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

Lessons from the Lunch Bunch

From one of our Lunch Bunch Sleepovers. We were definitely the cool kids in High School...

From one of our Lunch Bunch Sleepovers. We were definitely the cool kids in High School…

“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”

High School Graduation with the Lunch Bunch

High School Graduation with the Lunch Bunch

There are certain people that know all about you, your deepest, darkest, scariest secrets. They have seen you at your saddest, happiest, craziest, funniest, meanest and they love you still. They have been with you through more up and downs than you can count and they never cease to stop holding your hand or drying your tears. These are the people that you don’t have to call when tragedy strikes because they are already there standing by your side. They are the ones who tell you when you are being absolutely ridiculous and laugh along with you. They bring light to your darkness and show you the silver lining in stormy clouds. These are your people and for me, my people will always be the Lunch Bunch.

Meg's Sixteenth Birthday with the Lunch Bunch

Meg’s Sixteenth Birthday with the Lunch Bunch

While I met each of them under different circumstances eleven years ago we all met collectively in the sixth grade. However, we didn’t form the Lunch Bunch until summer before sophomore year when “A Saved By the Bell” board game was bought and we had our first sleepover a few weeks before school started. Naturally, when we were given off campus lunch several weeks later and I had the option to bring friends home for lunch, I chose these three and there the Lunch Bunch was formed. During the next three years, we ate more lunches at my table, had more Youth and Government sleepovers, left out more boys from our lunch gathering, had more races, shared more boy stories, and ate more packs of Oreos and cookie dough than one can imagine. Sometimes it was the four of us and sometimes it was only one or two of us. While individually the three of them comprise my very best friends, together they are the Lunch Bunch.

Youth and Government with the Lunch Bunch

Youth and Government with the Lunch Bunch

This week each of us will graduate from three separate colleges (two of us from TCU at the SAME graduation 🙂 ) and so this is the perfect time to tell these three not only what they mean to me but to tell the world what extraordinary women I have as my very best friends. These three ladies are world changers. They bring light wherever they go. To me they are my best friends,  my secret keepers, my confidants, my soul sisters, my future bridesmaids and so much more but they are also three of the most extraordinary women you will ever meet. So here you are my friends, meet my Angie, Lexi, and Meghan or as I like to call them the Lunch Bunch…

My Angelita

My Angelita

My Angelita…she is the epitome of a best friend. She is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. She is a natural beauty who radiates inside and out. We first became friends over her friendship necklace and later our friendship blossomed over boy talk.  So it is appropriate that she is my straight shooter when it comes to my relationships and boys. She tells it like it is out of love and while she may not think this, this is one of her best qualities and it is one I am forever grateful for. She has saved me from true heartache many of times and caught me before I made some ridiculous mistakes. She is the one I go to when I need real advice about life and she is never afraid to be real with me. She was one of the only ones that in my darkest days told me how much I needed help and that I had to get serious about it. She has held my hand through so much and she has cried with me when I was too hurt to continue on. She sees the best in me and truly brings out the best in me as well. She is the one who is not afraid to dream with me and continually assures me no dream is too small. She is the one who I go to for reassurance and she never ceases to provide it. Without her I would have been lost more times than I can count but because of her I have been able to make some of the very best decisons Together we can quote One Tree Hill and Gilmore Girls, we can sing just about an 90s pop song, we can laugh about high school crushes and silly mistakes, and have some of the best phone conversations I have ever had. We have been through over eleven years together of  both our youth groups, middle school classes, high school classes, youth and government, key club, student council, birthday parties, family parties, high school graduation night and so much more. She is the person that no matter how hard I try to not tell her something, I can’t not share with her. She knows my heart too well and  I can’t hold back from her and in turn she doesn’t hold back from me. She is the person I spent the night of my high school graduation with dreaming about our future college lives and so it is bittersweet to not spend this Saturday with her dreaming about our adult lives. She is a peacemaker, a world changer,  and one of the most accepting people I know. She has shown me more love and compassion than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

