve others. He has wisdom that most adults never have. He has a child like spirit that literally is bouncing off the wall at times. He has a heart that loves others with more passion than I have ever seen. And if you have one conversation with him, you know this because his heart evidently shines through.

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Truth is I have great friends and a wonderful family but Nicholas and his family are one of the best gifts I have ever received. When I look back on the last six years of my life I could not have made it through without them. His family (which there will be a later post on) and him have been my rock on many of the hardest days I have ever faced. Nicholas and I may have gone to separate colleges and lived apart for most of our friendship  but it didn’t matter. We have shared more long talks, skype times, meals, heartbreak, Disney movies and laughter than I could ever count. I have never met anyone who would come home from a six week trip and sleep on an air mattress for weeks because his little sis had occupied his entire room. I have never met anyone who will sit up with me for hours baking cookies and practicing my song for a wedding the next day. He is the person after heartbreak, after bad Ed days, after fights, who never ceased to pick up his phone when I desperately called. And even more after I walked away from each conversation I felt uplifted. He has a gift of turning any situation into a joyous one and a gift for encouragement that exceeds any I have ever seen. He has counseled me over more problems than he would have liked, shared more friends with me than he thought he ever would, and let me talk for more hours than he was ready for. And all those things make up why we have become family, why we have become siblings.

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Through Nicholas I have learned that family isn’t made through blood and it isn’t made by having the same name. It is made when you hold each others hands when your world is falling apart. It is when you celebrate the joy of triumph. It is when you cry on each others shoulders. It is made when you clean out closets and run errands together. It is made in the big moments and the little moments. It is made in the in the midst of the darkest days and brightest tomorrows. Family is made when you share all of life deeply and intimately together, when you face it together as one, when you make the promise to be there for one another no matter how many miles separate you, and when you know deep in your heart that you share a bond that can never be broken. That is family.

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They say people come into your life and when they leave they leave footprints on your heart. Nicholas hasn’t left footprints he has left a piece of himself in my heart. He has changed my life for good and he has no idea how much he has done so. I am not the same person I was six years ago and so much of that is due to him. So if you know him, if you are a part of our family, thank you for sharing your Nicholas with me always. If you don’t know him you are missing out on one of the best guys on the planet. I have learned more about life, love, truth, and joy from this guy and thank you will never be enough. So as tears fall down my face my heart is full for all the memories we have together. Every time I look at my bracelet, wear one of his necklaces, write in my journal, look at my canvas, watch a disney movie, I will remember that, “What you do shows what is inside your heart.” and I will always  remember my Nicholas. The truth is I couldn’t be more beyond blessed with him because he is one in a million!

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Love you always and forever Nicholas,

❤ Your Marta

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The Waiting Room

ccd762b46f925365194d2ca50014eb3a“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized… And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin… That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.”

When I was young, summer was my favorite time of year. Summer meant the pool, no homework, sleeping in, snow cones, and hanging out with friends. It was the best of times. It also meant another thing; it meant waiting rooms.I grew up with many precious elderly people in my life.  As precious as they may have been, I learned quickly the more elderly they were the more time we spent in the doctors office. And so many of my summer days were spent in the waiting rooms of various doctors offices. And it was in those waiting rooms that I learned the biggest lessons.

Each time we headed out for the doctor’s office. I would bring my piled up bag with enough books to last several days, my personal CD player with tons of CDs, my journal and fifteen different colored gel pens. However, no amount of fun items could make up for the waiting. It was during the time in the waiting room that I learned really how terrible at “waiting” I am. And even more as I reflect back to my time in the waiting room I recognize that I spend much of my life simply waiting, instead of living…

I remember being a freshman in high school. I was desperately in love with a real live movie star friend three years older than me. I thought life would be so much more bearable if he would just ask me to be his girlfriend. So I sat by the phone and waited every night for a call, sometimes it came and sometimes it didn’t but I waited. I waited and I missed out on opportunities to get to know other guys because I was so focused on the waiting.

Fast forward three years later and I knew my life would be perfect if I just got into TCU. So I sat and I waited. Nothing in life seemed as important as that, so I never entertained the idea of another school and frankly didn’t want to hear about my friends school choices because I was too focused on my waiting. And when I was accepted it became about waiting on the the right dorm, the right classes, the right friends…so I waited more and I missed out on some great friends and classes because I couldn’t stand the waiting.

In college, I had dreams of becoming a phenomenal District Attorney. So I waited hoping that my dream would one day be a realization. I was so enthralled with my waiting that I missed out on clear signs that attorney life was not for me. After I realized my attorney dreams were not for me, I began to plan my non profit dreams, waiting to one day be ready for them and instead missed out on helping with other amazing non profits because I was waiting on my own to happen. And what I have found in all my waiting is that I let my life pass me by. I don’t live it and I miss out.

