Good morning, Lovelies! I hope everyone’s week is off to a good start! I know you might be thinking this blog post is just about pearls and pretty things, and trust me, this southern gal sure loves some pearls! But, it’s not about that at all. It’s about so much more than southern staples and high fashion looks. Today, I want to share with you a book that really impacted my life about 8 years ago. What I love about this book is that it is still impacting me. The impression it left was very memorable, and some of the teachings have become incorporated into my internal dialogue.
I picked this book up during my freshman year of college, and it completely restored my perspective on grit and grace.
As a child, I was the kid who would walk into my parents’ room in the middle of the night to confess whatever bad or mean thing I did that day. It could be anything from not sharing my crayons to stepping in front of someone in line, and so on… My conscience began to develop at a really early age and scientifically or psychologically speaking, I feel this is the case for most of us. I just remember not being able to keep it in. Like, I had to tell someone or I just wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Somehow, I grew up with the mentality that I was bad or just always needed to be asking forgiveness and confessing some type of sin or wrongdoing. Please know that no one did this to me. There was no one standing there telling me I was bad… In fact, it was quite the opposite. My parents have always been incredibly encouraging and uplifting. They put me through private Christian school where the teachers were also very encouraging and connected every aspect of education to Christ. Likewise, they did a phenomenal job of teaching us right and wrong and even cleared up some of the gray areas of do’s and dont’s.
Anyways, this book. Having lived in fear of being bad or messing up or just being wrong, this book really helped me to identify with those feelings and recognize that life isn’t about being perfect. (Sidebar… I have to laugh as I type out that word because it’s the one word that I struggle with the most. One of my dear friends will totally giggle when she sees that too because she gets it, like she totally gets it. Full disclosure: I have spent the majority of my life trying to be perfect which is why the constant fear of being bad and the constant doubt of being enough has been a real struggle.)
Moving on… No matter what you go through, what you do, or what people do to you, you can always come out as beautiful as a pearl. The reason this book has always meant so much to me is that it’s a collection of stories from real women who felt the same way that I did. They have all been through or experienced something that caused them to feel gritty, or bad, so to speak. But, through their discovery of self-love with a deeper understanding of God’s love, they were able to find the beauty in His grace.
God’s grace is everything.
It’s not just about forgiveness and moving on, but it’s about restoration and a hope that you are not defined by the worst parts of you. It’s honestly a renewing of your mind. I believe that we have a good and a bad part to us. Often, people believe that man is inherently good; while others believe we are naturally born bad. I’m in the group that believes we are bad with the ability to be good; therefore, we are born with a predisposition of being capable of both bad and good. Now, that’s a mouthful, but it’s really simple.
The bad in us and the bad in others may lead to grit, but through the experience of enduring that grit, processing ourselves through it, and reaching to come out as better than before, we are capable of being polished into a better version of ourselves. And I get it, this can be hard for people who have been through absolutely unimaginable circumstances. I am here to tell you I understand. I so desperately understand.
I’m not saying that we go through hard times to become better people. I’m definitely not saying that we go through bad things so that we can help other people. I 100% reject that. People have been telling me that my entire life, and I’ve never felt any truth connected to those statements. I don’t believe God allows one person to go through a horrible scenario so that He can use them to help someone else. I just don’t, and if you do, that’s cool. As I always say, we each have a right to our own beliefs. This just happens to be mine.
My rationale is this. Yes, we can help others who are going through what we’ve been through, but that’s not the why behind us having gone through it in the first place. Sometimes, we go through bad things simply because there is bad in the world. Sometimes that bad creeps into our lives and temporarily messes us up for a while. Sometimes we are just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and other times, it isn’t even about us at all. Maybe it’s someone else’s bad that creeps into our lives and causes us to go through the grit. This is why I think we are both bad and good. Even the best people in the world are capable of the worst things, and when those things happen, the grit gets real.
It’s in those real moments that we have the ability to feel God’s love and grace to the highest capacity. When God restores your hope in yourself, your ability to believe in yourself, and the core values that you place on yourself, you become a pearl.
I sincerely hope that you will take a chance to read this book if you’ve ever had grit in your life. It has helped me in so many ways, and it’s the book I go back to whenever life starts to get gritty again. Something about knowing other women have both survived and come out stronger after enduring similar circumstances as myself is really comforting. On the one hand, you hate knowing the reality of their encounters, and on the other hand, the empathy you extend to them, even through the pages of a book, connects you on such a deeply personal and spiritual level. It reminds me that my version of normal is like somebody else’s version, and that’s really comforting. I’ll leave the link for you below, if you’re interested:
– the Wife