Entering into the new year of 2017, I made a goal for myself. To be as transparent, and vulnerable as my emotional little heart would allow. After all, Jesus was more vulnerable than any one of us could ever fathom when He was on the cross, so what's been stopping me?
I've been telling myself, since I started this blog, that I want to share my story, to reach other people who may be struggling with the same battles, but there's always been that little voice in the back of my head telling me "Nobody is going to care about what you have to say, Why even bother...". On and on and on that voice goes. Truth is, I carry around a lot of anxiety, shame, and insecurity that comes straight from the evil one. But I want to, no, I need to share my story. I need to lay it all out there so that I can come face to face with what's pulling me down. Hopefully, along the way, I can reach others as well.
I grew up in a broken family. All the love in the world can't change that fact or the pain that it brought along the way. My mom and dad were divorced when I was 3 so I don't have much of a recollection of that. My dad was remarried when I was 4, and was in that marriage for 12 years before I experienced another divorce. With that marriage came my three beautiful siblings that I love so so much. Because I saw so many marriages fail and end in divorce, I never believed fully in marriage. At least not in a Christ-Centered, forever enduring marriage. I just never had that example in my life.
I dealt with emotional abuse for many years from someone I really trusted. I've forgiven that person and am trying to reconcile, but forgiveness doesn't make the pain or the scars left from it go away. Throughout middle school, I was told I needed makeup to look pretty and that my clothes made me look fat. Inevitably, many girls in middle school hear things like this. It’s unfortunate, but true. However, coming from someone who was supposed to care about me, it absolutely wrecked me.
Fast forward to high school. I never really had a "group", because I attended 4 different schools. I desperately sought to fit in and be "cool". That just never happened. I started dating in 10th grade. From there on, I sought acceptance from the one place I thought I was actually finding it. Boys. I was a flirt, I wore the most revealing clothing I could get away with, and while I had fairly long relationships for someone in high school, I still never felt truly accepted or truly loved. I always fell fast and thought I was gonna spend the rest of my life with whoever I was with at the time. I gave little pieces of myself to any person who would just notice me. When I was 15, a boy I was dating at the time asked me to send him dirty pictures and I refused...at first. I knew it was wrong, and I knew it could end up bad. But, then he told me that if I didn't send them that he'd break up with me and find another girl who would send them. Ouch. So I sent them and as ashamed and dirty as I felt, he told me I was beautiful, something I hadn't heard much. That was all I really cared about and I buried the shame. Our parents ended up finding out and we broke up, but not before I found out that he had shown some of his friends. To this day, I have no clue how many people saw those pictures, and it terrifies me. I had hit rock bottom at this point and thought many times about suicide. I started "dieting" to try to lose weight, thinking if I was skinnier, maybe somebody would really love me. I was in a very dark part of my life until I was 17. Throughout that time, I lost my virginity, my dad and I had to move out where I was separated from my siblings, and I caught a person video recording me undressing while in my bathroom, which further developed my anxiety. I formed ridiculously bad coping mechanisms to deal with all of the pain I was experiencing. Despite believing in God, I didn't have a relationship with Jesus, because I just didn't understand the kind of love that came with that relationship. I really didn't think there was any escaping the darkness that I was so lost in. I didn't realize that He was the only thing that could pull me out of that darkness.
Over Christmas break in my senior year of high school, I decided I was going to swear off dating. I wasn't going to deal with boys, because they were all immature and I kept getting my heart broken. I was still going to flirt but wasn't going to let myself get close enough to fall for someone again. Really, this was just a cover-up for my true feelings which were that I wasn't beautiful or worthy enough to be loved. That was my plan, but as you know, most of the time our plan is not what God has in mind. Nope. God's plan came in the form of a boy, okay man (he's three years older), that I had met a few months earlier but hadn't really noticed all that much because "I'm dating someone, so I can't even have friends that are boys." LOL. Anyway, we started joking around whenever he would come into McDonald's. He ended up inviting me to hang out with a friend of his and we went to see a movie and the rest is history. Not really. I was actually kind of mad at God, because this guy was pretty amazing, but I had told God I didn't want to fall in love with anyone ever again. I think He was probably laughing up in Heaven at how sneaky His plans are. This friendship and the way I felt was totally different than with any other guy I had ever known. I didn't feel like I needed to prove myself, or show myself off. I could be vulnerable. Truthfully, it was terrifying letting someone in. He started to bring me to church and at first, I think I only went because I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. But it evolved. I actually LIKED church. I felt a love that I had never known in my life. I ended up re-committing myself to Jesus that spring. 4 months, after we became best friends, Blake asked me to be his girlfriend. He made me wait, he taught me to be patient, he pointed me to Jesus first. Those 4 months were frustrating, but so worth it. We talked about so many things like what we wanted for our futures, and what our passions were, and how we never wanted our marriages to whoever they were, to be broken. I didn't realize then, that this man, this man who actually cared about me, and not just my body, would be the man I would marry.