My Lexa Lou

My Lexa Lou

My Lexa Lou… she is my soul sister and my other half. She is the girl who walks into a room and all eyes turn to her. She radiates a beauty that shines inside and out. She is one of the most humble people I know. We met at the age of eleven at a girls assembly. I fell for this girl because she rocked some sassy overalls and from that moment on I knew we had to be friends. Lexa is the person that gets me without me even having to say a word. She knows me and she knows my heart. She has been my make up artist, my fashion guru, my go to about boy advice. She is smarter than she will ever admit to and I am literally in awe of her brilliance. She is the first person to my defense and as a result some boys still talk about the glares she gave when they broke my heart. She is person that knows what I am thinking before I say it and sometimes she says what I wanna say because she knows I won’t. Together we have watched more chick flicks, had more boy stories, passed more notes, listened to more country songs and drank more diet coke and chewed more ice than I can count. She is one of the funniest people I know. In the last year I have gotten to spend more time with her than I ever imagined and I will always cherish that time together. She is the person who is always supportive and encouraging me in every aspect of life. She is the person who introduced me to diet soda, who taught me how to put on make up, how to study for a test (with songs and dances), how to craft, and how to be a true friend. She is the person who is never afraid to be put in a new situation and make new friends. Because of her I have some of the best quotes you could ever imagine. She is the person I call when I have a crazy idea and she is the one to say let’s go for it. She is one of the first people I text when I need prayer knowing she gets it and relies on a faith bigger than us both. She is the one who can tell when I am hurting or something happened and I don’t want to tell anyone. She is the one I can ask about anything and guarantee she will tell me the answer and give her best advice. She is the girl I am not afraid to be my crazy self around because I know she loves me no matter how ridiculous I am. She is an encourager, a world changer and one of the most loving people I know. She has shown me more love and grace than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

My Meg

My Meg

My Meg…she is known as the third child of my family. She is the most loyal person I have ever met. She has a beauty that radiates from her sweet spirit inside and out. She is the person who has literally become family. She is the girl who has celebrated every holiday with me since we became friends. We met standing outside our 6th grade school both a mess of  straight across bangs and braces not quite straight from crooked teeth, and after a science fair project together the next year I knew she was the kind of friend I would be grateful to have by my side. She has a wittiness that no one can match. She is the girl that has some dance and rapping skills that I stand amazed at. She is the precious friend who has literally slept next to and woken up with me in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep because of a broken heart. She is the only one allowed to call my daddy by his first name. She has become the best friend to my precious brother. She is the girl you want standing in your corner when the world is falling apart around you and the girl you want jumping up and down with you at the celebration of life. Together we have read more cheesy romance novels, baked more cookies, rapped more songs, been to more church events than I could ever count. She is the one best friend out of the Lunch Bunch who I will get to spend two graduations with, something I am forever grateful for. Without her by my side at TCU, I wouldn’t have made it through. She knows more family secrets and dynamics than anyone. This girl is one of the most hardworking individuals I have ever met. She has a creativity that blows me away every time I see it at work. I am amazed by the talents that this one lady holds. She has a servant’s heart and a gentleness few could ever match. She is the person who is already praying before I even ask. She gets grace better than almost anyone and gives it better than most as well. She has a heart that loves others and seeks peace. She is a giver, a world changer and one of the kindest people I know. She has shown me more love and more about true friendship than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

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My Lunch Bunch

To say I am proud to call these three gorgeous and truly amazing individuals and women my best friends is an understatement. I am more than beyond blessed with these three. I may call many people best friends but there is no doubt that these three are the real deal.  I have watched them grow the last eleven years and turn into the very best people I have ever met! Angelita, Lexa Lou and Meg, I am so proud of you for the women you are, the friends you have been and the world changers you are going to be. To all of you who don’t know these three, you should, they are the best ladies out there! To all of those out there who have shared these sisters, these daughters, these girlfriends, these friends with me, thank you I am so grateful for these three precious ladies. And to my Angelita, my Lexa Lou and my Meg thank you for blessing my life in more ways than you will ever know. You forever hold a piece of my heart. You are my home team, my family and my very best friends. I love you a million times over! Congratulations on your graduation and on all the world changing you are about to set out on and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

Recovery and Crawfish

Eating with a full heart at RUF Crawfish Boil 2013

Eating with a full heart at RUF Crawfish Boil 2013

“…sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.”

I cannot help but smile from ear to ear when I look at the picture above. That girl is so joyful and not the kind of joyful that masks pain but one that knows pain, has felt it and still finds joy in the morning. That girl didn’t exist last year and she certainly didn’t exist at that very same crawfish boil, because she was terrified. MK last year might have made a commitment to recovery but she still found certain things so hard to do. Let’s just say eating with her hands, off a table, with other people, surrounded by mounds of food wasn’t the ideal situation, but this year…it was perfect… because that is the beauty of recovery…

When Ed and I were still best friends there were certain things that I was “not allowed to do” as mandated by Ed. I had certain eating habits, which meant I ate with my hands extremely rarely. I used utensils for everything. I DID NOT get my face or hands messy. I didn’t eat from family style meals. I certainly didn’t eat off a table.  I didn’t eat with anyone but my closest friends. And I didn’t eat anything that was not on my list of certain foods “I was allowed”. Those were just a few of the Ed rules. ( I want to be clear and say I only tell you these “rules” because I want you to know how absurd they were and how filled with lies each was!!) When I started recovery many of the rules went out the window. However, these were still some of the ones I clung to in order to maintain stability and control. I had bizarre food behaviors that were slowly being eradicated but it was a process. Needless to say, I was still working on these as I went to my RUF Crawfish Boil last year and I was pretty terrified. I remembering managing to eat a few of the critters which were definitely not on my okay to eat list but the whole time worried at who was watching me eat. Had I eaten too much. Could I eat the desserts and the crawfish? Where did these things fit in on my meal plan? How could I calculate? It was rough to say the least, in fact I am pretty sure I left early mostly due to how overwhelmed I felt.

Fast forward a year… I helped plan the Crawfish Boil and wait for it… I was in charge of coordinating and even picking up some of the food. My how a year changes things. I was literally ecstatic to spend this time with my best friends. I had fun from the set up to the clean up. I ate until I had a full tummy and my lips burned with spiciness. I tried multiple desserts and loved them. I played with the cutest babies, caught up with dear friends, laughed and never thought once about what I was eating. All the things that scared me last year were not even on my radar this year. Nobody cared what I ate or didn’t eat. No one was watching me eat like I previously thought. I even taught some new friends how to eat crawfish. And lets be real, eating off a table with your hands is pretty fun! 🙂  It was a spectacular time…because that is the beauty of recovery.

Friends that is recovery, enjoying eating critters. 😉 Recovery is eating with my community and not worrying about what I am eating because I am having way too much fun enjoying the people I am with. Recovery is being able to eat fast food and not care. It is about eating a candy bar mid day because it sounds good. It is about choosing fruit or a salad because it genuinely sounds good and not because it’s the lowest calorie option. It is eating family style and aking for seconds. It is eating with your hands off a table. It is trying two desserts. It is about going to get a diet coke and deciding an ice cream cone sounds good. It is about not checking the menu before you go to a restuarant and even more not caring what restuarant you end up at. It is about ordering or buying food that is not light or low fat because you like the taste or vice versa.  It is about not wearing make up just to cover up a pimple. It is about not wearing clothes two sizes too big just to cover your body but wearing clothes you like. It is about enjoying shopping and not caring about sizes. It is not caring what other people think about the way you look and even more it is about realizing that people truly are not focused on the way you look.

Most days the things above are part of my normal rountine I don’t have to think twice about any of them. And then there are other days, days that are few and far between, when recovery is a little more difficult. Those are the days I am concious of fighting hard because Ed wants to creep in and have a say so. On those days it is easy to become mad, frustrated, and let down. Ed and I don’t really talk anymore but when I am worn down and upset he thinks it’s okay to slip in his two cents. It is on those days that food is just a little more difficult, that looking in the mirror doesn’t come as naturally and that I have to remind myself where I am in my journey. Those days although few and far between are tough, they take a lot of energy and they remind me why I fight. It is on those days that I am grateful that I can fight back because once I didn’t know how and I wasn’t strong enough, today I am. I can slam the door in Ed’s face and tell him to leave me alone. It is on those days that I remind myself for over a decade that this is how I dealt with life and that it is a process and that one day I won’t hear him ever. It is even on those really tough days that I am so grateful for where I am and the fact that more than 90% of my days I don’t hear from him or think about his place in my life… and even more when he tries to speak up I know why and can tell him to go away and it happens… and that is AMAZING! It is about understanding that everyone has a bad day. It is about truly knowing that I don’t strive for perfection any more because I am living and walking in grace.