So much about this season of life has been about transition for me. Transition out of a college safety net. Transition into new jobs. Transition into having family move. Transition out of  serious relationships. Transition in friendships. Transitions in living situations. And  as I sit here in the midst of transition, it is so easy for me to wait. It is so easy and safe to sit and wait for the ministry I want to do a year from now in RUF. It is so easy to sit and wait for Prince Charming to come sweep me off my feet. It is easy to sit and wait for the life that I want to happen to unfold around me. However, the waiting doesn’t do me any good. The waiting tells me it’s okay to sit around and not live my life but to merely wish it away, to wish for my big moment and to forget what life is happening around me.

When I sit around and wait I don’t enjoy my life. Just like the ten year old sitting in the waiting room hoping that any minute it will be time to go and soon she will see her family burst through the doors, I have sat and waited for my big moments to happen. And when they don’t I am disappointed. I am unenthusiastic about life because I know that something better might be around the corner. And when they do they are wonderful but they eventually end and life goes back to normal pace. I don’t like that idea that I am just waiting for bigger, better, moments than what is happening right now. So I made a decision to stop waiting and start living. Because living and living life to the fullest is what I am about, not waiting for life to pass me by. I cannot change my age or my position in life but I can change my attitude towards my life and I can start living each day instead of waiting for tomorrow for everything to fall into place. I can work hard, I can love others, I can show grace, I can have faith and I can live each precious moment of this life given to me to the fullest.

Friend, maybe you are a young twenty year old waiting for your life to begin, maybe you are teenager waiting for that boy to ask you out, maybe you are waiting for that girl to say yes to your date, maybe you are a young mom waiting for her kids to just get over this difficult period, maybe you are a middle aged adult waiting for this job you have hated for so many years to end. So like me your story is one of waiting. Just like sitting in a stark and and pale waiting room, you are sitting and waiting for your life to be what you want it to be. Friend, this waiting is frustrating and difficult and in the end you miss out on your life because you are waiting for a better life to happen. Don’t get me wrong I want you to have the biggest and brightest dreams but in the midst of the dreams I want you to stop waiting for the big moments to happen and for everything to fall into place. I want you to start living each and every little moment of this precious life you were given and not waste it. So this week will you do me a favor? Will you stop living life in the waiting room and start living it to the fullest? And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

What Family Is

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“This is what I know: we want to live in connected, honest community. We were created for relationship. We long to be invited into the vulnerable, family spaces in one another’s lives. But as desperately as we want this, at the same time we hate the idea of people seeing the mess in our own lives, both literally and figuratively.
Bad news, though: the system is rigged. If you only let people see the perfect parts of your life, you’ll never experience those transforming, extraordinary moments of friendship that we’re longing for, that we’ve been created for.”

I have rewritten and rewritten this post so many times my fingers are starting to hurt. I haven’t gotten past the introduction and I think it’s because I am afraid that if I do than the waterworks might start. I might have to be not only real, which includes being sad and a little heartbroken, but also overjoyed. How do you put into words when someone changes your life completely? How do you tell the story of a family that changed your life? How do you tell the story of people who mean the world to you? How do you not say goodbye and only see you soon?

We met over a year and half ago and within that time my life changed. I have never met a family that did real so well, that lived grace, that gave love unbounded. When we met I wasn’t ready to be real. I wasn’t ready to be honest and I certainly wasn’t ready to take off my mask. However, it didn’t take long because I found a family with these amazing people. I suddenly realized that I didn’t have to be perfect around them. They let me into the real messy, vulnerable, and honest, parts of their lives and because of that I let them into mine too. It is true what the quote above says, when we let people into the realness of our lives that when is the celebration of extraordinary friendship occurs, and that is what happened with us. We celebrated more than just birthdays and anniversaries we celebrated bravery, and realness. We celebrated disappointment and heartache because we knew it had a bigger plan in our lives and was temporary. Sometimes you meet people and you have no idea that they are about to change your lives. From the first time we met I knew this family was special. I saw the outward beauty in each of their faces but it wasn’t long before I saw the beauty in their hearts.

I have never been a real mom or aunt. I have never had more than one sibling. However, they let me have a small taste of it all. This year they let me try and they let me fail. I have learned what it means to have five more minutes of snuggle time because you can’t imagine putting them to bed just yet. I have learned what it means to say no because you have their best interest at heart. I have learned that nobody is going to die from a slightly burnt grilled cheese and sometimes even after the fourth time of rewriting the handwriting just doesn’t look better. I have learned that two desserts is just necessary on certain days. I have learned that some days call for multiple diet cokes. I have learned that in order to deal with problems that you have to be real with them. I have learned that there are people who get your struggles more than you ever imagined. I have learned more about different kinds of toys how much cooler they are then when I was little.  I have learned that building a fort is timeless and ageless. I have learned that sometimes Baby Einsteins is the only thing that works for a screaming child and that is okay! I have learned that we don’t get along perfectly everyday and some days are just hard. I have learned that we have to work at relationships. I have learned that a child’s intuition and wisdom is more brilliant and precious than any adults. I have learned what it means to love your family no matter what comes. I have learned that you say sorry when you don’t do things right. I have learned that prayer is essential and love should be freely given. I have learned that grace is vital. I have learned that none of us is perfect but that the mess can be beautiful.

