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  Her beautiful face smiled at me through the computer screen, the perfectly-lit picture just underneath the words describing her success. From my couch in my den, her life seemed perfect. Clear skin, white teeth, and a business making her family extra cash. I was still in my pajamas, looking at the mountain of unfolded laundry spilling out of the clothes basket. I was trying to muster the energy to begin my day's work, trying to convince myself that what I was doing even mattered at all. And before my morning coffee was even cool enough to drink, I branded myself a failure. I didn't know her, and I certainly didn't understand the details of her life, but through a post shared by a mutual friend, I saw a piece of her world. And the piece looked amazing. In that moment, I let myself believe that she and her perfect-looking life were my competition. That other woman? She felt like my enemy. ***** I walked down the aisles of the grocery store, hurriedly throwing items into the shopping cart, desperate to get home and cook dinner as quickly as possible. I had failed to plan ahead yet again, so rather than dinner waiting on my family, my family...


  There's nothing worse than when someone tries to talk you out of your feelings. When they say, "You shouldn't feel that way," or "You're just being silly," what they're really saying is "What you are feeling is wrong." And maybe it is, but you feel what you feel. And regardless of its rightness or wrongness, what you need in the moment you feel it is understanding, not condemnation. Yesterday, a sweet friend messaged me, asking about a big project I'm working on. She's been there for me behind the scenes of it, cheering me along and encouraging me when I want to quit. Now that I'm very near the finish line, I told her what I'm feeling - "I'm terrified." Because I am. I'm terrified that it will be a flop, that my months of work will have been spent in vain and that people will reject the project outright. I'm scared that my project will not be anything anyone wants, and I'm scared that I'll never succeed and will only see failure. So I told her the truth, that I'm terrified. And because she's a wise friend, her reply was, "I know you are." She reminded me of some truths and encouraged me...


  OK, ladies. Take a deep breath. It's time for bathing suits. It doesn't matter if we weigh 100 pounds or if we're 100 pounds overweight - bathing suit season gives us all anxiety, doesn't it? All year long we look forward to the fun, lazy days of summer, and every year we try on tiny pieces of spandex in brightly lit dressing rooms and swear we'll just wear mumus instead. Bathing suits were clearly invented by the devil. Isn't it insane how these get-ups can bring out our greatest insecurities? Isn't it amazing that fabric can reduce the strongest among us to tears? Every year when the weather gets warm, my sisters and I inevitably have a text message thread saying things like, "I'm trying on bathing suits. Kill me now," or "Do you think it's socially acceptable to wear a parka on the beach?" There's a great camaraderie among women in bathing suits. It's known as collective angst. Here's the deal: very few women feel completely comfortable in bathing suits, and very few women can walk around in a suit without sucking in their guts or hoping their thighs don't jiggle. Very few women can show off legs that lack cellulite, and very few...


  When you decide to write words for the internet to read, you have to develop a thick skin. People are at their bravest behind the anonymity of their keyboards, and they write words that can sting. I wrote a guest post once where I mentioned Satan deceiving us, and the comments were swift and sharp. I was made fun of for believing there's an enemy, and I was mocked for blaming my problems on an unseen devil. And I guess I get it. If you're not a Christian and don't believe in the God of the Bible, it's hard to believe in the devil of it, too. But I do. 100%. I believe in him because I've encountered him, and I know he's real because I've been at the mercy of his attacks. Including yesterday. The story actually begins a few days ago, at church of all places. As I was serving in an area that needed extra help, I heard a whisper in my spirit - "You're profoundly different." Those words echoed in the silence of my mind. The words were not uplifting or positive, encouraging me to stand out in a crowd. They weren't praising me for my individuality. No, they were condemning...