Tabitha Grace // Kingdom Love //

I have the privilege to share with you Tabitha's testimony. She is one of the most powerful and graceful ladies I know. She is a blogger with a fantastic passion for empowering women to walk in their identity as Daughters of Christ, and it's beautiful. I am truly honored to share her powerful, ground-breaking love story with you! This is between her and Jesus, and falling in love with Jesus is what we're all about. Thank you Tabitha, for pursuing God's heart no matter what. Keep chasing your dreams! Love You!

“You are not beautiful.” 
“No one will ever love you.” 
“You are worthless.”

These were the words that I believed for so long. These were the words that had power over me. These were the words that led me to years of pain, hurt, depression and brokenness.

Early on in my life, I believed a lie that I wasn’t beautiful. In third grade, a group of girls went around the table naming off each girl and labeling them: ugly or pretty. When it got to me, the girl hesitated: “Eh…you’re fat. Ugly,” she continued on to the next girl. That was the first moment that I questioned my worth. Was what this girl said about me true? Was I not beautiful because I had a little tummy? Did my outward appearance elucidate my worth? 

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, 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.” - 1 Peter 3:3-4 // NIV

By the time I was in middle school, I learned a lot more, I experienced a lot more and I believed a lot more. I had believed so many lies and thoughts about myself that I let it take over me.

At 11, I was reading magazines and articles telling me how to dress for my body.
At 12, I began eating ice as meals. 
At 13, I felt guilt and purged every meal I ate.
At 14, I was crying in the shower because I was too afraid to cry anywhere else.
At 15, I didn’t love myself.

Until I was a Sophomore in High School, I fought this constant battle with myself. Don’t eat. Binge. Purge. That was the cycle. It was completely detrimental for not only my body, but my soul, my heart and my mind. 

I was so far into the deep end that it seemed impossible to get back to shore. I was drowning in shame and guilt. I didn’t think anyone loved me, let alone God. If He loved me so much, why did I have to go through so much hurt? Why did I have to go through so much pain? I began to turn away from him. Although I wanted no part of him, my soul longed for him. My soul longed for the creator who kept pursuing me in my darkest hours. 

"Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, You’re there! If I go underground, You’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, He even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you." -PSALM 139:7-8 // MSG

At 15, I attended a youth winter retreat. I went in with no expectations. I went in didn’t thinking anything would change, but hoping it would. Long story short, my heart started to transform. I formed an actual relationship with Jesus. MY EATING DISORDER BROKE FOR GOOD. And the broken pieces of my heart started to mend. But, I still didn’t feel beautiful. I still didn’t feel worthy or loved. The habits were broken but the thoughts continued. I spent countless of hours asking God to renew my mind, but I didn’t believe that it would actually change anything. 

During a youth service, our youth pastor asked anyone who was struggling with insecurity, depression or anxiety to come to the front. Struggling with all three of those, I made my way to the front faster than I ever have. I was broken and I wanted to be healed. As the worship team played, our pastor began to pray. I’ve never felt the presence of the Lord so strong. I began to weep, letting go of everything that was holding me back from encountering God’s heart fully. I began to get prayed over. Everything that was hurting my heart was being relinquished. 

It doesn’t happen overnight. Choosing Jesus is a lifestyle not a hobby. It took me four years to fully surrender to Jesus, but He continued to pursue me in the midst of that. He continued to reveal himself - His character.

He never stopped loving me when I was broken and He didn’t love me more when I was restored. He stayed faithful when I lacked faithfulness. 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:5 // NIV

God has set you apart before you were even conceived. Before you were born, before your mother was born, before your grandmother was born, the Lord had YOU in mind. He set you apart. He’s known you from the beginning of existence and is still in awe of you. 

You are kind.

You are respectful.

You are intelligent.

You are strong.

You are powerful.

You are empowered.

You are funny.

You are caring.

You are worth it.

You are beautiful.

You are loved.

Don’t allow comparison, lies and the world to tell you how much you’re worth. Jesus already told you when he took up his cross and died for you.