Christmas Blog

In the last few weeks at church I’ve been listening to stories about advent. Hearing over and over that anticipation is good. That waiting is good. That patiently finding hope in what is to come is good.

And to be honest that really resonated with me in where I’ve been at in my life lately. December hasn’t just felt like advent. This whole fall has felt like advent. And the waiting game has been hard.

You know in the movie Click, where Adam Sandler skips over parts of his life? I have had many moments where I wished I could just skip to the part where I know what I’m doing. Where I’m not in the middle part of the story full of growing pains and waiting and hoping for what is to come. Where I have a plan and the goals I’m dreaming about and hoping for right now are already accomplished.

But also, I cried like a baby when I watch Click because he skips over his whole life and misses all the important moments and gets to the end wishing he had appreciated the middle bits so much more.

Even though Click is most definitely not a Christmas movie at all, it relates to how I’ve been feeling about Christmas this year. Our lives aren’t about skipping over the anticipation to get to the future. We need to take our time to enjoy the seasons of waiting.

I realized on my way home from the mall the other night that I really was missing the point of Christmas this year. Many of us know the cheesey phrase “reason for the season” but it truly hit me as I was panicking about wether or not I had good enough gifts for my family that I was realllyyy missing the point.

This season is not actually twinkle lights and watching Home Alone and baking cookies and buying the best gifts we can for the people we love. Those things are great, but it’s not the point. We give gifts at Christmas as a symbolic reminder of the best gift we’ve ever been given and could ever give.

And when you remember that, the panic induced “I wish I could afford to spend my entire paycheque on my parent’s christmas gifts because they deserve it” fades away because newsflash *no gift you give is better than Jesus being born*.

This is a season to remember what happened, and honour that and be as generous with the people we love as we can. It is not a season that should be focused on the gifts under the tree. And it is a season to be reminded that it is good to wait.

Gift giving is also difficult for me because I suck at surprises (on the giving and receiving end). I am the type of person who would love a surprise party thrown for me, but also love planning so much that I would never not plan a party. I tend to micromanage, I like to feel in control and when the holidays come I’m the queen of planning and Christmas shopping and trying to have everything purchased and ready to wrap by the end of November.

And y’all that didn’t happen this year. I didn’t wrap my gifts until Christmas Eve and I felt like a hot mess. And it felt like a very close to home metaphor for life lately. But why is that? An easy answer, control. As humans we like to be in control. We like feeling like we have knowledge and power. We like feeling like nothing can get past us. And what happens when we crave control we can’t have? Anxiety.

But maybe that’s the lesson here, we can’t always micromanage our lives. We can’t always be fully in control. We need to find joy in the waiting for what God has waiting for us. In the trusting that good things are coming. December is the season of advent, but maybe it’s not the only season of advent me or you are experiencing this year.

You might be reading this thinking … Kaitlyn… Christmas was yesterday. Why are you posting this now. Well because maybe this is a lense we can use to look at our lives. Maybe the posture of reveling in the anticipation can be something we carry into the other times when it would be easier to fast forward in our lives.

It is normal to crave control, to stress out when you don’t have it, and get restless in the stagnant seasons of waiting. But keep waiting. Stay faithful. If you’re in the same boat as me, keep trusting that good things are coming and stay present to appreciate the moments that you’re in while you wait.

Advertisements

The Lies We Listen To

The credit for this blog belongs to my friend Montana Wood, because she mailed me a copy of one of her favourite books and it’s the inspiration of what I’m going to be writing about today. The book is Carlos Whittaker’s Kill The Spider.

In the self-care series I think there are two ends of spiritual self-care. I think spirituality can be a calming force in people’s lives that brings hope encouragement and peace. But the other side of it is what I want to focus on today, that you need to take time to care for and invest in your spirit.

Spiders & Cobwebs

The premise of Kill The Spider is that there are lies we are believing about ourselves. These lies are spiders in our lives that build cobwebs and impacts how we live our lives, have relationships with others and ultimately how we serve God. But we can solve this by figuring out what those lies are and replacing them with truth – killing the spider.

Whittaker defines spiders as an agreement you have made with a lie and cobwebs as medicating behaviour that bring false comfort to the lie. Cobwebs can be things like insecurity with body image, seeking approval from others, substance abuse , control being a control freak, finding worthiness through being a workaholic. Any type of behaviour that brings false or temporary comfort to lies about ourselves.

