How to Achieve a Great Life

What does it take to achieve “the great life”?

Psalm 81:8-16

I had a great life growing up.

Wonderful Christian parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, you name it. A big dairy farm to grow upon. But I suffered from poor self-esteem. I couldn’t explain it, but although I could make a long list of all the wonderful things about myself, I was not pleased. I wanted to be something, or someone else.

Over time, I found myself .. that is, I found that what I needed was to Say YES to God. I look at teens and young people today and I see myself. They want what they can’t have, they want to be what they cannot become because God made them for His pleasure and He has a specific plan in mind.

In high school, I wanted to be what I couldn’t be

.. a cheerleader

.. a class leader

… I had to find what God wanted me to be.

I didn’t realize it at the time but it was all a fight to say yes to God

…to give Him the right to lead and work in my life.

I found a few steps to take to find “the great life.”

achienve
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First, Listen to the people God has placed in your life for direction.

Psalm 81: 8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!

Yes, our family was at church every time the doors opened. We served the Lord. BUT that was my parent’s “Yes to God”. They raised us to have every opportunity to live for the Lord. Yes, the Lord was important to me also, I wanted to live for Him, Sing for Him, etc. But I also wanted to be successful in the things that seemed important to every other teenager.

Looking back

I’m baffled at why I cared about being a cheerleader or a class leader. My talents did not lie in those areas, but I wanted to be recognized. Maybe there were pressures to be these things. My siblings were athletes. But God did not make me that way. I had other types of talents. I could play the piano and sing. Actually, because of those things, people said I should be a pastor’s wife.

Now we all know you can be a pastor’s wife without these talents. But I said, “No, not a pastor’s wife”. I loved animals so people said, “You should be a veterinarian” or “You should marry a farmer”. But I said “No” I don’t like farm life.

It’s interesting that as soon as I got away from the farm, that was all I talked about. (Just ask any friend from college, they’ll confirm it) God was calling me all through my life. “Get your eyes on Me and see what I’ll do!”

Secondly, Know that God is faithful.

10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 

 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.

Psalm 81:10-12

When I look back on my life, I see how God was working despite my plans. As the country song says, I thank God for unanswered prayers (or unwanted answers). I would be in a mess if God had answered some of those prayers the way I wanted them answered! And in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided my needs and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me.

in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided for my needs, and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me. Click To Tweet

In college, I began to own the beliefs of my parents as my own.

An example of God giving me over to my stubborn heart… It began way back as a child. I had a childhood sweetheart. There are a lot of sweet memories, but our lives went in separate directions. Little did I know, it really upset this young boy. He had great ideas for the two of us. When we got to college age, our paths crossed again and we dated for a while.

In looking back, I believe, maybe God got a little tired of hearing us fuss and complain, “I want a wife, I want a husband.” So He threw us back together to learn the hard way that He had other plans, that we were not for each other, nor were we neither one ready for a serious relationship.

Thirdly,  Put God first in your life and He’ll bless you beyond measure!

“You shall have no foreign god among you;

you shall not worship any god other than me.

13 “If my people would only listen to me

if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock, I would satisfy you.”

All these things that I thought I wanted to be were actually the ‘gods’ that I put before the one true God. I had to let them all go and once I did God began to bless me. All those “things” faded into the background and then He gave me the desires of my heart .. a wonderful husband and beautiful family, a 25-year ministry to children, and then a ministry to women. Read how we met here.

And it has been blessing after blessing as we have placed God in the center of everything.

A fun little note I like to share … remember I mentioned I did not want to marry a farmer and I did not want to marry a pastor.

Well… I married Pastor Farmer! …… hey! #IsaidYES!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

true value

What Has True Value in this Life

VALUE

noun. – the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

This post is inspired by the PROMPT: VALUE from Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew. in 2018. The challenge is to write for five minutes. No editing. I encourage you to go to the link-up and read what others were inspired to write.

Value Re-defined.

Our world has re-defined what has value. Today, according to the world we have value because we have stuff, we have amazing talents, we know people. King Solomon said that life has no meaning or value.

But God values us as His children. Actually, He gives us our value.  We are His children.  And because of this, we have great value. We are nothing without him. We can do nothing without Him.

