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

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A Strong Foundation

I have never really known much about building anything. I didn’t know all that building entailed. Sure I had my Lego extravaganza moments but I was never a master builder. I eventually learned, that in order to have a good structure everything I built required a good foundation. Instead, of focusing on building the coolest, highest building ever, I should have focused on making my foundation stable in order to create a lasting structure. Little did I know that my life was much like the buildings that stood for a few minutes and then came tumbling down…

A year ago my life was in utter shambles. For those of you who didn’t experience that part of my journey with me, be grateful. My life was a literal mess. Just like my beautiful buildings, for awhile, I looked semi sparkling on the outside but my foundation needed a lot of work because I was in the process of crumbling. I was depressed, anxious, hurt, scared, angry, undernourished, and so so weak. I had committed to my recovery but I was struggling step by step through it. What I would learn later is that I was rebuilding my foundation to be stronger, and to withstand anything that came my way.

My recovery a year ago was not only a struggle but a fight. I had to fight Ed it seemed every minute of everyday. I had to fight to put tiny bites of food into my mouth. I had to fight to eat many times a day. I had to fight to get out of bed. I had to fight to put my recovery first. And I had to fight to wake up each morning and do it again. Sound pretty awful? I’m not going to lie to you, it was. It was the hardest thing I have ever and probably will ever have to do. What I didn’t know at the time though, was that it wasn’t going to be awful always and that today looking back on a year ago I definitely do not feel awful. In fact, today I feel pretty wonderful.

As I mentioned earlier I didn’t know I was rebuilding my foundation. I was relearning how to eat, how to deal with stress, how to cope, and how to live my life without Ed. I was finding out who I was at the core and why I was the way I was and why I dealt with life the way I did and how to change quite a lot about myself. All of this challenged the foundation that Ed had helped me once built and the foundation on which my eating disorder survived. Since I didn’t want to continue living the way I once was I had to rip up my old foundation and start from square one.

My pastor on Sunday, said that to find out who we are we must seek outside counsel and have inside accountability. Well let me tell you folks I had my share of many hours of outside counsel by a phenomenal woman who I truly believe is one of the most amazing counselors. That in itself was great but each time I walked out of her office I had a choice to implicate the changes in my life that we had discussed that session. If i had been left to my own devices, I never would have done it, but thankfully I had many, many cheerleaders and supporters who kept me accountable and helped me recover. They not only encouraged me but they truly kept me accountable for my recovery and sticking to my plan.

Many counseling sessions, nutrition sessions, psych sessions, doctors appts, meals with friends, and phone calls later, I am here in a state of recovery I never thought possible. And honestly it would have never been had I not torn up that icky foundation which included my relationship with a Ed and laid a new one of grace, love, and acceptance. I may have had to do a lot of hard work to tear up and lay down a new foundation in my life but it would have never been possible without the support I received throughout this long continuous journey. I had a God who loved me and gave me grace unconditionally, friends and family members that displayed this unconditional love and support, and many professional support team members who helped me rip up and lay down a new foundation.

I have no doubt that this new year will come with its own sets of ups and downs and its own set of triumphs and struggles but I know who I am at the core now and I have a new foundation that won’t be torn down. As Marty Grubbs says, “It is going to take work to build a solid foundation because it will be tested. Your foundation has to be something you can hold on to that will not wavier in the storm.” And tested my foundation was but because of that testing it is now as solid as ever and throughout any storm I know it will stand strong. I will be tested and tough times will come in the coming years but my foundation will stand firm. Maybe you are like me and you had no idea that your foundation was rocky. Maybe you know you’ve needed a new foundation for awhile but don’t know how to do it. Maybe this all just sounds a little crazy and overwhelming. I can relate to all of it because I have been there. But let me tell you friend, there is hope and you can do it no matter how difficult and impossible it may seem. You CAN and you WILL do it but like Marty says it will be tested. However, let me add that it WILL be worth it to live a life free from Ed and drinking in that freedom of your new foundation and life will be something wonderful you could have never imagined.

So tonight I rejoice, I reflect, and I ring in the new year with someone who loves me exactly as I am. I know that not everyday will be an amazing day but that too is okay because I now have an unshakeable foundation, a faith that is stronger than ever, and freedom I never thought possible. I hope and pray that this is what you find in the new year, that you find the true freedom that living without Ed and building a strong foundation brings, because you deserve it more than you know. So as you get ready to toast to a new year…ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK