Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Testimony...a Happy Birthday tribute to my brother Kirk

I don't know why I am even trying to put into words how important and special my brother is to me. At the risk of sounding totally cliche...words truly can't express how much I love Kirk. BUT, I'm gonna try. The best way to show how important Kirk is to me is to tell you how he literally saved my life. Happy 26th birthday little brother.

Kirk is 2 1/2 years younger than me, but in some ways I feel like he is my older brother. When we were younger we used to fight all the time (as evidenced by the picture insert to the!), as many brothers and sisters tend to do. Looking back, I wish I would have acted differently toward my baby brother. All he wanted to do was hang out with me. And all I wanted was for him to be away from me. Kirk loved me so much that when I would do bad things and blame them on him...he would take the blame for me so that I wouldn't get into trouble. The peak of our fighting was when we were both teenagers living under the same roof. I was getting into some bad stuff and Kirk knew it. My fear was that Kirk would try and do what I was doing and didn't want him to be any part of it. So I pushed him away even more. It wasn't until I left for college that I truly missed him.

While I was away at college...partying and making lots of bad decisions.....Kirk was choosing a different way of life. When I was 18 and Kirk was 16....he got saved. While he was away at Younglife camp he got radically saved and came back to tell all of us the news. Kirk and I didn't grow up in church. I didn't even know what the word "saved" meant. I just knew it was one of those words that church people used....and I didn't like it. I was totally not supportive of Kirk's decision to follow Jesus and I wasn't shy about telling him my opinion of his decision. I thought he had been taken in and the wool pulled over his eyes. I thought it was just a phase and that he would be back to normal once the 'phase' passed. Some of his other friends had gotten "saved" at that same camp and they didn't change when they got I thought that Kirk would just go back to his wild and crazy ways any day. Kirk was the kind of person that if he did anything...he went all the way with it. When he was the crazy bad kid...he was the craziest and baddest of all bad kids. And when he got saved and started to follow Jesus...he did it all the way.

At about the same time that Kirk got saved, my family went through a super bad time. I thought that if anything would kill Kirk's belief in God....this would be it. There would be no way that he would cling to his false god now. But he didn't change or doubt even for a second. As Kirk grew stronger in his walk with God....I spiraled down into the darkness. I don't really remember those days very clearly, which is good in a way, but I do know that it was one of the darkest times of my life. I felt hopeless and alone. I would drink until I couldn't see. I didn't want to feel all the pain that was going on in my life. My brother wanted to help me, but I wouldn't talk to him much. If I did talk to him I would mock him and what he believed. Every time I would talk to Kirk or be around him I would be both amazed and almost angry. I was amazed that Kirk really had changed and I was angry that I couldn't have what he had. This went on for years and years. Kirk growing in God and me allowing my life to get further and further out of control.

Even though I would have never admitted it. I watched Kirk like a hawk. Everything he did and said was under my microscope of judgement. I was just waiting for him to say or do something that validated my disbelief in God. The truth was....I wanted SO badly the peace that Kirk very obviously truly had. It wasn't fake. It was for real. I watched him for years. And I knew my brother like I knew myself. No one could fake peace and happiness like he had. At least not for that long. I knew lots of "Christians" in my life that went to church and did all the "Christian" things that you're supposed to do...but never ever had I met someone so truly in love with God. I was slowly coming to realize that my idea that all Christian's were ignorant hypocrites may not be least not when it came to Kirk. So I started asking questions. Lots of questions. My poor brother probably felt a mix of happiness and 'oh my gosh, how do I answer all of these questions'.

One night, Kirk asked me if I wanted to go and see Passion of the Christ at the theatre. I thought, why not!? So I went. Ask Kirk....from the very first scene of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane....I bawled. I mean rivers of tears. The entire movie. The thought of Jesus dying for me was so completely overwhelming that I seriously couldn't deal with it at that moment. When we got home, I stayed up and talked to Kirk all night. I asked tons more questions. I told him that I still just wasn't ready to believe but that I something had touched my heart and I didn't know what to do with it quite yet. My life was crazy. Ever since I was 15 my life was one party after another. I drank every day.

So after a while, I set out on a secret mission to find out what this Jesus guy was really all about. I didn't want to take anyone's word for it..not even my wonderful brother. I didn't want to be a hypocrite. I knew I wasn't ready to change my ways and life and I certainly didn't want to call myself a Christian until I knew what it really meant to be one. So I started reading books and talking to experts about all the religions. How could I say I wasn't a Muslim or a Buddhist unless I knew what they believed, you know!? This secret search for the truth started when I was around 22 or 23 years old. I read every book I could get my hands on about the different religions of the world. As I learned more, I knew that my heart was being drawn towards Jesus. Not a religion. Not a label. Not traditions. It had nothing to do with going to church...still didn't go. It had nothing to do with living my life by a certain set of laws. It was about Jesus and me.

When I was around 24 years old I was finally ready to declare that I believed in Jesus and wanted to ask him to live in my heart. When I told my brother, he wasn't really that surprised. He had started to notice a change in me. And I'm sure the constant interrogating him about God probably gave it away a bit too. This was a huge moment for me and my little brother was the one to lead me through the prayer of salvation. Holding my hands. Holding me when I cried. Rejoicing with me!

I wish I could tell you that I had a similar story to Kirk in that my life radically changed for the better from that day on. Yes, my life totally changed, but not in an instant.....more like years. I was 24 then and it wasn't until I was 27 that I started to really understand and know Jesus in a way that would radically change me forever.

There are a lot of crazy things that went on in my life. As much of a chronic oversharer as I am..I don't think I'll share all of that today. A girl has to have some mystery. : )

My life was out of control and I needed help. It was my little brother that saved my life in more than one way. If Kirk hadn't gotten saved and lived his life for Jesus no matter what came his way...I may not have made it to write this testimony. Had my little brother not had faith in me and loved me with God's unconditional love....I may not have made it to write this testimony. If Kirk hadn't shown me how special and lovely I truly am, and that God really does love me....I may not have made it to write this testimony. My brother is still the only man I have ever met that has never let me down. My brother isn't perfect, but to me, he is the world. Without Kirk's consistent encouragement and support...I may have never come to know Jesus with the depth that I know Him now. If my brother wouldn't have fought for my heart and soul....I don't know if I ever would have turned my heart towards God. My brother is my rock. His marriage to Dana is such an inspiration to me. They have given me something to aim believe in. I won't ever settle for anything less than the best, because their love has shown me that fairy tales really do come true. My brother has touched so many lives. His smile can light up a room. He is always laughing. He is always loving. He is always encouraging. He is proof that God is real. What he has you can't read about in a book. What he has isn't a religion. What he has is a true relationship with God. What he has isn't some law to follow or some tradition. What he has is a friend in Jesus. I am the woman I am today because of Jesus and the radical change His love has brought to my life. And I know Jesus because of Kirk little brother. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't know true love....I wouldn't know trust.....I wouldn't know God. One of the best moments of my life was when I was on stage at church, singing with the band...I was so excited...and I look out into the crowd and I see Kirk in the front row...with a huge smile on his face and tears rolling down his cheeks. He was so proud of me. He always prayed that one day, I would know God's love and seeing me up on stage, singing God's praises was truly an answer to his years of prayer for me. Every Sunday I stand in the front row beside my brother and I thank God for Kirk and all that he is and all that he does. Sometimes it is hard for people to understand the love of God. They don't really know what it looks like or feels like. God isn't here incarnate to hug us and love us. But His love is all around us. I was able to imagine how great God's love is for me by Kirk allowing God's love to flow out of him and into my heart and into my life.

Happy Birthday, Kirky! Thank you. I love you.

The Man with a plan...