Continue reading
true confidence

True Confidence Comes from God

We all need confidence; however, the question is… is this true confidence? From where are you getting your confidence? Unfortunately, self-confidence often comes from our success, our education, comparing ourselves to others, and the list goes on. So where can we get confidence?

true confident 2 Corinthians
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Self-Confidence vs. God-Confidence

Webster says self-confidence is confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities. The word will tell you this is what you need to be successful. But depending on our own abilities and strength will let us down. Because our own abilities are fleeting. In a moment, life can turn on a dime and leave you with nothing.

Consider these verses…

Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Proverbs 11:28 “Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.”

Health confidence?

My family knows from experience that your savings account will not keep you safe. Money can be gone in an instant for many reasons. For us, sickness and loss of jobs loss widdled away at our savings quite quickly.

We had to depend fully on God because there was nothing else to depend on. We didn’t have that much to fall back on in the first place but It gave us a kind of false confidence to have a small nest egg. We learned quickly that trust in God only truly comes when you have nothing left but Him to depend on. That is true confidence.

This verse came alive for me as I lay flat on my back for months.

Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”

Confidence in Beauty?

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

We can’t depend on our good looks. Some of us don’t have much to begin with but beauty is fleeting. Now that I am pushing 60, I can see that this is definitely true. Age takes its toll and gravity does the rest.

But we can lose our looks at a young age also. One fleeting moment can change everything.. a car accident, cancer, a burn, an attack. You can see we won’t go far if we depend on our beauty.

 Micah 7:5 “Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips.”

How about Friends and Family?

We can’t rely on people. Quicker than a flash, people will turn on you without even blinking an eye. Think about Samson. He trusted Delilah and lost his freedom, his eye-sight, his strength, and so much more. There is only One Who you can trust. That would be God, Himself.

“Self-confidence has limited potential but God-confidence has unlimited possibility!”

Renee Swope

True Confidence Comes from God

true confidence

When we depend on God for our success, it doesn’t really matter where our strengths and abilities lie. God can do amazing things when we rely on Him.

I am Confident in this…

Psalm 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Jeremiah 17:7 “The man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence indeed is the LORD, is blessed.”

Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”

 Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

I’ll be breaking these verses down in the coming months. I encourage you to follow us through notifications or through our newsletter. We want to help build your confidence in God.

But to get you started in God-confidence, start with meditating on this verse.

 1 John 4:16-18 “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world, we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Our confidence comes in first trusting Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Acknowledging Him as the Son of God. And acknowledging our sinfulness. Believing that Jesus came to earth to live a perfect life and to die in our place, taking on our punishment and rising again to defeat death and the grave!

And Finally, we must confess our sins, admitting that we have turned away from God and now will repent, turn from our sins and back to God.

Have you done this?

If so I implore you to search the Bible and find the answers. Here is a good place to start… Knowing God

In Confidence with God;

Mandy

Resources

25 Important Bible Verses About Confidence (Powerful Verses) (biblereasons.com)


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right husband; jewel in his crown

How to Find the Right Husband

A Jewel in His Crown by Priscilla Shirer

jewel in his crown : the right husband
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I picked up this book for some insight into writing a post about self-esteem. As I expected, Priscilla Shirer is right on target. As with her preaching, she gets right to the truth of the matter and makes us look deep into our own lives. She will open your eyes to the source of your low self-esteem and actions that come from it. If you haven’t read this book yet, pick it up soon.


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What I Wasn’t Expecting

I know that how we look at ourselves can obviously affect our relationships not just with friends and family but also with men who would be potential dates or husbands. I was surprised to find a chapter on finding a mate right smack in the middle of this book on self-esteem.

Having made the same kind of mistakes when it came to love interests, I found myself connecting with Priscilla. She shared how she sabotaged relationships and I realized that I had done the same thing in my college years.

We Were Made for Relationship

Today’s society will beg to differ from Priscilla’s words but she has taken her ideas straight from the Bible. Here are some truths she brought forward.

  • We’re made to be a helper.
  • God created us to be in a relationship with men.
  • Our primary purpose is to come alongside a man and assist him.

Ironically, the very thing we were created to do, the very thing we want to do the most, is the very thing that often contributes to our low self-esteem.

One reason for this is the way we prepare ourselves for relationships. Most of us don’t spend time waiting for God’s chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom. Instead, we read novels, go to movies, and get hooked on soap operas. We buy into a fantasy world, and we secretly hope that it will one day become the portrait of our lives.