When I first started the book I was like “oh this is nice, but I don’t think I actually have any spiders”. But I was so wrong, because I do and we all do, it just comes out in different ways. As you figure out what these lies you’re listening to are you not only kick them out, but you replace them with truth. This can be done by;

  • Keeping track of how God is present in your life, how He is speaking to you and answering prayers
  • Trusting God always, when when you don’t really understand what He’s doing in your life
  • Involving God in the small and ordinary parts of your life, not just when you’re in trouble and need help
  • When you feel lies creeping in that make you feel unloved or unworthy push them out with what you know is true
  • Be honest with your friends about what you struggle to believe so they can hold you accountable
  • Practice gratitude for the small moment
  • Keep digging deeper and grow in your faith to prep for challenging seasons

Fact or Fiction? 

I recently heard: “Just because you’re feeling something doesn’t mean those feelings are true, should be validated, should be entertained or acted on. I think thats a lifelong quest to figure out what is truth and what are feelings” and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and wondering how it impacts our interpretations of the world.

We deserve to feel like our emotions and feeling are valid but it’s important to challenge if they are always true. We need to work through assessing when what we feel is contradictory to what we know to be true.

I’ve written before about Jamie Tworkowski’s post What I Feel vs What I Know but I’m bringing it back up again in this context because I think it’s helpful to illustrate an important point. We can have days or weeks or seasons that feel pretty terrible, where we don’t feel good about our lives, maybe we build up a lot of cobwebs trying to bring comfort to the lies we are believing. We could feel stuck or unloved but what know is that is not true. We are loved, we are worthy, there are things to be grateful for even in hard seasons.

Jamie wrote;

“i feel sad more than i feel happy.

i feel stuck more than i feel free.

i feel defeated more than i feel accomplished.
i feel i should have found love by now.
i think about it every single day…
i feel stuck in the best and worst moments that i’ve known.
The million bucks and the silence that followed.
But what is true?
What do i know?
i have a lot to be thankful for.
Mom and Dad and Jessica and Emily and Baby Landon.
They’re healthy and they love each other and they love me.
i have amazing friends. Old friends and new.
Friends who want to know me and want me to know them.
i get to do a job that i believe in. Most people don’t.
i have the opportunity to make a difference.
A lot of people would give anything for that.
i am healthy and i am young and there is air in my lungs and a shining sun outside and a sea as well and a story still going. And i’m allowed to be honest…”

There are things we might have believed about ourselves for so long they seem true, or maybe fears or insecurities that are so tangible they must be real. But it is important to take the time to be mindful that sometimes those fears or lies are holding us back from really living and engaging with others in a meaningful way.

Delight in Truth 

I know this post is just giving you a cursory understanding of this concept of killing the spiders in your life, and you should probably just read the book because it’s great, but I hope you’ll walk way from this post today thinking about where to find truth in your life and inspired to .

It’s not only important to be mindful of the lies you are believing that aren’t true about you (you’re unloved, unworthy, you’ve not perfect enough, etc.) but to then replace those with Jesus and with things you know are true.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth” – 1 Cor 13:6

“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” – 1 John 3:18

“I am the way the truth and the life” – John 4:16

When I feel stressed out, insecure, or like I’m walking through a hard season I’ve found leaning on faith and truth is the best way to navigate that time.  In Kill The Spider Whittaker writes that in the good seasons of life it’s important to build your faith and tackle the spiders and lies you’ve got going on.

My favourite quote from Kill The Spider is this: “Levi said this: “ Trials reveal foundations; they aren’t the ideal time to build them.” Well, listen up, all of you “good season”-ers, pain and suffering’s off season is the ideal time for spider killing CrossFit. This is when you buckle down and get ready because you know that it is just an off-season. Jesus didn’t promise a pain-free life. But He did promise he would be with us as we run, skip, limp, crawl, or stumble toward the finish line” (pg. 151).

In good seasons, easy and comfortable ones – we need to build faith and resilience. Not to be pessimistic, but in knowing that harder seasons will come- and being deeply rooted in faith and having strong healthy relationships with God and yourself and others will help you to face more difficult seasons.

This post is part of the self-care series because self-care is a tool to build resilience, and this is how I think we can build spiritual resilience. Be intentional about your routines and rhythms, so that you have the spiritual foundation in your life you need when you’re going through the challenges life throws your way. Just like any other form of self-care, having the practice in place to take time for you is important to when you are put under stress you can manage it better.

None But Jesus

This summer has been so good in many ways, and challenging in others. I’ve enjoyed a lot of leisure time with friends and family, but I have also struggled with not having clear plans. There has been this nagging feeling like things just weren’t falling into place how I wanted them to.

Although I can’t believe it’s already August, there were times that the uncertainty of things made this summer drag on. Sometimes our seasons fluctuate between tumultuous transitions and other times it is comfortable coasting. A lesson I’ve been learning though, is that no matter the season or what is happening in your life, you can find peace.


I’ve been blessed that a tangible vision of what life will look like for me in the coming months has come together recently. But along with that came making some decisions too- which is maybe even harder for me than not having plans. I can be a very indecisive person who asks my friends for their opinions on a lot of things.

With having some choices to make about the future, I’ve been turning to all of my friends and family for advice. I even called Bob Goff to get his take on things. With all this advice swirling in my head, I had a realization about what I was missing in my decision making.

Allow me to set the scene; I was driving home from bible study last week, and one my friends offered to host a campfire at her home in the country. I got a little lost on my way there, so on the drive back I was very attentive to make sure I didn’t lose my way again. Without street lights or other cars on the road the country roads were extremely dark.

In the darkness I could only see as far as my high-beams, but I trusted that my GPS was guiding me the correct way, and the left turn in 700 meters would be there even I couldn’t see it yet. The experience felt like a perfect illustration of how this summer often felt, motoring along trying to trust that even though I couldn’t see much of the road ahead, things would workout. The twists and turns I needed to make would come and I could trust the God knew the road I was going down even if it was unfamiliar to me.

And that is when it hit me, I realized that I ask for advice a whole lot more that I’ve prayed for guidance recently. I wasn’t asking God what I should do, I was actually asking pretty much everyone else. In my own life, the choices that I feel most confident in and at peace about, are ones that I have prayed about and that I feel get me closer to the path I am called to be on. It doesn’t mean I know exactly what direction I’ll go but I’m trusting that God’s plan is still there, just past the high-beams of my own understanding.

My backseat could have been packed like a clown car with the people I turn to for advice. My friends, my brother and his wife, my parents, the author’s of all the books I love. If I had all of them in my car navigating me home it would have taken twice as long to get there, if I was even able to make sense of layers of voices speaking to me. Sometimes advice is good, especially from someone you respect, but it is also easy to become confused by so many opinions rather than the one that actually knows where I need to go.

It is easier to ask for advice than to be still and ask for guidance. If you struggle with feeling indecisive you might relate to the feeling of wanting answers handed to you. But wrestling with choices is important, and trusting in the power of stillness and praying for guidance is too. It’s okay to not fully see the road ahead of you, it’s okay if things aren’t falling into place how you hoped, it’s okay to be uncertain about your next step.

As I kept driving home I just started to pray and ask for clarity about the choices I was facing- because at the the end of the day that’s the best advice I can get. And y’all, the Lord provides. We have to believe God is good, even when we can’t see what exactly he his doing in our specific situation.

If you’re also in a season of feeling like your plan is up in the air, learning to trusting in His plan gives you steadiness. He is in control. As I was sitting in bed outlining this post I started thinking about the Hillsong song None But Jesus, the lines:

In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that you are God

In the chaos, in confusion
I know you’re sovereign still

felt like such a great picture of what I’m trying to articulate this week. In the confusing seasons and the moments when we dig deep to find stillness, the truth of our Lord always rings true.


This week I’ll leave you with a C. S. Lewis quote from the book Mere Christianity. Lewis where he talks about the idea that we are a living house, and God is doing renovations on us – but we don’t know what the final product will be.

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

If the path of your life is clear and you feel like you’re driving in daylight, that’s awesome. If you feel like things aren’t so clear and the turns you’re taking don’t seem to make sense don’t hesitate to hush the opinions people are throwing your way (or that you ask for too often, if you’re me) and make that time for stillness.

Having faith and trusting that He is in control is my best guarantee for hope and peace when I can’t see past my high-beams, and I hope it can be for you too.

 

 

Seasons

Growing up I learned to understand seasons as times of the year when the weather would change. Snow would melt and spring would come, then hot summer days would fade to autumn as the leaves would fall from the trees. Sometimes seasons would be measured by school calendars. The end of a school year was the summer and the fall signalled a new year and a new grade.

We define our lives around the seasons. New Year’s rings in new chances, fresh starts, and hope for what the future holds.

Lately I’ve been thinking a bit different about what seasons mean to me. How seasons of life aren’t necessarily defined by the changing weather. Maybe it is because life after graduating has given a new perspective and my days aren’t defined by “fall term”, “winter term” and “summer”. In short, my life is no longer scheduled into trimesters and seasons feel like they are less about the time of year and more about what we are going through or dealing with.

Seasons of our lives sometimes have different timelines. We learn, we grow, we’re challenged. Sometimes we find ourselves in seasons that aren’t so pretty. Or we see people we know in seasons of joy and wonder why our’s feels so mundane.

I’m a firm believer that seasons of our lives happen for a reason. As the unofficial queen of FOMO (fear of missing out) I know sometimes it is hard to see other people in “better”, “easier” or more fruitful seasons and wonder why you can’t always live in those seasons too.

Why does life have to be so hard? Why do we face seasons of failure, of loss, of heartache, of distance in relationships or struggles of identity? I don’t have answers to all those big questions but I believe that the challenging seasons we walk through teach us important lessons.

As someone who has been lucky to have experienced a very wonderful season of life this winter I can tell you that FOMO – no matter how good things are – is still real. But I’ve learned that comparing ourselves to others, no matter how happy we are is always a losing cause.

Our lives are our stories, and we should be focused on writing our own to the best of our abilities. Don’t worry about who is ahead of you, who is traveling to cooler places than you (yes even while living abroad you can have travel FOMO, wild I know). Most importantly, making sure we are being happy for people in their own seasons of success even if ours is more challenging. If we compare ourselves to others, get insecure about not measuring up we get lost and create conflict that doesn’t need to be there.

You don’t need to measure up and neither of the people in your life. If we can learn to embrace our good seasons and difficult ones and simultaneously cheer on our friends we can build each other up – and then we all win.

Trust me, after a winter in Florida I’m already afraid of my next Canadian winter. But I think it is important to embrace the seasons of life we find ourselves in – learn to navigate and appreciate them for what they are without being fearful of what is coming next or wishing them away.

My most recent season of life has been one of a lot of growth. Pushing myself in new ways. It was a season of emotional powerlifting. A season where I didn’t paint so much. A season I leaned to me more flexible and have faith things will work out. It was a season of overwhelming joy.

Coming home marks a transition into a new season – I’m not quite sure what it holds yet but I know that I will make the best of it by honouring that it is my season and it doesn’t need to be held up next or compared to anyone else’s. No FOMO needs to happen because the only way we miss out on the seasons we are in is if we focus more on what other people are doing than on us.

If you’re in a hard season know that you are growing tremendously and everything will be okay, if you are in a season of joy appreciate each moment and don’t worry about when a colder might hit. If you’re like me, and you’re transitioning between seasons into something a bit unknown stay hopeful for what is coming next and have faith that you are where you are meant to be.

Beach Reading: A Novel Idea

Last summer, after I graduated from university, I set out to read a massive booklist. I love learning and I didn’t want to stop just because I was no longer in classes. Plus I spend a lot of time at my cottage and my favourite beach sport is laying completely still and reading a good book.

I asked people to recommend anything and everything to me. Books to entertain, to teach me new things, to stir questions inside me, to inspire me. I asked for suggestions and ultimately I got a list of over 30 books. I didn’t quite make it through alllll 30, but I did learn a lot along the way. This week, I’m going to share a few favourites, maybe recommend some titles that we should all read, and say that if you’re going to spend money on something – books are always a worthwhile investment.

Themes in the books I have been reading over the course of the last year talk a lot about our hearts, relationships, faith. Feeling our feelings and getting comfortable with vulnerability. This might sound like the worst reading material to you – but it was so helpful in my own growth. My Top 10 favourites since I put out my call for worthwhile books include :

  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (If you’ve every had questions about faith, finding meaning, spirituality or anything along those lines this book asks a lot of challenging but great questions)
  • Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown (Brené is a queen, this is her newest book I love everything about it)
  • If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski (This book reminded me again and again that it’s okay to ask for help, to be honest and to lean on people. I’m thankful for this book)
  • Love Does by Bob Goff (I have lost track of how many times I’ve read this book, I cried when I heard he was writing a second because I was so excited. Please please please read this)
  • Love Lives Here by Maria Goff (Have I cried in public while reading this book? Maybe)
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (Rupi writes poetry that feels so relatable and hits the spot of describing emotions I didn’t know I was missing the words to)
  • Option B by Sheryl Sandberg (If you’re cynical about gratitude this book has all the stats and data to assure you that positivity is worth it)
  • Rising Strong by Brené Brown (If you’ve ever fallen down, felt hurt or disappointed, so everyone, this book is a game changer)
  • Scary Close by Donald Miller (If you’re in a relationship with any human other than yourself, romantic or not, you should pick this one up.)
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimmimanda Nigozi Adichi (This doesn’t really need an explanation, the title speaks for itself.)

If I could pick one book on this list to ask everyone to read it, well I’d have a hard time with it. I’ve gifted Love Does and If You Feel Too Much and Scary Close to many different people because I feel each of them has special things to offer. And apparently they give out We Should All Be Feminists to every 16 year old in Sweden, who knew?

The books I’ve listed get me excited and inspired. They move me to think differently about the world around me. Honestly, a lot of them have inspired posts I’ve already written on this blog. Posts like Let People Love You, Loving People Well, The Gratitude Project, and Let’s Talk About Em-pa-thy  wouldn’t be here if I didn’t pick up a lot of these books.

I started reading a new book yesterday, even though I have about 10 others left to finish. It’s by Bob Goff and it’s called Everybody Always (who happens to be on that list up there, yup that guy I cried over. It’s fine, I’m fine.) Within a few chapters I was feeling fired up and encouraged. I could ask you to pick any title on this list and read it, but my hope today is that you’ll go out and pick a book you’ll get excited about. Maybe it is one of the one’s I’ve talked about but maybe it isn’t. That’s okay, you do you, just find a book that does get you fired up.

I’m excited to start my new summer reading list, I picked up a few new books last week but if you have any recommendations of books you think I should read, either because they relate to ones on this list or they are personal favourites of yours, I always love suggestions.

Happy Wednesday!

Lost & Found

Sometimes things get misplaced and lost and we have such a strong desire to find them again, it’s not even that we necessarily need the item but we had it. When I was little a family friend gave me a Gorilla beanie baby. I loved it so much. And I lost it somewhere – I’m not sure where but I remember being upset about it for a long time. It happens all the time right? You’re getting dressed and you realize you can’t find that favourite blue shirt and now, even though you didn’t want to wear it that day, you desperately want to find it and you’ll waste 15 minutes of your morning looking for it.

Sometimes people can get lost too. Have you ever felt lost? I know I have. Feeling like I don’t know what direction I’m meant to be moving in, seeing other people have their lives together while I don’t know what the next year holds. Sometimes we feel lost in relationships – if we lose someone we might feel like the world isn’t quite the same or the things we thought we understood have now changed. Sometimes we know we’re lost or that something is missing, but other times it isn’t so clear. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing pretty good, like I’m on the right track, and then it becomes obvious that I’m not- that I need something more.

When I think about my faith, I think about how each day feels like a new beginning. The line “I was once lost and now I’m found” from Amazing Grace. I think we are all lost at one time or another, and we need help to get re-centered, be the person we want to be, and know how to keep moving forward.

I spent most of Easter weekend listening to old Hillsong United albums, thinking about how precious life is, and knowing that I need to learn to lean into my faith a bit more. I was investing in what I like to think of as “spiritual self-care”. There has been a lot of conversation lately about what self-care is, and what it is not limited to. No, it is not just eating ice cream or having a bubble bath – I think it can be spiritual and reflective.

In my own life, the hardest self-care practice for me to do is alone time – because I’m so extroverted that I sometimes have a hard time scheduling time for myself. But lately I’ve been trying to give myself that time to reflect and process my feelings. This is where my spiritual self-care flourishes. I need that alone time to make time for God – and I think sometimes that makes it easier for me to be motivated to find the time.

If you need an analogy get ready: I love bacon cheese burgers. And I love soft serve ice cream. Together that sounds like a dream, right? Well if my diet was comprised of that I’d feel sick within a day or two. Have you ever found yourself just craving healthy foods when you know you haven’t been putting good food into your body? This girl can only handle so many waffle fries before I need a salad or an entire bag of baby carrots. Our spiritual health is more similar health than we think and you need to nourish your heart and spirit just like you need to nourish your body.

While in Florida I’ve been part of a bible study, a few weeks ago we talked about the idea of being “overflowing” with the spirit. If you aren’t familiar with what the fruits of the spirit are, they are  “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). The way I interpret the idea of being overflowing with the spirit is embodying those qualities which requires giving yourself time to recharge to have energy to be the person we want to be. If you’re burnt out it’s a lot harder to be those things. And I know when I skip out on that I start to feel more lost, maybe you do too?

Last week I was watching This Is Us with my roommate and was struck by a quote from Mandy Moore’s character “Life has a middle, and middles can be hardest because that’s when you can get really lost.” Sometimes it feels like we are on the right track, sometimes it can be a little more obvious that we don’t have our bearings. And if you are already feeling lost that can be scary or confusing. In the moments I feel most overwhelmed, taking that time to re-center helps me feel a little less lost and a little more found.

Usually, we find the things we lose. Of course there are things we can’t get back – I’ll never know what happened to that stuffed animal gorilla that I loved so much. But I did find my blue shirt at the bottom of my laundry hamper. By giving yourself the time and care you need – you can find yourself a little bit more each day.

Heart Cries

This week I’m really excited to let you know that we have a guest post. It wasn’t written by someone I name drop on here often, but a lovely new friend named Jess. I met her through one of the girls I’m living with in Florida and on a whim I asked if she would think about writing something for the blog. I didn’t know what to expect, but she did write something and it’s lovely. If your heart is tired, this one is for you.


Do you ever have those seasons where you are just really struggling with something? And you don’t want to admit it? You dont want to acknowledge that you’re not doing okay, that you’re feeling so much.

I’m right smack in the middle of one of those seasons right now. I don’t like being vulnerable, but here I am, about to be vulnerable, and hating every second of it. But I think that maybe this will help me process. And maybe even help you?

So anyways, I have been struggling with my looks (shocker, a girl struggling with her looks—but read on). I’ve been struggling with my looks in the sense that I know I’m not awful looking, in my own opinion, but knowing you’re not awful to look at and believing you are beautiful are two completely different things. And well, I can tell you this, the last time I felt beautiful was March of 2017 when I was in a saree (traditional Indian dress) in India going to a birthday dinner for a close friend. Y’all, its 2018. Its been a bit. And I’m not staying I’ve struggled with my looks that whole time, but that’s the last time I’ve truly felt beautiful. Believed that I was beautiful.

I think I started battling the lies of beauty and ultimately insecurity since January of this year. So about  two months now.

And I think I have not wanted to admit that I’m struggling because then I feel weak. And weak people are needy people. And needy people are too much for people to handle. And if I tell someone their immediate response is to affirm me in my looks, but that’s not what I need. And I don’t want to be seen as weak, as needy, as too much, and the last thing I need is my friends and family telling me Im beautiful; I need to believe it myself. I guess if you’re a therapist or someone who looks for root causes, it can all probably come down to the question “Am I enough?” But we’re not going to go that deep today.

This back story all brings me to what happened the other morning, and the reason I’m writing this, I promise. I was going to Whataburger to pick up some breakfast for my mom (if you have never had Whataburger I highly encourage you to go asap). As I pulled up the drive through line was halfway blocked by an 18-wheeler and there were too many cars and it was kind of chaotic, so I decided I would beat the system and just walked inside (spoiler alert: it wasn’t faster at all, it was a lot slower). As I was shuffling through people to get a drink I side-stepped so a little old man can pass by, we made eye contact, I smiled, he smiled, he said hi and I said hi back and then he stopped and looked at me. Then he said “just so cute” and then he smiled and giggled and started walking again. Then I laughed because I didn’t know what to do.

But I immediately thought about how that has been the question of my heart lately. Does anyone think I’m beautiful? Does anyone think Im valuable? Does anyone see me? And I know that he said “cute” and not beautiful, but my heart needed to hear it. My heart needed to know the answer to a question is has been asking for two months now. And it was from a complete stranger, from an old man who will never know how much it meant to me.

It was then that I realized the Lord truly hears our heart cries. I honestly believe Lord sent me that little old man to remind me what He thinks.

Through the sad thoughts and the mental battle that happens within my own head, I have a God that listens. He’s listens—truly listens. He’s been listening to my heart cries. Cries of not feeling beautiful, of not feeling lovely, or wanted, or valued. Just honestly the things I only admit to Him because He knows my heart.

In times when our hearts are broken and hurting and we don’t know when we will be okay again, the Lord hears us. He hears our deep cries. And every so often, He sends us people to remind us of that. Remind us that He is with us in this journey. Now, I’m not magically not questioning my beauty anymore, and Im not magically 100% again, but I am trusting this process and am encouraged and hopeful.

And please don’t hear me say that beauty is the only thing that matters, because it definitely is NOT. But it’s the battling I am currently fighting, its the battle that I will soon be winning. We all fight different battles, we all have things we wish we weren’t going through, we all have those deep cries of our heart that we think no one hears or cares about.

But the Lord cares; He hears, He listens, He cares.