Old Katie would have been sooooooooo freaked out.
Old Katie probably would have cried.
Old Katie would have been pretty dag on pissed (pardon Old Katie's French).

Picture it...

End of the week.
Totally excited get on the road to WV; to come back to Buckhannon and see my folks, my cuz, and get my Jeep worked on.
Get to the parking garage.
Jeep won't start.

The moment that I turned the key and the engine wouldn't turn over.....this was a defining moment. What would I feel? What would I do?

Looking back, I am actually quite proud of myself for the way I handled it all. Maybe that is why it worked out so perfectly.

Okay, so back to the story....

The Jeep won't start. I turn the key a couple of times, but to no avail. In that moment...I surprisingly felt peace. I didn't get upset.

I have never really had any huge issues with my vehicles before so I didn't really know what to do. Long story short (yeah right) a wonderful man from hospital security comes and tries to help me out. We try jumping the Jeep. Nada. So, he then drives me to the nearest gas station in DC rush hour traffic so I can try and see if maybe there isn't any gas in the Jeep (which by the way...I knew there was gas in it because I just drove it when me and my BFF drove it to go get some lunch....but you never know). Luckily he and I both have a sense of humor because we ended up getting gasoline all over us while trying to get the gas from the gas can and into the Jeep (not like that scene from Zoolander where they spray gasoline all over themselves...but you get the drift). Still didn't work. it's tow truck time. $4 per mile. 30 miles home. I called the guy that works on my car (Cedar Grove auto repair in Damascus, MD if anyone is looking for an awesome place to go) and he told me that if I had it towed back to his shop he would take a look at it first thing in the morning. Done. So as I am waiting for what seemed like millions of years for the tow truck I pass the time by talking to my cousin Heather. As we are talking I tell her that this whole situation seems really strange to a good a God way. I had just driven the Jeep a few hours before this and I have never had problems with it, so it seemed strange to me that it stopped working just as I was about to bring it home to get it worked on. Then I tell her that I know that reason I have so much peace about it is because I know in my heart that it is totally part of God's plan. I couldn't see why yet...and maybe I would never know why...but I knew it was for a reason. I told her that one of the reasons that I was coming home that weekend was to get new tires on the Jeep because the ones that are on it are so bald that I fishtailed on some wet roads in Georgetown one day and almost wrecked....totally freaked me out. So I told her that I was coming home before it started raining because I knew that my tires weren't safe on wet roads.

Then Heather says to me..."Well, I know for sure that God most definitely has a plan. He is so amazing and so good. And....who knows....maybe you were saved from a car accident, or maybe your Jeep would have broken down in the middle of nowhere, OR maybe...MAYBE.....the tow truck guy is your future husband!! You just never know, you know!? Or maybe he is super creepy and dangerous and might try and hurt you (Heather is a constant worrier...and she is totally not kidding)...and in that case...we're going to need a code word that you can text me....and I'll call the police."

So I respond, "I guess you really do never would be pretty crazy if after waiting for two hours in a parking garage, smelling like gasoline, with my makeup running down my face, and one eye watering because there is something in my contact...that my future husband would drive up in his tow truck and save the day!! Why not!? That would be an interesting, yet decidedly non-romantic story to tell the grandkids. But what if he IS super creepy? It's gonna suck pretty bad to be sitting beside him in a truck all the way to Damascus. And why do we need a code word? If I'm able to text you....can't I just text you...'hey this dude is super creepy, send help'?"

To which she says..."But what if he reads your text and it makes him even madder (again...she is serious)." Knowing she is seriously worried about me I then say, "Ok. Then a code word we shall have my friend. The code word for 'hey this dude is super creepy, send help' And if he just so happens to be my future husband and I am swept away and we are getting ready to elope, the code word is....pickled. Very similar. I know. Make sure you write that down, so that you don't get them confused and send the cops out after my future husband." And the sad thing is...I am pretty sure that we were both really serious and that a joke.....I would have texted her the word 'pickle' she wouldn't have spared a second in calling the police. LOL! Ok....I am sure that the above dialouge is actually not funny at all unless you were there. Or maybe it would never be funny to anyone other than Heather and me.

We're silly.

Anyway...back to this riveting and fascinating story.

The tow truck guy shows up. On our ride to home, I talked with Alex...the world's kindest, most helpful tow truck driver ever. We had plenty of time to get to know eachother since he wasn't allowed to take any parkways on the way to 270 we had to take all the busy highways. He told me about how he had just moved from LA and didn't know that many people. He asked me about myself and how I ended up in DC. I even got to talk to his mom when she called to see how he was. He helped me brush up on some Espanol. He told me stories about his experiences as a tow truck driver in LA and DC. We had a great time.

What struck me half way through the drive was just how much fun this evening had actually been. Everyone had been so helpful and kind to me. The hospital security guard was so amazing. I never once felt upset or mad or worried. In fact...I had a great time getting to know everyone. While I was in the parking garage, Eva, one of the wonderful women that work with me stopped and gave me her number and told me to call her if I needed anything. SO SWEET! My wonderful brother and his wife said they would pick me up and drive me home from the repair shop. Everyone was so helpful.

As Alex and I were nearing my exit he said to me, "I just feel so bad that this happened to you this evening. I mean, you were going to go back home and see your family. I just feel awful that you had to spend your Friday night going through all of this." Immediately after he said that it started to absolutely pour the rain. At that moment I looked back at my Jeep and thought to I would have been driving right now I would be in the mountains and probably in the middle of a rain storm.....with my tires they way they are (probably so bad they aren't legal) I could have easily been in an accident. So I turn back to Alex and said, "You know what, no need to be sorry for me at all. I have had a wonderful night. God has a plan. There is a reason for everything that happens. Yeah, I could have looked at this night as totally inconvenient and been mad that my grand plans had been interrupted. But for some reason, from the first turn of the key...I have been thanking God the entire time because I knew that this was all a part of His plan. I don't know if it was to save me from a wreck or for something else....but my heart tells me that this is a God thing." Alex then looks over at me and says, "Are you a Christian?" And I said, "I love Jesus!" He sat there for a moment and didn't say anything. Then he looked back at me and said, "I can tell you do. And I do too!" He then proceeded to tell me his testimony of how he came to know God. It was so amazing that I got chills. Hearing what he had been through and how much he loved Jesus just made my heart melt. On our way to the repair shop we drove by my church so I showed Alex where it was. He told me that since he is new in the area he hasn't really found a church that he feels at home at so he said that he would love to come to mine and see what it's like.

So as we parted ways that night, I knew that if for nothing else, God edified my faith by putting Alex in my path that night. Hearing about Alex's life and his faith was well worth it all to me. God showed me that if I look for Him in every situation...I will find Him. I am sure that lots of people would look at Alex..covered with tattoos and lookin' rough and assume that he is bad news...but as soon as he opened the door to the truck, I knew in my spirit that there was something very special about him. After a few minutes of talking to him....even though he hadn't mentioned God at all...I knew that he knew Him. I can't explain how I knew...but I just did. When God's spirit lives in matter what you look like or what you do....His heart and joy pour out of you. I honestly don't care if my Jeep ever starts again because I have complete and total faith that all things are for the greater good of God's plan. God has a plan for my life. Plans to prosper and not to harm. I could have missed out on a totally amazing experience if I had been pouty and self-centered that night. But because I rested in the knowledge that God is good....I met an amazing friend and got to see that there are so many wonderful, helpful people all around me. Thank you God! : )

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I am declaring Oct. 18th "No Makeup Sunday"!! WHOO HOOO!

Attention: All makeup wearing ladies

I declare Oct. 18th, 2009 "No Makeup Sunday". And by the power vested in me I now pronounce you....beautiful...just the way you are!

Here's the challange...

