You are a redemptive story ….

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“It’s been a long time since we’ve been alone,” my sister said to me as we got into her car. “Too long,” I agreed and fastened my seatbelt. Despite the grim reason for our road trip, our movements and demeanor were light.

We were headed to our hometown to pay our last respects to our biological father. I guess I frame it as “biological” because unfortunately, he was not a consistent presence in our lives. Our connection was at best was … biological. I’ve written about my life without him before. I wished for more, but it didn’t happen the way I hoped.

Join the conversation online #worthliving and follow @marydemuth on Twitter and Instagram

Join the conversation online #worthliving and follow @marydemuth on Twitter and Instagram

During the 2-hour ride, we caught up with each other’s lives, laughed a little and even found ourselves at one point listening to an audio book I started. I looked at my sister with great admiration. Next to me was a woman who was beautiful, resilient, and a creative soul with a family of her own. A far cry from the chubby little girl whom I played jump rope, chased seagulls and drank Pepsi in the hot Carolina sun with.

And then it happened.

The conversation we both managed to avoid from the onset of everything that happened.  We talked about what his death meant to us. More importantly, we talked about what his life meant to us. While we managed to make it to the ceremony and back home to our respective families, I felt that the conversation was far from over. I still had a need to explore my feelings about this. Around that time I received an email from the author Mary DeMuth who was developing a launch team for her newest book “Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love For You Makes You Worthy.”

Without thinking, I replied to her email and asked to sign up. I received an advanced copy of the book, and as I began reading, I found myself stuck on this sentence for days:

“I lived all those years of my childhood believing I was unworthy of protection, unworthy of affection, unworthy of attention, unworthy of applause, unworthy of nice things.”

– Mary DeMuth

Picture of Mary DeMuth's Book: Worth Living

Mary’s Book along with my FAVORITE mug.

I think I re-read that sentence well over a dozen times. Probably two dozen, if I’m completely honest. I highlighted the text. I rewrote it in my journal and stared at the words as if they were the beginning and end of everything for me. I never knew anyone else could feel that sense of worthlessness I did as a kid. There was always something in the back of my mind that made me believe I wasn’t worthy. It’s the thought by which I hinged everything and how I lived my life.

I revealed this to my dad in an intense conversation one day. I hesitantly explained that his lack of trying to be in my life made me feel like I wasn’t worth the effort — to which he responded with a weary, “I’m sorry, baby.”

But here’s my truth, I didn’t have the type of relationship I wanted with my dad on earth, but I have a heavenly Father, who took care of all of my needs. Every. Single. One. If I told you where I came from to how I live now … it’s only God. This I believe.

“Worth Living” helped me during this grieving period. The lies that we all believe about ourselves should be overshadowed by the ten truths she talks about in her book:

  • You are wildly loved.
  • You are more than a to-do list.
  • You are uncaged.
  • You are weakly strong.
  • You are secure.
  • You are beautiful.
  • You are chosen.
  • You are destined for impact
  • You are worth more than a paycheck.
  • You are a redemptive story.

My connection to Mary was a divine connection. I’m convinced of that. I wanted to endorse her book in this way because I believe with all my heart that God gives you what you need when you need it. Worth Living was a beautiful reminder to me that I am a redemptive story. I am worthy of God’s love, and so are you.

Mary’s also planning on hosting a conference this fall called, The Re-story Conference, go here to learn all about it.

My ‘One Word’ Year

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“You can ask for forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self.” — Maya Angelou

I’m my own worst critic.image2

Is it strange to admit that in the first month of the year? January is usually a time for renewals, resolutions, and do-overs; yet, here I am admitting my secret shame.

I am overly critical and judgmental … of myself.

So why am I telling you this? I recently learned about the One Word 365 Challenge. The goal is simple, ditch the New Year’s resolution list and focus on one word that will define your year.

One word.

Trust me, by the end of January two years ago I had already forgotten my resolutions. Last year, I focused on what made me happy. This year, I’m continuing more of the same, but I love the idea of focusing on one word.

I wanted to choose a word that I thought would move me as far away from perfection and the unattainable ideal of womanhood that I created for myself.

I’m a recovering superwoman.

I mulled it over this for a few days, and wrote several words hoping to narrow the list down to my top five, then four, then three.

I landed on brave, mercy, and grace.

I chose brave because just saying the word brave makes me feel empowered.

Try it: Say brave a few times. (Joshua 1:9)

And because I tend to be so hard on myself, I wanted to make sure that I give myself the mercy and grace I would show another. Mercy and grace somehow just goes together. (Hebrew 4:16)

And THEN I thought some more… and realized that it’s really about learning to accept myself just as I am – flaws and all. (Song of Solomon 4:7)

I became still in my thoughts, and was led to self-acceptance. I read in Psalm 139:14 where it said:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I get it.

Being brave and showing myself mercy and grace is giving self love.

When we choose to talk, walk, and act in a manner that honors us we practice self-acceptance.

This circumvents any harsh criticism… be it from us… or from the world.

So that’s what I’m working on this year, self-acceptance. When I do this, I then honor my husband, nurture my children, and show up as the good friend.

What about you? Are there things that you have learned to come to grips with for yourself? Do you completely accept yourself? If you haven’t … what are you working on? If you have, tell me about your aha moment.

What word would you choose?