I have watched three gorgeous kids grow up into the even bigger, wiser, and more faith filled individuals who inspire me daily. I have seen a mom and dad who love their kids more than anything and give more of that love and grace than I ever thought possible. I have gained a best friend who is like a sister and a big brother who would do anything to protect the people he loves. I gained another family, a family who welcomed me into the mess and all, who loved me despite me flaws, who told me it was okay to mess up, who celebrated over my victories big and small, who loved me when I was unlovable. There are no words to express the multitude of these gifts but I can say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I wouldn’t be where I am in my faith, in my recovery, in my journey without my family.

Today we don’t say goodbye but only see you soon. Hundreds of miles will separate our physical homes but not the love in our hearts. When you become family with someone you don’t ever lose that. We may not share the same DNA or blood types but there is no doubt that God made us family. A year and half ago I couldn’t have imagined what life would be with them and today I cannot imagine a day without them. So my family, for all the way you have loved me for all the ways you have shown me this love and grace, for all the tangible and intangible gifts you have given me, for the faith you have inspired me with, for all the joy and happiness you have filled my life with, thank you will never be enough. Never will I drink another diet coke, see Disney Princesses,  jump on a trampoline, eat mint chocolate chip ice cream or a greek salad, play on a kindle, watch baby e, and not think of you. For all the tangible ways in which you have forever changed my life I will be forever grateful but for the million plus intangible ways, for all the lessons, prayers, love and grace, my heart is forever linked with yours. You have changed my life for good. I will never be the same because of you! I am beyond blessed because of my beautiful family and I always will be! This is NOT goodbye…this is see you soon…this is lots of airplane trips, car rides, skype and facetime, this is tons of messages and phone calls, pictures sent, and mail received but this is NEVER goodbye. You hold a spot in my heart that no one could ever take. We may not be with each other everyday but we will always be at heart because we will be forever family… May you ALWAYS remember…

I LOVE YOU to the moon and back (times infinity!),

❤ Your MK

Fairy Tales And Messiness

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If you know me, than you know that I grew up loving fairy tales. I am a sucker for Prince Charming and a Happily Ever After. I get so swept up in the tales. From the time I was little, I longed for the fairy tale story that swept me away. I wanted the movie scene life where everything fell perfectly into place and the audience would weep with joy. That is what I wanted my life to be, a cheesy, romantic, everything is perfect in the end fairy tale and so when my life turned into anything other than that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it…and that is  I when stopped living…

I didn’t know what else to do, so instead of accepting my less than perfect life I kept waiting for my big  fairy tale moment to happen and slowly days and years went by and it didn’t happen and I was frustrated. Each time a big moment happened such as making dance team, dating the ridiculously cute older boy in high school, getting into TCU, dating the ridiculously cute frat boy…and so on I thought maybe my fairy tale was about to begin. Sense a pattern? I didn’t know how to deal with the realness of life, the messiness, the hurt, the frustration, the anger, the disappointment. Instead, I hid behind a really pretty mask and kept waiting for my prince charming to sweep me away and in the process I hid. Ed was really great at helping me hide and as early on as I can remember that’s what I did, instead of dealing with life I hid my true self as I waited for my fairy tale.

For over a decade I did it…I hid. I hid my loneliness, I hid my sadness, I hid my fear. Instead, Ed “helped” me deal with it. I used food as a method to control the chaotic world around me. I used it to comfort me, I used it to tell me that everything was okay, I used it to tell me that I was worthy. It failed me and so did Ed…they failed me miserably. And that fairy tale I was looking for didn’t happen. I was so lost, so broken, so unworthy feeling that I didn’t know what to do…and then I found grace and when I found grace or really when grace found me, my life changed…

My life still isn’t anything close to a fairy tale and I definitely haven’t found a Prince Charming that has swept me off my feet but even on my worst days, I am more than okay with that. I am even happy with it because grace changed my life. Grace taught me that I was loved despite my imperfections. Grace taught me that being real was okay and being a mess was beautiful and by living my life by grace that I didn’t have to measure up to the world’s standards because I was loved despite the flaws I tried so hard to conceal.

Sometimes it is still tough to want to be real and live a grace filled life. Because being real is hard! It means really feeling things in your life, the beautiful and the ugly. It sometimes hurts and it sometimes isn’t fun. However, let me say it so much easier than living behind a mask. Life is hard enough as it is and as a person who lived behind a mask for too many years, it takes a lot of work to pretend you have it all together, ALL THE TIME. Once I accepted the fact that I desperately needed grace like I needed air not because I am perfect but because I am perfectly imperfect, that is when life became easier.

When we open up, when we are real, when we show love, when we give grace, this is when we are allowing people to be the very best versions of themselves. When we are real with each other we are allowing people to be their messy beautiful selves. The other day I heard someone say that they wished people would stop talking about the messes in their lives. Honestly, friends I cannot imagine anything more horrific. When we stop talking about the messes in our lives we stop being real. Sure there is beauty in life, there is wonder, and those things make life spectacular but the fact is those are things that are easy to talk about. Beautiful things are comfortable to talk about and they certainly don’t require effort. I love hearing about beautiful things and I am sure you do too. But honestly, what I love more is hearing about the beauty in the midst of the mess. The mess doesn’t have to consume us and make us hate life but what it helps us to do is embrace the realness of life.

