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

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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

Messy and Beautiful

I was reminded today what it means to be truly beautiful and truly messy…There are a lot things and a lot of people who have impacted my journey through Ed recovery. However, I can honestly say that without this real messy and beautiful community I wouldn’t be where I am today. There are many memories that I will look back and cherish when I think of the last several years in recovery and those spent with this real community of people will undoubtedly be my fondest. Throughout my life I have had many dear, dear friends and if you asked many of my friends they would say I have an abundance of best friends. Today I was reminded of the importance of a community and not just a community but of people who I can be real with. It is through my real and raw community that I have made it this far in my journey…

For many years I tried to walk the journey alone…I kept the “I’m fine smile” plastered to my face while my heart broke. It didn’t matter what hardship or hurt came, I held it together because I could handle it. I didn’t need help. I didn’t want to open up and I certainly didn’t want to be a burden. Until one day, I broke…I couldn’t do it anymore. My life with Ed and so much other pain was too much. I needed help and I needed a community that could come alongside me. I needed people who could hold my hand, people who could wipe my tears, people who could speak truth, people who could see hope when I couldn’t. And when I reached out, when I cried help I was met ten fold with the most loving people I have ever met. I was surrounded with people who saw the light when I didn’t and who loved me in spite of my flaws.

I once had a friend tell me that he didn’t know anyone who had people who had real burdens or baggage in their lives. This statement made me sad because I knew that not only was it not true but it also meant that people in his life weren’t being real with one another. The fact of the matter is, we all have struggles, we all have burdens, we all have a story that has shaped and changed us. However, we have community to share in those struggles to help and love one another when life is too hard to bear alone and it is in that real community that we find our purpose for our struggles and helping others through theirs. I remember sitting in a car with a dear friend one night and after sharing my story and struggle, through tear filled eyes I looked straight at him and apologized. I apologized, for my story?! If I have learned one thing my friend, it is that you should never apologize for your story!!  I am so grateful that dear friend looked back and me and smiled and not only told me not to apologize but he also told me that this is what we are here for to help bear each others burdens and loads. I am grateful for that dear friend and the many since who have come along side me and not only helped bear my burden but also lighten it.

We all walk through some kind of our own personal wilderness and it is during those times that we are taught the most…it is there that we learn to love, to hope and to give and accept grace. The people in my life who are the most beautiful are the ones that have the most messiness in their lives. They are not only the ones with messiness in their lives but they are the ones with messiness who are not afraid to share it with each other and be real about their mess. They are not afraid to come up along side one another and love each other well through the mess and speak truth. They love unconditionally and give grace freely. They are the beautiful people who help give hope in the darkness and share the truth which brings life. It is with this community of real, messy, and beautiful people that I have experienced love and grace more freely than ever before.

If we are being truthful we all have a messy life and those of us who deal with an Ed (or whatever your Ed may be) know bondage all too well. Friend, let me speak some truth to you today, find that community to share in life’s messiness. Find people you can be real with, who you can share your story with. Find people who will share their own story with you, people who will give love, grace, and truth freely. Find people who can help you bear your burdens and you can help them bear theirs. These my friends will become the most incredible friendships you will ever imagine. It is never easy to be real, to be vulnerable, to be messy but it’s worth it. Once we are real and we take off the really pretty masks only then are we able to become the truly messy beautiful people we were created to be.  Believe me there are more people out there than you could ever imagine who will LOVE the real YOU…  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