1) You can't wear any makeup. Moisterizer with SPF is allowed and encourgaged...protect those beautiful skin cells!
2) You have to leave your house/apartment/mansion/trailer/dorm. No sitting inside pretty lady! I don't care if it's raining or snowing or monsooning...walk, run, or crawl...but leave the comfort of your own abode.
3) Work it! That's right...hold your shoulders back, keep your beautiful face held high, smile, and walk with confidence. You're gorgeous, daaaaaling. (Caution: Participants tend to feel so super beautiful and awesome that they can't seem to contain themselves. Involuntary winking, finger snappin', and booty shakin' can occur.) The point is to show your true you. The woman (or man) that God made you to be is confident, content, and proud. With or without makeup you should always know that God lives in you and made you just the way you are for a purpose that only you can serve. Isn't the exciting!!? Ah, oh...I think I just winked...

BONUS POINTS : Tell a woman that you don't know that she is beautiful. Do it. I dare you.

SUPER DOUBLE BONUS POINTS EXTRAVAGANZA: Take before and after pics and send them to me along with a testimony about your day (i.e. thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc). I will post them in a blog so that you can be an encouragement to all of the millions of people that read my blog (giggle). This goes for any man, woman, and child that does something to show their true beauty...this isn't just about not wearing's about letting the true you shine.

Of course....I am going to participate as well. I will be arriving for church on Sunday morning with no makeup, curly hair, and jeans and a t-shirt. I am the "announcer" at church...which basically means that I introduce the start of both services...I hop up on stage, give any announcements, try and share something that God has put on my heart, sometimes a skit, and other such things. Oh yeah...and it's televised to the DC metro area (I think the camera is too far away for anyone to notice I'm not wearing makeup). I'm also a leader in the middle school/high school ministry that my bro and his wifey run (Kirk and Dana McNemar for those of you who don't know..they RRROCKKK), so I am hoping that by doing this, even though it's just for one day, it will make some kind of a difference. As hard as it was for me to accept myself when I was in middle school and high school, it's even harder for the young folks today. I seriously can't imagine having to be in their shoes right now. If they learn nothing else from my life, I want them to learn that all my efforts to please people, to fit in, to craft an acceptable image, and be loved...were all in vain and brought me nothing but pain, hurt, and more emptyness than I could handle. I have come a long long way from that life, but some people never come back. Some people have no idea why they are so unhappy, empty, and dissatisfied.

So...I encourage you..even if you aren't a makeup wearing lady (non-makeup wearing lady, man, child) something this Sunday...just for one day...that takes you out of your comfort zone and shows you that you are beautiful (yes, men, you are beautiful! Wink...see! I did it again) no matter what.

: )

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

To Make You Feel My Love...

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling down the avenue
Oh there's nothing that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain't seen nothing like me yet

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love

- Bob Dylan (sept. 30th 1997)

I have been listening to this song over and over and over again on my Ipod. (I am listening to the version by Adele that came out in '08...gorgeous voice.)

It all started yesterday. I was on my way to work and I had my Ipod on shuffle. I kept pushing the next button because I was looking for that perfect song that would fit my current mood, something that would speak to me, ya know. Then this song came on....To Make You Feel My Love. I don't really know why this song hit me so much, but I listened to it all the way to work...and all the way home from work.

As I sang the words.....I was singing to him. I don't actually know who he is. But I was singing to him. Even though I don't know if I even know him yet, as I sang the words of this song...I meant them. I know that when it happens..and there he is...whoever he is...these words will be true. He is SO worth the wait.


When you read the lyrics...what did you automatically think of? Someone you're with? Someone you wish you were with? Someone you don't know yet? Did you sing the lyrics to them?

Did it ever occur to you when you read them that maybe this song wasn't from you to someone else...but from God to you? Me either.

