Present Over Perfect

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I’ve reorganized my desk. I’ve straightened my new short hair. I’ve done laundry. I’ve hung curtains. The list goes on, and I have done all of those things to avoid writing about what is on my heart… because what I have to say I am not good at. In fact, I am pretty bad at it most days. However, that’s why I started writing here because I believe that grace is bigger and perfection kills dreams and breaks heart. I spent too many years in the down spiral of perfection. So today. as a new wife, as a new neighbor as a new employee I remind myself of the truth I know that grace is bigger and that I have to continually choose it in order to live a life of present over perfect.

In the last two weeks, I became a wife and to say my dreams came true would be an understatement. I love being a wife to my handsome husband. I love serving him. I even love being able to spend time setting up our house. Even in the midst of hard marriage talks and fights, life is filled with joy… until I listen to the voices in my head, telling my decorations aren’t good enough. my dinners are gourmet enough, and heck I am not even good enough for my sweet husband. And when I sit down and listen to these voices, I realize what soul sucking lies they are. So this week I made a decision that I would choose present over perfect. I would choose to be in the moment, good and bad because I only have this life to live. As I sat down I realized that the more I chose the present over “being perfect” the more I was able to see the grace at work in my own life.

I’ve always been the biggest people pleaser. I want everyone to be okay with my choices and okay with who I am. If I am being honest it used to kill me when someone didn’t like me. But when I live my life dictated by the standard of perfection that I and other people set for me, I am even more of a mess. I am a stress case. I control, anything and everything in my life. I miss out on life. And I am the worst version of me. And the worst part is that I believe the lie that life is a story about me.

In my heart, I truly believe in grace. A grace so scandalous that it not only saved my soul but it truly took a wretch like me and used my story to bring glory to the One who wrote it. I believe that grace saved my life and saved me from destroying myself. When I lean towards perfection I don’t recognize grace and even more I don’t exercise. I believe that I can do it all on my own and frankly I don’t need any help. I am more selfish than ever. And I end up on the kitchen floor in tears because the room doesn’t look perfect, and I am exhausted and I haven’t eaten because I’ve been too focused on my selfishness. That is what perfection does, it wrecks me but grace it saves me.

So today, tomorrow, this week, and here after…I’m deciding to live in the present. I am choosing present over perfect. This is where I get to see grace at work.  My friend, life is hard but it is a million times harder when we let perfection rule it. So how about you choose present over perfect? How about you take some time to live in the present and see grace at work? It is worth it I promise

You are loved and you are worth it!

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Choosing Love

I think we would all being lying if we said we hated Valentines day. In reality, I think it’s hard it hate an idea that centers around us being cared for, cherished, adored and frankly loved. We all long for that. However, celebrating on one day with every other person in the world your love. That concerns me. Because what happens the other 364 days? What about the teenage girl who doesn’t have a boyfriend? The single mom? The orphaned son? On this day I don’t believe these people feel the love that everyone oozing about their VDay presents does. I hope though in spite of this day they they learn the love doesn’t happen once a year it’s an all year, every minute kind of thing. It’s not a feeling but it’s a choice…

I would be lying if I said that somewhere deep down inside I don’t long to be a princess. In fact, I used to think love was this fairy tale princess story that ended with a Happily Ever After and a ride off into the sunset with my Prince Charming. If you had asked me what love was two years ago that is exactly what I would have told you. It was Happily Ever After, tied with a beautiful bow around it. Now I know better. My friends, that is not love, because love is a choice, love is an action.

Before you stop reading because you think that I am about to mush and gush about my love story and favorite guy. Hold on…I am not. I am talking about love with your friends, with your community, with your parents, with your extended family, with your kids, with yourself. I no longer hold the belief that love is this mushy, gushy feeling. If that were true then love would last very briefly. In the last few years I feel like I have gotten a crash course in love and what it means to love others and have them love you back.
I once had a conversation with a friend who told me that loving someone should be easy, it shouldn’t take work, it shouldn’t be messy and we should just have that love feeling. I tried to explain that was the opposite of what I believed love to be, because, love was all of those things, messy, hard, complicated, work, and it was anything but a walk in the park. We are human, we mess up and we are in no way perfect so why should love with other people be anything but imperfect. I believe there is only one true perfect love, filled with grace and that is from a Savior much bigger than any of us. So when it comes to imperfect people love is difficult. We often give up easily because love requires grace. It requires looking at someone and seeing their imperfections and loving them all the same.
Every day we wake up and we have a choice to dig deep with people. We have a chance to roll up our sleeves and walk through the messiness of life hand in hand. We have a chance to forgive and keep forgiving. We have a chance to live out grace. We have a chance to not treat others in ways they have treated us. Sometimes it gets really messy, sometimes it requires us to do things we don’t want to do, awkward things. It may require kindness to a stranger, it may be asking to help with a task you absolutely cannot stand, it may be physically cleaning up a mess, it may be time consuming. Each time we dive in and show that kind of love we are giving people a chance to see that beautiful face of grace and love.

