L O V E .

today something crazy happened.

i was journaling on my computer, like i try to do daily. just the daily ins & outs of my mind. what this day in the history of mary grace has looked like.

and as i was typing something that turned out to look like a letter to myself, this crazy thing happened.

i called myself L O V E . 

now this might sound really dumb to some of you. but if you’ve followed any of my blogging throughout the years, you know that my site directly before this one was called love your love.

the idea behind it was not to say love yourself, but rather, love your love because we should be able to wake up & look in the mirror each day and call ourselves love and show to ourselves the love we more easily show to other people.

and friends, tonight i called myself love.

but i’ll be honest, it came as quite a shock to me.

lately, i have not done a very good job at loving myself {at least not consciously}.

skipping meals, extended time in front of the mirror, and mind obsession could more accurately depict the past few weeks better than the word love.

but for some reason love is was my subconscious chose to use to describe me tonight.

and though i don’t quite understand it, i am very thankful that this is the word my mind chose.

you see, it gives me hope.

hope that inside of me there still is still a fighter.

because even though leading up to the word love in the letter i was writing, i had listed out lies & fears & doubts about myself, my soul still mustered up the courage to call itself love.

i have always known i carry a resilience about me.

if my mind, which spent all day criticizing my stomach, eating habits, life decisions, etc. somehow managed to pull out a term of affection & endearment to describe itself at the very end of the day, there is still something inside of me that wants to fight.

and friends, i believe there is a fighter & a spirit of resilience inside of you too.

we were not made to spend our lives feeling defeated. and our souls know that.

which is why i think my mind took the appropriate timing in the midst of the fears & overwhelming thoughts tonight to say.

hey, you weren’t made to tell yourself these thoughts. you were made to be, show & feel love. i know you don’t see it tonight, but i’m just gonna remind you. there’s a reason you still fight.

dare to speak these truths to your souls tonight, loves?

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brokenness to beauty.

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“some of the most beautiful things i’ve seen and experienced have come from the most broken of places #brokennesstobeauty #lemonstolemonade”

little me, sophomore in college, tweeted this two years ago. and older me, reminded of this truth by a timehop app, couldn’t agree with more with what my younger self had to say.

i honestly don’t remember exactly what inspired this tweet two years ago. there are many moments in my life when i get reflective so i honestly don’t recall if it was a massive reflective moment or just a little #marymoment as i call them now.

but the truth behind that statement came roaring back to me this morning as i saw this tweet on my screen.

how many times does it take having the horrible things happen, for us to grow & change & improve & learn & then finally experience joy again?

it doesn’t seem ideal. why do we have to experience pain at all?

but i am learning, the more i go through life, that although they hurt me & challenged my faith & my strength, i wouldn’t take back a single trial i have faced.

i wouldn’t take back the hospitalizations, the hurtful words, the broken hearts, the difficult decisions, because it’s a lot more than “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

it’s more like, what doesn’t kill you makes you.

yes, i did mean to leave that sentence seemingly unfinished. but it is finished. what doesn’t kill us has now come to shape us. and we have those lessons stored up in us for a reason.

maybe it’s our own evidence that life goes on. and that not only does it “go on” from where you have been hurt. it improves. circumstances change, and although people may have left our lives, we will live & we will grow & we will come to find joy again. and although nothing can replace what we once had, i have often found that there is a richness to this new joy we experience, because we have experienced pain & because we have prevailed.

or maybe our pain is our light. the thing that tells other people, it’s possible to get through this. the thing that tells someone they are not alone in their struggle and that help & hope our possible.

i have personally found myself using my pain in both of these ways. neither is right or wrong and they are not exclusive.

but what is important is that we recognize that pain is not pointless, and God is not some evil puppeteer in the sky finding delight in our suffering.

i am able to say that last part because, well, i have thought that of God many times.

but it’s not true. i know it’s not.

because as time goes on, i have begun to be thankful that God allowed trials into my life and escorted people out of my life, because now i know that He knew i needed to learn from these things.

it’s hard to admit it though, that God knows best. especially when He is prying out of your hands or has even already taken away something you hold dear.

but look back, i dare you to look back with me.

is He not good?

what has He done that has reminded you of this?

for me sometimes it takes me looking back to high school & college & body image struggles & relationships i longed for then. and i think “oh God thank you that didn’t work out. You know so much better than i do.”

see, those situations & maybe even your current situation may hurt.

but i promise you, your brokenness will become beauty.

i am speaking this as a young woman who has seen it happen & is still waiting to see it happen in many areas of her life.

He doesn’t leave us or forsake us in our pain, or in any situation for that matter.

and in the lyrics of a song that i wrote on a hospital bed many years ago:

“i don’t understand Your ways
and how they always work.
i don’t understand how You
can use this heart for good.
but i am trusting in the One
Who tells me i will see
this confusion around me turning
into beauty”

share your story of #brokennesstobeauty with this hashtag whether you’re on the other side or in the thick of it & trust that God is working in you & your struggle this very moment.