Category Archives: Identity

mourning motherhood

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For as long as I can remember, Mother’s Day service at the church I grew up in always looked the same. The pastor would ask the moms in the room to stand up. They would, and everyone would clap. Then he would proceed to figure out which mom had the most kids by asking women to sit down if they had less than X number of children. By process of elimination, our congregation would celebrate the mother of the most children and she would be presented with a beautiful floral arrangement. Then the same process would occur to figure out which mom was the oldest AND which mom was the youngest, and both would receive a flower to take home and set as a center piece for Sunday dinner.

We were in the business of celebrating moms.

From an early age I knew that to be celebrated as a woman I needed to have children.

And I don’t say that in a prideful way.
I’m not fishing for applause, nor do I intend to have an “everyone come see how good I look!” attitude.

Simply put, I knew my value in the church and society would increase as soon as I had a kid.

So imagine 17-year-old Kayla mapping her life out.
Married by 22, 23 at the latest.
First child by 25, cause ya know…let’s be married for at least a couple of years before we have kids.
Be done growing my brood by 32.

And here I am.
Almost 29.
No marriage.
No kids.

The dreams I had for myself 12 years ago left unfulfilled.

And I’m not the only one. I know many people who have had to mourn the loss of the dreams they had for themselves. Whether focused on marriage, career, being a parent…whatever it may be. We all have things that we desire that have not come to pass.

And it’s okay to mourn those things.
It’s okay to feel deep sorrow for something you’ve never had.
To feel a sense of loss and sadness over something that was never yours to begin with is okay. In fact, I think it’s natural.

Especially when we’ve believed the lie that the thing we’re mourning is somehow attached to our value.

And yes, it is a lie. Straight from the mouth of the enemy.
It’s a lie for anyone, anywhere, in any context to tell you (or even show you by their reaction, or lack of) that your value is tied to an.y.thing other than Jesus.

If you find yourself with people – or in a community – that try to tell you that you can’t be fully who you are because you don’t have a husband/child/higher paying job/boots with the fur, you lovingly tell them to shut the H up.*

Be with people who, along with the Holy Spirit, help redeem the lies that have been spoken into your life.

A BIG PRAISE & AMEN for the way God has softened the ground of my heart and given me so many people who speak truth over my life. And not only speak it, but by their actions are in the process of redeeming so much of what has been broken over the years.

People who:

  • 2 weeks after their child is born and we’re in a crowded room say, “Here, take him while I go do something…” And let me snuggle their little one for what feels like an eternity.
  • trust me enough to stay overnight with their kids so they can go on a marriage retreat.
  • are honest with me when I ask them what it’s like to raise three boys and how they teach their kids to live off their own faith and not mom & dad’s.
  • invite me into their lives by sharing the joyous news of a new baby and remind me that they want me to be a part of their kid’s life.
  • let me sit on the floor of their nursery while they put their baby to sleep.
  • tell me that they feel safe and comfortable when I hold their daughter and, as I walk up, basically throw her at me because their arms need a break.
  • affirm the voice that I have with their kids and trust that I love their children and want to point them to Jesus.
  • when I ask them about their lives, they don’t just talk about their kids. They talk about themselves. Because that’s what I’ve asked about. And we can share life as people whose identities are rooted in Jesus, not the other labels that we carry.

You see, I’ve mourned “natural” motherhood for myself up to this point in my life. But I don’t really have to mourn all of what motherhood is because I have people in my life that value me. Kayla. They see me and love me and affirm who God has made me to be. They call me to good and ask me to do the same of them, and their kids.

For all the non-mom’s out there today, or any day really, know that it’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to mourn that which you do not have. But also know that it’s okay to fight for community that not only allows, but asks, for you to live out the way God has made you as woman. Whatever that might look like.

And know that if we were to be in a church together and the pastor asked all the mom’s to stand up, I would clap for them, but then I would stand up and shout, “All women, rise!” and I would throw out candy because that’s usually better than flowers anyways 🙂

*but seriously, do it lovingly, not with anger or bitterness or trying to beat them at their own game. and if you need to take a beat, call me, then chat with them about it, feel free!

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worst case scenario

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Have you ever seen the movie Inside Out?
If not, stop what you’re doing, go watch it, then come back and finish reading this blog.

Go ahead.

I’ll wait.

….

