I don't mean the way society tells us beauty should be portrayed; I mean the way beauty comes in its truest fashion: from within.
And I want you to know: You Are Beautiful.
I went through a time where I obsessed almost over my size. Or if I had a zit on my face. Or if I looked ok. Don't get me wrong….I still struggle some days with these aspects. But it took some darker days in my journey to realize that beauty is NOT found in my pant size or in my skin or how I look. Beauty starts from the heart. And the most beautiful women I've ever known are those with the deepest joy from within. My mom was one of the most prime examples of beauty. She never wore make up; she was overweight; But she was SO full of joy. She also taught me my entire life that I was beautiful. She instilled the truth in my heart from a young age what beauty meant. But I went through a time where that was a harder concept for me to grasp.
Some of you, as my readers, have heard and known my story all along. Others of you are newer to who I am and to my blog. There are so many swirling thoughts that come to my mind when the topic of beauty comes up; so many things I'd like to share that I have learned along these lines. But the one thing that kept poking my heart when Holley prompted this topic was a story I wrote called
Beauty From Ashes: One Day at a Time
It's my story. A part of the journey I have been on in the last few years. I know some of you have read it, but when something comes to mind over and over, I tend to believe it's what I am being prompted to share. So, below you find my story about what I learned about beauty the last few years. I had become a pile of ashes, really, in so many aspects. But I believe God has taken it and shaped it into beauty. Not for my sake or my glory, but so that His light can shine brightly through me . So, here is my story:
From Couch Rebels: Because Stories Like These Aren't told by Potatoes.
Beauty From Ashes, One Day at a Time
By Rachael McKinney
November 6, 2010 was the beginning of the end for my mom. Her cancer was aggressive, and on that morning mom woke up unable to speak or write. That day we discovered there were 3 tumors on her brain. In those moments, life changed for me.
In the months that would follow leading up to the passing of my mom, depression walked through new doors in my life, sin crept into the corners of my heart, anxiety beat within the walls of my chest, and sometimes darkness threatened to take my life. Yet through all of that, I have been able to overcome the unknown and hold onto the hand of my Creator, my God, to allow Him to turn me into beauty from ashes.
Mom held on for 4 months after that horrible day of discovering the tumors. I held on too, but barely by a thread. My husband had lost his job in the midst of that deadly diagnosis. I was mom’s caregiver, second only to my dad, and I was desperately striving to function. Those months were dark for me. I felt more alone than I ever had. I didn’t know how to share the desperation with those around me, so I often held it in, allowing barriers to go up. Mom went home to be with the Lord on March 20, 2011. I never thought that my life would be the same after losing my mom. To be quite honest, it hans’t been. I have traversed ugly paths and chosen unwisely at times. But God walked alongside me the whole way, never leaving me. And now, 2 years later, I am able to see His beauty through what was my ashes. I have seen the good come out of this exhausting event. It just took time, prayer, faith, counseling and healing.
Losing my mom has been one of the ugliest events through which I ever walked. Grief was a long journey for me and took me on some dark routes. Saying goodbye was a long winter season for me. However, in patience and perseverance, I have been able to see how God can use that for His good.
Born out of losing my mom, I took on a cause. We formed the Linda A Ferguson Memorial scholarship, to be given out to students studying to be oncology nurses. We desired to have mom’s name carried on, but even more than that, to have students carry God’s light to dark places. Places I had walked myself. Places I couldn’t go, but I could help students who could help more cancer patients and families. We fuel funds into mom’s scholarship through a 5K, a running event. Running is a passion of mine, it helped me through some of those dark days. Running would help me overcome hurt by bringing good. Giving out that first scholarship in 2012 became a life defining momment for me. My heart was filled in a new way, yet I felt speechless as I tried to put into perspective what seeing the life of that scholarship was like for me.
It brought on waves of new emotion as I remembered my mom by having a scholarship in her memory. Knowing she’d love the girl who was receiving it, missing mom and wishing she were here for it all, but also realizing if I had not lost her, the scholarship would not even exist, was emotional. Seeing good come out of bad life situation. Seeing the scholarship and 5K event unfold brought on more dreams, and brought on the realization that I would carry on. I would be ok. Good came from the bad. Beauty rose up form the ashes.
I do not think I will ever be able to say I am thankful I lost my mom. I miss her with a deep heartache and tears more often than not. I can sau, however, that I am thankful for all that God is teaching me in the proceess, for the scholarship we have seen come to life, for a deeper understanding of God’s grace and compassion, and for learning to live life one day at a time because it is too short.
Depression still plagues me, but God’s compassion covers me. My eyes were opened up to the sin crevices in my heart and God’s grace surrounds me. Grief has become peace. And love has found new depths in my life on a daily basis.
He is able to bring beauty form ashes, one day at a time. I am living proof of that.
You see, beauty is not found in what society tells us it is found. Beauty cannot be found in a piece of clothing, extra make up, a person's words, or a perfect size. Beauty comes from your heart. And I am telling you, without I doubt: You Are Beautiful.
It took me many ugly events, bad choices, rough days and intense struggles to truly grasp this concept. But God took me from ashes and made my story a beautiful one.
He will do it for you, too.
Believe it friend: You are Beautiful.
1 Samuel 16:7
The Message (MSG)
7 But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”