A Jewel in His Crown, Prscilla Shirer
Most of us don't spend time waiting for God's chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom . – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthatfirstdate Click To Tweet

The Sin of Control and its Curse

God placed a curse on women. And it follows with her sin. She wanted to do what she wanted to do and she did it. Still today, we are most tempted with the matter of control. We aren’t willing to wait on God to fulfill His plan for us. So we take things into our own hands.

We chase after men rather than letting them pursue us. Men aren’t made to be “captured”. They were made to be the pursuer; to search us out and “win the prize”. When we are falling over ourselves to get their attention, it causes them to lose interest.

We are never, and I mean never, to throw ourselves at a man. – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthefirstdate Click To Tweet

Do We Trust God Enough?

We are often afraid that if we wait on God to bring the right man into our lives, we will miss our chance and end up alone. But God has a beautiful plan. If we draw close to God and His principles, our spiritual beauty will draw the right kind of man to us.

When it comes to taking you from where you are into the phase of life He has chosen for you, will you trust in the Lord to take you to the other side? Your destination may be a whole lot closer than you think. You need to trust Him through patient obedience as you wait on Him. Remember, you are a jewel – a jewel on layaway.

A Jewel in His Crown, Priscilla Shirer

He’s Got This Worked Out

It’s hard for us to believe, but God has this figured out. He knows exactly what kind of man you need for the right husband. You can rest easy knowing that at the right time and the right place God will bring you together. You truly can sit back and wait.

You are of matchless worth. Believe it. And rest in the fact that you are a valuable jewel saved for that one special someone. When we are always chasing after a man it is because we think we aren’t worthy enough, not beautiful enough, not desirable enough to draw that man to us on our own character.

When the Right Husband Comes Along

So as we wait on God for the right husband to come along, we need to spend our time reading His Word, meditating on the scriptures, praying for wisdom. As we grow in Christ we become more attractive on the inside and the outside to the spiritual man you actually want and need.

When someone comes along, you can look for a few specific things.

  1. He will cherish you. He will do whatever it takes to please you. You will feel like a princess. When he talks of you, it will be praise.
  2. He will be the leader in your relationship. You will have been chosen by him without you chasing after him. He will be a great decision-maker. This does not mean that you will be treated like a floormat. If he is doing #1 above, he will include you in the decision making process. He will want you to be happy with the decisions.
  3. And, of course, He will have a strong relationship with the Lord. Not because you love the Lord, but because he has made a firm choice to follow Christ. It must be real or it won’t last.

Are You Attracting the Right Husband?

  • What tendencies do you have in the way you relate to men/your husband?
  • Do you truly trust God to take you to the other side of singleness?
  • What relationships in your life need to be given to God?
  • What do you expect from men whom you choose to date?
  • Do you want to date at all? Why or Why not?
Mandy Farmer

Living in a House of Mirrors

New Ventures

I’m excited to tell you that God has been blessing me and directing my life into new avenues. Last fall, I was approved to submit devotional writing to the wonderful online Bible study for women, Gracefully Truthful. Today, my very first submission was published. I share about how my life was like living in a house of mirrors.

Here’s a taste…

treasure at gracefully truthful
photo credit Gracefully Truthful dot com

Lying Mirrors

For many years, I lived in a virtual house of mirrors.

These carnival-style mirrors distorted the truth,

leaving me trapped in a maze of lies.

house of mirrors
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I struggled to grasp the treasure God had placed within me through His own Holy Spirit when He freed me from sin, shame, and chains of condemnation. Though God had gifted me with many talents and was growing His character in me, I could only see my weakness and incapability.

I could only see my weakness and incapability. #selfesteem #treasure #gracefullytruthful Click To Tweet

Negative Self-talk

I did all the negative self-talk, embracing and repeating Satan’s lies to myself instead of the beautiful truths Christ had died to wrap around me like a royal robe. The evil one tries to beat us down and destroy us. He wants to keep our eyes turned away from our gifts and abilities and onto our weaknesses. 

But God works through our weaknesses

to make us strong

and bring glory to Him.

Fighting Satan’s lies is a never-ending fight. The only way to win is to continue in His Word every day. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Use it to slash the distorted tales that Satan slings around.

[read more at Gracefully Truthful]

God works through our weaknesses to make us strong and bring Him glory. #treasure #distortedmirrors Click To Tweet
photo credit Gracefully Truthful dot com

More about Gracefully Truthful

For years, I have searched for something more than a quick devotional and a scratch on the back. I desired to find something that would lead me into a deeper study of the word. I have found that in this online Bible Study.

The first thing that sold me on this group was the very first thing at the top of each day’s reading is “Read His Words Before Our Words“.

Wow! what a great reminder to focus on The Word.

How it Works

Every few weeks, there will be a new study. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays present several Bible Readings and a thoughtful devotion. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays offer a Digging Deeper reading. Three questions are presented with answers for the time it was written and then how it applies to me today.

On the Weekend, a recap is offered with other offerings, such a worship song along the same theme.

Each week also provides a memory verse and a free download for your phone lock screen to encourage you to memorize the verse of the week.

There’s more but I encourage you to go find out for yourself. See you there!

Mandy Farmer
book review, lies, truth

Debunking the Lies that Confuse the Truth

I stood there confused before our two boys as they each wove their own tale about what caused their most recent altercation. New at this mothering thing, I acted on my own determination to always listen to all sides of the story before deciding on who received punishment. It was something I determined back when I felt I was being unfairly punished.

But I was fast learning that this plan led only to more confusion and lies. I wasn’t able to sift through their stories and find the truth at all. Their stories were not matching up. There was little truth to be found.

I don’t think I ever really figured out how to get to the bottom of things between the boys. They used both paid the penalty though sometimes the truth could be seen by looking in their eyes.

Oh, the Tangled Web

Today’s society seems to weave the same kind of tales to catch us in their web of deceit in order to have their own way and to justify the life they want to lead. It’s nearly impossible now to find the truth anywhere. Certainly, not in the media and sometimes, not even from smooth talking preachers who like to bend the Word of God for their own advantage. The Bible warns us against such.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

So, where do we look for the Truth?

1. Turn to God


If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1:15

King Solomon knew where to find wisdom. He was now the new King of Israel. And the first thing he did was ask God for Wisdom. God made him the wisest king ever and gave him much more for having his priorities straight. We need to follow Solomon’s example. Pray for wisdom.

“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”

– Ephesians 1:16-17

As Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus, I pray Christ gives you spiritual wisdom that you may grow in your faith and knowledge of Him. I pray your heart remains humble and teachable and that you always look to Jesus as your wisdom.

2. Seek Wise & Godly Counsel

These are the ones from whom we should be asking godly counsel. I’d start with your pastor, your parents. or church leaders and then from books written by godly leaders who won’t lead you astray.

Be careful about the books you read. Be certain that the author is credible in the area in which you need wisdom. Again, ask trusted leaders which authors they trust. Some author’s reputation goes before them and there is no doubt. For instance, I doubt that you would worry about being led astray by Rev. Billy Graham.

As you read and study, pray each time and ask God for His guidance. Ask God to raise up flags if there are questionable thoughts and attitudes. He will lead you in the right direction.

You Might Start Here to Find Truth

Book Cover Lies Women Believe

The Women at our Church began a study of Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth’s updated and expanded book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. I would suggest that this book is an excellent resource to debunk Satan’s (and Society’s) lies.

Nancy wrote the first edition of this book ten years ago. But things have changed a lot and she wanted to speak on those changes and in some cases more clearly share her thoughts based on Biblical precepts.

45 Lies Exposed

Nancy exposes 45 lies that woman are accepting hook, line, and sinker today by bringing out scriptures that tell us the TRUTH. She divides them into several categories.

  • Lies about trusting God
  • Seeing Myself as God Sees Me
  • Understanding Sin
  • Setting Priorities
  • Understanding God’s Design for Sexuality (a completely new section written with the help of author Dannah 0resh)
  • Lies about Honoring God in My Marriage
  • Raising Children
  • Handling Emotions
  • Dealing With Circumstances
  • Walking in Freedom

Extensive Coverage of Satan’s Lies

As you can see, Nancy has covered it all rather extensively. And I would submit that the first topic of trusting God probably gets right to the basic problem. We don’t trust God with our lives. Do we REALLY believe that God is Good and that He loves us implicitly? Can we REALLY be complete in God?

Nancy will take you through the scriptures and prove point by point that Satan is a liar and the author of confusion. She will present to you the TRUTH and back it all up with God’s Word.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.

What Lies Are You Believing?

It’s likely that there is a chapter or two here for you. You may be surprised at which lies you have swallowed whole. I would encourage you to pick up this updated and expanded version of her book and start reading it soon.

Oh, and be sure to purchase the workbook along with it. This will help you go deep into The Word and Find the “Truth That Sets You Free”.