Friend, I hope you are encouraged and that you know that this is possible for you too. I want you to eat crawfish family style. I want you to order the ice cream cone. I want you to pick the salad because it sounds delicious. I want you to look in the mirror and smile. I don’t know where you are in your path to recovery but know that it is possible. Life without Ed is soo possible and don’t let ANYONE tell you it isn’t! There is freedom and I am living in that freedom and that is what I want for you too. Recovery is truly a journey and I want you to know that your are not aiming for perfection but you are learning to walk in the freedom of grace. May your week be filled with the idea of living and walking in freedom 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

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

Lessons From My Planner

Anyone that knows me, knows that my planner stays glued to my side. If I don’t have my planner I feel incomplete, sad as that may sound, it is the truth. I check it multiple times a day making sure I am not missing anything on my to do list. I write down everything from appointments to the things on my to do list. My planner is a tad overwhelming…so it is no surprise that sometimes just looking at it creates more anxiety than necessary. There are some nights before I go to bed that I deliberately do not look at it because frankly I don’t want to know what all I have to do tomorrow. And yet as I write those last few sentences I have to laugh because I am not sure why I continue to plan every detail of my life out…because frankly life never works out how I plan it… and I am learning to be more than okay with that…

When I entered TCU I was set on being an attorney and not just any attorney but one day the District Attorney. High achiever much?! Fast forward four years later and I am a wedding planner/coordinator and non-profit employee. I couldn’t have ended up on more opposite ends of the spectrum. When I was fifteen I was convinced that the guy I was “dating” was the one for me….thank goodness he wasn’t. When I was three I knew I was going to be a star ballerina and model. If you have read my earlier post you know all about that, let’s just say I am grateful it never happened. Even more, when I admitted I had a problem with Ed I thought I would only let my very closest friends know and then once I was over it I would never talk about it again. Here is where you can chuckle to yourself as I share on a daily basis, especially on this blog all about my journey. In fact, anyone could find out about my story now if they wanted. Life is so funny that way. Honestly, I don’t know why I continue to plan, because I know who holds a much bigger plan for my life and I am grateful at the end of the day that I have a trust much bigger than my own.

Yet, here I am the constant planner of every detail and activity (at least it got me a job where I can put my skills to work;)). And yet sometimes I realize that when I plan every detail I miss so much of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think planning in itself is horrible. In fact, I appreciate it when friends, dates, people in general plan out certain activities we are going to do when we’re together. I appreciate knowing big event dates in advance to mark on my calendar. I appreciate going on a vacation where travel and accommodations has been checked into. Planning in itself is not a horrible thing but when I get wrapped up in it and forget to enjoy my life then it is a major problem. I am going to be honest here and say that I do this a lot. I get so wrapped up in the planning of certain things that I forget to sit back, breathe and enjoy it. Even this evening I have made a to do list of all I need to do till graduation…instead of rolling with the punches. That list is what inspired this post, so believe me when I say this post is as much for me as it is for you.

If you can imagine it, there was a time in my life that I was so wrapped up in the details of  my planning that I went from one activity to another without taking any time for me or frankly taking care of myself. It was bad…really bad. And I bet you can guess that I ended up a mess in the end. I think there is a healthy balance. I don’t want to have nothing planned ever…but I also don’t want to plan so much that I forget to enjoy the moments in my life. I am about to start a new chapter in my life post grad and nothing would break my heart more than getting so caught up in all I have to do than for me to forget to sit back and enjoy it this beautiful time in my life.

Honestly, some of my best memories have come from things that I never planned on happening, hangouts with friends that were spur of the moment, relationships I never expected, surprises that truly surprised me, spontaneous decisions. I am truly grateful for those moments, it is in those that I have really experienced life. Sometimes we get so caught up in our busyness that coffee with a friend just becomes one more appointment on the calendar for the day. I have definitely had those…and it makes me sad. My relationships are what is most important in my life and when I get so caught up in my “plans” I am not only suffering but so are the people in my life. I want to enjoy my coffee and lunch dates with the people I care about or the shopping trips with my best friend and not have to worry that in thirty minutes I have to be someplace else. Life is too short for us not to enjoy every moment!

Nothing of which I just said is easy for me, because it means I have to learn that it is okay to get five things rather than twenty five done in a day. It means that I may not get to see five friends in one day but have meaningful time with two. It means that I have to learn to leave my planner at home and just enjoy a day without it. It means that I have to take care of myself so I am not run down. Any of this resonate with you friend? Maybe it does or maybe it doesn’t but I just want to encourage you that I am not perfect (and I never will be nor do I want to be perfect at it because that would be a different issue) but I am getting better and that is all I can do. I am learning to say no and not overbook. I am learning that I do have time for things that are really important to me and there are some things that aren’t and that is okay! I am learning that a day without looking at my planner is peaceful. And I am learning that everything does not have to be done in a day. Maybe these all describe you. Maybe they don’t. Maybe you can relate but have different areas to work on. Take some time to take a deep breath, spend some time without the planner, do something you truly want to do, and heck even do something unplanned.  My Friends, life is too short for you not to truly live every moment. I hope you do that this week….and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!

<3MK

A Broken Smile

She’s the girl with the smile always on her face. I honestly don’t think she ever gets mad. She is happy ALL the time. Those were just some of the descriptions of a girl who was always smiling no matter what happened, a girl who before everything else kept a smile on her face and always appeared happy. Yet, beneath the smile she was broken, she was sad, she was hurting but know one would have ever known, because she kept a beautiful smile on her face. Sound sad? It was and I know just how sad…because that girl was me…

When Ed and I became friends the first thing he taught me was to numb out to my feelings. For anyone who has ever had an eating disorder, we know that it is not just about the food. For me, every time I restricted I didn’t have to feel. I didn’t have to be aware of how much I was hurting. I allowed my feelings to go numb. Even the happiness that appeared to radiate from me was a desperate cry for help, but no one would have ever known because I didn’t let people see the hurt that I suffered daily.

When I first admitted I had a problem and began to seek help for it, I was terrified and one of the reasons I was most terrified was I was scared to feel. What if things hurt too bad, what if I got really sad, what if I got mad? Even more what if my feelings were silly? What if people thought they were crazy? What if they didn’t understand? What if they were uncontrollable? Ed had fed me so many lies about how it was better not to feel. He told me how I was only going to get let down if I let go of him. What I didn’t realize at the time was that not only was I not able to truly feel anything that could possibly hurt me, I also couldn’t experience true joy either. I couldn’t fully enjoy things. I wasn’t really happy.

There were so many events and situations that happened during my life with Ed that at the time I didn’t experience. From joyous occasions to terrible ones I wasn’t really there to feel them. Much of my problem revolved around the fact that not only was I numb but also I had been told for so long by Ed that my feelings were invalid. He told me I didn’t deserve to feel the way that I did and even more that everyone else thought the same that he did. He told me how to deal with it, by restricting, and therefore the cycle continued.

The other day I was put in a situation that was hurtful. It doesn’t matter what happened but suffice it to say I was hurt about it. My immediate reaction was to dismiss this hurt, to think MK you are overreacting. However, I know better than to do that. So I texted a sweet sister who understands my struggles better than anyone and I told her the situation. She texted me back immediately with not only encouragement and wise words but also you know what else she said?! She told me my feelings were valid and that I had every right to feel that way and not to tell myself any differently. I am so grateful for her (for an abundance of reasons but especially then!) because she was exactly right and she spoke truth to me. You see, it is not even the situation that matters it was the fact that I needed to allow myself to feel. It didn’t matter if someone else thought I was overreacting or silly. It didn’t matter if they didn’t understand. For the moment, I was sad, I was hurt, I was disappointed, I was confused. And you know what? It felt pretty incredible to be able to feel those things. Not because they are the most wonderful feelings but because I knew that I was really experiencing life and I also knew that I wasn’t numbing out. I also know that if I can feel those than I can also be genuinely happy and excited when amazing things happen. Once I was able to be hurt and feel those things I was also able to understand why and honestly felt better about it because I dealt with it.

Life isn’t always happy and wonderful, sometimes, a lot of times it is quite messy. However, I am okay with all of that now because I know that I am not checking out to life the bad or the good. It is hard sometimes though and just like the situation the other day, I I am not careful I have the tendency to dismiss my feelings when it seems to much. Whether you deal with an Ed or not I think it is so easy to be consumed with things in our lives that distract us from how we feel.  It is painful many times and we don’t want to feel pain. We forget though that when we  do that, we also don’t experience true joy either. We don’t allow ourselves to be real when we aren’t feeling. We don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We worry others might not understand and might think we are being ridiculous. We forget that they are our feelings not anyone else’s and therefore no one should be able to dictate how we feel except us. When we allow ourselves to really feel we are truly experiencing life, we don’t stuff down issues that WILL come up later and I guarantee will be harder to deal with the next time around.