My whole purpose in this blog and in continuing to write and share my journey with you friends, is because I am daily leaving perfection and learning grace. There are so many times I sit down to write and want to have the perfect post, with the perfect story and then I stop myself. I will never even be close to a perfect writer and my story is anything but perfect but I continue to write. I write to share my story and to point to the grace that has changed my life and I write in hopes that you too dear friends, share your story. That your victories, your triumphs, your struggles, your messiness may be used to help others with their own stories. My story is one of billions but only I can tell my story and only you can tell yours but believe me yours is worth telling! I hope this week that you sit back, decide to be real, embrace the messiness and throw away the fairy tale, because life is so much more beautiful and messy than a fairy tale could ever tell. And this week as you decide to be brave and embrace the messiness, may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

 

Dear Ed…Closing a Chapter and Beginning a New Book

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“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.”

The last several weeks have been a whirlwind. From graduating college, to saying goodbyes to friends,  to starting new adventures, to friends getting married, if feels as if life is going at full speed and it is during those times that I feel the need to take a big deep breath and soak in all I have the potential to miss. I have never felt more loved or more celebrated than I have in the last several weeks, from a graduation party thrown by “The Moms”, to a precious family party, to time with my best friends, to many cards and presents, to sweet texts and phone messages, as I have said (many many times if you know me 🙂 ) before I really am one beyond blessed girl. It wasn’t until I was going through a memento box from the last four years that reality finally struck me. A chapter in my life was closing in so many ways. I ran across a letter I wrote in the early fall, shortly before I started this blog. It was a letter I wrote in the midst of recovery to Ed and when I wrote it I felt like I still had to struggle extremely hard be free. As I read the words in the letter the other day though, tears filled my eyes, because I realized  by the grace of God I was no longer the girl in the letter. I realized I had grown leaps and bounds in the last nine months and that Ed is no longer a part of my daily or even weekly life. Sure I have bad days and struggles like anyone else but I have reached a point in my recovery that there is so much freedom that is unbelievable. So even though I am so proud of myself for my college graduation in my book this is an even bigger deal. So as you read this letter I hope you know if you have been a part of my journey thank you, this is for you and for those of you out there struggling this is for you too. Nine months ago I didn’t think I would be where I am now and yet here I am, beginning a new part of my life after college. For the first time, I feel as if I am closing a chapter of an old book and starting a brand new one…

Dear Ed,

You have been a part of my life for too long now. I hate you. In fact, I despise you. I know that for the last twelve years we have been friends, we’ve been best friends but that is ending now. I don’t want you in my life. I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t want to hear your lies.

I know we have been close for a very long time now and leaving you behind is not going to be easy but it is going to be worth it. Everyday that I listen to you one less time, every time I take one more bite, every tiny step I take towards being free of you is a small battle won. I will celebrate these victories and I will be proud of myself for them. You have kept me in chains for too long and I AM going to break free.

I am making a commitment to not listen to you, to not obey you, to fight you and to win. I may make mistakes, I may fall, I may not win immediately but eventually I will. I will not let you use my mistakes and my slip ups against me. I will not let you get me down. I will give myself grace, I will remind myself of what my life will be with without you, I will step up instead of backing down.

I know I have said this before and I know that a year ago I made a commitment to beating you but I have been scared, no, I’ve been terrified. You made me believe that I couldn’t live life without you, that I wasn’t strong enough, that I would never beat you but for the first time in my life I believe I CAN and I WILL!

I will not let myself believe the constant lies you tell me, or all the doubt you fill my head with. I know as I recover your voice will be there, pretending to love me (when in reality you hate me). I WILL not count calories, eat or not eat for the sake of comfort, I WILL not skip meals, I WILL not use ANY KIND of supplements, meal replacements, or laxatives or medicines (to avoid eating or to get rid of food), I WILL not engage in behaviors that make your voice loud, I WILL not continue in behaviors that harm me and continue to bring me self-hatred and disappointment.

I will avoid and be aware of my triggers (talking about diet and exercise plans, looking at models or unhealthy people, obsessing and comparing myself to others, constant stress of perfection in school, and thinking I have to impress everyone I meet). I will instead remind myself that I am loved by a God who, “fearfully and wonderfully made me” just the way that He wanted me and that He believes I am beautiful no matter my looks. I will remind myself that Mary and the Kendall family, value my friendship and love and treasure me in their lives. I will remind myself that Mommy and Daddy, Sam, Anne, Davis, Nick, and Carter are grateful I am a part of their families. I will remind myself that I have countless, family, friends and wonderful best friends who believe I am worth fighting for and beating this. I will remind myself that my Anorexia does not define me and never will. I will remind myself that God has incredible plans for my life, which include loving and serving others, and bringing glory to His name, and none of them I can complete if I am not here.