When I got in my Jeep this morning, I was fully planning on listening to a different song (I mean, come on, the same song for two days straight...crazzzzzzyyyy!)...but for some reason, I listened to it again. And again. Why!? I was totally thinking it was weird. As I am driving and listening to this song...I am thinking of all this other know....all that crap that you can't get out of your stuff you need to do at work..whether or not you should do this or that...blah, blah, wasn't really listening to the was just the background to my mental droning. And then I looked out of my driver's side window and saw the most beautiful sunrise (yes, I am up and driving that early). I looked at the sun and all the beautiful colors and then I heard it....the song....the lyrics....I really really listened this time. God was talking TO ME!!! Katie. He was talking to ME. That's when it hit me....there truly is nothing that He wouldn't do to make me feel His love.


He knew just how many times I was going to have to hear that song until I really got it. IT'S FOR ME!!! Who listens to the same song for two days straight...and I'm talking tons of commute is at least 1.5 hours each way if not that song and I has some serious quality time together. I'm crazy...but I ain't that crazy. God. will. not. stop. He won't go away just because you do. He already went hungry, went black and blue...went crawlin' down the make you feel His love. He did that. For me. And for you. (that accidentally

Yes, you. Seriously....YOU!

I have listened to this song plenty of times before...and it didn't really mean that much to me..I was more in to Adele's beautiful voice than actually listening to the words. But God is so good and His plan so perfect that I listened to this song over and over and over again at just the exact right time for it to speak right to me about exactly what I needed to hear. Perfect.

It's hard being single sometimes. I hadn't been single since I was 13. Up until about 6 or so months ago...I always had a boyfriend or some guy in my life. Even when I knew I didn't love them...I would stay...because I couldn't stand to be alone. I was so afraid of being alone...but all I felt was alone. I spent a lot of time trying to fill this void with men that couldn't and shouldn't fill it. I am sorry to them, I am sorry to me, but most of all I am sorry to God. I feel like I don't even deserve a beautiful love song from God after all the years that I rejected Him. Why would he go to the end of the Earth for make me feel His love? Why doesn't he do what all the other guys have done...disappoint me, leave me, break my heart, tear me down, use me, disrespect me, did I mention leave me.....? Why doesn't he? How could he hold me for a million years? I don't even understand or grasp that kind of love. And He knows it's hard for me. And He wants to show me...His love.

For the last two years since I broke up with my on again, off again, on again, off again, on again, off again boyfriend since I was 16....I have taken this time to seek the truth and truly find me and the Katie that God made me to be. It has been the hardest, most painful, most beautiful, most rewarding, scariest, etc...time of my life. Instead of drinking my pain away...I deal with it. I feel it. Instead of dating just anyone so I'm not alone...I decide to be single and wait for him. The guy that's not just some guy. That's going to sing those lyrics to me....and mean them. It's painful. But I'm not afraid of that anymore. I feel the pain. And I don't die and I don't stop. Contrary to my previous belief...the pain didn't kill me. It made me stronger. (Pastor Jerry said on Sunday that David would have still been a shephard if he hadn't had Goliath in his I praise God for all the Goliath's in my life...because they have made me stronger..more than a shephard!)

I used to idenify myself based on what a man thought of me. If he thought I was special...then I was. If he didn't....then I tried to changed myself so that he would....but of course...that didn't work. As painful as that was to was even more painful to let God Him...and let Him heal those hurts and scars. These last two years of healing has been amazing. When you haven't been able to trust people...mostly men...your whole are you supposed to trust God...who you can't see? Well....while the storms were raging on the rolling sea...He went to the ends of the Earth for make me feel His love. He pushed past all that crap...and showed me He was real. He could be trusted with my scarred and broken heart. And He was good. I cry even typing this because what God has done for me is more true and and more real than anything I have ever experienced in my whole life. Now...I want to go to the ends of the Earth for make Him feel my love!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just Katie

I watched a video from Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty, watched the movie Penelope (awesome movie) and talked with women and girls about their struggles with beauty and acceptance and then....BAM!..inspiration. I am going to put up pics of me without my makeup. Some before and after action if you will. This is harder to do than I expected. I know it's silly. But putting pics up on the internet of me without makeup is just a big massive leap out of my comfort zone...but it's something I want to do. I don't want anyone commenting on how I look better without makeup because that isn't why I am doing this. It's not about that. It's about knowing what is really there and not being afraid of it. I live in the real world. It's 2009 and it's America....we have a concept of beauty that we don't even know where it came from and it's not going to change just because I put my picture up. That's ok. The point of all of this is to appreciate what God has blessed me with.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hope... the name of the little girl that melted my heart today.

For some time I have been thinking about our society's concept of beauty. What is acceptable these days? And how this concept has effected me my whole life and how it is effecting young girls and women today.

Beauty is something that I have struggled with my whole life. Feeling beautiful. Feeling accepted the way I am.

At a young age I became aware that beauty was important. Whatever beauty I needed to find out what it was and manifest it in such a way that was acceptable. I won my first beauty pageant when I was 5. From that point on...I knew that my worth was somehow measured by my appearance.

I remember thinking about trying to stay thin when I was 11 or 12. I remember standing in front of the mirror in 8th grade looking at my stomach and crying...dreaming about the day that I could get rid of my love handles. I was 80 pounds. By the time I got to high school my dad was forcing me to drink protein shakes in the morning before I went to school because I was so skinny. I would take the drinks into the bathroom and wash them down the sink. Eating disorders didn't have all the press back then that they have today. I didn't even know I had one. I didn't know it had a name...I just knew that I wasn't going to eat because I wanted to be beautiful and accepted.

Being pretty was my purpose. And if I couldn't be pretty, then what...? I knew the part I had to play. I was reminded of my role constantly. The pressure to measure up was like a million tons on me every day. It's not like guys walked up to me at parties or school and asked me about my favorite book...or what my dreams were. Not that I would have known how to answer them if they did ask. My goal was to be the coolest, prettiest girl around. Too bad there was always someone cooler or prettier. Who would have guessed that the Prom Queen was probably the loneliest, emptiest person at that dance? I sure never looked or acted lonely or empty.

I started wearing makeup when I was 13 and haven't stopped since. Even a few years ago I wouldn't go anywhere without all of my makeup on and my hair done. I dated a guy for 3 years and it took me almost a year for me to show him what I looked like without makeup. I think I actually cried when I walked out of the bathroom with no makeup on. I was traumatized by my thoughts and terrified that he would see something awful in the real me. Because...if someone didn't like me with the makeup and the pretty clothes...that wasn't quite as bad as them seeing the real me and not liking's almost like being an actor in a play....the makeup and clothes are just a prop..I was playing a part. BUT...if someone saw me without my makeup and pretty clothes and didn't like me....then they would truly be disliking who I really was....and at that point in my life.....I just couldn't stand the risk.

The harder that I tried to fit into the everchanging idea of beauty...the less beautiful I felt. Today, dark eyeshadow is cool...done...bought...worn. The next day...short hair is sexy...done...cut. Next lipstick is hot....done....bought....worn. Here's the problem ya'll.....All the makeup in the world can't make jealousy, pain, anger, resentment, and self hatred..pretty. The most beautiful women on Earth are beautiful because they have love in their hearts and joy in their soul. They may still wear makeup...I'm not on some cruisade to stop makeup wearing (you'll have to pry my Great Lash black mascara out of my kung fu ninja grip)...but they are beautiful because of the light they put out. I have known lots of women that have all of the features that our world says is really beautiful...but because of their darkness inside...they never felt like they were enough. And never feeling like you are enough makes people desperate. Desperation makes people do crazy things. Believe me when I say, that until you replace that darkness with the light of will never feel beautiful. It will never be enough. Why do you think people get addicted to plastic surgery or die from eating disorders? It's because they never ever feel like they are enough no matter what they do. These same people tend to surround themselves with people that only prove to them that all they are is what is on the outside. I remember being told by one of my boyfriends that if I gained 20 pounds that he would break up with me because I would be too fat. I was 106 pounds at the time. Well, guess what...he broke up with me anyway...and I had even lost weight. If all that people care about is what is on the outside, then there will always be someone able to offer something better than what you have. know what...I gained those 20 some...but I lost 175 pounds of negativity when he was gone. That is why I no longer have people in my life...not men, not women, not anyone...that only cares about the superficial...about attaining "things" and "beauty" and "great resumes" and blah blah blah...I don't give a #$% about that stuff. Superficial people are BORING....snore.

