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

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

Batman and Robin: Real Life Superheros

Batman, Batgirl, and Robin Our first photo together taken nearly four years ago the day after we met.

Batman, Batgirl, and Robin
Our first photo together taken nearly four years ago the day after we met.

Col Col, MarMo, and Tripper Our most recent photo this past Sunday with our newest member Sweet Charlie. Four years later and all grown-up.

Col Col (Robin), MarMo, and Tripper (Batman)
Our most recent photo (four years after the top photo) with our newest member, Sweet Charlie.

“True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.”

Sometimes you meet people and you know you are going to be friends forever. You share a smile and you realize you get each other. You look each other  in the eye and you just know that the other person gets you. After one conversation you realize that this is the kind of friendship people talk about and that you have found a forever friend. I have said it before but I truly am beyond blessed with wonderful friends and doubly so when it comes to my friendship with two of the most amazing men Trip and Collin or as I like to call them Batman and Robin. We met nearly four years ago, not yet college freshman, at a time where we were all trying to figure out who we were and what we would become as we entered the new chapter in our lives. The fact that we met, shared less than 24 hours together and then continued to talk until we were back together months later doesn’t shock me, for I think we knew that when we met, something special was born, a friendship that is everlasting…

I have so many wonderful friends many who I consider best friends and many who have gone through the journey of the last four years with me but when I think about the last four years of my life these two men come to the forefront of my mind. They were the first people I met on this journey and here they are four years later  still standing by my side. I think that the three of us would all say that  when we met when we were very different people and throughout the years, we have grown up together, we have become better versions of ourselves and we have loved and learned from each other while we  have grown. These two guys have seen every stage in the last four years of my life and have stuck by my side through thick and thin. So as I sat with them last weekend, reminiscing on the last four years I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear at the memories I will forever cherish with them. Both of them is so special to me in their own way but together they hold a place in my heart that will be there forever. For those of you that don’t know them, this is Batman and Robin my real life super heroes:

Batman, Trip, Tripper, he is the guy who brings the laughter and the excitement to the group. He was my very first friend at TCU and to this day he is still one of my best friends. In the last four years, we have shared more meals and stories together than I could ever count. He was the first TCU friend who came to my house, who I went to dinner with, who met my parents, who went to church with me, who met my friends. He was there before the craziness of college started. He was the guy who texted me bible verses of encouragement. He made me feel safe about coming to TCU, knowing that someone had my back. He is the one guy who can make me laugh so hard I cry and who can tell it like it is to me and who I will actually listen to. We have been thorough heartache and pain together along with happiness and joy. He has cried with me when I was hurting and then dried up my tears. He has a heart as big as the world and a genuine love for people that few could ever come close to. He is the spontaneous one of the group, always causing us to have more fun than we could have ever imagine. He has taught me more about life in the last four years than he will ever know. He has saved the day more times than I can count and will always be my real live Batman and Superhero!

Robin, Collin, Col Col, is the heart of our group. While his superhero  status would imply he’s the sidekick there is nothing further from the truth. He is the one that started out quiet and who’s personality has grown into a guy who doesn’t know a stranger. He was a huge support  to me before we even started school, taking breaks during life guarding to hear about my life problems. He was the first friend that when I shared my struggle with him cried with me, not because he felt sorry for me but because  he cared so much about me that his heart broke when mine broke. He is the one that always points me back to the gospel and who encourages me to find the good amongst the wreckage. He is a soul that is wise beyond his years. He is the one who keeps us on track  and makes sure we know how much he cares. He holds a kindness and compassion for each and every person in this world and I truly don’t believe that there is a hateful bone in his body. He has taught me more about being real in the last four years than many learn in a life time. He is always ready to come to my rescue and for that he will always be my real live Robin and Superhero!

Together this band of superheros has had quite our share of adventures. Together we have spent late nights studying and talking, we have drank pots of coffee,  we have shared more hairstyles combined than any friends should, we have sang Usher and rapped Ludacris, we have been to Christmas plays, we have spent time with family, we have cheered for our Frogs, we have shared my birthday together every year, we have made late night DQ runs, we have danced at Billy Bobs. Together, we have shared broken hearts, we have shared family struggles, we have shared disappointment and hurt, we have shared failure. However, also together we have shared more joy than I could imagine, more laughs and inside jokes than I can recall, more insight to each others lives than many know, and more nights of fun than I could have imagined.  The point is I couldn’t do life without the two. They have become the best friends and guys imaginable and thank you could never suffice for the love and friendship they have and I know always will show me. As Robin says to Batman, “We had to trust each person to do their jobs. That’s what being partners is all about. Sometimes, counting on someone else is the only way you win.” That is us in a nutshell, constantly counting on one another and knowing that together, we always win!

To their families, their beautiful sweet ladies, and other friends, thank you for sharing these amazing guys with me, they have changed my world. And to my Tripper and Col Col, my Batman and Robin you are two of my very favorite people and grown to be two of the best men I have ever known, I am honored that I can call you my best friends. Know that my love for you is bigger than you will ever know! Thank you for walking into my life four years ago and never stepping out. You have changed my life for good!

And for all you out there who think that this kind of friendship is impossible, it is NOT and you deserve these amazing friends like Trip and Collin. Don’t be afraid to open and share your story and life with people, because who knows they could become your best friends and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!

<3MK

I couldn’t resist sharing a few of my favorite photos from the past four years…like I said combined we have had more hairstyles than any friendship should… 🙂

End of Freshman year

End of Freshman year

Sophomore year at Billy Bobs

Sophomore year at Billy Bobs

End of Junior Year

End of Junior Year

Beginning of Senior Year

Beginning of Senior Year

 

Life that shall endless be

photo

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

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

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

Comfort in an Imperfect Journey

This week has been one of many articles, much story sharing, much attention that has led me back to the question: why do it? Why share with the world the most painful, intense, difficult, and messy part of my life? Why admit to having a disorder/addiction/problem/whatever you wanna call it that many may consider embarrassing and shameful? And I can tell you I didn’t have to think long about it, because sharing my story…sharing my journey…sharing my pain…makes all that I went through..it makes it all worth it…

I remember sitting in my therapist office at the very beginning of my recovery and sharing with her that one day I wanted to help others who struggled with Ed. At that point I had no idea how to even help myself. At that moment it was a wish, a dream, a small piece of hope that I held on to. All I knew at that moment was that if somehow, someway I could see the light and I could make it through the darkness, than I wanted to help others do it too. Believe me, I had no idea what it looked like and I couldn’t actually imagine actually being in a place where recovery meant freedom but today I am living in that freedom.

Fast forward a year later and I am blogging, speaking, advocating,networking, meeting, sharing, doing whatever I can to get the message of hope out there. I want people to know that Ed is real and he’s the worst “person” you could ever get into a relationship with but even more I want people to know that hope, that recovery is even more real and even more possible than you could ever imagine. At the end of the day my story is one of millions. I am one girl who had a relationship with Ed and decided to share. At the end of the day it’s not about me and it’s not about my own story. It is about the message of hope and the message of recovery…

I could have never imagined sharing my story with thousands. Being real, being honest, being open, and being imperfect were not things I knew how to do, but here I am today sharing all of that with all of you and it’s worth it more worth it than I could have ever dreamed. And the truth is, doing all of those things above are still difficult because I still am and will always be a work in progress. I still struggle, I still have bad days, I still get upset, my life is still far from perfect but that is OKAY.

I have said this many times before but my life today is beyond blessed and beyond beautiful; in the chaos, in the mess, in the imperfection it is beyond beautifully blessed. Even more than the incredible support that I received from those who love me the most, I have a God that led me through the darkness into the light. One of my favorite verses has become: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God”. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

So why do I blog? Why do I share? Why do I reach out? Because I received the ultimate comfort, the ultimate grace, the ultimate love. Now it’s my joy and even more a blessing to share that comfort, to share that hope, to share that grace, to share that love that is way bigger than me, that is way bigger than just my story. I hope my friend, that fills you with hope and you feel loved today, because that darkness doesn’t have to be there forever… and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK