When Perfection Destroys

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At barely two I looked into the mirror, about to take a photo with my family and new baby brother and I starred back at my reflection. In the video that records this scene, you can hear my mother telling me to come on. I refuse to come take the picture and there I sit in front of the mirror and announce to myself and my family around me, “My hair don’t look pretty”.

Now some may think that little two year old girl was precious for saying that but honestly I think even at two that statement was a huge indicator of my personality. For whatever reason, I “knew” that I couldn’t take a picture because my hair didn’t look, “pretty”…it had to be perfect. And that is how I lived the first twenty years of my life striving for perfection that was unattainable.

Growing up I was the epitome of the “Little Miss Perfect”. And while I claimed to hate the nickname, deep down I loved it, because it meant I was doing something right. It meant that I was achieving what others thought was perfection. Oh how wrong they were, because inside I was dying. Do you know how hard it is to try to do everything right and perfect all the time.  It was exhausting. And that is where my eating disorder helped me out, he told me exactly what I needed to do to achieve the ultimate perfection and that was be the thinnest possible.

ED had a solution for every failed test, bad situation, breakup, loss, and it was, control it, with food. And the more I let ED take control, the farther I moved away from all that made me happy. Of course he told me the thinner I got, the more I was reaching perfection. However, the thinner I became, the more I lost, grades, relationships, friendships, social events, energy, and ultimately happiness. Yet, ED promised just a few more pounds and I would be there. Well, it never happened. No matter how thin I got, it never worked. And then one day I realized, this whole perfection thing wasn’t any fun, and it sure wasn’t getting me anywhere but despair.

That’s where grace came in and that is where the healing began. However, I didn’t learn that grace overnight but it was the  pain and suffering that got me there. Without these circumstances I am not sure grace would be as real to me as it is now. It finally sunk in that the God that I loved, didn’t love me because I was perfect, He loved me in spite of the fact that I wasn’t. And nothing I could do would make Him love me any more or any less than He did right then. As my dear friend says, “It’s okay that we’re not okay because Jesus is better than being better.” It was that message that made the darkness bearable and reminded me that there was light at the end even when I couldn’t see it. And those people who thought I was so perfect, well they loved the not perfect MK even more, because she was real. Unlike, perfect MK they could identify with the real MK (funny how I was convinced they wouldn’t know how to handle not perfect me).

So what about today? Do I still strive for that perfection? Even those questions make me laugh out loud. Because, today I cannot live without grace, because I am one big mess! And the fact that I am not perfect is totally okay. “Perfect MK” lived a really miserable life that led to a really horrible relationship with ED and other destruction. MK today, she messes up about every other minute. However, she is learning to accept the fact that it is okay, because in her imperfect mess she is loved deeply.

Maybe perfection in any aspect is your goal. My guess is on some level it’s tearing you apart. Let me tell you no matter how hard you try it’s not going to get you anywhere but misery and heartache. And even more, I bet the people in your life would love the not so perfect you even more than you could ever imagine. So just remember it’s okay to not be perfect, in fact it is extremely freeing!

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It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay

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“I believe that God is making all things new. I believe that Christ overcame death and that pattern is apparent all through life and history: life from death, water from a stone, redemption from failure, connection from alienation. I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything’s easy.”

I sat at the table staring out the window, I didn’t want to make eye contact, because I was afraid she already knew what my answer would be. Still, I could see her looking at me through love filled eyes. “Martha, some day you are going to have to choose. You are going to have to pick your Eating Disorder or Jesus. You are going to have to jump. Are you ready?” I smiled at her, my painted on ,”you are very sweet, but you just don’t get it smile.” I looked her in the eye and with a level of defiance stated,  “Thanks but I am just not ready yet.”

