Every Kiss Matters


When I was younger, I had this dream of exactly where my first kiss would happen: in a perfect little white gazebo with Christmas lights brightening it up. I wish that I could say that this came true, but it definitely did not.

Each year that went by, I let this desire grow. As a teenager, it seemed ideal. As a college student, it seemed pretty perfect that I had waited so long and that it would happen where I always wanted it to. As a young woman in my 20s, I continued to let my fairy tale grow, but I think that part of me knew that it wasn’t going to happen exactly as I’d always hoped.

Instead, that long-awaited lip-lock moment happened at a local track after an event in which some of the people I knew in the running community had participated. But, to me, on that stuffy summer evening in Texas, it felt like such an ideal moment at the time, even though it was nowhere near anything I had conjured up in my imaginative mind.

I had waited more than 27 years for that kiss (yes, I didn’t have my first kiss until that age, and no, I haven’t been kissed since that time nearly six years ago), and it was very special to me. My hopes soared at the possibility of this guy being the guy I had waited for to come along and take me by the hand to be forever his. Sadly, that wasn’t how the story ended, and it actually resulted in a heartache that I’ve (thankfully) gotten over at this point. Even though that guy hurt me, and I don’t have any feelings for him anymore or ever really think about him, that kiss is something that will always be a significant moment in my life.

Because every kiss matters.

Now, I know this might not always seem true if you play games like spin the bottle (do people still do that??) or whatever, but I believe that all kisses have (or at least should have) meaning. They’re important. They’re sacred. They’re special. A kiss is a moment you share with another person, and it can often be a piece of your heart that you’re giving away.

Kisses also sometimes lead to more than kissing, and if kisses are sacred and special, think of how much more sacred and special those stronger intimate moments are.

I’m going to be honest with you about something: Even though that first kiss of mine is a cherished memory, there are times when I honestly wish it had never happened. I know that your first kiss won’t always be with the person you end up with forever, but I guess that I was sort of hoping it would be—or at least that the guy who kissed me wouldn’t turn out to be someone who really didn’t care about me at all.

By this point in the story, you’ve probably realized that I’m also a virgin, and that’s something that I’m not ashamed to admit. For me, my virginity is now something that I protect and something that I’m definitely not going to give away to someone who is only going to walk away. I know that sex is often treated as something more casual in today’s society than it used to be in the past, but it’s still something that’s special. I believe that sex is something that’s meant to be shared between a husband and a wife, though I’m not trying to preach to or condemn anyone who feels differently.

What I do want to remind you of, though, is that you are worth more than a moment of passion, and you deserve to know that you matter and that you are enough. That truth can often get lost in kissing and sex because, as women, we tend to let our hearts do the thinking. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s something that makes it hurt a lot more when we give pieces of our hearts away without, in return, filling those missing pieces with the love and pieces of the hearts of the guys we love.

It’s never easy to go through a broken heart, especially when you’ve given yourself emotionally and physically to someone—whether that’s through a simple kiss or more. I think that’s part of why people frequently remind young women to guard their hearts because, while our hearts are one of the strongest parts of us, they can also be extremely fragile.

We all make our own choices in life, and sometimes we don’t really have time to think about them much (or we choose not to) when we’re in moments in which our desires take over completely. Just remember that you are valuable, and what you have to give runs much deeper than anything physical.

Every kiss and every intimate moment matter because you matter.

Facing Rejection Like a Champ

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I know it’s trashy, but I live for my weekly viewing of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or—the king of them all—Bachelor in Paradise.

Maybe it’s because I live a boring and drama-free life compared to the people who go on these shows, but sometimes after a stressful week, nothing can make you feel better about your own life than watching guys or girls (depending on whether it’s a bachelor or bachelorette time of year) lose their minds over a love interest they barely know.

I find the most common thought I have (or statement yelled at the TV) while viewing is “why are you crying? It’s OK!”

Especially early on in the seasons, it’s a little silly when contestants start crying when they aren’t chosen to continue on to the next week of dates.

The thing is, these contestants aren’t crying because they are brokenhearted over losing a chance with the bachelor or bachelorette; they’re crying because they’re facing rejection.

Rejection is a tricky emotion. It can manipulate you into thinking you care about something you really don’t. It can trick you into thinking you have feelings for someone you don’t.

