You know, I’ve been finding it easier and easier to open up about my life lately.
AND THAT’S A BIG DEAL TO ME, YALL!
I think it’s partly because it’s been the right time to start talking, and mainly because, I’ve been connecting with some very special souls via blogging, social media, and everyday life who have encouraged me to keep writing.
Thank you to those of who have shown support and taken the time to reach out to say a kind word.
Sharing parts of my story and journey hasn’t always been pretty.
In the past, I’ve mentioned a few things here or there.
I’ve hinted towards the struggles I’ve walked through.
Purposely, it’s been vague and hard to put a finger on.
Because to me, it seemed much safer that way.
And I’ll just put it plainly, I’ve had mixed reviews when I’ve shared my story.
What I didn’t know back then, is that people would feel the liberty to rate and judge my truth.
And it, unfortunately, wounded my heart along the way.
And I’ve had people try to profit off my story.
I’ve had best friends tell me to stop talking about it and that I was just doing it for attention.
I’ve had boyfriends yawn in the middle of the telling, and a husband whose cried over it more than I have.
Have you ever shared something and been wounded by the response?
Thankfully, I’ve healed a lot, wrestled with my past, grown a backbone, and found a new community.
Fred, my wonderful, wise, 80-year-old counselor, told me that the best way to kindle and nourish a relationship is to share.
He kindly informed me that I’ve hidden behind asking other people about their lives to detour them from asking about mine.
Questions can be used to get the attention off of you. But sharing, being vulnerable about what’s happening in your life, that’s the hard work of true friendship.
Oh, I’m so so so so so INFINITELY so thankful for the people in my life who have stuck around and put in the hard work of friendship.
The covenant friendships who didn’t shy away when things got too real.
This season of my life has been some of the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.
In the spring, I started seeing a counselor for the first time in my entire life in and I don’t think I knew how much I really needed to do so.
I began working through my past and the hurts I have carried along the way.
My first meeting with Fred, I came into his office like IM GREAT IM WONDERFUL I JUST NEED A LITTLE REST IVE BEEN STRESSED WHY IS MY HAIR FALLING OUT.
And he’s all like MAAM, you need a lot of help, love, encouragement, healthy boundaries, and more love.
Of course, he was right. Darn it!
He shared with me all about self-care and defense mechanisms and how to let people close to me.
What I did not know about myself until our meetings, is that I didn’t have a good understanding of Grace.
You see, for me, Grace is easyyyyy to give to other people; but receiving Grace for myself…… well, it’s been a process.
Cmon, I know I’m not the only one.
I know I’m not the only one who beats themselves up when they don’t get something perfect.
I know I’m the not only one that replays their mistakes in their head like a broken record.
I know I’m not the only who thinks God gives grace for the friend who messes up, but FOR ME, I should have know better.
I should have done better.
When the Idea of Grace Is Not Enough.
I have four biological brothers, a stepbrother, and stepsister.
I have a big family and they are my heart and soul.
My mother remarried four times.
The husbands consisted of one alcoholic who left, one who decided kids weren’t his thing, one who was abusive to me, and the one who is trying very hard.
When my biological father left, my mom sold all she had, packed myself and my three very small brothers into a car, and headed North. For a year, we lived in a tent and sometimes in our car.
We were nomads.
I was around five years old.
I remember once when a cold front came through, my mom was very ill and hadn’t been able to break her fever or get out of bed for two days.
I changed my little brother’s diapers, fixed some hotdogs, and piled all the clothes we had on top of us so that we didn’t freeze to death.
I remember fishing for crawdads in the rivers and then cooking them up for dinner.
Have you ever read the book The Glass Castle?
I recently saw the movie in theaters with my best friend sitting next to me.
She held my hand at the end and looked straight into my eyes and said,
I’m so sorry you went through anything that resembles this movie.
Those words were like honey to my soul.
Those are my earliest childhood memories, and those memories are the better ones.
That’s nothing. It’s not even the hard stuff.
And I can say that without needing any affirmation from anyone.
I can say that without taking away from it or diminishing the significance of those words.
I can say it simply because it is my story and I don’t have to apologize for it.
Or change it to make someone more comfortable or less threatened.
HEY THANK YOU, BACKBONE!
But because I’ve walked through some crazy, stupid things in my life (that I do want to share more about as I go), I am now seeing how important it is to give myself some Grace.
Grace is self-care.
Grace is going to my friend’s house and crying in her arms AND NOT TEXTING HER ABOUT HOW MUCH OF AN INCONVENIENCE IT WAS AND HOW SORRY I AM.
Grace is for the days I am working through forgiveness and I have nothing else to give anyone.
Grace is for the weeks of mental exhaustion I feel after I have a counseling session and I’m processing through wounds.
Grace is for when I’m doing the best I can and it’s still not enough.
Grace is for when I’m completely and utterly failing.
Because Grace isn’t when I earn it, it’s when I don’t.
Grace in its very essence is for when we don’t deserve it.
That’s how God loves us. When we have nothing to give Him and we have done nothing to earn it, but His Grace covers all of it anyway.
Why do we beat ourselves up over such small details of our lives?
God doesn’t do that to us!
Why do we give Grace to everyone but ourselves?
It’s just not helpful.
It’s not helpful to withhold Grace – to others or to ourselves.
The idea of Grace is not enough.
But the practice, the giving, the receiving, the full application of Grace is everything.
One of the most beautiful moments I’ve shared with my husband is when he reminded me of the time we started dating and he opened up about some skeletons he had from the past.
Kait, you responded with so much Grace. I will never forget how scared I was to tell you those things. But when you looked at me and told me that it was all okay and that the past was the past, I fell more in love with you in that moment than ever before. No one had ever shown me such kindness.
It showed me the power of Grace.
It changes lives.
When we extend Grace, we are living extensions of God.
That’s not just for others, it’s for us.
For OUR hearts, minds, souls, and bodies.
And in the words of the most awesome Relient K,
“And this life sentence that I’m serving
I admit that I’m every bit deserving
But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.”
So back to my highest of highs and lowest of lows,
I’m working through a lot still, gaining a lot of freedom in my heart, nourishing my soul with good company, and allowing Grace to do its work.
but what a worthy calling,
A temple for Grace to dwell.
Love and Grace and Peace to you.