A month later, I sat in the office of my beloved counselor as tears streamed down her face first and then mine. “Martha, you need serious help. You need a professional treatment team. Your Eating Disorder is serious and it is killing you.” She let the words sink in and through my tear soaked cheeks, I nodded. ” I will help you, she said, but I am scared that if we don’t start really fighting this…well I am scared of what will happen to you.” I sobbed, for the first time ever about my Eating Disorder.

I spent the next few days crying. Talking to dear friends and to my family. I spent the time thinking and praying and wondering what I would do. All along though I knew the choice I had to make. Finally, it was real and I knew what I had to do. Shakily, I picked up the phone and called my sweet friend who told me I had to choose. I called and told her I needed help. I wanted to fight. I never said the exact words, but she knew and looking back I knew too. I was ready to jump. I was choosing Jesus.

It has been three years since those conversations and since I chose Jesus and ran into the arms of grace. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about those conversations or the days leading up to my choice. I was sick. I was addicted. And I was a mess. Today only one of those is true. I am still a mess but I am no longer sick or addicted to food or the constant thoughts of food or body image. Sometimes I get scared to talk about my story of grace in it’s fullness because in all reality Jesus and Grace are trigger words. They make people take a second look at what you are writing. They make people fidget and look away. People either love you or hate you for writing about Jesus and your Faith. However, the truth is grace is scandalous and unimaginable and nothing about it is safe and comfortable. Even more so this story that I am living out is NOT about me. It is about a grace and love from a Father that I could never imagine. My story is about the gospel.

When I decided to fight and choose Jesus I had no idea the ride I was in for and am still on. It is only by the grace of His spirit that I have and had the strength to stand up to Ed and my ways of control. It was through Him and the people He placed in my life that I constantly was given the choice to embrace the beauty of grace. If it was left up to me, I couldn’t have done it and the road at times can still be rocky because I am always a work in progress, as is my story of recovery and grace.

This past fall I celebrated three years of recovery. I celebrated the decision to jump off the cliff into the arms of grace and say, “It is okay that I am not okay because Jesus is better than being better.” The most beautiful part is, embracing grace doesn’t mean that I am not still a mess. However, it envelops me in all my messiness and it allows me to be my messy broken self. Because Grace is bigger than my flaws. Grace is bigger than my mistakes. Grace is bigger than my guilt. And Grace is so much bigger than my shame. In fact, it washes it all away and says: You are loved, You are fearfully and wonderfully made and Your worth is not in Your outward appearance.

I never used to understand when people said that Jesus wrecked their lives but now I get it. He definitely wrecked mine and turned it upside down in the best way. He took everything I thought I knew about control and addiction and swept me into His arms. He told me I was loved when I felt unlovable and that I was beautiful in His image. He gave me scandalous, beautiful, amazing, grace. Today, I have the joy of working with college students and because of that. I have an opportunity to show others, specifically these students, that kind of love and grace that is scandalous and unheard of and it is because of my story of grace and the work of the gospel in my life, that I am able to do just that.

I am not sure if you read this and want to scream or if you read this and are in tears. Either way, I would love to hear your story of brokenness and redemptive grace. Because when we share about the mess and the beauty of grace in our lives, that is when the gospel becomes real. My friend I pray you know there is hope in whatever situation you face. Buckle up, because if you are willing to jump, you are in for the ride of your life.

May you always know how loved you are,

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Remembering Why

 

When I was a sophomore in college I wrote a book. I never published it, in fact I never wrote it down because truth be told it was all in my head. I worked at a doctor’s office and that summer as I typed up documents, filed patient’s charts, scanned paperwork and worked silently, I “wrote” my book. I thought about everything I would tell young women and men who struggled. I knew even then that your story mattered and was worth telling. Years went by, and I put the book on the shelf, never to be published or read. Because it is tough to tell your story and it is scary but even through the pain and tears it is what we have to do.