ED, this is goodbye for good, you will no longer master my thoughts, my actions, my life. I am taking back the control and will keep it for the rest of my life. I am ending this friendship for the last time and will not be returning. I just wanted you to know in case you were in doubt that I DON’T love you and I DON’T want you to be a part of my life anymore. I will KEEP fighting EVEN when it gets hard, EVEN when I want to give up, EVEN when I feel like no more of me can fight, I will fight until I BEAT you and you are NO longer a part of my daily life!

Goodbye ED, we won’t be speaking anymore,

Martha Kate

To those of you who read that letter and walked this journey with me, thank you is an understatement. It is your hand-holding, prayers, love, and support and grace, that brought me through. I love you and always will. I could not have made it without you. To those of you reading this who are struggling with Ed or something else, there is freedom, there is hope, you CAN be set free. I want you to know that there was a point that I never thought it was possible but IT IS!! And to MK way to go girlfriend, you never backed down and you still don’t. I want you to know, I am proud of YOU!

Friends, you can make it through recovery, you can beat this. There is hope, there is grace and when you do find freedom, I want you to be so thankful for those who have helped you through, I want you to give back and help those struggling but I also want you to be sooo proud of yourself because no one can do this for you but YOU.  I don’t know about you but this girl is slamming the book closed on that chapter (never to be reread!) in her life and she is starting a brand new beautiful book full of grace, messiness, imperfection and beauty because that is what life is all about! My friend, I am thinking of you this week and hoping  that you may find the strength to fight whatever battle it is in your life and that you may find the hope to overcome it and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

❤ MK

The Dark Side of Busyness

“Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearls. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies. But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.”

I feel like I have barely taken a breath lately, as if my life is whizzing by and I barely have time to fall asleep at night before waking up and doing it all over again. One of my very best friends used to joke that I couldn’t even sit down and watch TV without multitasking. It seems as if these days if I take time to watch TV I am either trying to work on five different things or am thinking about all I need to do instead of watching TV. It is a constant battle for me to not just rust through my busyness and forget to live my life. Every moment of life is precious and in light of so much recently I am realizing just how precious it is…so I need to take a big deep breath sit back and enjoy the tiny moments, the everyday moments, the not so glamorous moments, and be grateful for them all… However, when I let busyness rule my life and don’t live it this is what happens…

Earlier this weekend I was on the phone with a dear friend. It took me several minutes in  the middle of our conversation to realize he had asked me a question and if I am being honest, I have no idea what our conversation was about. Not only, was I talking on the phone but I was also  filling out paperwork, looking up details needed on the computer and then I was still was trying to catch up with a dear friend. Sounds crazy-it was. The people in my life are so precious to me and I don’t want them to think I don’t care. Obviously I am imperfect and sometimes I don’t care for them well. However, I certainly don’t care for them well when my head is consumed with other details and I blatantly don’t focus on them…

Wednesday was my last RUF, with the people I love so much. All day I wanted to think about it, I wanted to dwell on my time with my community. I wanted to write them notes and reflect back. However, I crammed my day (and the days preceding) full so full that I missed breakfast with my best friend that morning because I slept through my alarm for the first time ever. I felt shaky all day because I was drinking too much caffeine just to stay energized. By the time I made it to RUF I was emotionally and physically exhausted…

This weekend I went shopping for the perfect graduation dress. I decided that in between babysitting, lunch plans, dinner plans and other things (within a thirty minute span) that I would try on dresses. I know myself and I know that sometimes shopping isn’t the best idea for me. If I am not in the right mood, am exhausted, if I am not in the right clothes it can go very poorly and poorly it went. I also know what styles I typically like and look good on but I was so consumed with all I had to do that I picked out dressed I would never wear and that I know wouldn’t look great on. I ended the shopping experience more frustrated and near tears. I heard Ed’s lies telling me how ugly and fat I was in the mirror. It was awful…

Looking at those three scenarios it is no wonder that I felt the way I did walking into and out of each. I know better than to do other things when I am on the phone with someone I care about. The other stuff was not crucial and it could wait. I know how much I love RUF and how important it is to me and once I walked in the door to my community my focus changed and I realized that I had to put all else aside. I know Ed lies to me when I am the most vulnerable, weak, exhausted, frustrated and preoccupied. I know that what he says are indeed lies and not to listen. But, when I am overwhelmed, I hear the voices because I am so consumed with getting everything else done around me and how I can’t, that I suddenly feel unworthy-hence Ed decides to step in and tell me what is wrong with me. Gratefully, I am far enough along in my recovery that I didn’t act on those feelings but they were there and I had to be conscious not to listen and take time to speak truth to myself.

The point is we all do it and I was reminded again this week how prone I am to seek glory from my busyness. The more busy I am the more important I feel and the more impact I feel I make. That couldn’t be further from the truth. When I my head is swarming with a million things, I don’t do any of them well or truly focus on those around me.  I have written before about the glorification of planning and it goes hand and hand with busyness. I think we all, myself included need a reminder to sit back and enjoy the moments of our life because they are passing all too quickly. And even more those of us who have struggled with Ed or other issues are so prone to the lies and the belief that we need those things when we are worn down. We have to be on guard not to step back into our old habits when life gets crazy. I am not immune to it and neither are you.