Despite being with a really incredible guy, the shame and insecurity was still there. It's still there. Dating someone doesn't get rid of that. I didn't quite understand that at first. Only Jesus can heal those wounds. It's a journey I'm still on. There are still days that I don't feel worthy of the love Jesus freely gives. I don't feel like I've done anything to earn the Gospel. I still compare myself to so many people. I've had this fear of rejection and of things falling apart, because I've experienced it. I've allowed my fear of not being good enough to distort the truth.
The truth is that my worth and your worth lies in Jesus. It lies in the cross. In the mercy and grace of God.
Jesus is the only one who can heal brokenness and I am so completely broken. But, so are you. We all are. We live in a broken world. Every single day, anxiety keeps me worried about all the things I need to do and insecurity whispers to me about how gross and worthless I am. But then faith reminds me that God is sovereign, and I survive another day.
I may struggle with this my whole life, but I also know that I have freedom in Him. So I've come to a certain realization, a secret if you will. You wanna know what it is? It's okay to be broken. Your purpose, my purpose, still stands. His love still remains. God is faithful, even when we feel worthless.
His love endures and His grace is sufficient.
(Photo Cred: Kaitlin Shelby via pexels.com)
The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she won grace and favor in his sight. (Esther 2:17, ESV)
Y’all, I wanted a cool, first post. I wanted to dazzle you with words, and then paint murals for you in sentences. I wanted to give you something tweet worthy, but as I opened up the document to write, God chimed in. Esther 2:17 is planning on repeat in my heart right now.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve waited on the day I would get proposed to. I’ve pictured it out in every scenario: long walks in the park, snowflakes and mittens, a sparkly ring, and a handsome man on one knee. I’ve imagined what it would sound like: the crunch of snow, the eloquent lines that could put Jane Austen to shame, tears and laughter, and a love filled yes. I’ve even obsessed far enough to imagine the feelings: the happiness, the joy, the excitement, and the goosebumps that were either caused by the feels or the cold.
I’ve held that picture perfect moment in my heart, constantly going back to the living room to dust the frame. It was a moment that I was proud of, something that I longed for, until just recently when I took the dream down. I fell in love this year, with what I thought was the perfect guy. Tall, freckled, hot as a tamale, marine. When he walked into the room, my heart had all the feels, my stomach developed a talent for somersaults, and the only function that my brain could process was drooling.
This guy was #perfect. I was determined. This was the one that God made for my heart. He was my soulmate; I just knew it. If an instance came up where he didn’t line up with the things that I desired in a husband, I would simply change those qualities. If there was an Emily that I thought he would like better, I changed myself to become that girl. If he wanted to talk, (he was stationed overseas) I would twist my schedule to make it work and still try to function at my job.
Y’all, it wasn’t until he just stopped talking to me, and then several more months of venting later, that I realized how messed up that entire relationship was. It wasn’t until Thanksgiving that I acknowledged how far from God I had become in the process. As I’ve made my way back to God, He’s showed me something about that lonely year of disappointment, about the ringless ring finger, and about broken hearts.
You see, I’ve walked around for months in great sadness, and in great pain. Wasting so much of my life and my time, watching helplessly as voids and cracks formed in my heart, wondering so deeply where my beloved warrior-poet was, and why God was allowing me to feel this lonely pain. I wondered how such a passionate, loving God could let me face this kind of pain. How He could let my heart be broken and rebroken again and again. When was He going to let my True Love step in? I cried out to God for answers. He answered in a voice and tone that I’ve found true time and time again.
A still whisper fills the breeze, so quietly at first that I almost miss it.
“Emily, let go. Let go of control. Let go of the pen, and look at what you’re doing to your love story.” I look down at the pages to find the places where I wrote this guy into my story, but I realized that I wrote him in before his character was complete. I looked in horror at the ink splatters, wrinkles, and my scraggly scrawl. I studied the pages that I tried to turn too quickly, not giving my ink time to dry.
“What happened to me writing it Emily?” He asks, and I’m ashamed to tell Him that I think His timing is less than perfect, because deep down, I know that I’m wrong.
“Emily, do you know why I let you experience this?” He says, and I wait for His answer. “I let you experience disappointment, because I know who I designed for your heart. And I can see your future, and you are going to be such a strong lighthouse for my glory. You and your husband, you’re going to move people. And your love story, oh Emily, your love story. It’s so sweet, that, you wouldn’t believe it if I let you read it.” And I smile, because I know what He’s saying is true.
“Can you fix this mess?” I ask Him, and He only chuckles.