Nearly two years ago, I started this blog to tell my story and in doing that I did one of the bravest things I’ve have ever done, I told my story to the world. I thought it stopped there. I thought if I shared my story here I wouldn’t have to keep doing it. I wouldn’t have to continue to be real and vulnerable. I wouldn’t have to continue to open myself up to others but I was wrong. Because my story is about leaving perfection and learning grace. It is about a journey through recovery. It is about saying that some days are extremely hard and tear worthy and some days are filled with sunshine. But even more it is saying that my story in no way, in no manner is about me. It is about a grace so big that it wipes away all my shame and says you are made clean. You are not your eating disorder, you are not your depression, you are not your anxiety, you are not your past mistakes and shame because you were made clean by grace. You are dearly loved and always will be.

So because I know that grace, because I know that love I share my story and I will continue to share no matter what. And my friend I hope you share your story too and know that grace is bigger. And may you always remember…

You matter and you are loved,
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JLO, Smashing Mugs, and Changing the Story

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Truth be told, I like for other people to think that I am basically JLo in the Wedding Planner. In fact, when I mention that I am a Wedding Planner/Coordinator I sometimes throw that little joke in there and other times people just assume that is my life. Don’t get me wrong I love my job but it is a whole lot less glamour and glitter filled that JLo’s in that movie. However, the huge drama factor is still there. I get to deal with people who are focused on the biggest day of their life, which is exciting, happy, joyous and ah yes stressful. Insert the added drama. However, whether people’s dream day goes off without a hitch or whether there are many hitches (one’s they will never know about it, insert my job here) I get to witness the beginning of two lives, two stories coming together.

I have always been captivated by people’s stories. It is one of the many reasons I was an English major. It is probably also one of the reasons I picked my job. I LOVE to hear people’s stories. I love to read people’s stories. I love to listen to them. I love to watch them. I love to hear about them in any way shape, or form. However, oftentimes I feel like I am living the same story. I don’t want to change my story because that is too painful. It is too difficult. It is too much. But I have to and so do you.

When I started recovery nearly a year and half ago i had a decision to make. I could either start rewriting my story or keep living the same one. I could either hold tightly to the cliff or jump into the clear blue water. I of course chose to jump. More times than others I have had to remind myself why I made the decision I did, why I chose the road less traveled. If I am being honest this road has been hard. It been messy. It has been broken but it has been worth it. I could keep living the lies or I could walk in truth, truth that set me free.

There are certain lies that Ed used to tell me minute to minute about how I looked and the way I should feel about myself. Many of them came from experiences with family, boyfriends, friends and so on. Built up, these lies began to tell a story of who I was and what my worth was in. On my worst days, I sometimes think about those lies and start to wonder if they are still true (as if they EVER were!!). And I have to stop and remind myself that I get an opportunity to change the story of who I am, of what my worth is in and in what I am all about. That decision to change the story came when I decided to choose recovery.

Earlier this summer I smashed a mug. It was a mug made for me by a former boy. It was special to our relationship and I used to drink coffee out of it every morning. When that relationship ended my sweet mother hid the mug so I wouldn’t have to see it. Earlier this summer she found it while she was cleaning. I walked into the kitchen and saw the mug on the table and felt a lump in my throat. She explained she was going to pitch it but didn’t want to, she wanted me to do whatever I wanted it. I made a joke about smashing it and my brother concluded that would be a wonderful idea. So we went to the backyard and with the mug safely contained in a Ziploc bag, I began to smash it to pieces with a hammer. My loving brother, knowing this was a big step, filmed it and took pictures as we both laughed and the mug became unrecognizable in tiny pieces. Then I promptly threw the mug in the garbage, happy with my smashing results. Friends, smashing that mug was once of the best decisions I have ever made, because smashing it meant ending that story and starting a new one.

The fact of the matter is it was just a mug, an inanimate object,  and I could have easily thrown it away without the smashing. However, by smashing it, I decided to smash all the bad memories of that relationship. I smashed all the insecurities and lack of self-worth I felt during it.  I smashed the way I was treated. I smashed the idea of ever doing it to myself again. In essence, that smashing represented me changing the story for myself. By symbolically smashing that mug I smashed the idea of ever being treated that way again in a relationship and I smashed my old story and decided to create a new one. I changed the story.