Even more, take a moment, take a deep breath and enjoy the life you are living even in the mundane moments. There is nothing great about busyness. It will all get done and I have to remind myself that indeed I don’t need to solve the world’s or my own problems in a day. When I look back at my week, my best moments were those where I was really present and where I was focused on the hear and now and was not consumed with where I was headed next or all I had to do. So my prayer this week is that I would sit back and enjoy more little, not exciting, everyday moments, moments that show me that indeed I am really living and that my friend is my prayer for you too. May you enjoy all the little moments this week, take a break from the busyness and be grateful for this life… and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!

<3MK

Here are some pics from when I was really enjoying the everyday moments of my life…So much happier and fulfilling…

Watching my brother play at a staff/kids bball game for Hope Farm the place he loves.

Watching my brother play at a staff/kids bball game for Hope Farm the place he loves.

My last RUF with my people (the seniors and Kelly our intern).

My last RUF with my people (the seniors and Kelly our intern).

Fro Yo, Diet Coke Jokes, and Selfies with one of my dear friends

Fro Yo, Diet Coke Jokes, and Selfies with one of my dear friends

Ministry Team with one of my favorites.

Ministry Team with one of my favorites.

Karaoke with some pretty ladies

Karaoke with some pretty ladies

Life that shall endless be

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Last night I was reminded of how truly blessed I am. Wednesday nights have been my favorite  for the past four years.  Each Wednesday night I walk through the doors and am greeted by a community of people who love me exactly as I am…flawed, messy, and in desperate need of grace. Four years ago, I walked through the doors and was scared because I knew no one in the room. However, I was greeted with warm smiles and people that enveloped me in and for the first time during college I felt at home. A peace washed over me like I had never felt before and I knew I had found the community I so longed to be a part of…and that community is RUF (Reformed University Fellowship)…

As I sat there last night it hit me that this was my last time to sit and hear my pastor preach as a student. I still have a few more large groups left. I still have a couple more ministry team meetings. I still have the Craw fish Boil. I still have Summer Conference…but then it ends. And that is where my heart breaks…my time as an RUF student has flown by and I can’t believe it. However, my heart is still filled with such overwhelming  joy because, yes technically my time as a part of the RUF ministry as a student ends, but my community within RUF doesn’t and it never will and for that I am grateful.

I have been involved in many ministries since I was young. They were all wonderful and I loved my time with each. However, there is something about this group, this community that changed my life. It was within this community that I learned that I was messy and broken and  that I was loved and given grace despite my messiness and brokenness. It was within this community that I took my mask off, that I became real. These were the people who loved me in spite of my flaws and poured into me when I needed it most.

I have been blessed many times with communities that I have been spent with a group of people. These communities were people I  came together with for worship and a lesson, who I had great bible studies with, who we planned events together, had parties together. However, many times I have found that this is where the community ended. We came together for church, bible study, and special events but often we didn’t do life together and this is exactly what I expected when I became a part of RUF. I expected to have a great once a week large group, a good bible study, and enjoy some fun events, be able to sing on the praise team, and then I would go back to my life and do it all again the next week. I was wrong.

What I found is RUF doesn’t live within the walls of the chapel or within the space of Wednesday night. The community of RUF is visible, late nights at Whataburger, during the Slurpee runs at 7-11, at early morning breakfast, during birthday and Christmas parties, in the midst of break ups and heartaches, at the pub, singing karaoke on a Saturday night,  and whenever and however we are together or sharing life. These are the people who have held my hands, who have dried my tears, who have reassured my fears, who have loved me when I felt unlovable, who have shown me grace, and who have always  pointed me back to the cross. They spoke truth when it was hard to hear and came to my rescue when they saw me in need. They have shown me more love and grace than I could have ever imagined and they have shown me what it means to be in true community.

Now let me spoil the secret for all of you people who are thinking that we are this group of church people who have our lives together, you see that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am going to speak for the community and say that we are ALL  messy, broken people, in desperate need of grace. We have messed up together, hurt each other, made dumb decisions, had to apologize, felt unlovable, had a multitude of struggles and suffered brokenness in many different ways. We in no way are perfect people we are a mess and we need each other. The sole reason that we have been able to love each other and show each other grace, despite our own flawed hearts is because, we have been shown a scandalous and truly amazing grace that none of us deserve. Because of this grace we were given we have tried to show that to others. We have spent time learning to live out this grace, to serve others, to love others, and even when we have screwed up we were shown grace. We believe in and serve a God who is bigger than us, bigger than our mistakes, bigger than our flaws, and bigger than RUF.