Awesome. Welcome back.

l.o.v.e. that movie. So so much. It’s funny. It makes me feel good. And there’s finally an animated character other than Pocahontas that I can relate to. Her name is Sadness.

Sadness is…well…sad. She likes to point out the dread in everything. She makes the other emotions aware of the worst case scenario in an attempt to be helpful throughout their shenanigans.

One of my favorites to illustrate the point even further:

Sadness: It’s long-term memory…you’ll get lost in there!
Joy: C’mon! Think positive!
Sadness: Okay…I’m positive you’ll get lost in there!

I’ve been known to say very similar things in my lifetime.

ANYWAYS.

I can be like Sadness sometimes. I have this superpower of always being able to play out the worst case scenario, no matter the situation, in about .41 seconds.

It’s a gift, I tell ya.

But recently I’ve been thinking a lot more about what my actual worst case scenario is.
God originally planted this little whisper in my ear about a year ago, but He has been speaking it louder and louder over the past few weeks.

And here it is:

In Christ, my worst case scenario is redemption and resurrection in to new life.

That’s it.
The worst thing that could actually happen to me is new life.
Redemption.
Resurrection.
Eternity with the One who created me, sustains me, and loves me with a steadfast, everlasting love.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t feel the effects of sin and brokenness in our world.
I do feel them.
I feel them for myself.
I feel them for others.
I/we experience that which we were not originally meant to experience: death.

But.
Guess what comes after death.

Resurrection.
New life.
Complete wholeness, the way it was meant to be.

This Holy Week, in reading through the multiple accounts of Jesus the Christ’s death, it’s clear that He dies.

He has to.

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30

When he cried out “it is finished” on the cross, the Greek word is “tetelestai” – literally meaning to bring to a close, to complete, to fulfill.

The Savior of the world declared it was finished and gave up his spirit.
He declared the reign of darkness had ended.
Light has come.
His complete work had been accomplished.

And he died.

But…Sunday is coming.
Resurrection is His.
New life belongs to those that are in Him.

In Christ, my worst case scenario is redemption and resurrection in to new life.

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2017 – the year of joy

2017 - joy

A few years ago instead of making a bunch of resolutions at the beginning of a new year, I resolved to instead choose a word representing my desire for what the year could bring or what I hope God would specifically shape in my heart over a 365 day period.

2016 was the year of dwelling.
2017 was the year of joy.

In many ways 2017 has sucked.*

Amy Poehler writes in her book, Yes, Please, “Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air. The process of divorce is about loading up that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.”

Now, obviously, I have never been divorced. Or married.
But in a lot of ways, 2017 was a year of loading up the blanket, tossing it in the air, and seeing what would happen when things landed.

Friendships shifted in ways I didn’t expect.
I experienced spiritual warfare in the most personal, physical way that I have never experienced before.
The hope of a budding relationship and a life of non-singleness didn’t pan out the way I thought it would.

And that’s just, like, 17% of the past year.

But…

God didn’t leave me.

While some friendships shifted away, others moved even closer and grew even deeper.
In the midst of the battlefield, Jesus took up His sword and fought on my behalf.
God showed me, yet again, that He alone is the true lover of my whole self.

God didn’t leave me without.

And that’s why it truly was the year of joy.

On the outside looking in, it probably wouldn’t be labeled a joyful year.

But on the inside, I know in the core of who I am, that joy is not defined by my circumstances.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. – Romans 14:17

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  – James 1:2-4

(Jesus speaking, after talking about abiding in Him) These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. – John 15:11

You see, my joy – by God’s grace – is Him. It is a deep, abiding truth that He will never leave me or forsake me. That in Christ, I am loved and known and treasured, and in turn can love and know and treasure the One who has come to set the captive free.

I don’t think my journey with joy is over – but I do think that in the midst of all the tossing, this is what has landed: the joy of the Lord is my strength.

 

 

*but also, my baby sister got married and is now going to also have a baby of her own, SO THAT’S REALLY COOL!

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what do i do when i don’t get the blessing?

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I’ve been writing this one in my head for a few weeks, so it’s probably time to put it on internet paper.

With graduations and engagements and weddings and new seasons in general, I’ve seen a lot on social media about God being so good because people are so blessed.

I get really excited when people acknowledge that we serve and are known by a good, loving, gracious, merciful God who gives His children good things.
But I get pretty bummed out when we only acknowledge Him along with completing a degree, getting engaged, receiving a promotion, getting pregnant, starting a new relationship, get a new car…insert “good thing” here.

