One day, I looked at myself in the mirror.  This time was much different than the rest. I stopped passing the image in my reflection by like a stranger on the street and actually looked myself in the eyes. I broke down in tears and finally saw myself as beautiful. Not because someone else told me I was, but because I was witness to it with my own eyes. I was in my purest form, no filter, just freckles, and clean skin. I was no longer in need of losing a few more pounds or wishing my hair grew out of my scalp differently.

The feeling of acceptance came over me and I got a glimpse of how God might have envisioned my existence prior to forming me in my mother’s womb. I saw myself as a “Good Thing.”  Not just a good thing for the man I was created for, but a good thing in the eyes of my creator.

Over the years, I’ve become a testament to so many trials in my life that eventually caused me to view myself in ways I shouldn’t have.  I doubted myself in times where I now believe I could have pushed past insecurities. I found myself feeling defeated and even depressed. I felt small, unattractive, and incapable.  For a period, I depended on the opinions of others for my happiness while still being unhappy with myself. It took years and a couple of wrong turns, but I slowly began to learn to love myself again and affirm my inner beauty, not just on the exterior, but for what was inside of me as well.

I believed in what God’s word said about me

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

– 1 Peter 2:9

God’s word was the love letter that I needed to read in order to better understand the inner workings of my being. Throughout the Bible, His word affirms just what the enemy attempted to persuade me I’m wasn’t. The word tells me that I was specifically created in the image of God.  It tells me that I am set apart and chosen. It says that there is a purpose over my life and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. It showed me that I was formed with intention and purpose.  I no longer viewed myself as a mistake or the “odd man out,” but a handcrafted product of God’s workmanship.

I stopped comparing myself to others

“But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

-Galatians 6:4

With the overpowering influence of social media, it’s easy to compare yourself to not only the well-known supermodel on your timeline but even the girl next door using a filter and a few hashtags to get ahead.  From my six-year-old “baby fat” and stretch marks to my thinning edges, I found myself comparing what I thought others had to the reality of my own circumstance. I soon realized that the very people that I seemed to idolize were hiding behind their own insecurities covered by a Snapchat filter and a scripted motivational speech.

I later began to search myself and learn more of who I was.  I searched the word continuously. I fasted and wrote love letters to myself in my journal each day. The only music I listened to glorified God and nothing else.   I took away social media and television and focused on the rawest form of myself as I leaned on the rawest form of God in my presence. Let me tell you, a good fast can have you seeing things as you’ve never seen them before.  

All of these things allowed me to find clarity within myself. I was able to focus again.

I cast out the adverse views of who I thought I was and replaced them with who God knew me to be. No longer would I allow the views and opinions of others or the words of the enemy to dominate how I perceived myself.

I decided to change my perception of myself and learn to view what I thought was an imperfection as a compliment to God’s unique blueprint for who I was.  I embraced every flaw inside and out and affirmed within myself daily that every piece and part of me was created with intention and I’m proud to be a representation of God’s craftsmanship.

I loved myself just as God loved me

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.  God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”  

-Galatians 2:20

Just knowing that God loved me just for who I was…for who He created me to be has changed my whole perspective of myself.   I remember being afraid to even walk past a mirror because of what I might see. I didn’t want my reflection to be a disappointment.  

I didn’t look like a supermodel and still don’t.  My weight fluctuates constantly and I’m still in the process of growing in my natural eyebrows.  I don’t live in a world of ring lights, filters, and layers of makeup. I’m just Erin and I ‘m in love with the woman that she’s become and evolving to be…flaws and all.  This was not something that happened overnight, but with time I learned how to have self love simply because of God’s love for me. I learned to let my light shine in the midst of so much darkness.  I picked up all of my broken pieces and began to put myself together one day at a time just through the strength of knowing that I am loved by my Father in heaven.

I Encouraged Myself

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

-Proverbs 18:21

I affirmed my inner beauty by encouraging myself.  I looked myself in the mirror and spoke life daily.  I wrote down words of affirmation like “I am capable of all things” and “I am enough” and placed them on sticky notes to place on my vanity and even my car’s dashboard.   It may sound like something so small, but it worked. Those powerful words were embedded inside of me.

My mirror was lined with pink and gold sticky notes full of inspiration.  I got to a point where I didn’t have to look at the notes to myself anymore.   There was no need for reminders. I believed in this and walked in it regardless of what my past opinions of myself were.  I now had a better understanding that God created me in His image and His alone. There is nothing greater than knowing that I am a child of the most high…a daughter of the one true king.  There’s no reason to think any less of myself. I am royalty so I fixed my crown and walked with my head held high.

This process wasn’t easy and I am still a work in progress.  Just as we journey to continue to live saved, we journey in loving ourselves completely as God loves us for everything we are.  I’ve learned to show myself grace and to accept myself in raw form. How do you change the negative views of yourself in order to affirm your inner beauty?

One of the biggest lessons I learned this past year was to pack light and not hold on to things that have no real value. I was forced into this lesson when preparing for a huge transition in my life as I journeyed across the country to my birthplace. The memory of how I landed in California is still fresh in my mind both figuratively and literally.

I purged years of my life in a matter of weeks in order to begin again in a safe place. After over ten years of marriage, infidelity, and abuse, I packed my bags in search of reclaiming joy and the right to be whole again. I was traveling to an unknown space that I somehow also called home with hopes of finding myself again and I did just that.

The day that I left Louisiana will be one I will never forget. The enemy was vigilant in attempting to sabotage the very path that God told me to take on this journey home. I was deeply depressed, stressed, and full of anxiety, but still managed to make it through.

I was literally at my lowest point and my options were few. The only goal was to get out and reclaim my sanity and my freedom. Leaving what I called home for the past 12 years of my life was bittersweet but so necessary. I left it all behind only keeping hold of my faith and two suitcases, one for me and one for my two daughters.

Material things hold no value

During the weeks that led up to our departure, I cried a hurricane of tears that seemed to never end. I didn’t eat and I didn’t sleep. I purged our home until all that was left was our furniture. There was a pivotal point in this process when I realized that the material things that I held so dear to me were still things…things that could be replaced and had no real value. I worried so much about the things that I wanted to bring with me that I almost forgot how much value I held alone…just me. I needed to ensure that I was kept safe and protected. That’s what was and still is important.

The same way I cared for these things that didn’t have breath or actual worth, I learned that I need to care even more for my own well being. I went from holding on to meaningless objects to throwing away the clothes on my back the day of our departure. I finally felt free. I was no longer weighed down by the baggage I chose to carry around with me.

Unpacking my truth

I let go of the memories that held me captive in such an unsafe space in my mind. I stopped holding on to what could have been. It was time to let go of the grasp that I had on what used to be and allowed myself to see things for what they really were. Broken, unsafe, expired. My time was up.

God had greater plans for me, but I was holding on to the good that only my blurred vision could see. I continued to extend grace in situations that led me to become overextended and out of touch with God’s plan for my life.

I poured into someone that was not capable of doing the same for me. I forgave and showed so much grace in a situation that should have never existed in the first place. I allowed my children to believe that abuse was okay and that this was what love must look like. If love was covered in the shadows of darkness, sleepless nights, sudicidal thoughts, depression, and lack of worth, well I guess it was evident. But this wasn’t love.

I showed my girls what real love was by sacrificing everything so that we could have everything that God was holding on to for us. Their screams through shattered glass and my tears were the motivation that pushed me to ensure that they had better. I’ve learned a lot about myself during the process of unpacking my truths.

A few things I’ve learned:

  • I have permission to be whole
  • I have permission to move forward
  • Despite my situation, I am STILL a good thing
  • I have to forgive in order to be forgiven
  • My past does not define who I am or where I am going
  • I am worthy of so much more than what’s behind me
  • Pack light…The baggage I carried is too heavy for my next flight

They say the first step to getting help is admitting that you have a problem.  Well, my name is Erin and I am NOT a “morning person.” I’ve always told people that I’m literally late to life.  If I’m ever on time, you’d probably be shook. My bed and I have an inseperable bond that my alarm clock seems to break every morning.  You’d think I’d have this whole morning routine thing down by now, you know, with being a mom and all. Lately, I’ve begun to see the error in my ways and I’m working towards becoming an early riser as we break into the new year.  Keep me in your prayers fam. So, here’s a few tips I’ve come up with for my fellow not so morning people. 

Set a bedtime

For those of us who are still grasping the art of adulting, yes, we do require a bedtime. Plan your evening tasks according to what time you NEED to go to bed in order to 1. wake up at a decent time and 2. get enough rest in order to have a productive day without dozing off in your cubicle or in my case, the carpool line.

night stand next to bed with clock

Create a bedtime routine


The act of rising up early in the morning actually begins the night before, believe it or not. Now that you have a bedtime set for yourself, you’ll need to create a bedtime routine to ensure that you’re in bed on time.  This means no more scrolling through your Instagram stories for 3 hours when you should be asleep. Utilize your time wisely sis.

Choose to complete tasks that are not only going to prepare you for bed, but will also prepare you for the following day as well. This will make getting out of the house a smooth transition in the morning.

Here’s an example of my nightly bedtime routine:

  • Shower
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash face/exfoliate
  • Select clothes and iron for the next day
  • Read
  • Listen to music
  • Place my phone away from the bed for less distraction

Create morning goals to accomplish

When you establish small goals for yourself for the following day, it gives you even more reason get up and get things done. Everything should have a purpose. Here’s a few examples of small goals to set for yourself.

  • Read a chapter in your bible
  • complete a daily devotional
  • run a mile before going to work
  • eat a well-balanced breakfast

Take advantage of technology

If you’re an iPhone user like myself, there are so many useful features that will be beneficial to your success as an early riser. Here’s a few that I use now and absolutely love.

Do not disturb: All of my phone calls and notifications are silenced during the time that I select to ensure there are no distractions or interruptions during my set bed time. I don’t know how many times I’ve woken up to late night emails or the occasional phone call that disturbed my beauty rest. Of course you can set it to allow phone calls to come through from people that are on your favorites list so you don’t miss out on anything pressing.

Screen time: This feature reports your screen time used. You can set app limits and even schedule your down time. I usually have this feature shut off all of my social media apps by 10 pm so that I’m not distracted when I should be getting rest. We all know how the deep the rabbit hole goes when watching FB videos before bed.

Implementing these tips along with what works best for you will definitely help you become a better morning person. You’ll wake up with intention, be well rested, and more prepared for your day. What tips and tricks help you to get the day started? Share with me below in the comments and don’t forget to share with a friend who might need a little help.

Over time I’ve learned that constant reflection is necessary to keep me grounded.  This morning, I reflected on how far God has brought me and my family. As I think back, He’s brought us a long way in all aspects of our lives.  I was overjoyed with simply knowing that alone.

 

It’s so easy for us, Christian or not, to get overwhelmed in the desires of our hearts or even desiring what others have.  We always want the next best thing, but don’t understand that sometimes God just hasn’t blessed us with it because we are simply not ready to receive it.  We must humble ourselves and realize that we are exactly where God needs us to be in this moment. Nothing more, nothing less. There is purpose in the things that He denies us or postpones.  We simply need to trust God and His timing. Just remember that God’s blueprint for your life is much greater than any plan you may have created for yourself.

 

When I talk about reflecting, I’m not just speaking on material things.  I can still remember years ago and even last year dealing with depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts.

Take the time out to reflect on where you are right now, where you’ve been, and where you’re going as this year comes to its close.   Think back on where you were in life just one year ago at this time. I bet you have a lot to thank God for. Remember those things and keep them close to your heart.  Give God the glory, honor, and the praise for bringing you through.

 

Change your mindset and your outlook on life to believe that God is a provider.  You’ll soon find yourself worrying less and trusting Him more in every aspect of your life.  Any doubts in your mind should be removed and replaced with peace just knowing that He’s got your back and there is no way you can lose in a winning game.  Continue to reflect and remember the testimonies formed from each trial you’ve faced and remain faithful. He’s brought you a mighty long way.

 

Investing your faith in God is like planting a seed that will soon grow into greatness.  Your mustard seed of faith being planted on His word can grant you so much fulfillment in life as long as you continue to water and soil it with love.  Trust and believe that this life is a growing process. Reflect on your seed.