So here I sit a little sad because my time with a ministry I love is coming to an end but grateful that I have been given the opportunity to experience a community that keeps the main thing the main thing and even more joyful because this community lasts forever. These dear people are some of my best friends (but really they are :)) and while we may all be headed to different jobs, states, even countries and continents, we share a connection that can never be broken, and a faith and understanding of grace that transcends state, country and continent lines. If you are reading this and have been a part of this community of RUF, thank you will never be enough but I am going to say it anyway. Thank you for your love, your grace, your humor, your laughter, your realness, your brokenness. Thank you for embracing my ribbons and bows, my boy troubles, my Disney princess love, my love for Diet Coke and my constant use of the word best friend. Thank you for making me eat when I needed to, refusing to let me run when I couldn’t stop, for helping me eat ice cream and drink milkshakes, for introducing me to Wayne,  for coming to parties at GG’s, for praying for my family, for loving my friends, for listening to me sob, for listening to my uncontrollable laughter, for letting me lead worship, for encouraging me with smiles from the pews as I sing, for loving me when I was unlovable, for telling it like it is, for clinging to the gospel, for keeping the main thing the main thing and for always pointing me back to Jesus and His grace, love, and mercy.  Each and every one of you have changed me for good. The world we live in is all too broken and messy but you have made this side of heaven beautiful with the community that you have shown me (and I am not the only one). I am grateful for each of your friendships and my love for each of you is bigger than you can imagine. I am beyond blessed by each of you and you hold a piece of my heart that will be there forever. For many of us our time in RUF is ending but know that our love and friendship is not.

And what about those of you who are reading this and aren’t a part of a community like this? What if you didn’t know such community exists? My first thought is that if you are entering college or are already a college student find the RUF group on your campus! Seriously, DO IT! However, I know this is not reality for many of you. You may be past college age or not there for many years. The good news is that there are other communities like this out there, communities of people that are real, who cling to the gospel, and show love and grace despite their flaws; find those people.  You won’t be sorry you did…we all need a community this side of heaven to help bear in our burdens and love us well. I promise you they are out there. My friend, there is hope and it starts with unimaginable grace from a God who loves and chose you despite your messiness, He picked you. It is lived out by the community of people who are devoted to loving Him and showing this grace and love to others. Look for those people and if your interested in RUF… go check it out @ http://www.ruf.org. 🙂 And my friend, ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH  it,

<3MK

Status Updates, Tweets, and Instagram photos

The last few days I have been thinking quite a bit about social media. As I was on the internet earlier today I read a beautiful article by an author about what social media has become and how it affects us. Now before you think that I am going to tell you to deactivate your Facebook, shut down your Twitter, and stop Instagramming…I am not saying anything of the such. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about comparison and how we do it all the time with one another and I believe we do this oh so much with social media outlets. Since I have said from the beginning that I would be completely real here I wanted to do just that for you. I wanted to share posts and pictures from my social media sites and show you how they do not even begin to tell you the real story behind the actual post. Here they are:

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Facebook

This is one of my very favorite pictures. If we are friends on Facebook then you will recognize it as my cover photo. I love it for the realness that I know is behind this sweet photo but others don’t know that realness when they merely glance at it. It is a picture of my best friend/sister Mary and me. Mary is one of the most grace and love filled women I have ever met. She knows my mess completely and walks my journey with me everyday. She understands my struggles and loves me unconditionally. This picture doesn’t even begin to capture the beautiful real friendship that we have and always will. It doesn’t capture the amount of times I have laughed or wept with this precious lady. I get the privilege to spend almost everyday helping her with her precious three kiddos. Her three kids, husband, parents, and extended family have become like family to me. This picture is from Mary’s birthday in February. I love my friend to the moon and back and I loved celebrating her birthday with her. However, what this picture doesn’t tell you is it was the biggest effort to get dressed and make it to the party that day because my heart was so broken from the mess I was dealing with. I was overwhelmed and exhausted. The picture doesn’t tell you how as I left (shortly after this picture was taken) that I wept as I hugged Mary goodbye because I needed to take care of myself and wasn’t getting to spend as much time with her and her precious family that week. If you saw the picture and caption on Facebook you would have thought I had the best day ever and life was wonderful, pictures can be deceiving.

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Twitter

This was my status at the beginning of this semester. I love my school, I love the precious people I have met at this school. However, this status doesn’t begin to encompass all that has occurred to me the last four years. There are no words to describe how ready I am for schoolwork to end, but not to leave my precious friends or the community I have grown to love. It doesn’t describe the immense pain, struggle and heartache that have occurred the last four years or the joy I found through the pain. It doesn’t begin to tell you how much I have changed for the better. It makes it seem like I have had the most typical college experience ever.  My friend, this is not even close to the truth. However, Twitter doesn’t allow me that many characters to express all of that (not that I would have shared it anyway).

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Instagram

If you can read the tiny print and are thinking that my life in any way resembles the glam of JLo’s in the Wedding Planner, think again my friend. This photo captures the excitement before my first night on the job. However, it doesn’t tell you that I stood on my feet for ten hours. It doesn’t tell you that Wedding Coordination is hard work and involves being sweaty and moving heavy objects. It doesn’t tell you that we were a little frantic when the caterer hadn’t shown up twenty minutes before the wedding. It doesn’t tell you that my job is anything but glamorous. It also doesn’t tell you how I shed a couple tears before a sweet moment with the Bride before she walked down the aisle. It doesn’t tell you about the harder workers on staff, who turn everything to a magic setting. And it doesn’t tell you that I love my job. You see the picture doesn’t even touch all that my night encompassed.

You see my friends, pictures, tweets, status updates, they are deceiving. Most of the time they only portray a glamor shot or a highlight reel of our lives. They don’t show the mess behind the photo that was taken, they don’t show tears, they don’t show heartache. Because lets be real how many pictures would you look at if they just made you more and more sad with each shot? I do it too, I gloss over friends and acquaintances statuses and photos. And oftentimes as I look at the photos and status updates of, the ring on their finger, “the perfect family”, the gorgeous clothes, the extravagant trips, I become consumed with a longing to have those too. I become dissatisfied with my less than perfect, messy life. Then I remember…they are people too, people who get hurt, who get heartbroken, who have messes, who are broken, the pictures and statues are not an accurate portrayal of the entirety of their less than perfect lives.

I am not motioning for us to stop posting these photos or statuses. I think it is sweet to be able to share these moments with other people. However, some of my best moments are not on my social media outlets. They are shared with the people I love the most. They are my conversations with Mary in the midst of chaos, they are the snuggles with her precious kids, the laughing that occurs in my room when my parents and brother and I are all together, they are the dinners with inside jokes, the coffees with my best friends, the weekly lunches, the Wednesday nights with my RUF community, the secrets shared with the brothers, those are some of my favorite moments. You see we often get so wrapped up in this image that we portray to hundreds of people via the internet that we don’t connect with those who mean the most to us. I can tell you that during those moments mentioned above I wasn’t tweeting, instagramming, facebooking, I was enjoying the moments with the people who know the most about me and love me unconditionally. I think that social media can be great and I am grateful for the way it has helped me share my blog but I have to be careful not to get so caught up in sharing my “highlight reels” that I don’t forget to live my real true messy life. I hope this is a reminder to you friend that no matter how great your life is on Facebook we all live messy lives and it is only when we live in true community off these sights that we really get to share our real lives with others. May this be a reminder not to compare yourself with someone’s “highlight reel”  this week and may you take some time to live a life that you don’t have to post on the internet because your too busy enjoying it to think about posting anything…and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK

The Beauty of Recovery

This week I got to celebrate a week that I have never celebrated before…National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It is a week that up until a year ago I had no idea it existed and even last year I wasn’t ready to celebrate it. However, this year I was ready to put on my party hat and go.  You see my friend, that’s the beauty of recovery…

This week I have learned all about the beauty of recovery and I am so beyond blessed to be at this place in my recovery, to not only get to experience recovery everyday but also see the immense beauty in it. This past week I got an opportunity to be interviewed on the news. In my interview, I talked about how beautiful life can be and is, one you make the decision to recover. I’ve said it before but it is definitely not all roses and sunshine but it is so beautiful even in the midst of the mess. I can’t imagine sharing that view point a year ago but I was told that this year my eyes sparkled with the joy of recovery and I can’t imagine a better compliment. That is the beauty of recovery.

During this week, I also got to bring an amazing woman and dear friend to speak at TCU, Lori shared with nearly 5oo women about her journey with an eating disorder and her story of recovery. There is nothing more encouraging than seeing young women and men listening to how to recover and then making the decision to recover. Lori has a passion for helping other women and I am grateful to be able to work with her this semester and help other men and women who struggle with Ed. As I sat in the room Tuesday night and listened to Lori speak my eyes couldn’t help but fill with tears as I thought back to myself a year ago. I can’t count the amount of times I heard about eating disorders and sat there in denial, that it wasn’t me they were describing and that I didn’t need help. Yet, my life was collapsing around me and I could barely keep my head above water. However, Tuesday night I got to be the one who introduced Lori and I got to share part of my story. That is the the beauty of recovery.

Life truly has come full circle and I am amazed that a year later I am in the place that I am. It is nothing short of a miracle. This year I have learned that recovery is truly beautiful and there are so many things to be enjoyed in recovery. I can enjoy eating chocolate cake. I can enjoy getting dressed and going shopping. I can enjoy a meal out with friends. I can enjoy precious time with my friends and not be distracted. I can enjoy being vulnerable. I can enjoy being a mess at times because I don’t have it all together. I can enjoy my life to the fullest. I can enjoy sharing my story with others. That is the beauty of recovery.

There are so many things that recovery has taught me and once again I was reminded of this during my week of celebration. I used to never be able to deal with a change of plans, a surprise, or the unknown. None of these mixed well with my desire for control. This week I feel like my life has been filled with the unexpected surprises, twists, turns, blessings and more. And now all I do is laugh and say I should have figured:)  Not having to have my life, my week, or my day planned/or turn out how I thought it would, that is the beauty of recovery.

My life is full and I am grateful for this journey that I started on two years ago. It makes life amazingl, messy, fun, joyful, and a little crazy at times but sooo beautiful! So my friend I hope if you are reading this you know that this can happen for you too. Next year during this special week I hope you will be celebrating with me and soaking in all the beauty that is recovery…and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK