October 10, 2013

on seeing beauty in a broken past.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

there is beauty in the broken.

i don't talk about my childhood much on here (or much about my past in general). there are volumes there, and i barely know where to start. but i think it would be good for me to talk about it a little bit. to start to unpack where i started in this journey of understanding beauty.

when i was little, i was the quintessential girl. i loved all things frilly, and my skirts (my everyday apparel) had to pass a twirl test to make the outfit cut. i dreamed of being beautiful, particularly in the way that sleeping beauty was.

fast forward to the end of my childhood--i was a broken and empty, makeup-covered (and barely clothed) child that desperately sought affection through my appearance. the level of attention I received (or lack thereof) drove my view of my level of beauty and self worth.

what happened to that little girl?

i grew.
i grew up amidst a broken home.
i grew up the daughter of a model. 
i grew up the daughter of an alcoholic.
i grew up the daughter of a broken child herself, desperately wanting to find her worth in her appearance. just as she was taught to do.

as i grew, the emphasis on looking pretty was only reinforced, both in the atmosphere of home and outside of it. i craved to find acceptance and approval and love and affection so desperately, but the more i tried and the more I looked in the mirror i was left wanting.

so desperately wanting.

i hated my face and could hardly find a redeeming quality as i spent so much time scouring over every detail in the mirror.

eventually, i learned to hide what i hated underneath layers of black eyeliner, multiple smokey eyeshadows, mascara, and foundation. to hide the ugly. and to make myself look better than I felt, to make myself feel better. 

as for my body, when i looked in the mirror I saw fat. I was 5'6" and wore a size one jeans, but i was never small enough.

i watched the shows, read the magazines, and embraced the body images and facial structures that were deemed better by those around me and the larger culture.

by the end of high school, i was a desperate, dolled-up, mess.

but my story didn't end there. and in fact, it was just beginning.

to be honest, it's still hard find much beauty in those dark years. i even have a hard time finding beauty when i look in the mirror some days still. but i do know that my story was woven beautifully to shape me into the woman i am today. a woman full of hope to encourage others to see what she could not. the beauty that is real and lasting and is not paid for by an advertiser or others desperate for finding their worth in the wrong places.

there is beauty in the journey, because we are here because we were there first. and rejoicing in our story and the sovereign grace of God that brought us through will cause our souls to grow more beautiful each day we rest in his love.

your story makes you unique. 
your story makes you, you.
your story makes you beautiful.


a note: if you're here because of my link on thenester.com, i apologize that it's not a typical 31-day challenge (you can read more about it in my last post). it won't be consistent, and it won't always be pretty, but i hope it will be encouraging. i do hope you'll decide to stay awhile anyway. <3 


  1. Yes, and yes. Loving reading more of your story. There is so much beauty in the journey, in the broken pieces. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh, Ash. This is powerful and I am so glad you're sharing it. God is so good.


hey, friend! thanks for your comment--so glad you're here!