During the past five weeks I've been writing Lenten Love Letters to all sorts of people. Then I linked up with Sarah Bessey's International Women's Day synchroblog, and discovered many, many amazing blogs. One of the blogs is Emily T. Wierenga's blog, where she has put forth a Love Dare, in which people are encouraged to participate in her synchroblog about learning to LOVE yourself.
Reading A Biblical Manifesto and Emily's Love Dare, I realized there was one letter I really needed to write that wasn't on my list of possible letter recipients - a letter to someone who really needs a talking to about loving herself. Me.
After all there it was. Right in front of me. That thing. That THING that I've been working on forever. That extreme that I'm not sure I accomplish often enough, and that state of being that was shaken to the ground a few months ago when I became unhinged . I like myself. I value myself. But rarely do I LOVE myself. Lowercase love, maybe, but LOVE? A tricky thing with depression, anxiety, and self-doubt induced by voices from my past continuing to make their way into my consciousness.
So I sit here, take a deep breath, and grab myself by the shoulders, telling myself to read this, and believe this, and hold on to this with everything I've got...
You are loved. You are valued. You have great worth.
You are strong. You survived abuse. You are thriving with psoriatic arthritis / spondylitis, celiac, and other autoimmune issues. You birthed five babies in to your arms and four babies into God's embrace. You get out of bed every day in hopes of filling your house with love and laughter, even when you are so ill you don't feel at all like being human, nevermind humane to anyone.
You created, nourished and nurtured five lives and mother them every single day in one way or another. Some days better than others, but every day they know they are loved.
You have created, nourished, and nurtured a marriage to a husband to whom you are eternally devoted. Your relationship isn't perfect, but you work hard to grow your relationship
You have God-given gifts and strive to use them to the best of your ability. You give to others at every opportunity.
You embrace friends who love you for who you are, in all your broken, mistake-making, begging forgiveness, raw, emotional, and perpetually exhausted glory. You accept your friends as they come, celebrating every uniqueness.
You grow in faith every day. Reading voraciously, praying, worshiping, and discussing faith with others with an open mind and open heart.
You are a child of God,. You know that no matter what, God loves, God forgives, and God knows you heart - and that's all that matters.
So get on with it, already. Embrace yourself. Love yourself. LOVE yourself. Encourage yourself as you encourage everyone around you.
I LOVE you!