Maybe you’re the girl with the smile always on your face, maybe you are the one who doesn’t allow yourself to feel. Maybe you numb it, with or without food, maybe it is with another addiction, maybe it is with work, maybe you will happily deal with how others feel but not you…whatever it is, I just want to encourage you friend that your feelings are valid. Even more I want to tell you that no matter how scary you think it might be to start feeling, it will be worth it. Once you start experiencing life you truly get to live it! I may still have a smile on my face many times. However, I can guarantee though when it is there, it’s real and I want that for you too my friend…because you should ALWAYS REMEMBER…no matter how you are feeling…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!

<3MK

Getting Joy Back

I was barely four when I noticed the other girls in my ballet class. I remember distinctly my friend who had long, dark, flowing hair and was tall, at least tall for a four year old and had a thin build. I on the other hand was a normally sized not tall but not short, not large but not incredibly tiny either four year old.  However, all I knew was I didn’t look like my friend who I thought was beautiful. And all I wanted was to look as beautiful as I thought she was and whether I realized it or not it changed the way I danced and acted in the class because I didn’t see myself as good as she was. Theodore Roosevelt once stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” At four years old I learned what it was like to have joy stolen because of comparing myself to someone else. I may not remember that friend’s name but the lesson she taught me will forever be imprinted on my heart…

Today I had ballet, and as a twenty two year old I could  have reverted back to my four year old self in dance class.  I was reminded in class how easy it is to revert back to those thoughts and that attitude of comparison. Here we are college women  in unflattering leotards and tights standing in front of a full length mirror taking up the whole side of the room. Even more it’s a class where you are constantly required to look at yourself in the mirror to make sure you are doing the right dance moves. Let me be really honest here and add to that of list of things  and say that I am in no manner the most skilful ballet dancer. I may have had times in my life where dance was an important part of my life and I was a decent dancer but that is not now and my ballet skills now are definitely less than great.:)

For years Ed tortured my thoughts in everything from ballet to clothes shopping. I constantly compared myself to the models in magazines, to women I passed in stores, and even my best friends. I was never pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, fashionable enough, good enough, to name just a few. Today I looked at the girl in the mirror, the one who got ready for class in less than ten min, hair in a messy bun, no make up, in the not so flattering leotard, the girl who wasn’t quite keeping up with all the steps, and I smiled at her. I even laughed a little to myself, because I like that girl, in fact I love her. She is real. She is messy. She is completely imperfect. She may not be the best dancer or look incredible in that leotard but she is beautiful inside and out.

If I let myself I could compare myself to the beautiful people around me in the ballet class and otherwise…it would be so easy to do that. However, they aren’t me and I am not them. We don’t share the same stories, struggles, passions, and desires that make us who we really are, so why would I compare myself to someone who I am not? If I have learned anything in my relationship with Ed it is that he uses lies to tell you, that you aren’t worth it etc. and that so and so over there is better and if you looked and acted like she did you would be better. I spent years and years in this desperate trap and ended with up with nothing but despair. Comparing yourself does nothing but as Roosevelt says steal your joy. And steal my joy it did for so many years, but not anymore!

I would be lying if I said at times it wasn’t difficult to compare myself to someone else, not just in looks but in their life in general. It’s easier to do than we might think and it takes guarding your thoughts to learn not to succumb to such lies of comparison. However, it is so worth it!! When I spend less time looking at others lives and comparing them to mine then I have more time to see the blessings and joy mine is filled with. There is so many wonderful blessings in our life that we often never see when we spend time focusing on the things we don’t have. Believe me it is still a lesson I am learning. However, it is a lesson I couldn’t have learned with Ed’s lies still swimming in my head but when they went away it was easy for the comparison to go too.

Friend, maybe you hear those lies and they cause you to compare yourself with others. Maybe you are desperate because your joy is being stolen. Maybe you don’t have an Ed but you have something else in your life that causes you to compare yourself with others. Let me say this loud and clear…IT IS NOT WORTH IT!  I say that with so much love and compassion because I know how difficult it can be to realize this and let go of  what is stealing your joy but you CAN do it! I want you to realize that only YOU can be the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful, wise version of you, no one else can do that, so why compare yourself with someone who can NEVER be you?! Know that comparison only steals your joy and I want your life to be filled with joy!! And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH IT!!

<3MK