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Then and Now

Scrolling Facebook recently a friend of mine posted his first profile picture and his current profile picture. I decided to look up my first profile picture from all the way back in December 2007. My first profile picture has always been my favorite photo of my husband and me. It was taken in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. We had taken a 2-week family vacation after Miller returned from a 6-month deployment to Iraq. Besides the obvious age progression, we don't look that much different on the surface. It's what I see in my smile and eyes that caught my attention.

The younger me smiled but inside I screamed. I was so desperately trying to be whatever I thought was expected of me, that I really didn't know who I was. In my attempt to try to please everyone around me I was stressed, insecure and unsettled. I was unsure of everything I said and did. I allowed what people thought of me to have way too much power over me. Worse yet, the way I spoke to myself was just downright ugly! To say I was not living my best life would be an understatement.

Fast forward to December 2018. I see a genuine smile and a twinkle in my eyes. I see a confident woman. Why is that? Because I know who I am in Jesus. I've learned how to extend grace to myself instead of demanding perfection. I've learned that while happiness is a choice and one, I have chosen over and over, Joy, true joy comes from the Lord. The kind of joy that bubbles up from deep within is life changing. The woman you see now isn't worried about pleasing everyone else. The words I speak to myself are much gentler than they once were. As a result, I am a better wife, a better mother and a better friend than I was before. I've taken hold of the promise spoken in Psalm 139:14 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

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