This happened to me as a teen. I was not happy in a relationship, but once I was the one facing rejection, I did everything in my power to get the guy back because I thought those feelings of rejection were something that they weren’t.

Just because those feelings of sadness aren’t real feelings for a person or for something in your life (maybe it’s a job offer or not being included by a friend), that doesn’t mean those feelings of rejection don’t hurt. They hurt a lot! That’s why it’s all so confusing.

The pain is still very real and has to be dealt with. The key to accepting rejection in a healthier and less painful way is to change your perspective.

The reason people cry when they’re rejected on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette is because they compare themselves to all of those other candidates who were chosen to continue on. They think they don’t stack up compared to them. Perhaps the girls are prettier or funnier. Perhaps the guys are more attractive or have more appealing careers.

This way of thinking is toxic and completely the wrong way to look at it—that’s why I end up yelling at the TV, “Why are you crying?!”

It’s not because I think they shouldn’t be sad; of course they should be. It’s extremely disappointing to be sent home, but they usually start spouting off a bunch of self-deprecating, pity-me comments about how they don’t understand what the remaining contestants have that they don’t.

That’s the thing—it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what those candidates might have that the person crying in the back seat of the limo doesn’t.

What should matter is that it wasn’t a love connection. Those remaining people just click a little better with whoever is handing out the roses that season. They are by no means better people than the ones being sent home (well, most of the time!); they just are better matches.

It’s the same with being rejected after a job interview. Whoever got the job isn’t better than you; that person just fits better with the position you both were vying for.

It doesn’t make the rejection sting less or make it any less disappointing, but it can keep you from losing your confidence or being too hard on yourself if you think of rejection as more of a two-way street.

Even if you are going through a time in your life when you feel like you’re facing rejection in the dating world, in your career, or amongst your friends or family, think of it as a saving grace.

Chances are that, if you’re being rejected from something, it probably isn’t a good fit, and that rejection is saving you from a possibly miserable situation dating someone you wouldn’t be happy with, working in a job you’d hate, or spending time with someone you maybe shouldn’t.

Rejection never means someone is better than you. We all have different flaws and strengths. Rejection just means someone may be a better fit than you for that particular situation.

It means you probably have something way better out there waiting for you. And isn’t that worth celebrating?

 

Embracing the Plot Twists in Life


If there’s one thing that life will teach you pretty quickly, it’s that change happens quite often—and sometimes quite fast.

These changes can occur in your location, in your relationship status, in your friendships, in your family, in your career, and even in your heart. Some of them are planned, and others happen unexpectedly. Some are welcomed, and others feel more like punches to your gut that took you completely by surprise.

When I was going through a really difficult season of life (partly thanks to a fella breaking my heart), one of my sweet friends sent me inspirational quotes and funny memes every so often. She sent me one that I’m sure many of you have seen before that said “When something goes wrong in life, just yell ‘PLOT TWIST!’ and move on.” I love that, because it’s a reminder not to dwell on the tough changes that we face in life but to accept that they are happening and to keep living.

I studied journalism in college and dreamed of being a sports reporter and an eventual anchor on SportsCenter. I grew up admiring Linda Cohn and figured that I would follow in her remarkable sassy footsteps. When I graduated college, I got my first job as a sports reporter, and it wasn’t too long before I realized that it isn’t actually what I wanted to do with my life forever. I spent months trying to deny it—after all, I had big plans for my future—but it became far too apparent that I didn’t actually want to spend the rest of my life working in the media.

One day not too long after I started having those feelings, the president of the small news organization I was working for at the time informed us that we were going out of business, and I realized that my life was about to change more drastically than I had ever imagined. It was a tough change, but it was a change that needed to happen. And I’m forever grateful that it did.

I think that, just like changes in careers that we might not have seen coming, unanticipated changes in the heart are natural, too. Sometimes we want them to happen, and other times we try to resist those changes. I’d like to cue Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go” right now. I would share some of the lyrics here, but I’d have to sell essentially all of my possessions and all of the paychecks for the rest of my existence to Disney first, so I’ll let you consult the Google on your own for that one. But this young woman is experiencing a change in her heart and a desire to find her own identity. It’s a change that needs to happen within her, and she begins to embrace it.

Just like we often need to embrace the changes that happen within us, as well.

You might start off in a career that you later realize is not right for you. You might lose your job. You might find out that you have to move, even after you’ve spent years forming friendships and building community that you love. You might invest deeply in a relationship only to be betrayed or realize that he’s not the person you’re supposed to end up with forever. You might experience so much change all at once in multiple aspects of life and not know what to do. And you might feel a stirring for change in your heart that you need to acknowledge and that you need to let happen.

If you’re not yet ready to yell “PLOT TWIST!” and move on, start by simply telling yourself that change happens, and you are strong enough to face whatever happens as a result. It won’t always be easy, and it’s OK to admit that you’re struggling with it. But don’t dwell in that state—let yourself be bold enough to stand up and turn those changes into new chapters that are integral parts of your story.

Don’t be afraid to let change happen in your life. Sometimes those changes you weren’t expecting end up being the most beautiful journeys that you’ll ever experience.

Rejection Doesn’t Make You a Reject


Unfortunately, we don’t get everything that we want in life—and this includes acceptance. There will be times when we will come across people with whom (and situations in which) we simply don’t belong.

Rejection is certainly not fun. I remember a day when I was in college and felt like I was one of the most unwanted people who ever set foot on campus. I had applied to be in a variety of different leadership organizations that were available to freshmen, and I thought the interviews for them had gone really well.

It turns out that I was pretty much the only one who thought that.

I’ll never forget when I went to check my mailbox on campus (yes, this was an actual thing with paper envelopes and all inside), and I opened four back-to-back-to-back-to-back rejection letters to the four organizations I so badly wanted to be a part of that year. I sat on a couch in the student center for a little bit and just stared at the words before me: “Thank you so much for your interest in [name of organization]. We regret to inform you blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

What is wrong with me? Why don’t they want me?

Needless to say, it was a pretty rough day. I wish I could tell you that this was the end of my days of rejection, but that’s not the case. On more than one occasion, I’ve been on the wrong end of being rejected by guys I really liked. I’ve even gotten excuses from them such as “I have some chores to finish” (this was on a Friday night, and he was 27 years old—really, guy?), “I have to study” (this was for the following weekend and was made yet again by a grown man), and “I need to write thank-you emails” (don’t even get me started on that one). Again, I was left with those thoughts no girl or woman should have.

What is wrong with me? Why doesn’t he want me?

The truth is that nothing was wrong with me then, and nothing is wrong with me now. And nothing is wrong with those guys for not wanting to go out with me, either. There are places we’re not supposed to be and people we’re not supposed to be with—and that’s OK. We don’t get to have all of the desires of our hearts, and though it can be painful at times, we have to learn to trust that there are better plans for us ahead. Some things aren’t meant to happen in our lives because there are other opportunities waiting for us.

Rejection is a part of life, but how we respond to those rejections helps us to build character, become stronger, and be bold enough to keep pursuing our dreams.

Don’t let rejection make you think you’re not good enough. You are enough, sister. And don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from doing things you know in your heart that you need to do. Carpe the heck out of that diem, girl.

You’re worth of the risk of rejection, and you’re strong enough to endure whatever happens.

You Can Cheer for Yourself, Too


Life is filled with so much junk, and it becomes far too easy to get down about the situations you face and down on yourself, in general.

But what if you cheered for yourself, instead? What if, rather than getting upset with yourself and pointing out all of your flaws and what you’ve done wrong, you focus on saying things that motivate and inspire you? What if you let yourself feel encouraged instead of discouraged?

While I don’t think it’s necessary to go around tooting your own horn all of the time, I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with allowing yourself to give yourself a little self-encouragement. Wouldn’t you offer some uplifting words to a friend who needed it? Guess what, girl? You need it, too.

I love running, and sometimes I put myself through some pretty tough workouts. I was recently pushing really hard in one of these workouts, and I was struggling. It hurt! But if I don’t push myself through those challenges in my workouts, how can I expect to on race day?

One tactic I’ve used for a while now and that I used on this particular day is saying things like “Come on, Nat! You can do this!” or “Suck it up, girl—it’s not that bad and is only a small portion of your life!” Believe it or not, I usually pick up my pace after those little pep talks.

Honestly, I wish I did this more often in every other area of my life. Why is it easier to encourage other people than it is to encourage ourselves?

Think about a time in your life—maybe it’s right now—when you’ve needed encouragement. You might have gotten some from friends or family members, but what if you had encouraged yourself? Try doing it more often. Even when things are going really well, there are still likely multiple instances in every single day when you could use some sort of pick-me-up or cheering on.

If you have time this week, write yourself a little “lunchbox note.” Take a few minutes in the morning, and write a note of encouragement for the day—the kind a mom or dad would put in a kid’s lunchbox—and put it somewhere you’ll see it later.

And when you face a tough situation, encourage yourself. Afraid to talk to that cute boy? Girl, you’ve got this! Nervous about your exam? [Your name here], you’re going to ace this! Anxious about an upcoming presentation? Honey, you’re about to dazzle and impress!

You deserve encouragement, and that includes encouragement from yourself. Be bold enough to believe that and to pursue confidence.

You’re worth the investment in yourself.

Different Types of Beauty and Impossible Standards

Mirror Selfie. Beauty.Ladies, take a moment to picture your celebrity crush. See him?

I bet if we polled all of our readers, most of you would have thought of someone different. Some may have pictured Chris Hemsworth, others may have pictured one of the other four Chrises (Pratt, Evans, and Pine), and others pictured a variety of other famous good-looking (or maybe not so objectively good-looking) men.

Oftentimes, we can get very stuck in our heads wishing we looked a certain way. We wish we had thicker hair, smaller pores, a tinier waist, taller legs, etc.

Sometimes we get it into our heads that there is a specific type of beauty standard we need to meet, and many times this can look like a specific celebrity.

Growing up, I loved Keira Knightley. I thought she was so beautiful in Pirates of the Caribbean and Pride and Prejudice. One day, while watching behind-the-scenes extras on the Pride and Prejudice DVD, I heard Keira mention how she always got in trouble on set for pouting. This was apparently just her natural state, but her character demanded a sunnier disposition.  

Well, since I thought Keira was gorgeous, and I hoped to look like her when I grew up, I began adopting this pouting habit. Years later, I realized that my now resting b**** face—as the kids call it—is purely a result of a young and more impressionable me creating a standard of beauty I hoped to meet.

I’d like to tell you that I grew out of these habits. I’d like to tell you that, by my college years, I had realized that just because Taylor Swift had bangs did not mean I should. Yet, here I am at 24, and I still consider bangs anytime I see a particularly good photo of Taylor with them.

When we set these standards of beauty for ourselves, we set ourselves up for disappointment every time we look in the mirror. No matter how much I pout, Keira Knightley will not look back at me in the mirror. No matter how I style my bangs, Taylor Swift will not look back at me.

But there’s a great realization to be had here. Just as we will never look like Keira or Taylor, they can’t ever look like each other, either. And why would they want to? They are both gorgeous women in their own way—just like you and me.

Just like we all have different celebrity crushes, there are so many ways to be beautiful.

Plus, those Chris Pratt fans don’t just love him for his looks, but for his humor. It’s not Keira’s pouting that makes her beautiful; it’s her feminine, thoughtful, and spirited personality that shines through her smile. It’s not Taylor’s bangs, but her sweet, genuine hopefulness that made the world fall in love with her so many years ago.

Next time you look in the mirror, instead of finding a way to be disappointed, remember that there are Chris Hemsworth crushes, and there are Chris Pratt crushes. There are Keira Knightley good looks, and there are Taylor Swift good looks. None of that takes away from the others’ beauty.

And nothing can take away from yours.



You Don’t Have to Think That’s True


I think a lot of times people make comments about teenagers caring too much about what people think about them, but I would argue that it doesn’t matter what age you are. For some reason or another, we simply place too much emphasis on other people’s opinions.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you felt judged or looked down upon by someone else? Or maybe that person actually said something hurtful that made you feel like you weren’t good enough? I’ve never trusted that ridiculous saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

False. Words hurt.

What I think is truly important, though, is that we don’t let other people’s words and opinions change the way we think about ourselves. We recently posted a Taylor Swift quote that is so powerful: “You’re not somebody else’s opinion of you.” And it’s true. What another person says or implies really shouldn’t matter—what does matter is what you think of you.

I volunteered at an event called the Brave Conference recently, and it was a powerful evening full of bold young women who don’t even know how bold they are yet. There were some incredible speakers, and two of them gave some advice that I wish I had heard when I was younger. Although I don’t care much about what people think of me now, it’s definitely something that I struggled with when I was in middle school when my identity was rooted more in what I was wearing or what group I sat with at lunch.

These speakers said that when someone says something to you, you simply say “I don’t think that’s true.” For instance, if someone tells you that your outfit doesn’t match, fire back with “I don’t think that’s true.” A friend or peer doesn’t think your choice of music is that great, sing it loudly, sister: “I don’t think that’s true.” Even if no one actually says anything, but you think someone might be thinking something, focus on what you think. If you feel like someone else has an opinion that makes you feel insecure, remind yourself: “I don’t think that’s true.”

You can do this as an adult, too. It’s something I had to overcome in terms of what guys I have feelings for think of me. I would let thoughts fill my head like I’m not pretty enough and I’m not smart enough and I’m not good enough. NO, girl. I don’t think that’s true.

I am enough—and so are you.

The next time you are in a situation in which you’re worried about what others are thinking of you, take a moment to step back and decide what you think of you. Don’t let their opinions define who you are.

Only you can do that.

Advice Even a Professional Public Speaker Needed: Accept Praise

Accept praise. Microphone with blurred out background.

When I was in high school, I decided that I wanted to be a big-time political news commentator. This was mostly in part due to my love of writing and my exposure to Dana Perino on my mom’s news shows that were always on 24/7.

Dana_Perino_at_CPAC_2016
Dana Perino at a speaking engagement. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Regardless of your political leanings, Dana—former White House press secretary—is a practical angel in the world of politics. When seeing her on TV, I was always so drawn to her ability to speak intelligently, debate firmly when necessary, but ultimately still come off so likable and kind, even to those she disagreed with. I saw myself in her—mostly in her naiveness at times to the rowdy humor her co-hosts took part in.

While I have switched gears in my career path—hey, you never know, maybe someday I’ll switch back—I still very much admire Perino, and I recently finished her book And the Good News Is…

Within its pages, Perino shares her favorite memories from childhood on her grandparents’ ranch to how she started her career, met her husband, and took a leap for love and shares stories of her time working in the Bush administration and her life now working on a daily news program.

While Perino shares many important insights for young women—and young men—throughout her book, there was one story in particular that stood out to me.

Perino was at a press awards dinner standing in as acting press secretary. As such, she was seated at the head table and recognized by the emcee. She said this of the encounter:

“I kind of half stood, barely looked up, and gave a little nod. I felt shy and like I didn’t really belong there, anyway—I was only the acting press secretary.”

This passage caught my attention because sometimes it feels like our emotions are completely unique. Sometimes I think there can’t be another human being alive that would react as strangely or awkwardly as I do to praise. Yet there it was, smack in the last chapter of a book by an extremely accomplished woman—a recognizable emotion I thought no one like her would ever have. She works in the spotlight for a living, after all!

Luckily for Perino, former United States Senator from Virginia John Warner gave her some advice later that evening. He reminded her that she did indeed belong at the event—she worked hard to get there—and in the future, she should allow the crowd to applaud her and thank them with a smile and wave.

“They want to be happy for you,” Perino quotes him as saying. “Let them have a moment.”

What a concept. I can’t even stand when people sing Happy Birthday to me because I feel too strange in the spotlight. I get in my head, Oh, don’t smile, I think, Don’t look too happy. Don’t let people think you’re reveling in the spotlight. Don’t let them think you like attention.

Where on earth do these thoughts come from? Of course, I should smile! My family and loved ones—or a random waitstaff at a really bad chain restaurant—are celebrating the fact that I exist! Is that not something to be happy about?

The only day I’ve ever really allowed myself to enjoy the spotlight was my wedding day. I remember walking down the aisle toward my future husband and taking a moment to look in the crowd of people I was passing. They were all smiling warmly at me. I should have been HORRIFIED. But not that time; I smiled and waved back. Even at that moment when a million other thoughts were going through my head, I still had time to think, this is weird. This is weird that I’m smiling back.

Ladies, I beg of you, do not do this to yourselves. There is a huge difference between hogging the spotlight and allowing yourself to enjoy it when you deserve it. Smile when people wish you a happy birthday. Say “thank you” when you are given praise at work; don’t offer some silly reason for why you succeeded instead.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be humble, but there’s a difference between being prideful and being proud of something you accomplished.

Let the achievements of your life be celebrated because whatever table you’ve worked your way up to, you deserve to be there.

 

Tyler’s Boldheart Story — How Rape Led to Redemption

From when I was a young age, God was talked about and prayed to often in my home. But He was not the cornerstone of my family’s foundation. I grew up Catholic. Sunday after Sunday, I loved to gain knowledge about God when I attended mass with my dad. However, I did not gain the spiritual disciplines of walking in relationship with Him, nor did I hear or come to understand the heart of the Gospel until years later.

Meet Tyler, a beautiful boldheart!

This surface-level knowledge about God made it easy to slip into walking in the ways of the world instead of committing my life to Him. From eighth grade into high school, I found validation in flirting my way into popularity, dedicating my time to partying, consuming myself with perfectionism, and priding myself on my independence. This all changed the summer before my junior year of high school. The best way to describe how the Lord graciously sobered me from all of those false outlets of pursuing a “satisfying” life was that He flipped my heart, much like a pancake. After one night of partying, I woke up and heard the Lord call me to life with Him. He put in my heart to attend a nondenominational church that I went to once before in the eighth grade when a friend invited me to a service similar to the Porch (a worship night for men and women in their 20s and 30s at a church in Dallas) but for eighth graders.

Shortly after I started attending this church regularly, I heard the Gospel for the first time, and it fell softly on my heart. I accepted that I am a sinner, and I need Jesus. No matter how I might try to tally up my works to prove otherwise, it was about Jesus dying for my sins and receiving His gift of grace to redeem me from those sins. I was secure in eternal life with God and began experiencing true life and joy by abiding in Him.

As I finished up high school, God was evidently clear in calling me to attend Texas Christian University for college. I spent three years at TCU, where I continued to walk and grow in my relationship with the Lord. I was then led out of state for the fall semester of my senior year to pursue a dream internship.

The day before my internship ended, I was raped by a coworker. I remember calling my best friend the next day to confide in her. Terrified to even verbalize the word “rape,” I vividly remember fighting through tears, and before I told her what happened, out came the words.

“Please still love me.”

I didn’t realize it then, but those words were absolutely reflective of the lies I immediately bought from the enemy: that I was unlovable, tainted beyond repair, marked with unredeemable shame, and forever shackled by what happened.

I was scared. I was confused. I did not see how what happened could be used by God. Plus, a huge way God showed me His protection through my wandering years of high school was by preserving my virginity, and here it was taken by abuse, which only led to more confusion. I didn’t get it. I didn’t want to get it. So I covered it up. I lied through my physical bruises and suppressed my emotional ones. I thought I couldn’t be loved by God because of the sin done against me, and I further believed that I was undeserving of God’s love because I responded to what happened by turning to sin as a way to cope.

I ventured back to TCU to wrap up my last semester of college, where I sought out alcohol as a means to escape reality. I jumped into a toxic relationship that I used as an excuse to Heisman my relationship with God. I shut down all feelings by slipping into a state of numbness, learning how to carry myself “well enough” without anyone recognizing that something was off.

It wasn’t until the Lord started knocking on my heart, rather loudly, that this stance of Heismaning God softened into falling to my knees. As I transitioned into adulthood and started work in Dallas, I was still pursuing everything this world had to offer as a distraction. I wasn’t ready to heal, but it was obvious that I no longer had a choice. The more I pursued the world, the more I found myself committing to my church and the Porch. I couldn’t help but finally have an open heart to hearing and seeing God’s pursuit of me through people, conversations, circumstances, church, community, and His word.

I had enough. I was tired of being haunted by what happened. I had no other option than to follow Him into a radical healing journey that would literally save my life and bring me to a place of experiencing God-given joy. Not only was I able to confess and be freed from the sin that had been done against me, but I was able to accept His gift of grace for the sin I pursued in coping with what happened.

Better yet, God has been gracious enough to reveal the purpose of how He is using my story for His glory and His Kingdom. Genesis 50:20 rings true—God does not just save a person; He saves a person to save people. The Lord has been gracious enough to open the doors for conversations and platforms to share my testimony so that I can, in turn, walk with other women who have similar stories.

I would not trade my story for anything, because it is marked with God’s grace, mercy, and overwhelming love that has only shown me more of who He is. And guess what? God has firmly refuted the lie I bought into that I couldn’t be loved by Him. I get to freely receive His unconditional and sacrificial love each and every day because He is a Healer, He is the Prince of Peace, the Ultimate Counselor, and a Mighty Protector.

Simply put, now I look back on my story and how God is actively using it, and all I see is love—His love for me, my love for Him, and the love He puts in me to love on His people.

 

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