Sometimes changing the story can be easier than others. For me changing the story means changing a story that I lived for over a decade. Just like choosing recovery daily, it is daily choosing everyday to change the story and live a new one. It means being brave and sharing my mess. It means not having it all together. It means asking for help. It means leaving perfection and learning grace.

Friend, you can make the one of the best decision you will ever make, by changing your story (of hurt, pain, trauma)  whatever it is. You can make the decision to smash your old story and start a new one. It takes strength, bravery, and vulnerability but then again every good and beautiful story has all of those. It is not safe but it is worth it. And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!
<3MK

No Matter What, YOU are BEAUTIFUL

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It happened nearly seventeen years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the playground, a young five-year-old. I was in a purple t-shirt esque dress, my hair long hair bouncing as I climbed up the to the top of the slide. Suddenly, she looked at me, a girl whose name I will never remember but whose words were imprinted on my heart. She looked right at me and said, “You’re fat!”. That is all she said and walked away. I honestly have no idea if we were friends, or if I even knew her name but even now nearly seventeen years later I remember my heart breaking. I remember it was all I could do to get home without crying. I remember telling my mom and grandmother. I remember my little heart and head couldn’t understand but even at five I knew that fat meant ugly and she had called me fat, which meant I was ugly…

Fast forward seventeen years later to a week ago, I am with a woman who loves me and knows my struggle, yet as we walk across the parking lot she grabs my arm looks at me and smiles. “I am so glad you dropped all that extra weight because you are just too pretty to not be tiny. I am so glad you are your tiny self again. You are just beautiful like that.” I starred at her not believing the words that just left her mouth and my heart and head took me right back to my five year old self who was broken-hearted because someone called her fat and therefore ugly. It didn’t matter that I knew I hadn’t changed sizes, it didn’t matter that I knew that this woman had an Ed and therefore couldn’t speak truth, it didn’t matter that I knew my beauty wasn’t defined in my size, it didn’t matter that I KNEW that fat and ugly are NOT synonymous, it stung. And for the last few days I have wrestled with that sting and why it hurt so bad and friends I think the truth I remembered in the midst of the sting is worth sharing…

When I was in the deepest darkest days of Ed, beauty meant one thing, it meant being thin. However, no matter how desperately thin I got it, was never enough. I could never see myself as beautiful, only ugly. My view of myself was defined in something temporary, in something that the world tells me is important. My beauty was defined in my physical appearance which is something that will never be perfect. The more I watch TV, flip through magazines, or browse pintrest the more disgusted I am. You see I am a true girly girl at heart. I love anything that sparkles and glitters, I love pretty dresses, I love nail polish, I love lipstick, I love getting all dressed up. But I have learned that none of those define me. And the more I look at the media and the more I hear young girls and older women talk the more my heart breaks, because the overarching message is this: You are beautiful when… you are size x, you have perfect hair, you have a clear face, your nails are manicured, you have beautiful clothes. My friends it is NOT true! As women I believe we have an innate desire to want to feel beautiful but I have learned that beauty in no manner comes from my physical appearance. Beauty is NOT defined in a size!

I know you just read that last sentence and were tempted to stop reading because you don’t believe me. You don’t believe that beauty is not about your physical appearance but I promise your beauty does not depend on your physical appearance and I desperately need you to believe that. Because until you do, you can’t fight the lies of the world that tell you otherwise. The statement from my friend and the girl when I was five stung because it defined me solely by my physical appearance, it defined me as only good enough or beautiful enough if I met certain standards, and it hurt to be put in such a narrow, rigid box of lies. And any time someone tries to define us in one way I believe it hurts because we are soo much more than what are face and body looks like. However, I will be the first to say that it is hard to not believe the lies that the world tells us but it is absolutely so much more fulfilling and life giving to fight the lies.

I truly believe that I have the most beautiful friends and family in the world. However, their beauty has everything to do with their heart, their faith, their love for others, their ability to show grace and has nothing to do with their size, their clothes, their hair or makeup. The truth is my hair will one day turn gray. I will have wrinkles and saggy skin. I will probably shrink. My teeth my fall out. I may have age spots. And yet I will still be beautiful and so will you. If I prescribed to the world’s idea of beauty, I am not sure how I could get out of bed in the morning. Most days I wear yoga pants, shirts that are two sizes two big, and my hair in a messy bun. I get zits, my hair normally needs to be washed, more days than not I don’t wear makeup, so if I spent my time following the world’s idea of beauty, why would I get out of bed. Frankly, I would be terrified I wouldn’t match up. But each day I get up, I fight the temptation to give into the lies of the world and I remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and am absolutely beautiful, no matter what my physical body looks like.

Friends, I wish I could say that everyday, every hour, every minute, I believe this truth but I don’t and frankly some days are just harder than others. Some days I fight the lies of my past life with Ed and the lies of the world. But I remember that I am aiming for grace, not perfection and each time I remember the truth and live in the truth, that is beauty. Beauty surrounds me in the smiling faces of those who love me as my messy broken self, beauty is in the scars of battles won, beauty is living in freedom and not bondage. The world lies and tells us beauty is in the face but I am hear to tell you it is in the heart. Beauty is all around you and I dare you to see it and live in it this week. The second you feel the urge to tell yourself that you are not beautiful, I dare you to put on your grossest t-shirt, your stained yoga pants, throw your hair up in a messy bun, and forget the makeup. Stare at yourself in the mirror, smile and tell yourself how absolutely beautiful you are, because it is the TRUTH! Whether you are wearing sweats, a prom dress, a swim suit, a wedding gown, or pajamas, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!  My prayer is that you will discover how truly beautiful you are this week, because that is freedom, that is living in truth. And in case no one has told you today, you are absolutely beautiful inside and out just the way you are!! Believe that truth this week friend and live in the freedom of discovering real true beauty. And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it (and once again, YOU are BEAUTIFUL, INSIDE and OUT!)!!

<3MK

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

Fairytales and Happily Ever Afters

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This quote has become a huge part of my everyday life. I constantly have to remind myself that when I begin to judge a person, most of the time I have no idea what their story is. I have no idea what they have gone through or what has made them the way they are. I have no idea what might have changed them. We all have stories, you have a story and I have a story. I am grateful for each of you that allow me to continually pour my heart out and tell my story…

For a long time I didn’t want to tell my story. I wasn’t comfortable with it. I didn’t think it mattered. I didn’t think it was important. However, my story matters just as much as yours does. I honestly never thought I would get to a place where I would be able to tell my story to others and be proud of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the messy, the mistakes but today I am. Just as that quote states we have all gone through things that have changed us. My story isn’t the same as yours and while many of you may be able to identify with pieces of my story I know there are many things that you can’t relate to, just as I cannot relate to yours and that is okay because all of our stories are as unique as the people who hold them.

From the time I was little I loooovveed reading. I would sit in my room and reads many books in a day, I could never get enough of the stories being told in the books. Whether, it was a princess in a fairytale or a love story I was wrapped up in the tale until I read the last sentences of a happy ending. I couldn’t go to sleep unless I knew that everything worked out in the end. When I was even younger and my dad used to tell me stories before bedtime I had specific rules for the stories he told some of them being: the stories couldn’t be sad, they had to end happy, no one could die, and no talking animals (I was all about it being realistic;)). Even as a little girl I wanted the stories handed to me with a happily ever after at the end tied in a nice little  pretty bow. Some of my favorite stories were the princess stories, where they find the prince and ride off into the sunset and the words following, literally state happily ever after.

Because I adored these tales and beautiful stories, I began to think my life should be lived as such. If at the end of everyday there wasn’t a “happily ever after” I didn’t know what to do. My friends, this isn’t the reality of life. Like I have said before, life is messy and broken and some days just aren’t the best. I began to think that because my story wasn’t a “fairy tale” it wasn’t worth sharing…what a lie that is. Now I am grateful that I know one day, I get  to have a happily ever after in eternity because of the most amazing grace but while I am here on earth life is often hard. We live in a broken world and we all go through many tough times, which makes telling our stories and sharing our hearts all the more important.

As I began the journey to recovery, the stories that meant the most to me weren’t the ones that told me life was full of roses but the ones that stated life is hard but you are going to make it through. In fact, the stories that were tied with neat little happily ever after bows I began to doubt as lies because I knew that here on earth there were so many struggles and issues that we try to stuff in the closet and that’s what I saw in the “real life fairy tale stories”. The stories that gave me hope, were the ones where people shared their pain, they shared their struggles and they told me how they fought hard to overcome the hardships in their lives.  Those stories told me how to find lessons in the mess and joy through the pain. They told me that while life wasn’t all sunshine and roses the fight to recover was worth the blood, sweat, and tears. And I am here to tell you that those stories are exactly right. Those are stories of unconditional love, scandalous grace, amazing mercy and blessings more than you could never imagine.

My friends my story is one of billions. I am not the only young woman who has suffered from anorexia, suffered from depression and anxiety and found grace and hope in the midst of it all. I am just one young woman who decided to share her story to bring hope. My story isn’t anything extraordinary but hopefully it is a story that encourages others and lets them know that they are not alone and that their story matters! Because friend, your story does matter, it is worth telling and through sharing it not only will you find healing but also you have no idea who could find hope from your story. I also want to address for a minute that even throughout the pain I have been as I like to say beyond blessed and I understand that many of you may have experienced pain I could never imagine and I want you to know that I know your story may be hard to even think about telling but I promise no matter how awful you think it is, there is hope! I don’t know each of your stories, I wish I did. I wish I could sit down with each of you, have a cup of coffee and hear the beauty that is your story. Those of you that I do know your stories, it is more encouragement and inspiration to hear them than you will ever know. You inspire me with your hope, grace, and love that encompasses each of your precious stories. I’ve said it before but we are all a work in progress…my story isn’t done and neither is yours, but friend don’t wait till you think  it is “finished” to be shared. You have no idea how much your story can be used. Share your story friend, no matter how unimportant, insignificant, painful, shameful, you think your story is…it is beautiful and it is worth telling. You never know who might need to hear your story, you have no idea how God can use it, you have no idea what He has in store for it, you have no idea how much hope and healing it can bring. So share your story this week and watch the beauty unfold…and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!

<3MK

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

There is a hymn that has been on my heart the last few weeks and while it has always been my favorite in the last few weeks it holds an even deeper significance. When I sang this song last night, my eyes couldn’t help but fill with tears as I sang the words that I knew were true. Much like the title of this blog post the hymn is entitled, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”. I wanted to share with you what has become my favorite verse and my heartsong the last few weeks:

“O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.”

That joy spoken about in the song is a joy that I have had to rely on the last few weeks for if I didn’t have that Joy and assurance I have no doubt that my life would look very different today and there is NO WAY that I would be standing here today with a smile on my face…

My last few weeks have been some of the hardest weeks I have endured in recovery. For whatever reason lack of medicine, new medicine, circumstances, or a combination of all of the above, my body or more my head decided we weren’t friends. By that I mean for the first time since I began my recovery from Ed I began to deal with a new onset of depression and anxiety and it was worse than I have felt. For those of you who have experienced depression and anxiety you know what I am talking about and for those who haven’t let me explain to you, it’s not something you can control. And I believe that lack of control is what made it the worst. I couldn’t stop the overwhelming feelings, the panic of being around people, the anxiety about merely getting out of bed, the lack of desire or motivation to do anything. It scared me…scratch that it terrified me because I had felt all those feelings before with Ed and in no manner was I going back to that place, EVER!

However, I didn’t have to because I now had the tools to use to help myself, I had support in my life to help me deal with it, and I had doctors to help me feel better physically. So after weeks of doctor phone calls, appointments, counseling sessions, missed classes, more appointments and lots of rest, I am beginning to feel back to the real MK but let me tell you as with anything we must go through in life in order to become stronger it was and still is really difficult.

I say it is difficult not because I am scared that I can’t do it but because suddenly having your world shaken at the core, dealing with issues you thought you had “overcome” and feeling helpless are not on my top three fun things to do list. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of not only not feeling in control but also having others do things for you because mentally and physically you can’t. While each day I make huge progress, I have to remind myself that I am not in a sprint, that slow and steady indeed does win the race and in fact that is what is going to help me get to the finish line.

Even though the last few weeks have remained some of the most difficult that I could ever imagine, I remain joyful and grateful not because life is so good but because He is so good all the time. It is His grace, love, and comfort that have been with me through the entirety of this healing and will continue to be. There is a passage in the Bible that says He will never leave or forsake you. One of my friends added her name to this stating that just like Jesus she would never leave my side. Not only has she proven this to be true but so have so many others in this journey. There is no way I could have made it through the last few weeks without the unconditional love and support from my friends and family who put my healing at the top of not only their prayer list but also in their everyday lives. The amount of calls, texts, letters, visits, presents, food, and prayers I have had in the last few weeks is unimaginable, not to mention the amazing women who have taken me to lunches, coffees, appointments and more. This does not even begin to include my parents and brother who have shown me more love and support than I thought possible. There are those of you have been especially important in my healing and you know who you are, whether you are the best friend who comforted my tears at four am or the  two amazing women that came to see me and pick me up out of bed in a distraught state and haven’t left my side,  my sweet kiddos and best friend who came over with bright smiles when I needed you most, each of you know who you are and what a huge role you have played in the last few weeks. While it would take an entire book to thank each of the MANY of you who have loved on me, know that each word, each gesture, and each prayer has been felt and that I am so grateful for YOU!

It may seem strange to say that I am grateful for the last few weeks but  I am. I am grateful to be reminded that He is the only one my life should be focused. I am grateful to know that I am not perfect nor do I have to be. And I am more than grateful to be reminded that I have a community/family of loved ones who anyone would be beyond blessed to have. More than anything I am grateful that I have a hope that is so much bigger than the mess of my depression and anxiety.

Like I said in my last post, I believe that God brings us through tough times to help and comfort others and to help us understand that He is who we need more than anything. So maybe my last post was just a forward to the last few weeks because I am certain that I never thought I would see the other side of much of this. However, like ALWAYS He remains faithful and no matter what trial may come I know I can make it through because of Him. I have learned even more what treasures I have for friends and how I truly am beyond blessed. I may be teased quite a bit for my catch phrase beyond blessed but I have never felt it more than the last few weeks.

Maybe this has been you or maybe you know someone who has experienced these things. I tell my story to let you know that no matter how crazy, sad, hard, or unimaginable life gets…it will be OKAY and that there is HOPE! There is soo soo much hope and my prayer is that you would find that hope, love, and grace. No matter what happens I hope YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

❤ MK

A Strong Foundation

I have never really known much about building anything. I didn’t know all that building entailed. Sure I had my Lego extravaganza moments but I was never a master builder. I eventually learned, that in order to have a good structure everything I built required a good foundation. Instead, of focusing on building the coolest, highest building ever, I should have focused on making my foundation stable in order to create a lasting structure. Little did I know that my life was much like the buildings that stood for a few minutes and then came tumbling down…

A year ago my life was in utter shambles. For those of you who didn’t experience that part of my journey with me, be grateful. My life was a literal mess. Just like my beautiful buildings, for awhile, I looked semi sparkling on the outside but my foundation needed a lot of work because I was in the process of crumbling. I was depressed, anxious, hurt, scared, angry, undernourished, and so so weak. I had committed to my recovery but I was struggling step by step through it. What I would learn later is that I was rebuilding my foundation to be stronger, and to withstand anything that came my way.

