When the Rainstorm Hits

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 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, 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.

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 to 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 tugh negative food behaviors. Even being strong in recovery for three 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 creepin. 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 plans go awry, 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 control because control destroys. Know not only can you do it this week but also I will be there with you doing it and cheering you along.

Sending you love,

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Changing the Conversation

I wrote this post a little over a year ago and my recovery is in an even stronger and better place today than it was then. However I still fully believe that we must change the conversation…

Changing the Conversation.

Changing the Conversation

Why I Won’t Call You Skinny

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I remember the first time I heard the words that will stay with me forever. I remember the smile on the woman’s face as she looked at me with envy and I remember the pride that exuded from me that day thinking I had just won a gold metal. What were those words? No they weren’t you are amazing. No they weren’t you are so smart or kind. They weren’t even you are beautiful. Those words which held me in a death trap for over a decade were, “You are so skinny!”

I was ten years old and standing in the school hallway before class. A former teacher looked at me and gushed as she told me how skinny I was, how much weight I had lost, and how incredible I looked. I learned on that day; skinny was to be praised, skinny was noteworthy, skinny made people stop and notice, skinny was what I should strive to be. My heart breaks and I literally feel sick as I think of that young, innocent girl holding her princess backpack as her grasp of beauty begins to slip through her fingers.

I think if only the teacher had known I lost weight because of mental issues that were weighing me down, if she had only known each day at lunch I traded my home packed lunch for half of a subway sandwich (that a girl who’s mom was on the subway diet gave her each day). And if only she knew once I was given that six-inch sandwich I never managed to eat half of it. If only she knew, ironically the same year, I learned about how important skinny was I also learned what eating disorders were. However, I never even dreamed I could have one, because I wasn’t an emaciated Ballerina and I didn’t throw up my food, so how could I have a problem. That same year I would stand outside my Reading Class with a headache so terrible I could barely focus because I had eaten nearly nothing that day. However, the only thought which crossed my mind was “If this is what it takes to be skinny, it is worth it”.

For over a decade I would believe the lie, “skinny was the best thing possible”. Skinny fueled my Ed. I would try to brush off every compliment related to my size. I would deny it when someone said I was smaller than them. Shrug my shoulders when size “x” didn’t fit me. I would laugh when someone asked me for my diet and exercise tips. Inside, I would be thrilled. I was ecstatic of the praise and attention. Proud that my size had earned me this “privilege”.

Secretly though, I was dying physically, mentally and emotionally. I thought in order to be loved, in order to be valued, in order to be praise worthy I needed to stay this skinny. It was a losing game because no matter what the number on the scale said, no matter how small the size got, no matter how many people complimented, it wasn’t enough. And even more, the skinnier I got the more I lost MK. I had no idea what true beauty was and that it had nothing to do with the size you were.

Looking back I don’t blame the woman who stopped me in the hallway, she didn’t cause my eating disorder. My Ed was about so much more than that. That woman merely played the part that society has taught us to play. We are taught from an extremely young age that beauty and (even more) size are important. We are taught that it defines our worth and who we are.

What if I told you it didn’t though? What if I told you striving for skinny and even more perfection won’t get you anywhere but heartache. If you know me today you know no matter how much weight you may have lost or gained, I will never comment on your size. I will never tell you how skinny you are. I will never say you look like you’ve put on weight. Because I don’t believe commenting on people’s sizes is appropriate in any way, shape, or form. Because I don’t believe your view of beautiful should be determined by a comment, or a magazine, or by comparison.

When we take time out to comment on something we are stating what we feel is important to say. Worth is put in our words. I never want someone to think they are valued for their size. Because size doesn’t define worth. Size doesn’t define beauty.

May you know you are beautiful for millions of things but your size should never dictate your beauty. And may we work together to stop using words like skinny or fat or commenting on size in general.

And may you always remember how loved and worth it you are,

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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