Finding the Truth in Him;

Mandy Farmer

P.S. Have you read my other Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth book review?

I loved this deep study of the Titus 2 Woman, Adorned. The best study of Titus 2 I have found. ADORNED: Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together


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workingout

Working out My Hurts and Pain

When I’m working out-

I also work out my mind. I work out the hurt and the pain these last years have brought in my life.

I workout forgiveness toward myself- for unhealthy coping mechanisms that kept me stuck for so long.

I workout experiencing those low points and how now I have a deeper understanding of those who are going through dark times.

Working out Loss 

I workout that friends, even one I had half my life, can walk away and because of that, I learned the healthy boundary of relationships. And that I have the gift of forgiveness and to love but also not to expect that in return.

I work out that being on this path is rare– most don’t take the time to find themselves apart from identifying as something-

  • a wife, 
  • a mom,
  • a success,
  • college student etc.

Instead, I am working that out from the other end, finding myself, then success in what I want, and so on and so forth.

It’s empowering.

It’s empowering because I am not relying on anything to tell me where I “should be” or on anyone to make me feel valued.

I value me- because of all the humbling experiences that led me here and help me to show others their value too- and that to value yourself- it must come apart from anyone or anything.

-Thoughts from Jessie ❤️✊️

divider

Thank you, Jessie, for these words of encouragement. Back when I was swimming a mile a day, I found it to be very beneficial in working out my hurts, pains, emotions.

Friends, How to you work out your pain and emotions? Share in the comments.

broken heart

What Can We Learn From a Broken Heart?

broken heart

My experience of love these past two years has been heartbreaking. But when I look back- it’s the areas that broke my heart that taught me the most.

Broken Expectations

Broken expectations leave a person left with what remains. And what remains is the truth, no matter how painful that truth may be.

Often in family and friendship- especially the kind of friendship that is viewed as family, we expect these friends and family to always have your back, always be there for you. After all, when we think of love, that is one aspect that seems most definitive of it.

The truth of love, however, is that the depth of it runs differently for each person. Their depths of love are based on their understanding and perception of love and those things are based on a person’s experience in life.


Unconditional Love is rare

All that to say, love, true, unconditional love, is rare. Love that doesn’t expect things in return and isn’t based on anything other than simply wanting the best for another person, because you simply and only care about that person’s wellbeing- that experience, is rare.

When experience breaks your heart enough- soon expectation is broken. And it’s there that humans are left to decide how they will allow love back in their hearts.

Allow Truth to Define your Heart

What I have learned is that your heart, is your responsibility. Giving someone the power to influence it is a big gift and it is one that shouldn’t be done lightly. You’re responsible for allowing what shapes and defines your heart. It is very important to have a healthy boundary for yourself and to allow truth first to define your heart. Truth takes awake selfish ambition, truth keeps you humble enough to know you’re not perfect and brave enough to know when to stand and speak up.

I’m not sure that this post is so much about love as it is about self-respect, but I believe one cannot love from a truthful place without first having self-respect.

Love and Self-Respect

Truth and an Open Heart Builds a Foundation for Love Click To Tweet

It is up to you to find Truth and to open your heart to it. When you do, you will find humility and strength. And then, you will receive the foundation to love, truly, yourself and others.

-Thoughts from Jessie ❤️✊️

fa from god

Feeling Far from God?

God’s Faithfulness

“I have heard all about You, Lord, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as You did in years gone by. Show us Your power to save us.”-Habakkuk 3:2 NLT

Too many times, we feel far from God.

We know He is there. We know all He has done and will do. But sometimes there is a distance between us. If we really examine ourselves, our hearts, our intentions, our motives, we will often find that it was not God that moved away from us. Quite the contrary. Continue reading

Believing in Who I Am

Good, Good Father

A while back I attended an online conference, we sang Chris Tomlin’s Good, Good Father. I had never heard the song before. I liked it. It seemed a good way to start. By the end, it was personal.

You see … I have always struggled with who I am. My name means worthy of love, but I never believed it. While I could long list many good things about myself, when I looked in the mirror I saw a fat little girl that no one could possibly love.

Oh yes, my family might love me, they are required to. But outside of that, I was unworthy. Most of what I did was to try to earn the love of others. Even the use of my talents was really just a way to get people to like me. Anything from making a batch of cookies to singing a song. Maybe they could let me stick around if I did these things. Continue reading