This week I got to spend time with one of my favorite friends who is beautiful inside out. She has mentored and loved me unconditionally. She has held me when I cried. She has talked me through the toughest times, shared her family and seen past my flaws. Most of the time I had nothing to offer her back but my mess and she still chose to roll up her sleeves, pick me up and help me out of my mess. She made a choice to love me when I was unlovable. That my friends is love, when we have nothing to offer and someone comes in sacrifices for us and scoops us up in their arms and makes a choice to love us.

Sometimes we forget to extend this same courtesy to ourselves. It is easiest for us to love others and not ourselves. My friends I want to remind you to extend that same grace and love to yourself, even when you are a mess and feel at your worst. You too need love, even from yourself. Real love is hard even for ourselves because it requires sacrifice. It may mean that we don’t get to watch a marathon of our favorite TV shows, maybe it means putting part of your paycheck into something less fun than a rainy day fund, sometimes it means telling the honest truth in grace and risking a relationship. That is where we often get caught up in a predicament, we are all about love, until it affects our bank accounts, our home, our time. I want to challenge you friend, true love requires this sacrifice. It means loving when the person isn’t deserving. It means loving when you want to quit. It means loving despite the fact that the other person can do nothing for you. It means loving the mess of a person laying in bed, who hasn’t showered, has bad breath and greasy hair. That is love.

This week I hope you think about the ways you can love others…truly love others, ways you can sacrifice and love people when it isn’t fun. It might seem hard and weird but just remember it is not a feeling you’re going off, it is a choice, it is an action. And as you begin to love others this week I have a feeling you will really begin to live and I pray you get that love and grace you are dishing out, served right back to you.
And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK

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Taking a Leap of Faith

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Tomorrow I am taking another huge leap of faith. Tomorrow I get to share this video with a group of high school students and talk to them about Eating Disorders and Recovery. I wanted to share it with all of you first so that you could be praying that it would help open a conversation, that recovery is possible and grace is so much better. My story is one of millions and it has never been about me but if sharing my story of grace helps one person find freedom and grace than it is worth sharing.

Thanks for watching!

Always remember…

You are loved and you are worth it,

<3MK

23 Reasons I am Getting Married at 23

 

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The last few weeks have felt like a whirlwind. Actually more like a dream come true and a fairy tale wrapped into one. In fact, I still feel like I am processing all that has happened since December 19th, the day Brett asked me to spend forever with him. I have wanted to write about my favorite guy and fiance for so long and especially since the engagement. I am beyond excited to start this new journey with my best friend and love of my life. There are many things I could write about him, in fact I could fill up multiple posts. However, today when I read an article about things one should try before or instead of getting married at twenty three, I thought it was time to write. This in no way is a slap in the face to that author. She has her own experience and I have mine. I am not naive and neither is Brett. We are not getting married because we decided to on a whim. This is a decision we have talked about, thought about, prayed about, and sought wise counsel about.I know that different people make decisons for different reasons based on what is best for them. However, when I started this blog I promised to be honest and share my story. So here we go. Maybe you are thinking about marriage, maybe you have been married for thirty years, maybe marriage is not even in your sights. Whatever your life, whatever your choice, this is not a recipe or an instruction manual on why you should or shouldn’t get married. It is simply one imperfect girl’s reasons for marrying at 23. In no particular order…here are the reasons I am marrying Brett Eric Stainsby on July 4th:

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1. Age doesn’t matter. Sure we would not have been mature years ago but  now we are both adults. I am 22 and Brett is 26. We will be 23 and 27 when we get married and we made this adult mature decison together.

2. He treats me with respect. More than just opening doors and pulling out chairs. Brett genuinely respects me as a person and as his future wife.

3. He is my best friend. He is who I never hold back anything from and in turn he never holds back from me.

4. He accepts my mess, flaws and all. He is willing to walk through the trenches with me, even if it is messy, tear ridden sometimes ugly journey.

5. He shares his mess with me and is not afraid to let me into his deepest darkest days.

6. He makes a choice everyday to love me and show me love, even when I am annoying, even when I am bratty, even when I am mean, even when I haven’t showered.

7. He shows me grace, grace for my mistakes, grace for my flaws, grace for my imperfections.

8. He constantly reminds me to show myself grace and models it for me.

9. He sacrifices for me. Whether it be big or small. The other day he quit on hold twelve of a great game of golf on a beautiful day to go to an event where he knew no one, just to be there for him.

10. He calls me out lovingly when I am wrong. He doesn’t let me get away with things I do wrong. However, he shows me grace for my mistakes and loves me despite them.

11. He loves Jesus big time. He loves Him way more than he loves me. He actively pursues his faith and leads me.

12. He makes me laugh. Whether it is dancing silly, using accents, or teasing me. When I am around him I cannot help but smile.

13. He makes life better. He makes my good days more amazing and my bad days sweeter.

14. He encourages me to tell my story, to share my life with others and he supports me in the process.

15. He is an amazing listener. I may give him a hard time for not remembering every little detail but he truly does listen, especially when it counts.

16. He tells me I am beautiful no matter what and he means it. The first time he told me he loved me, he told me no matter what I looked like, I was beautiful and he loved me.

17. He makes me feel like I am the only girl in the world. Ten supermodels could walk by him while we are having lunch and the man would not even glance up at them.

18. He loves my family and shows them more kindness, love and grace than anyone ever has.

19. He takes time for my friends and considers them his own. I have never seen anyone so loved and respected by my friends.

20. He is willing to do silly things with me. Last night he watched High School Musical 2 with me while I sang along to every song and he said it was the best night.

21. He has the kindest spirit. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone and he is always willing to help anyone in need.

22. He is genuine and down to earth. He couldn’t care less about the money someone makes or where they live. He loves people for their hearts and spirits not for their material worth.

23. He wants to do life with me and I want to do life with him…FOREVER! We are not taking this marriage lightly. We know that the commitment we are making is a life long one and we couldn’t be more excited.

So there you go. Those are the reasons that I am marrying my Brett. Some of you make look at them and scoff, others may relate. Whether I decide to one day travel to the Effiel Tower, Sky Dive, get a PhD or decide to some, all, or none of those things and many more I want to be there with him through it all. He is not perfect or a saint and neither am I. We are two hopelessly imperfect people, in need of grace who want to do life together. We don’t have life completely figured out and we never will but we want to do the “figuring out” of life with each other. He is who I want by my side. He is who I want to do life with. He is my one person.

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I hope that each of you are filled with as much joy as we are, whether you are married or not or whether you are 23 or not (Brett is not 🙂 ). I also hope you know that you can have the adventure of your life even if you are married or not!

And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

❤ MK

Finding the Real MK

The best friends a girl could have. #beyondblessed

The best friends a girl could have. #beyondblessed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK

No Matter What, YOU are BEAUTIFUL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<3MK

Uncertainty and Control: My Not So Best Friends

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As I sit here my eyes are heavy and my head is running a hundred miles an hour with a million things to do. Truth is I am a list girl and with moving, working, spending time with friends, etc. my lists are piling up.  And when my lists pile up so do my perfectionist tendencies, so do my worries, so do the lies. For the past week I have been worn out emotionally, physically, spiritually, from transition in all areas in my life and when I am worn down bad habits start to creep up. And instead of being honest and open with people, I shut down and I shut up. I don’t say how I am really doing and I put on the Miss Perfect Hat. I let little things get to me and I start to only see things as right and wrong in my life or as black and white. So what am I doing instead of listening to the overwhelming lies in my head? I am sitting down and talking to you dear friends. Because maybe you’ve had a week like mine. Maybe you need to hear this as much as I do…

I am so not good at transition or shall we say change. I fight it with every fiber in my being and the last few months have been all about change. I graduated college, I got a big girl job, I got a lovely house, I got a wonderful boyfriend. All of these are beautiful things. I also had several people leave (or who are about to leave) who are my family, I had friends move away, I had to make real decisions about what I want for the future. There is so much good wrapped up in this change, yet I still fear it like many of us do, because it is uncertain. And frankly the unknown, the uncertain, often drives me over the edge and that is where the problem begins.

When everything in my life seems uncertain, I do the one thing that make life feel more certain to me…I control. I control my relationships, I control my behavior,  my decisions, even my wardrobe. Honestly, it’s not bad to plan or be well prepared but I take it to the max when I feel the need to control. In the past Ed, was the master at this he knew just how to control my life through negative food behaviors. Even being strong in recovery for almost two years, there are days in the midst of uncertainty that I have to sit back and take in the truth and not listen to the lies that start to creep in. Because the fact is, I don’t believe them anymore and I don’t live by them. However, when I am worn down and fragile they have a way of breaking through the steel trap door which I have locked them deep behind.

Maybe you have struggled with Ed, maybe you haven’t but I think we can all understand the desire to control when everything seems out of control. Here is the bad thing though, when I lean into the control I lean into my perfectionist qualities. When I lean into my perfectionist self I don’t like who I become. That MK always has an answer  for everything, she has to constantly have her hair and wardrobe perfect, she has to always say the right things, she is irritable, she can’t mess up, and she certainly cannot share her mess. She becomes more focused on the results and not the relationships and people in her life. That MK, cannot leave the house in yoga pants, she cannot relax when she is with friends, she cannot stand when one thing in the house is out of place, she can’t sit still, she can’t be really present, and she cannot deal with imperfection. Let’s be real, that MK is NO fun to be around!

There are times when my life is just more messy than usual. There are times where the pain and past wounds seem to still sting. There are times where I just cannot catch my breath and the last few weeks have been like that. Don’t get me wrong there has been a lot of joy and wonderful times in the past few weeks. I have always been a glass more than half full girl. I can tell you all about the sunshine and the roses but today I need to tell you about the rainstorm because that is just as real. We don’t talk about the rain and hail, especially in the midst of it, so I am going to take a big leap of faith and do just that. In the midst of the rain, when I cannot see the sun life is hard and my desire is to control and when I control I become the worst version of myself. However, I don’t have to be that controlling person, but that takes major effort.

It is during the rainstorm that I have to take time to rest, to practice self-care, to be still, and to know that taking care of my self, especially when life is hard, is NOT selfish. If we don’t give our bodies time to rest, to feel all the emotions that come with uncertainty and to work through them, then we are doing ourselves a huge disservice. For me unwinding is reading a favorite book curled up with a cup of coffee, it is watching cheesy ABC family sitcoms, it is a glass of wine and a chat with my best friend, its a nap in the middle of the day, it is praying, it is singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite song. Those are all healing for me, however I will say this healing activity can soon turn into numbing. I know all about numbing from my years with Ed and I never want to go back there. So I build in me time but I also don’t let it take over. Because lets be real, I could sit and read for days, I could lay in bed and watch every episode of every TV show ABC family ever created, but that wouldn’t be helpful and it would certainly check me out to life and I don’t want that. So I rest and take time to heal but I don’t numb out.

This coming week I am striving to be the more balanced MK. The MK that doesn’t freak out when her boxes are packed wrong, the MK that can get ready in ten minutes, the MK who doesn’t focus on what she eats. And here is the secret, I will slip up this week and want to go back to the control and so will you, because we aren’t perfect. Each slip up though reminds me that instead of focusing on what I did wrong there, I have a chance to do it right the next time. And in allowing myself to mess up I give myself grace and with that grace comes rest, and when I rest I loosen my grip on the control and perfection because I don’t need them anymore. That is what I wish for you this week my friend,  that you would show yourself grace and give yourself rest. Rest in whatever way you need to and loosen your grip on the control, because control destroys, rest and grace do not. So slip on your pajamas and curl up on the couch and rest in the manner that is the most helpful for you and watch the need to control slip away. You can do it this week and know that I will be doing it right there with you… and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK

Dear Ed…Closing a Chapter and Beginning a New Book

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

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

Dear Ed,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodbye ED, we won’t be speaking anymore,

Martha Kate

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

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

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

❤ MK

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