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Friday, January 13, 2012

Plain.

   She put on the blue and white ruffled "Cinderella" dress and her dimpled cheeks burst into a smile. Her dark eyes danced as she happily squealed,  "Ewin, I'm a bootiful pwincess!!" and spun around in a circle. The 2 year old little doll I babysat beamed with delight as she spun around the house and giggled at the very idea of being a princess. As she smiled and twirled, I spun her around in a circle, and realized - her delight in being a "beautiful princess" was the very same desire in my heart, and yours. Women, even at the youngest of ages, have within them an innate longing to be special...beautiful...and loved.


  Two autumns ago, the Lord took me through a season in my life when I lost almost everything I found my identity in. All my life, I held onto certain things that made me "Erin".  Who was I, you ask? Oh, I would have happily and confidently named off more than a few things that (I thought) made me who I was. 
  I was a student, a Resident Assistant in my dorm at college. A worship leader and singer, a youth leader at my church. A pastor's daughter, a girlfriend. I had a job, I had my own apartment.

   And then suddenly.... things took a different turn than I had planned or anticipated. A very different turn. And not just a few things. ALL of the things. All of the things that made me ME (in my eyes) were dropping out of my life, one by one... like flies. It was similar to the sensation of cupping sand in your hands...and feeling it slowly, but ever so surely, run out. And you can do nothing but watch.
And suddenly there I stood... just me. I was no longer Erin the student, Erin the pastor's kid, Erin the girlfriend, Erin the worship leader. I was just Erin.... and it scared me. I felt panicked at the thought, honestly. A million questions swirled around in my mind in the dark of night as I lay in my bed. I felt like I was losing it. And all the while, the Lord was whispering...

"I love you, I made you. You are MINE."

And in that dark season, He taught me something.
Something that made the loneliness worth it. The loss worth it. The pain oh so worth it.

He showed me ... I am not defined or made valuable by things I do or things I have.
My worth lies in one thing and one thing alone: I am extravagantly loved by God.


Ya know, girls....

you are not just the things you do, the clothes you wear, the job you have.
you are worth much more.
ALL of who you are.
And He loves every part of you.....


...the woman you are on the outside. How people see you.
Strangers you pass by, your colleagues.
The blonde, brunette. The one with pretty eyes.
The nurse, the secretary, the teacher, the student.
Athletic. Homeschooler. Singer.
Tall. Short. Pretty. Cute.


...the woman your friends know.

A deeper part of you, but certainly not the whole you.
 The one with that fabulous smile.
The really good mom. The faithful friend. The nursery worker. The one who has money.
The listener. The fabulous party thrower. The one who's always late.
The coffee drinker.


...the woman your sister and your best friend know. the one your mom knows,
the one your husband knows.

the dreamer. the over-acheiver. the shy one.
the pushover. the doubter. the avoider. the leader. the bossy one. the flirt.
the closet writer. the extrovert. the disorganized disaster. the insecure one.


...and then, there is that secret part of youthe part no one knows.
No one...but you and God.
the abused little girl. the broken-hearted one. the one who wants to run away.
your worst fear, the one you're afraid to even utter.
the way he used you so unfairly.
the way you hate your body.
the people who judge you...but they have no clue what you've been through.
the anger that boils your blood over what he did.
the eating disorder that has terrorized you since age 16.
the secret thing you did, the awful thing...you wish you could forget.
the regret you have over that one choice. that one decision. that changed everything.
the hurt so deep, the words spoken, the accusations made...that haunt you.
the secret wish you made when you blew out that candle on your last birthday
  ... the one that was really a prayer for a better life.

The way you look. The way you feel. The fat days. The acne flare-ups.
Even when you have no makeup on, when your hair is piled on top of your head and looks like a "rat's nest" (my commonly used term for hair days that leave something to be desired!)

He loves you.

Your insecurities about how you look in men's eyes. Your flabby abs.
The wrinkles on your forehead. The natural color of your hair.
The way you laugh.
The way you feel out of place at parties.
The way you blast "Party In The USA" and sing with Miley Cyrus into your hair brush.
The mornings you sit and talk to Him, the prayers you pray.
The craziest dreams you have. The ones you can't imagine actually coming true.
The mistakes you made and cried over. The reasons your friends disowned you.
The days you feel plain.

He loves you.

He loves all of who you are.

Darlin', don't listen to the lies anymore.

Those voices that do not speak truth ...

the

"you're ugly, you're worthless
and no one will ever love you.
you're not the type of girl the guys like.
you're awkward. you're fat. you're boring.
you have nothing good to say.
and your dreams will not come true."



read these lyrics. i love them:

You are a jewel

You're a treasure

You are one of a kind

And you shine just as bright as

the stars in the sky

You're a rare kind of wonder

Created just right

So keep your head up

no matter the pain

There's nothing about you that's plain.
you can listen to the song : here

You are beautiful.


To Him.


happy weekend!
{embrace who He says you are.}

XO

Erin



// all the credit to my lovely mom for inspiring this post//


***


Friday iPhone Photo Drop
{from instagram, to follow search: erin_sweetnessitself}

31 comments:

  1. Great post! Such wise words! Have a good weekend!

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  2. This was such a beautiful post :) Just the thing I need to hear! Thanks for sharing girl!

    Have a blessed weekend!
    Breanna xx

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  3. Thanks for the encouraging post, Erin! It's something I def. needed to hear it and can relate to it too. Hope you have a great weekend!

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  4. P.S.--I forgot to say that I love the Russian dolls you have in the pictures you posted.

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  5. OH boy, girlie! You have me a sobbing mess over here! I lost it when you said, "...and then, there is that secret part of you. the part no one knows. No one...but you and God." How true that is! I think we all have a secret part of ourselves that we let only God see. The REAL us. Not that we aren't real with things we like & don't like...our style...the way we portray ourselves. But only God knows the deepest, most secret parts of our heart. Thank you so much for this inspiring post!!!! It truly has made my day. :) XO!

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  6. I absolutely love this post. This is how I felt when I was initially going through transferring from my old school. I felt like I was getting completely cut off from everything that made me "me." But I realized I wasnt, it was simply a change.

    katelyn-innervision.blogspot.com

    - Katelyn

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  7. Your writing is so beautiful, Erin! I absolutely love this post. Something that every woman can identify with : )

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  8. Erin,

    Wow. Thanks so much for writing this post. I'm blown away by your transparency. It's so beautiful....and impactful.

    Megan

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  9. can i just cry right now?! this is exactly what i needed at this moment. thank you for writing and sharing this. <3

    you're reading Kisses for Katie?! my sister just bought that book and i can't WAIT to read it! :)

    southenrnpinky.blogspot.com

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  10. you my sweet girl are an inspiration! our identity is so absolutely in Jesus Christ, if only it didn't take us so long to TRULy realize this :)

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  11. Oh Erin...you have moved me to tears. This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so much for listening to the Lord! I found myself in the same place you did two years ago. Everything changed. Everything I defined myself by was changed. And like you said, it is just like sand running through your hands and there's nothing you can do about it. But God found me in that darkness and heartache. Thank God for where He has brought us from! Great post!!!

    XO,
    Brittany

    buckeyebelle863.blogspot.com

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  12. Thank you so much for this, dear. Such a good message for me as I am in the middle [still] of this process. Humbling, painful, but beautiful.

    I loooooooooove the matryoshka photo series. It's perfect for your words.
    xoxo

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  13. thank you so much for that post!

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  14. I am literally siting here, my jaw on the floor, staring at the screen in complete awe. This was one of the most beautiful and honest posts I have ever read in my life. I cannot believe how beautiful your heart and faith is. I know that EVERY single woman can relate to this post in more ways than one...many ways. I know I could. It really made me think about all the things that I worry about...that just don't even matter. It's hard to not let them define us...but remembering that the only thing that matters is God's love for us...it makes all the people-pleasing tendencies so silly. YOU ARE GORGEOUS. I am so thankful to know you!

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  15. Thank you for that post! I enjoyed reading it so much.. so encouraging and uplifting. Thank you for sharing!

    xo,
    Anna

    www.annabeeslittlebits.blogspot.com

    p.s. I nominated you for an award!

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  16. This post right here is what Hearts Prepared Ministries is based on. I think all women can say that something in this post, they have felt or feel. This is so wonderful and is surely an inspiration. I can relate about losing it all. Going through a season where God needs to have you away from everything else, the season of growing and finding your identity in HIM. I was blessed by this post!! Awesome awesome awesome. Keep smiling girl!!!

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  17. Oh my goodness. I am officially in love with this post. I want to cry. I totally love everything you stand for...it's sooo rare to find in this world. Keep it up! :)

    ivy-Olsen.blogspot.com

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  18. Instagram is my newest obsession!!!! SO is your blog, I love it! I am s u p e r excited to be your newest follower!
    Biggest love,
    Victoria from Unlock Your World
    www.vi-key.blogspot.com

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  19. Erin,

    Love your Blog. I read your pageon Purity and waiting...All the things I will be telling my precious daughter. YOu write beautifully and I am so happy you commented on my blog so that I could find yours! Thank you for sharing your heart and Jesus!!!

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  20. oh my goodness! can i just thank you SO MUCH for finding my blog?!?!? this is the post i needed to hear RIGHT NOW. today has been one of those rough days...i am a definite follower of your blog now. cannot wait to read more...have a blessed week!

    xo
    purposelyathome.blogspot.com

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  21. This is so beautiful and inspiring. It inspires me to stop thinking and worrying about all the thing that may define me, and instead realize that beauty comes from within and from God. Thank you for this post!

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  22. Wow. What a great post! I definitely went through a similar time in life. It's so good to know that God sees the real us and loves us anyway!

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  23. LOVE this. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  24. all i can say is THANK YOU! I needed these lovely words today :)

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  25. oh my gosh this song is absolutely amazing. i love rebecca st. james and saw her in concert in october. and the concert was free!! she is just a happy person, happy because she found complete joy in the Lord! she is a wonderful inspiration

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  26. this is just what i was looking for! :) thanks for sharing. so happy i found a new and positive blog to be following. blessings.

    hope you can check out my blog for some +vibes and inspiration!

    Check out the unique hand tailored apron I am giving away
    here

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  27. I love your photography, and what a great post!

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  28. oh how I desperately needed this post today. thank you so much for sharing your heart xo

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  29. ok, so I know it's an old post and it's kinda weird to comment on old posts, but this was such a good one....Strangely I wrote something sorta like this a few days ago, about a beauty challenge when I saw the Dove Beauty Sketches experiment, you can watch their ad about the experiment here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk

    I am one of those people who remembers things for way too long. Sometimes it's helpful and a good thing, but often I remember way too many bad things and they overshadow good memories and end up haunting me to the point where I just wish I could forget.

    Often times people say things to or about others without knowing where the other person is coming from, what they've been through. I might always remember someones exact words, but years later it is easier to understand that they didn't know me even if they think they did.

    I love the fact that God knows us all in a way that no one else can. People might be able to make us feel like crap with their words and actions toward us, but God's love is something that they can never take from us. He sees the truth and that's all that really matters anyways.

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  30. Oh, and this is ridiculous again, but I forgot to say that those are such neat little Russian Matryoshka dolls you have in your pics.

    I can't believe that 10 of them fit in there, wow how cool! I have always thought those were the neatest little things.

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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