“Just watch my child, just watch.” I peek over His shoulder and watch Him write His love into all the broken places smoothing over the wrinkles and filling the voids in my heart. And then He continues on and I watch as He writes my character into a beautiful relationship with the Master Electrician, the Great King, and the Adoring Father.
You see God only allows us to face disappointments to show us how much better His plans are for our stories later on. To teach us how to appreciate what He has so kindly given us. That’s what storms are for I realize, to teach patience and appreciation.
Esther’s story comes back into mind, because when the photos pop up on Instagram and the save the date’s flood in strong enough to make me consider building an ark, I know I’m only seeing the cover photo. We’re so quick to quote the flowery verses in Esther’s story, that we often forget that it didn’t make any sense to her at first. We forget that she was taken from her home and family. We put away the fact that she probably felt so lonely until it was her night with the king. We forget those things and skip down to part where the king couldn’t take his eyes off of her.
Just as Esther’s story doesn’t start at the engagement/wedding, neither will ours, and as difficult as it may be, we have to trust that God has got this area under control, and He’s got someone out there who enjoys 2am taco runs, Netflix marathons, and dogs as much as we do. Your story is so precious to our Father, and trust me when I tell you that He isn’t taking the responsibility of writing it lightly.
The King is captivated by your story darling.
Grace and blessings,
Hey everyone, this is Hope Semones from Where My Heart Goes blog and I am guest posting on here today. Today I am going to write about being worth it. But what exactly are you worth?
I've noticed so many girls are struggling with feeling loved and worth it. You are worth being loved because God loves you. He will forgive you of your sins you just need to ask.
Romans 8:38 -39
“38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
These verses prove nothing can separate God's love for you. He is forever caring, loving, and forgiving. He is a never changing God. No matter what you have done, if it was the worst of the worst or something small and simple, you just need to be sincere and ask Him for forgiveness. He already knows the wrongs before you tell Him and He still loves you.
Jesus loves us so much. He died for us on a cross so we can have eternal life. He already knew we would fail Him but He loved us so much. So if your sin is big or small remember to sincerely ask for forgiveness.
Matthew 7:7 says
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:"
Ask God for forgiveness He is loving and will forgive you always.
Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) says "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you by His love; He will quiet you by His love; He will exalt you with loud singing."
I found this verse when I was reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. She asked the question "What do you think it means to be quieted by God's love?"
Here is my answer. I believe when you are completely broken. He gives us comfort through eternal life with Him. His love is unchanging. The change is from you. He cannot give you comfort if you do not allow Him to. Dwell on His love rather than your heartache. Sometimes we dwell on our pain because we feel like we do not deserve love, but God says we all our worth love. We all have our parts that we need to work on. So to call one unworthy over the other would be a lie.
Remember you are loved.
Remind me that you are there, you will never leave my side. Remind me you love me with all my flaws and imperfections. Have me to grow in you. Thank you
"I'm sorry Miss Whitten but at this time we can not offer you admission into our Graduate Program. Good luck in your future endeavors."
I sat at my desk at work fighting back tears. The email I had been hoping would never come, just did. I was rejected from grad school. All I had wanted was to get into this one program. I had prayed about it and prepared fully for it. I had worked and worked to get my materials in and to get my test scores just right. I had researched the program and tried to shape and mold myself into exactly what they wanted. But somehow, somehow it just wasn't good enough. I wasn't what they wanted. I had a good cry then I realized, what if God was actually setting this little rejection in my path to set me up for a better reward ahead?
2016 God laid on my heart to be patient and trusting in His timing.Understand and better grasp the concept that He is writing a beautiful story for me and it is my job to sit back and let it unfold. As cliche as it sounds "He has a plan and the puzzle pieces fit together" So what do you do when His plan doesn't match with yours? I struggle daily with this sister friends. I struggle to realize that what I want isn't always what I need, what is best for me or what is God's plan.
I have a list of things I've planned out for my life and myself and at 22 so far only a few of those things have come to pass. I wanted to be married (at 22 I know such a baby). I wanted to have a baby.I wanted to have a house (still live at home). I wanted to be in grad school ( rejected). I wanted to be setting myself up for this amazing high paying job after college (I was a stay at home, dog mom for 7 months til I got my current job). But let me tell you what I've learned. Let me take your hand and guide you through this sweet little truth...God's standards of success are not the world's standards of success. God's standard of success is not me being married with two perfect kids with the perfect husband with the perfect degree driving the perfect car with the perfect job living in our perfect picket fence house. Quite frankly perfect is overrated.
So no I didn’t get into graduate school. And no I don’t live a perfect cookie cutter life. But the precious truth is God accepts me how I am and He accepts you how you are and He has a beautiful story written. A fairytale just waiting for you be patient to let it unfold. Sometimes we have to be rejected to later be rewarded.
Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope this message has found you well and blesses your heart just a little.