I am inspired more and more everyday by brave women who share their story with me. Every woman has a different story and is on a different healing journey. Many of us can relate on so many levels. When I received this incredibly brave letter from a woman this morning it made it more evident how important it is for us as women to come together and lift each other up. We all have experienced pain, shame, guilt, hurt and much more. When we realize that we are not alone something changes within us and slowly our broken wings are healed and we are ready to take flight. It took me 10 years to leave my ex-husband. So to this beautiful woman who wrote this, we stand behind you and we will be your support until the day comes when you say “No More.”
Dear Entitled Man,
You say you want to help mend me and piece me back together. You say you want to help heal me and make me better. You say you want to walk slowly so I can trust your touch on my body again. You say that you didn’t mean to pressure me over and over again. You say you didn’t know. I tried to tell you time and time again but you wouldn’t listen. You discounted the words I spoke and took what you wanted and justified your action by reminding me of everything you’ve given me. Didn’t you know… my soul isn’t for sale and you cannot negotiate with a hurting heart. Day after day I gave to you and silenced my cries. Night after night I intoxicated my mind for you. I continued to feed your need as I felt indebted to you. You say you are sorry and you are going to fix this and that you are deserving of a second chance because of all you do for me. You also said that you will never let me go and you will be with me for the rest of my life. You reminded me that I belong to you and I’m yours. How can you make me promises that you can’t keep? How are you going to fix me when you aren’t the answer? How are you going to keep me when I’m already gone? How are you so deserving when you are the one who has been hurting me? Darling, can’t you see… I belong to no one and I was never yours. I chose to allow you to be part of me no different then I did for you. That is where you lost me. I’m not your land and the walls I’ve built to protect myself from you are not yours to tear down. They are mine and they will never come down as long as I’m with you. If you loved me like you say you do, you would release me so I can heal my breaking skin and find myself again. If you loved me, you would of heard me when I told you that I can’t feel you anymore and you wouldn’t continue to condone leaving me in this cage. One day I’ll be free but right now, I believe you so I’ll stay for now. I don’t believe your words of love and promise but I do believe the threats and ultimatums. I’m not ready yet but my wings are a work in progress. If you only knew that some things cannot be fixed because they were never broken. They were just tolerant of the neglect you bestowed upon them and although they will forgive you, they will never forget. In the meantime, I have a lot of work to do. Mostly I need to work on releasing my guilt for feeling this way when you have given me so much as you often remind me. One day I’ll give myself permission to let go and I will be strong enough to endure the fall. My promise to you though, is I will fall from you one day and then I’ll fly back to me.
In the spirit of National Eating Disorder awareness week I would like to shed some light on the fact that eating disorders can and do affect individuals of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds. I used to be an expert on putting on the facade that everything in my life was great. I made sure that my outer appearance was always well put together from my hair and makeup down do my stylish heels. It was as though I piled on the layers to hide the real truth. I wore my “mask” to hide the fear, the shame and the guilt. Once I completely stripped away the facade, I was left with just an empty shell until I allowed God to show me my beauty through His eyes.
In today’s society where glamour is instant and false ideas of perfection are easily attained through filters, apps and social media the truth of who we are is no longer valued. Everyone’s highlight reel is a constant misconception that life is perfect and your self-worth is based on your posts, likes, tweets and what is socially pinned. What I have realized is that no matter how hard I try to reach perfection I always pale in measuring up to the world’s beauty mirror and I get distracted and fail to see God’s beauty in me.
There is so much emphasis on outer perfection rather than the inner soul. I’ll admit that I myself have fallen captive by society’s standards of beauty. I would try to obtain that flawless outer appearance, that sensational sense of style, the perfect makeup and the latest hair style. However as much as I tried to match that ideal standard I always failed. Anyone can look like they have it all together on the outside when they are dying on the inside. Trying to conform to these standards of beauty I was setting myself up for failure. While going through some of the darkest times of my life I developed an eating disorder. Anorexia for me was not about losing the weight to feel beautiful. Anorexia was about having some sense of control when everything in my life was so out of control. I was in a situation where I was frozen by fear and felt hopeless on an everyday basis. The one thing that I could control was what I put in my body. For people that didn’t know I was suffering with anorexia I would get comments on how good I looked once I started losing the weight. I used to think to myself, “What did I look like before?” It took a long time for me to realize that anorexia is a false sense of control and in reality it controls you. I learned that anorexia was and is the symptom to the scars I carry.
For far too long I spent many minutes, hours and days hating what I saw in the mirror. When I looked at my reflection all I could see is my fears, flaws and failures. I am slowly becoming comfortable in my own skin and not giving into the world’s definition of beauty.
When we strive to be everyone else but the person God created, then we are giving control to those things that control our perspectives in life. When we are anchored in the truth of Christ, we give the Holy Spirit control in what matters most in our life. When we start to see the vision that God has for each of us our identity takes on the shape by our Maker and not by the world. That’s an image social media and magazines will never reflect.
When we talk about beauty, we are often speaking about what someone looks like from the outside. But inner beauty is something completely different—it is the true nature of a person, the real person within. It is the personality, the goodness, the stuff that makes a person a true person. External beauty is only a part of the whole package, and without a beautiful heart and spirit, the external beauty means very little.
To love ourselves is to see our own true beauty. It means we understand how incredible we are. It means we appreciate ourselves, we believe in ourselves and most of all, like ourselves exactly the way we are. When we learn to love ourselves we start to see our true potential, we see our own strengths, capabilities, and achievements.
To love ourselves is to fully support ourselves, back ourselves up and be our own best friend. It means we look at our accomplishments and achievements and give ourselves recognition and admiration for what we have achieved. Loving ourselves is the greatest thing we can ever do for ourselves and others.
When you start to love yourself the hidden beauty will shine, unlock the door to happiness and let the beauty shine through. Enjoy the beauty that has been locked away for so long.
Beauty is more than skin-deep. It is showing the goodness of what’s inside of you. Stand Proud and shine beauty and love.
I challenge you today to strip away your masks and let your true beauty of who you are be revealed and let it shine.
We all have them. Some are visible, yet, some we can’t see. Sometimes those are the ones that can be the deepest and take the longest to heal.
The scars left on the heart after an emotional battle, the scars remaining from unkind words or the lasting scars of hurtful memories and painful moments.
Scars can be painful. Scars may seem anything but pretty. But, there’s more good found in scars than we realize.
A scar is evidence of healing. A scar appears after healing is already at work. A wound that hasn’t healed doesn’t have a scar. And we all know there’s goodness and blessing in healing.
My scars remind me how God’s sovereign hand is upon my life. It reminds me of His faithfulness and love. It reminds me of His healing power.
They are a part of who we are. They are part of our story. They can be our biggest assets if we allow them to be. Our scars can help others.
Do you have a scar or two on your heart?
You can relate to another who does.
Do you have a scar that is seared in your memory?
You can help someone else whose scar is in hers.
Do you have a scar from a physical injury or sickness?
You can give another hope that is waiting on healing.
We can learn to love our scars.