I believe those things are all good things, and again, it is of utmost importance to recognize that good gifts come from our good God. That, ultimately, we don’t earn or deserve what we have – it has all been given for us to steward and use for God’s glory.

But what happens when I don’t get the blessing?
Is God still good?

What happens when:
I fail a class and have to retake it, putting graduation off for another year…
My boyfriend breaks up with me because he’s just not feeling it anymore…
I receive a formal reprimand because of relational friction in the workplace…
I have miscarriage after miscarriage and just don’t understand why my body isn’t cooperating…
Both of my grandmas get cancer at the same time…
Friends that I thought would be by my side forever have now rejected me and I have no idea why…
My car gets totaled in a hail storm…

Is God still good?

Or have we become a people who condition His love for us, and dare I say, our love for Him, along with what He gives us?

Tonight I’m going to the church I grew up in to open up a youth rally with some worship time. I’m going to play a song that has these lyrics:

Though You slay me, yet I will praise You
Though You take from me, I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me, still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need

I’m straight up nervous about this one because I know it will rock some worlds.

“Umm…nah…I’m not interested in that God.”
“If God is good, He wouldn’t take from me.”
“But doesn’t God just want us all to be happy and feel good all of the time?”

James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Do you know what God’s Word says is perfect? God’s love & Jesus’ life.

Jesus is the perfect gift.
Jesus is the good gift.
Jesus is the blessing that none of us deserve but all of us can freely receive.

My blessing isn’t that I receive every material gift I’ve ever wanted and have no hardship in life.

My blessing is that the God of all creation sent His one and only Son to live a life that I cannot live – a life free from sin – die a death that I deserve to die because of my sin and rebellion against His perfection, and raise again on the third day so that I am now made spotless, whole, complete in Him.

I’d rather have that blessing than anything this world has to offer.

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dwelling in 2016

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Well my friends, we have reached day 366 of the year 2016. At least that’s what my big ole wall calendar tells me. I don’t want to do any research beyond that, so if I’m wrong, just let me be wrong. Leap year, right?

Anyways.

For the past few years, rather than making a New Year’s resolution, I’ve chosen a word or theme for the coming year – what I hope to learn, settle in to, or be intentional about in the days ahead. For 2016, that word was dwell.

According to the people who make up meanings for words, dwell means: to live or continue in a given condition or state; to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing.

As I entered in to 2016, I wanted to figure out what dwelling with God, myself, and others could look like. To live or continue in a state of rejoicing or mourning with those I care about. To linger over what the Lord was doing in my life, and not freak the heck out about it. To ponder anew what the Almighty can do if I just sit and continue with Him.

I wanted to ask, is this a relationship worth me dwelling in? Is open, honest life with this person a mutual calling to good, or one-sided exploitation that does both of us harm?

And ultimately, I wanted to sit in this question: If all I ever do is dwell with the One who came to dwell with us – if Jesus is all I ever get – is that enough?

You know how when they say if you pray for patience, be ready to experience opportunities to practice patience? Well, same principle applies.

2016 was full of opportunities to let life get the best of me. To be anxious and afraid and feel a lot of crap that the enemy wanted to use against me. Sometimes dwell was the last thing I wanted to do – unless it was dwelling in my bedroom, under the covers, with my eyelids shut tight.

Many times I felt a stirring in my heart/soul/insides/whatever that made me restless, itchy, anxious, and afraid. Insecurities I thought had been put to bed came bubbling back up. The opposite of dwelling seemed like the easier choice so often in the past 365 days.

But the most amazing thing happened.
I stuck around.
I continued in the state I was given.

And God didn’t leave me.
My friends didn’t leave me.
I was able to dwell in the midst of some disruptive crapitty-crap and I am coming out the other side still alive.

There are marked moments of God showing up, helping me to dwell and to settle in to life, disrupted, but not shaken by the world around me.
He allowed for words to be spoken to me that applied an instant salve on my heart.
He illuminated His mercy for me in new ways that left me speechless.
He dwelled with me throughout the entire time, not leaving me on the rickety boat alone, but stuck around, hoisting the sails, bailing water that came in over the sides, making sure that if nothing else, we stayed afloat.

Even though today is the last day of the year and most resolutions are resolved, I think this whole dwell thing has really only begun. Today – right now – Jesus is enough. Other days, honestly, it doesn’t seem like He is. But the best part about dwelling with Him is that, even when I tell Him that I don’t believe He’s enough, He still sticks around.

I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings – the joy and hope in what God is up to, the depth of relationship He will continue to grow, and the promise He is the God that will never leave or forsake us growing more and more true in my life.

Now, I need to go pack my gold sparkly heels (that I will have officially worn for the 3rd time in 4 years after tonight). I’ve got a wedding to go to and a rug to cut.

Smith out.

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bad for my soul

bad for my soul

This one’s been stewing in my head for a couple weeks.

I was in a coffee shop not long ago shootin the breeze with a friend, like ya do, and I mentioned a movie that I had recently seen. It was just bad. Just a bad movie. I saw things and heard phrases that shouldn’t have been exposed to my eyes and brain.

And, hear me, I’m not a hyper-conservative viewer of entertainment. I watch movies that have cuss words and dark story lines and are not necessarily something I would take my Grandma to see.

But this one was just bad. It exposed me to things my soul just didn’t need to be exposed to – reintroduced my brain to sin patterns that God had healed me from years ago, and in an instant produced unhealthy guilt and shame that I hadn’t felt in quite a while.

As I said to my friend, “oooohhhh DON’T see that! It was NOT good!” she responded with, “But did you think it would be?”

My honest answer – no. No I did not. I knew it would be bad.
My answer to my friend – “Well…I can handle quite a bit…I thought I could handle it…I’m usually able to deal with that kind of stuff…”

What a load of crap.

I was justifying my indulgence in a coping mechanism – to escape, to laugh, to pretend like I am immune to the tactics of the enemy.

This past week, another friend and I were talking about how easy it is to have our minds just flat out messed with. She can look at a post of someone selling their house on Facebook and immediately be thrown into insecurities of never being able to afford something like that, and not having the house she’s always wanted that has the carriage house her blogger friend can live in, and not being able to live in a good school district, and basically screwing up her children-that-she-doesn’t-have-yet’s lives because she can only afford half of what her friend is asking for their house.

I can look at a friend’s family photos on Facebook and cry because I don’t have what is so perfectly portrayed on the computer screen.
I can browse Pinterest for wedding ideas, planning the perfect day for my to-be husband and I, and then wonder why I’m struggling with loneliness and being single.

I think sometimes we like to think that our minds are completely fine and protected and NOTHING CAN GET IN HERE BECAUSE JESUS. But I’m coming to find more and more that while yes, God does protect us, I think He also desires for us to desire good things. When I know something will not be good for my soul, I don’t need to watch it. When I know Instagram will make me doubt God’s goodness, I need to stay off of it. If I know before I even start it, that the thing I’m getting ready to watch/read/do/experience will push me farther from Christ, I need to flee from it.

I’m glad I have people around me that ask, “But did you think it would be?”
Because that pushes me to think – to think about what I’m exposing my soul to. To think about honoring who I am and Who Jesus is with what I put into my brain and body.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

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why wait until Monday?

why wait

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’ll start on Monday.”
Or decided to take on a new lifestyle habit (diet, exercise, etc.) and used that phrase yourself?

Just me?

Okay. Well. I’ll just talk to myself then.

I’ve been undisciplined in writing lately. I feel uninspired and dull and like I have nothing to say. And that’s not true. I have things to say, I’m just nervous about saying them. Nervous about revealing just a little too much and pushing people away. Nervous about saying something offensive and never recovering a relationship from it.

The enemy has been, quite frankly, pissing me off lately. So I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to pull out my sword and start cutting him down.

Starting tomorrow (not Monday) I’m going to read and write my way through the Psalms. The Psalms are my favorite (hhaaaayyy emotions!!) and I haven’t read through them in a while. And I want to do that in this space, with you.

I don’t know if I’m going to get through all 150 without missing a beat, but I do know that it’s going to be a regular, daily practice for me. And doing it here will keep me accountable. So I’m giving you that permission. Give me a big, virtual smack in the face if you have to!

This is me saying, why wait until Monday? Thursday is a good day to start something too.

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suck it, February

Holland

I’ll be the first one to say it: February sucks.
I really don’t like it.
Praise Jehovah it’s the shortest month on our calendar.

It’s so dark & cold & usually wet with snow, ice, or just cold water in general. It’s dreary and lonesome. The holidays are over. There’s nothing to look forward to.

February sucks.

It is historically my hardest month. I think I cry more tears in February than I do in other months. I definitely know this February I did.

One of the reasons I think it sucks is that it comes right after January – a month of fresh starts and new hopes for the year. It comes right after a time of renewal – when we pledge that this year is THE YEAR we will see X, Y, and Z through. We promise ourselves we won’t fail this time around. That we have changed. We are better people than we were last year.

And then…

FEBRUARY.

We have failed. We stopped before we ever really got started. We haven’t changed and we aren’t better people.

February reminds me that I am incapable of being my own savior – and that is hard. Mainly because I have control & trust issues & still sinfully hold on to the thought that God doesn’t want me if I don’t come to Him clean.

February has seen some high spots too. My most fun Galentine’s to date (bar’s raised, 2017…). New friendships developed & strengthened. My first car payment cleared the bank. But overall, not the greatest month I’ve ever had.

This February I have felt my loneliness in deeper ways that I have in a while. I have felt the enemy attack me in ways I thought he couldn’t touch anymore. I have felt like a failure in my job & to my friends.

Have I mentioned that February sucks?

But, praise God, today is March 5th. And you know what that means? February is over.
The despair of the month no longer has a hold on me.

February is like the darkness of my sin. It is like the valley the psalmists write about over & over. It is this heavy feeling that never seems to go away.

And March. Well, March is like Jesus. March brings newness. March brings promise that what is will not always be. March reminds me that the grave is open & Christ is risen! March signals the end of darkness & the beginning of new light.

I know March isn’t technically spring, but it is spring for my soul. It brings forth new hope that, even though I failed after January, February ends.

Jesus brings forth hope that, even though my sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. That in Him I am a new creation – the old, broken, failed, marred person is gone, and behold, the new has come.

March reminds me that the calendar moves forward. That Jesus moves forward & cleanses me of all unrighteousness.

I can claim my security in Christ because He has once & for all redeemed me – failure and all.

I don’t want to hope in my ability to muster up enough strength to make it through. I want my hope to be built on Christ alone. Not just resting on, but built upon Jesus. That His mercies are new every morning & my past sin, darkness, failures, etc. are forgotten by the Spotless One.

Perfect redemption is for you & me, today.
March is here.
February can suck it.

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revive me again

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Chances are I’ve probably already written about the Psalm I’m going to write about tonight. But if I can’t remember it, I doubt you can. And if you do, then, dddaaannnnggg, thanks for supporting a sister!

A couple summers ago I heard a sermon on Psalm 85 that rocked me to my core. So much so, I still have my notes from that Sunday [although, that’s probably not much of a shocker to those that know me well…]. And turns out, it was the day before my birthday that year! #blessed

I’ve read and read and re-read that Psalm so many times since. In it, the psalmist does a few things:

  1. Reminds the Lord of what He has done
  2. Begs for revival
  3. Reminds himself of what the Lord has done & that He is capable & willing to do it again

I find this pattern necessary in my life. I need to remind God of what He has done in my life, and in doing so, I’m reminding myself of His past faithfulness – that God has showed up in my life on countless occasions. That He is a God that loves and is for His people.

It reminds me that I need to keep showing up. I need to beg for revival. I remember ever so clearly what the preacher said that Sunday morning. Verses 6 & 7 say, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.”

The preacher then said, “Ask for that. Beg for that. Beg for God to revive you again so that you may rejoice in Him! And when the answer is no, for today, get up again tomorrow and ask again! Continue to show up with God; fight for the revival in your soul.”

OKAY FINE! I WILL!

But then I don’t.
I fight for a couple days, then I decide the fight isn’t worth it.
I beg for a while, but then I get tired of begging m.
I want instant, blatant satisfaction. I’m not willing to wait on the Lord and thirst for God the way the psalmists did.

But the good news is that God is still God, and God is still good. Even on the days when I don’t ask Him for His goodness.

He will revive His people again, so that we may rejoice in Him.

There’s so much to be said about the words penned in the 85th psalm, but the simplest thing to say is that it’s all for His glory. Revival of my soul is not for my temporary happiness or earthly satisfaction. It is for God and God alone. “Yes, the Lord will give what is good.” (v12) And the ultimate good is Himself.

So, I pray for that tonight, tomorrow, in the coming days – that He may revive me again, so that I may rejoice in Him.

 

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done with the quick fix

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I remember being a young person – around 10 years old – and someone walking up to me, poking me in the stomach, and giggling like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I kinda smirked and laughed it away, but inside I felt this sense of, “Yep. This is who I am. I’m the fat, funny one that everyone can poke and laugh at. This is the life I’m made to live.”

I was an athletic kid. I’ve basically always been the shortest on any team, but when I started ‘filling out’ people started poking me. And challenging me to pizza eating contests and laughing when I would win.

Fast forward a few years. I’m in high school where looks matter and if you don’t have looks, well, hopefully you’re willing to lean in hard to self-deprecating humor so you can make the joke before others, that way it doesn’t hurt as bad, ya know.

I made my friends by being the non-threatening chubby girl that would boost their ego, gossip about whoever they were gossiping about, and eat whatever they put in front of me because they “bet I really couldn’t eat that too!”

When I got to college it was time for a new me. I was playing softball, working out twice a day with my team, eating in a college cafeteria (which basically means you don’t eat because it’s gross), and making changes. That lasted about as long as it takes for someone to binge Making a Murderer – I ended up leaving the softball team and spiraling into loneliness and depression. And food. Because, ya know, that’s who I am – the chubby one.

The one that isn’t worthy of love. Or friendship. Or identity outside of a Pillsbury Dough Boy chuckle.


 

The thing about being a human is that, unless you are old (like 99, I think), you are probably going to struggle with the questions of, “Who am I with/without this thing/person/place? What am I supposed to do with my life? Where does my identity lie?”

At 24, I was still working through a pretty big heartbreak, finding out who my friends were and what Godly friendship looked like, and struggling with the ‘fact’ that no man could ever love me if I weighed what I weighed. I was going to the gym, working out at least three times a week, and still the girl that every guy saw as just-a-friend. And I was convinced it was because I was overweight.

I was living in this world that tells me I have to operate like The Biggest Loser. That if I’m not losing 13-27 pounds a week, I’m not trying hard enough. I believed that this transformation of body, heart, and mind was going to be as easy as 3 hours in a gym every week. If a quick-fix couldn’t fix me, nothing could.

I would work out and eat well for a solid period of time, get on the scale, and see little to no change. Then I would go right back to the chips and cheese and pasta and guilt and shame and worthlessness that entrapped me to begin with.

And I would do that with the sin in my life as well. I would muster up enough Kayla-strength to hold back acting on temptations, and as soon as I fell back in to sin, more guilt, shame, worthlessness, etc. flooded my life.

I desired a quick fix of my exterior appearance but wasn’t willing to do the hard work on the inside – exposing my sin before my Creator and allowing Him to remove the weight of sin in my life.

The issue? The way I viewed myself. The way I believed that no one could ever love me because of my weight. The way that I doubted God’s goodness for me because I wasn’t under 150 pounds. The way that I still let food and comfort control how I lived my life.


 

It’s now February 2016 and I’m 26 years old. I don’t let people poke me in the stomach any more. I try not to let food be my source of comfort (all of the time – as you’ve probably figured out if you’ve ever at any time read this blog, I love queso. And bacon.) I have friends that love me enough to say, “You will be okay. I will help you. We will help each other. You are not these lies you believe about yourself.”

I do believe that I can live my life in a healthy way – exercising and eating so that I can glorify God in my body, not to make my body or the scale my god.

I no longer believe that I need to lose 30 pounds in 30 minutes.

What I do believe, and what I’m learning, is that I am a beloved child of God. That I am loved, not only by God, but by people who see me for who God has made me. And I believe that all of life and all of sanctification is meant to be learned and grown in throughout all of life. I’m learning that giving myself grace is a process, and by shedding the guilt and shame that comes with trying and not succeeding, so going back to the same old habits, I’m shedding more weight than a literal pound can represent.


 

This past weekend I was at a baby shower of one of my best friends. Last April I celebrated another best and the impending arrival of her little one. 9 months apart the three of us took the same picture.

The biggest difference? I now see someone who is learning that her identity isn’t in her weight. Her identity isn’t in how her clothes look on her. Her identity isn’t in how many miles she can or cannot run without walking.

Her identity is in her Maker – who made her and calls her His, perfectly, whole, and without blemish.

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”-Psalm 51: 6-7, 10

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