My recovery a year ago was not only a struggle but a fight. I had to fight Ed it seemed every minute of everyday. I had to fight to put tiny bites of food into my mouth. I had to fight to eat many times a day. I had to fight to get out of bed. I had to fight to put my recovery first. And I had to fight to wake up each morning and do it again. Sound pretty awful? I’m not going to lie to you, it was. It was the hardest thing I have ever and probably will ever have to do. What I didn’t know at the time though, was that it wasn’t going to be awful always and that today looking back on a year ago I definitely do not feel awful. In fact, today I feel pretty wonderful.

As I mentioned earlier I didn’t know I was rebuilding my foundation. I was relearning how to eat, how to deal with stress, how to cope, and how to live my life without Ed. I was finding out who I was at the core and why I was the way I was and why I dealt with life the way I did and how to change quite a lot about myself. All of this challenged the foundation that Ed had helped me once built and the foundation on which my eating disorder survived. Since I didn’t want to continue living the way I once was I had to rip up my old foundation and start from square one.

My pastor on Sunday, said that to find out who we are we must seek outside counsel and have inside accountability. Well let me tell you folks I had my share of many hours of outside counsel by a phenomenal woman who I truly believe is one of the most amazing counselors. That in itself was great but each time I walked out of her office I had a choice to implicate the changes in my life that we had discussed that session. If i had been left to my own devices, I never would have done it, but thankfully I had many, many cheerleaders and supporters who kept me accountable and helped me recover. They not only encouraged me but they truly kept me accountable for my recovery and sticking to my plan.

Many counseling sessions, nutrition sessions, psych sessions, doctors appts, meals with friends, and phone calls later, I am here in a state of recovery I never thought possible. And honestly it would have never been had I not torn up that icky foundation which included my relationship with a Ed and laid a new one of grace, love, and acceptance. I may have had to do a lot of hard work to tear up and lay down a new foundation in my life but it would have never been possible without the support I received throughout this long continuous journey. I had a God who loved me and gave me grace unconditionally, friends and family members that displayed this unconditional love and support, and many professional support team members who helped me rip up and lay down a new foundation.

I have no doubt that this new year will come with its own sets of ups and downs and its own set of triumphs and struggles but I know who I am at the core now and I have a new foundation that won’t be torn down. As Marty Grubbs says, “It is going to take work to build a solid foundation because it will be tested. Your foundation has to be something you can hold on to that will not wavier in the storm.” And tested my foundation was but because of that testing it is now as solid as ever and throughout any storm I know it will stand strong. I will be tested and tough times will come in the coming years but my foundation will stand firm. Maybe you are like me and you had no idea that your foundation was rocky. Maybe you know you’ve needed a new foundation for awhile but don’t know how to do it. Maybe this all just sounds a little crazy and overwhelming. I can relate to all of it because I have been there. But let me tell you friend, there is hope and you can do it no matter how difficult and impossible it may seem. You CAN and you WILL do it but like Marty says it will be tested. However, let me add that it WILL be worth it to live a life free from Ed and drinking in that freedom of your new foundation and life will be something wonderful you could have never imagined.

So tonight I rejoice, I reflect, and I ring in the new year with someone who loves me exactly as I am. I know that not everyday will be an amazing day but that too is okay because I now have an unshakeable foundation, a faith that is stronger than ever, and freedom I never thought possible. I hope and pray that this is what you find in the new year, that you find the true freedom that living without Ed and building a strong foundation brings, because you deserve it more than you know. So as you get ready to toast to a new year…ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK