(No) Miracle On 34th Street

Several months ago, long before we knew we would be temporarily moving back to New York, we dreamed about spending Christmas in New York City.

Escape the Florida heat. Stroll around the city as fluffy snowflakes landed on our noses. Watch our kids exclaim over the lavish Christmas decorations adorning the city we love. Dance across the giant piano at FAO Schwartz with an oversized grin because my life, and my family, are just so wonderful.

It was a lovely thing to dream about.

Then we found out we would be in New York for several months, including the holiday season. My hopes began to rise. Friends of friends offered for us to house sit for them and in exchange for feeding their cat twice a day, our Christmas dream would become reality.

Perfection.

As Christmas approached we planned and talked and researched the best way to spend our time. There were lists and budgets and anticipation. Two days before Christmas Eve we told Ezra that we would be going to the city and that our first stop would be Santaland.

At Macy’s.

In Herald Square.

The largest department store.

In the world.

Because we are insane.

But when his eyes doubled in size, and his jaw dropped, and he literally blushed and had to hide his face in his hands while he did a little jig, I knew this was the best idea I’d ever had.

Enter Christmas Eve.

The morning of Christmas Eve I was greeted by two of the grumpiest kids I’ve ever met. While I tried to simultaneously shower, pack, prep breakfast and hold my pants up while the cranky two-year old tried to pull them down, my husband packed the car full of the ridiculous amount of luggage and gifts and groceries I told him had to go. Because I bought more groceries than normal and told him it was so we could pack lunches and dinners and not have to spend money on expensive city food. He would thank me later, I promised.

We finally walked out the door and as it locked behind us I smelled the poop. Sent my husband back inside to change Hudson and I took Ezra to the car. Running to the car, so excited to be heading to Santaland, he tripped and slid on the concrete. His hand skinned open, I yelled to Johnny, who was locking the door for a second time, to grab band aids and neosporin.

Five minutes later we were finally on our way.

Traffic was light and we arrived without incident at our friends house in Harlem to pick up our key and to meet their newborn son.

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Hudson proceeded to show them every single thing in their house that will need to be child proofed and for his grand finale he pulled a mountain bike over, onto his face, and proceeded to cry hysterically, hyperventilate and nearly pass out. We decided it was time to leave.

We arrived at the Subway station and were immediately THAT obnoxious family. You know the one. There’s a massive crowd of people and the one family carrying their enormous stroller, complete with child inside, down the stairs, creating a great big bottleneck.

Merry Christmas Harlem!

We got to the ticket counter and two seconds later Ezra was jumping up and down, holding himself, gritting his teeth, and yelling, “I have to go pee! SO BAD!!!”

Of course you do.

Johnny took him back to our friend’s apartment to use the toilet, and we taught them yet another valuable parenting lesson. (You’re welcome guys.)

Two trains, and approximately six staircase bottlenecks, later, we laid eyes on Herald Square. I wish I could say how much I enjoyed the sight, but in reality I was too focused on not clipping anyone’s ankles with the stroller and making it to Macy’s before the Santaland line closed. In fifteen minutes.

We rushed past the gorgeous window displays and the shady, fake Santa Claus trying to get people to take photos with him for tips, and in the Macy’s doors. So close!

I don’t have adequate words to describe the chaos that is Macy’s on Christmas Eve. Chaos is actually the only word that comes to mind. I found an employee as quickly as possible and was pointed towards the elevators. Eighth floor here we come. The internet said seventh but I took the employee at his word.

Eighth floor.

Nothing.

I knew it.

Annoyed at the cheerful employee who led us on a wild goose chase, we got on the elevator again. This one only stopped at even floors so we returned to the main floor and waited for an elevator that visits all the floors.

The Santa line closes in five minutes. Stress.

We finally got on the elevator and a helpful employee heard where we were going and said we actually want the eighth floor. What?! We were just there. He assured me Santaland is on the eighth floor. I silently apologized to the previous helpful employee as we disembarked.

We found Santaland this time, right there on the eighth floor as promised. As we approached the sign, two minutes shy of four o’clock, a cheerily dressed employee bellowed, “The line to see Santa starts here! The wait is THREE AND A HALF HOURS!! No I am not joking but I do know some good jokes if you want to hear them.”

Three and a half hours? I could fly from New York to Orlando in less time than it would take to see Jolly Old Saint Nick. I was totally prepared for a wait, I even brought snacks. But in all of my internet research, an hour and a half was the longest I had read. There’s no way we’re staying.

But my boys. Oh my sweet, excited boys.

I approached the joke telling employee, and her less amusing, suit wearing, coworker.

“Is there any way to see Santaland and not actually wait in line to see Santa? Even a peek?”

Man in suit didn’t miss a beat. “No.”

“Not even some of the decorations?”

Man in suit, “For that I would direct you to the ninth floor. Holiday Lane is there.”

“Oh.”

Man in suit, “But ma’am, if you step off this line you will not be able to get back in line later.”

“Fantastic.”

I headed towards my babies, wondering to myself if there was really a toddler in the world who could wait in line for three and a half hours for ANYTHING without a total meltdown. Maybe that two-year old exists. But I seriously doubt it.

I explained to the boys that we wouldn’t be able to see Santa but that we were going to see some really wonderful Christmas decorations. Ezra’s face fell but he was more brave than I had imagined. I was the one holding back tears as I watched his sad eyes and remembered his excited jig just days earlier.

We made it to the ninth floor. Holiday Lane turned out to be another name for Buy Your Boxes Of Ornaments Here Lane. We left.

As we bundled up to head back into the cold, I remembered the shady Santa outside. Somehow he didn’t seem so creepy anymore. I tried to take Ezra over to meet him, but he dug his heels in and wouldn’t budge. I honestly couldn’t blame the kid.

Six more staircase bottlenecks.

Two trains.

One elderly woman befriended by Hudson who jabbered her ear off for five stops.

One older gentleman playing Christmas carols on the accordion.

Two grapes rolling the length of the subway car.

Several loud screams of, “Oh no! Oh no! My gwapes!”

And we were back in Harlem.

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We picked up the car, the kids screamed for five minutes and both fell promptly asleep. As we pulled up to our home for the week, we just sat in the quiet. Neither of us moved. We needed a break.

We finally unloaded, and entered the apartment. A cozy home, complete with a sweet cat and more knick knacks than I could count. Uh oh. We tried to stay one step ahead of Hudson as he explored his new dwelling, all while unpacking and settling in. That is until Johnny had to sit in the hallway, weak, realizing he’d hardly had anything to eat or drink all day. While he regained his composure, I navigated a tantrum, a broken Christmas ornament, repeated attempts at biting each other, and tried in vain to use my patient voice.

We rallied, with bedtime as our goal.

We fed the kids, they invaded the personal space of the wonderfully patient cat, and Johnny ran to the store for things I had left at home. So much for careful planning. While he was gone, Hudson slipped and landed on his face. He came up with a mouth full of blood, once again hyperventilating. Once I got him to breathe, and realized the blood was from a tongue bite and nothing more serious, I hid in kitchen and it was my turn to cry.

This was supposed to be fun.

I am not having fun.

My daydreams were so much prettier.

I just want to curl up in a ball.

Not because I think my life is supposed to be perfect or easy.

But because when stress overwhelm, loneliness, fear and self-pity threaten and I become my least favorite version of myself.

And there’s the lesson to be learned.

Or relearned.

We were never meant to carry this load alone. We are not only supposed to share the pretty parts of us. Whether it be something as trivial as a stressful day in New York City with kids, or the deep heartache of a life altering hurt, we were designed to need God and each other.

On Christmas Eve I needed God to grant me peace and grace and, assure me that I am indeed strong enough to mother two very spirited young men. I needed him to acknowledge my heart ache and to remind me that nothing is too trivial for him to concern himself with.

And when my husband came home I needed him to stand with me in the kitchen while I made a late dinner. I needed him to crack jokes and hug me and remind me that two and four is a tough combination but that we’re in this together. And that they are so very worth it.

Those simple moments.

Moments spent pursuing intimacy with God, with my husband, with my boys.

Moments that bring peace and perspective, and return me to the beauty of life.

In those moments I am reminded why Jesus came to this earth so long ago. It was to pursue us, to serve us, to save us, to show how deeply he loved us by dying for us. Not just the pretty parts of us. All of us.

That is the pursuit of intimacy at its finest.

The Son of God desires intimacy with me. With you. And in that intimacy we can find the strength to endure the rain showers and the thunderstorms of this life. And perhaps even dance in the rain.

That is joy.

That is beauty.

We didn’t get to sit with Santa, but tonight, an old truth rings new in my ears. So I guess we got our miracle after all.

Oh holy night. Indeed.

The Sick Donkey Noise and Frozen Corn.

I have no food in the house.

It’s three o’clock in the afternoon and I don’t think any of us have eaten lunch. We did eat eggs and toast (well the boys ate toast. I have yet to find a gluten free bread that I can swallow without gagging. I think I’ll try and bake one myself…) at more of a brunch time so I suppose we’ll make it till dinner with a little snack.

Except I don’t have any snacks left.

Better have Husband pick something up on the way home.

It’s a rainy, dreary week outside and we’re all going a little stir crazy.

The little squish has figured out how (or been taught by his hero, and older brother, Captain Ezra) to climb onto my favorite dark teal green armchair, the one I found on Craigslist and dragged Husband all over Orlando the week we moved here to try to find the owner’s house, and it nearly didn’t fit into the car, but that’s another story for another day… so they climb onto the chair, hold their arms out to the side like wings, and free fall, face first, onto the mattress that Captain Ez sleeps on. Well, he sleeps there when he’s not climbing into my bed and sleeping with his feet in my face. When that happens, Husband sleeps on the mattress on the floor, under the pirate comforter. Much to his chagrin.

The problem is that Captain Ez is almost four years old, he has refined his falling technique. The little squish is not as refined in his falling skills. He wobbles, one foot on the seat, one foot on the arm of the chair, and he looks at me for approval while he falls blindly, usually ending up on the mattress, sometimes the floor next to the mattress, in a position that looks as if he will require medical attention. He’s usually fine, giggling hysterically at his incredible talent, and probably also at the new gray hairs that spontaneously pop up on my head every day, and does it again. And again. And again.

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This was right after a face plant on the ground, with some help from his big brother. He’s okay now, and jumping again.

It’s cute to talk about, but the reality is that I cannot get anything done while this child is awake. I turn my back and he is playing inside of the dryer. I make eggs and he has somehow retrieved a handful of butter knives from the silverware drawer (note to self: install better child locks). He thinks that couches are mountains to be climbed and that their summit is to be jumped from. The other morning, Husband let me sleep in. I staggered into the living room, still groggy, to his cheerful, “Good morning. Hudson ate his own poop.” Fantastic. While trying to cook he usually entertains himself by bowling with potatoes and onions. He likes to pick up babies, which turns into more of a tackle and then a barrel roll, with said baby in his arms, since he is not as strong as he thinks. He has quite an impressive throwing arm, unfortunately he thinks that most things were invented just to be thrown. Oh and while he does all of these thinks, he squints his eyes, looks at you sideways, and smirks. I swear it’s true.

Mischief is this child’s middle name.

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But oh my word, those blue eyes and those blonde curls and his sweet, sticky, fingers wrapped around your neck in the tightest embrace. How can he be so wonderful and so exhausting all at the same time? How can I not get enough of him but also cringe just a little when nap time is over? How can I dream of the day when this tornado child stage is over, but also not want him to ever outgrow his irresistible troublemaking?

And then there is his role model, the famous Captain Ezra. He’ll be four this summer. FOUR! And, much like his brother, I adore every single hair on his head, his preschool humor has me rolling on the floor in hysterics, and his imagination routinely takes me back to the magic of my own childhood.

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But the whining! Oh the whining! Not to mention the selective hearing!

Throw in the tantrums and I’m helpless.

It started a few months back, we like to call it The Sick Donkey Noise. Not a very creative name, but it should give you a pretty good idea what his favorite whining noise sounds like. To get a better understanding, make some donkey noises. Go ahead. Do it right now. As loud as possible. Now keep making those noises but also groan like you have a horrible stomach ache as well. Now morph those two noises together. Excruciating right? Now imagine hearing this noise A LOT. Like A LOT A LOT. Like every day, dozens of times each day. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know he’s doing it. It’s become his go to response, for everything. He doesn’t ask, “Mom, can I please have some milk?” He starts making his Sick Donkey Noise and then in between groans he whines, with every bit of whine he can muster, “MILK!!!” So it goes something like this…

The Sick Donkey Noise, MILK!!! The Sick Donkey Noise, MILK!!! The Sick Donkey Noise, MILK!!!, The Sick Donkey Noise, MILK!!! The Sick Donkey Noise, MILK!!!

and on… and on…

Now before you question my parenting techniques. I do not get him what he’s asking for when he’s whining like this, I speak with him, I make him ask me the polite and appropriate way, which he does immediately, proving that he KNOWS how to ask, he just has some weird habit of speaking like an animal when he wants something. The best part of it is that his little brother, who wants to be exactly like his big brother, routinely goes over to wherever The Sick Donkey Noise is coming from, observes and then assumes the same body position as his big brother, and begins making the same, horrible, noises as his big brother.

The Sick Donkey Noise. Times two.

Oy vey.

Now, I don’t like to complain. And the reality is that when this happens I can usually be found turning my head away to hide my laughter because the situation is highly comical. Most of the time. But then there are the days when I have cleaned up potatoes and onions off the floor too many times, I have rescued my 19 month old from six precarious situations, I have gotten zero things accomplished from my very important to-do list in my head, and I am still wearing my pajamas at dinner time, and I get a tiny bit cranky.

And then, before I can stop it, out it comes.

We all have one, we know what it sounds like, but we can’t always stop it.

My ugly voice.

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Ezra hangs on my back while I’m changing Hudson’s diaper and instead of asking him politely to get off my back while I change the baby, and tell him that we can cuddle in a minute, I snap at him to get off right now!

Ugh.

Or Hudson, deceivingly agile and strong at his mere 19 months old, climbs the sofa and begins hitting the television screen with a dinosaur, or toy hammer, or his hand, and instead of walking over to him and distracting him with another activity, I yell his name from across the room, louder each time, until he stops. It’s rarely effective, and it’s always bad parenting.

Sometimes I get stuck in an ugly voice funk. It can last days, embarrassingly even weeks. I hear myself when I talk to my kids, I feel the sharp edges, I see their hurt eyes, I observe them using the same tones when they get frustrated, then I tell them it’s not okay to talk that way.

Then I see it.

I see them emulating what they hear.

And I feel so gross.

I think we’ve all been there as parents. Or as anyone who ever took out their frustration on someone they love. It’s a strange phenomenon, that tendency to put our best selves on for strangers and acquaintances, yet with those we love, those we hold the most dear, when stress overwhelms we let our words carry a sharpness, our tone far from loving.

Ezra asked me the other night, “Mommy, why are you being so mean today?”

Oh my heart.

I felt like looking in his eyes and using the old break up line…

Don’t worry. It’s not you. It’s me.

What a cop-out. In any scenario. You are causing pain to someone you love and then telling them they shouldn’t be upset because it isn’t their fault. So what? All that matters is that they’re hurting, no matter whose fault it is.

What if Jesus was stressed out and overwhelmed by all of the problems he deals with on a daily basis? The real problems. World hunger. Orphans. A hurting world. People rejecting him. Broken families. And on and on. The burdens that our Jesus carries every day are far heavier than any stress or mild frustration or even personal crisis that I have ever had to deal with. He has every excuse in the world (literally) to lash out, groan at me in frustration, or use his ugly voice to reprimand me.

Yet he never has.
Not once.

Deep breath.
I can do better.
I must do better.
My babies deserve better.
Their future babies deserve for them to be taught better.
The creator of love demands that I am better.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

This is my heart’s desire, anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that to be true. But the truth is, I can love better, I think we can all love better. And I believe that love will change the world. And it will start right here at home.

Oh and I found a snack. We’re all eating frozen corn out of the bag that I was using as an ice pack for Ezra’s head after he took a dive and knocked it pretty hard. Medicinal AND nutritious (well not actually that nutritious…), multi tasking at it’s finest.

I love them.

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And the best part is that they love me too.

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my beauty hunt.

The past four years have been the hardest and most painful years of my life.
The past four years have also been the most beautiful years of my life.
All too often I focus on the hard parts, I dwell on the pain.

I forget to count my blessings.

Which is a shame because there are so many to count.

Today, after deleting a blog post that read more like a pity party, I decided to go on a beauty hunt.

I have severe adrenal fatigue syndrome, and this causes countless physical symptoms, as well as causing my anxiety (which is a lifelong struggle) to worsen. Some days I am on the couch all day, plagued by dizziness, and weakness so severe that I fear my legs will not carry me to the bathroom and back. On the worst of these days I often find myself overwhelmed by feelings of frustration with myself for not being stronger, hopelessness that I will ever again be healthy, embarrassment that I cannot do things that most moms take for granted, and the list goes on. Often I find myself in tears at some point throughout the day, and without fail my sweet, compassionate, Ezra notices and says, “Are you crying, mommy? Are you really sick? Don’t worry mommy, kisses will make you better!” And my sweet boy runs to me, in all of my ugly, and showers me with kisses that he truly believes will heal. And they do.

{beautiful child}

Most days, in our household, are considered a success if I am able to take care of the kids, get some sort of food on the table, and still be functioning when Johnny gets home from work. On a million different occasions I have watched my amazing husband come home from work, exhausted, and proceed to finish (or start) dinner, feed our family, straighten up the house, do multiple loads of laundry, bathe the kids, and somehow still stay in love with me. He does this tirelessly, without complaining, and I know that he truly does not resent me, or my health issues, or wish that he was somewhere else. He is a man who I could not have even dreamed of, a man full of character and integrity and strength and fierce love and devotion for his family that leaves me speechless.

{beautiful husband}

I care far too much what people think of me, and of our situation. God must think I’m ridiculous, but he is still so gentle with me. Placing people in my life that I cannot begin to deserve, relationships that go above and beyond the call of duty and then some, to love me, love my family, and take care of us in whatever way they can, no matter how near or far they may be, and in these relationships, I know there is never judgement, just pure, deep love. And the people who love me so well, always remind me that no matter how hard the battle, that the alive, vibrant Kelsey is still who I am, that she isn’t gone, she may be struggling, but she will never be lost. This is one of the sweetest gifts.

{beautiful relationships}

I used to fill my days with as much as I possibly could. I prided myself on my ability to do it all and I judged myself more harshly than anyone when I didn’t live up to my standards. The past four years have forced me to not just slow down, but almost stop completely. In some ways my life is so much simpler that it once was and something that would seem like a minor detail to another mama is a huge accomplishment for me. Sitting with Ezra and doing puzzles for a half hour, or helping him build a fort, or creating a robot costume, or helping Hudson “walk” down the hallway, or playing peek a boo and listening to his hysterical laughter and watching him crinkle his nose, these are my major life accomplishments now. There are days when even these tasks are too much, so when I do have the energy to engage in even these simple moments of life, I don’t ever take one single second for granted.

{beautiful simple moments}

I love being a mom. One of the things that I have loved the most is breastfeeding my babies. However, it has become apparent over the past several months that continuing to breastfeed may no longer be in my best interest as my body is tired and for my doctors to increase my treatments I can no longer be breastfeeding. My mama’s heart is breaking. I am able to do so little already as a mama, but breastfeeding is the one thing that I have always been able to do for my boys. And now, that too is being taken away. I have cried countless tears over this decision, it’s the one thing I never thought I would have to compromise on. However, as I move forward and begin this process, I feel like God is continually offering comfort by reminding me that doing this will make me a stronger, better mama. It will not harm my boys and it will not change the bond that we share.

{beautiful comfort}

I am not good at asking for help. I like to be the one helping others. However our current life situation makes us about 0% helpful to others and 100% dependent on the help of others. Something I find humbling, to say the least. Whether we’re calling my mom and my sister AGAIN for help with the boys or a ride to a doctor’s appointment, or Johnny is once again letting work know that he will be late or not there at all because I need him, or asking supporters for help because we cannot afford all of the doctors bills, or I’m sitting on my in-laws couch and they are selflessly entertaining my children so that I can conserve what little energy I have, or we’re asking friends to FLY from California to Colorado just to help me with the boys during my brothers wedding because my whole family has a role to play in the wedding and I cannot manage the entire day by myself with the boys, or begging once again for desperate prayers on our behalf, whatever it may be, I STRUGGLE to ask, and I STRUGGLE to receive that help. And once again God must find me so frustrating, but he gently remind me that I need to humble myself and allow people to help us, to sustain us, to love us, and know that even if we cannot ever repay them for their generosity that it is okay because they don’t expect us to anyways. What a difficult lesson, and what a change it has made in my heart.

{beautiful humility}

I think we can all have a tendency to look at a situation and cast judgement, even though it is not our place or our right to do. I know that I have been guilty of this. But through this process I have learned in an entirely new way, how impossible it is to understand someone else’s situation unless you have lived it yourself. Whether a family is dealing with chronic illness, or loss of a loved one, or loss of a job, or financial difficulties, or substance abuse or addiction, or divorce, or the list goes on and on…but each situation is unique and delicate and we are so quick to judge instead of rushing to LOVE. I am forever changed by this journey of ours and I know that I will never again look at another persons situation and assume that I know better, or I know what they should do, or how they should handle something. That is not my place in anyone else’s life, my one and only obligation is to LOVE them and to support them in any and every way that I possibly can. This is an attribute that I don’t think I would have gained if it weren’t for this process, and it has forever changed who I am.

{beautiful understanding}

In this process I have spent many days avoiding God. Avoiding him because I feel slightly forgotten, a little betrayed, and very scared that he isn’t listening. Then I feel embarrassed because, of course I know better, and yet somehow I still find myself in self-preservation mode, assuming that I am the only one who knows what’s best for me (wrong again). But when I finally have chosen to be open and honest with my Jesus, when I have finally allowed him to gently take my broken heart from my tight grip, he is always so loving and so kind. Reminding me that he loves me, that I don’t need to understand everything to understand that, and reassuring me that he is always near, even when I feel like perhaps he has forgotten, and that he uses all things for HIS GLORY.

{beautiful truth}

If I am not careful I spend my days dreaming about when I am healed, planning for when I am better, and forgetting to live today. When you are functioning at a fraction of what you normally do and you can think only of the day when you are returned to your proper self, then it is difficult to learn how to live in this new reality. Quite often I get to the end of a day and realize that I have done nothing but wait for life to get better. So even on days when I feel 10% of my normal self, I still try desperately to find that hour, or that 20 minutes or even that five minutes of energy and health and to live it for all it’s worth. If I have five minutes of silly in me, I’m going to enjoy them for all they’re worth. If I have 30 minutes where I’m not thinking about how awful I feel and I have a little bit more energy, I’m going to be on the floor playing with my boys, if I have a day where my body is kind to me and I have extra energy, I am going to go to the park with my family and I might even pack a picnic dinner. And I am not going to live in fear of the next bad day, I am going to deal with it when it comes but I am going to live fully in this moment, without allowing the cloud of what could be to rain on my parade.

{beautiful life}

I had a moment with God the other day. I felt like he asked me if I would do it all again. If I knew the struggle, if I knew how sick my pregnancies would make me and how long it would take to heal, would I do it all again? Without a second of hesitation my answer was yes. I would go through it all again, and then some, to bring these beautiful amazing boys into the world, and to have the gift of being their mama.

But I realized something else.

On most days I feel like a hot mess. I’m usually in pajamas, paying zero attention to what I look like, and only occasionally bothering to put real clothes on my kids. My house is a disaster, in a lot of ways I am a shadow of who I used to be. But then, occasionally, I look at it from a different perspective.

I feel like God has spent the past four years literally stripping me of every single thing I found identity in.

Leadership. Ministry. Church involvement. Taking care of people. Being outgoing and social. Being a fantastic wife. Being super mom. Exercise. Independence. And on and on.

And now here I am.
Feeling naked and vulnerable.

And I hear a whisper, almost too faint to notice.
It says this is who I truly am.
It says this is the most beautiful I have ever been.

When the world looks at me I know there is not much to see.

When God looks at me he sees a heart that has been forever changed by a fierce battle.
He sees a heart that has been broken and put back together by his mercy and grace.
He sees a heart that finally understands her life is not her own, no matter how tightly she clings to in.
He sees a heart that has walked through the fire and come out stronger for it.
He sees a heart fully convinced of the power of prayer.
He sees a heart that doesn’t expect immediate healing but does expect immediate grace.
He sees a heart desperate to spread his love.
He sees a heart that would have never existed if it weren’t for the struggle.
He sees a heart that is thankful, not for the battle itself but for the person the battle has created.
He sees a heart acknowledging that if the only reason for this battle was to become more like Christ, then it all will have been worth it.
He sees a heart that is more devoted to him today that every other day in her life combined.

He sees a heart in love with him.

{beautiful heart}

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elisabeth Kübler Ross