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So, it’s Valentine’s Day and you have no significant other to spend it with this year. Your co-workers are receiving deliveries of flowers and edible arrangements from loved ones while you anticipate the 70% off sale on candy tomorrow. Scrolling down your timeline may even trigger a lot of emotion as you thumb through paragraphs of love stories and view pictures of all the couples on your friend’s list. Cue the violins and pass the ice cream girl. I feel you. I really do. Just know that your relationship status is never complicated with God.

Bible and picture frame

I know that navigating through this day may have been pretty difficult for those of you who may not have someone to celebrate with, but why do we feel the need to be in a relationship in order to feel loved? Your happiness and well being should never depend on whether or not you receive flowers and candy one day a year. If that’s the case, we’re all doing something wrong here. It’s the heart’s desire to feel all the “feels” on this day, but we have a greater love in our creator. With God, you’ll never have to question your purpose in the relationship. It’s already been written. You won’t ever feel like a side piece or even a snack. Girl, we are full course meals around here!

Because of a lack of self-worth and the pressures of social media, we can easily find ourselves in situations that may be compromising in order to feel an ounce of love or what we think love might feel like. With God, you’ll never have to question your actions or see yourself in a compromising situation to receive what He has for you. He loves every inch of you exactly where you are right now in this moment. Now that’s love sis…pure, unadulterated, love. I’m sorry to tell you, but this is the kind of love that you can’t find in a man.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

-1 John 4:10

I need you to know that you are loved and will always be loved by God. He loved you first. His love is everlasting no matter your relationship status. His love is never complicated. Your status with God will never change. Your place in His heart will always be reserved. It’s worth so much more than any reservation you could ever make one day a year. You are a daughter of the king and nothing less. 

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”1 John 4:16

Rest in believing in these words and know that one day will not remove the lifetime investment of your heart in God’s hands. One day can never define your value to yourself or others. One day will not determine your worth. You are loved. You are enough. You are whole just as you are. No one else can complete you. God already did that when you broke the mold.

Happy Valentine’s day my friend.

xoxo

girl holding flowers

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