Things have changed. I am finally totally confident and comfortable in who Katie McNemar is. I know my favorite book. I know what my dreams are. I still struggle with being who I am, but I have realized after years of pain...that I truly am beautiful. So beautiful. I still wear makeup and still worry about my weight....but I am beautiful. And I know it. Deep in my heart. And no one can take it away from me. I'm no longer playing the part of the "pretty blonde" that is wild and crazy. I'm not an actor anymore. The Katie you know now....if you know me. All the time. If you think I'm crazy or too loud or too fat or too thin or too quiet or too short or too happy or too smiley or too forgiving or too loving or too doesn't matter...I am me and I love it. If I want a cheeseburger...I am going to eat a damn cheeseburger and not feel guilty. I go out without my makeup. My hair is naturally curly...I love it love it love it. I used to straighten it (or perm it for my sistas out there), but now...I embrace the curls. It's hard working in DC. All of these perfect girls walking around. I swear, I think everyone is 5'4", 102 lbs, with beautiful perfect hair, expensive clothes, and a new car. Well...I'm 5'1" and not even close to 102 lbs, with kinky hair, expensive (looking) clothes (that I bought on sale..holla), and an old Jeep that I am getting ready to jack up WV style. I don't fit into the mold here. Some days its hard, but most days I embrace the fact that I am a little bit different.

So I have been thinking a lot lately about the pressure that young girls feel to be beautiful and accepted. My friend Kumori mentioned a few weeks ago that we should do a video or skit at church based off of Pink's music video for "Stupid Girl". I loved the idea and can't wait to get to it. As a leader in the youth ministry we see so many of our young girls just struggling with this. Women want to be seen as precious and beautiful. Our quest to acheive that takes a lot of us down a long and lonely path in the wrong direction. I want nothing more than for these beautiful young girls to know what I didn't know when I was their age. I wish I could make it easier. I pray that not just our girls, but that girls all over the world would come to know their true beauty in God. It's the only thing that lasts. Love is beauty. Giving is beauty. Forgiving is beauty. Laughing is beauty. Crying is beauty. Standing up for people that can't stand up for themselves is beauty. Knowledge is beauty. Peace is beauty. Joy is beauty. God is beauty. God is in you.

Now to how Hope melted my heart....
This morning in church, Hope came over to where I sit, as she frequently does, and sang and clapped her hands with me. She is the most loving precious little girl on Earth. When I sat down she sat on my lap. She played with my hands. Looking at them. Picking the nail polish off. Then she turned around and took one of her little fingers and traced them over my left cheek, over my nose, and onto my right cheek. Then she lefted up my glasses and looked in my eyes and said, "Why do you wear makeup Katie? You are so....beautiful"


This is in no way bragging, but I have been told that I was beautiful many many times in my men, by family, by friends, etc....but never before have I believed it more than today. When I looked into Hope's honest eyes and saw God's truth, light, and love.....I was truly speechless. It was amazing.

Then she hugged me and buried her head in my neck. And we sang. And we prayed. And I thanked God for Hope. I thanked God for His gift to me. I am going to go to bed tonight feeling more beautiful than I have ever felt.

God is good. God loves you. And you can trust Him - Pastor Jerry Beall (Heart attack surviver and overcomer)

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