Hey Everyone! THE DAY HAS COME! My most requested post to date, a tour of our little loft. One of my best friends ever, Stephi Velez of www.ragsandgrace.com stayed with us over the weekend and snagged some photos of us at home. The one room we didn’t show was our kitchen because I want a special post just about that area so stayed tuned for Chapter 2! We lived in a different loft in the building when we got married, and then in November we moved into this unit. We liked the apartment structure while still keeping the loft vibes. We’ve been in this loft for seven months, and it’s just now starting to really feel like home. The interior is darker with fewer windows and full brick walls, so we went with lighter furniture and accessories to contrast… We had a TV on top of our faux fireplace mantle, but recently we took it down and put up this beautiful portrait from our wedding that Byron gave me on our anniversary! Never did I think we’d have a HUGE hand painted portrait of our faces on the wall, but it was a handmade piece of art from Jesse DeLeon and it’s a conversation starter for sure. Now when we have friends over, we’re not just staring at a TV but we’re talking about art, playing boardgames, and actually looking each other in the eye. So many people ask me how I designed my home and really my Mom is an incredible interior designer that gave me so many pieces and helped me put everything together. I change things constantly, move furniture around, and restyle areas all the time. Another question I get is how I style my book shelves, which is a totally different post! So if anyone wants to know specific styling things comment below! Anyway, thank you guys for checking this out! We hope you like this glimpse into our little home! Xx Mariah
All photos from www.lumiereandlove.com, custom portrait by Jesse DeLeon (IG: @de_leonartz, firstname.lastname@example.org)
I hope everyone had a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend! Mine started at church watching my favorite preacher (Byron, hehe!) speak about the life of Naomi for our Junior High Service, and then we went home and changed into comfies before we headed over to my amazing mama in law’s house where we napped, ate salmon burgers and watched the game. It was a sweet day! I missed my Mama but she was in Pittsburgh with HER Mama which made me really happy. In the spirit of Mother’s Day though, I wanted to share something super dear and important to me! It was SO HARD to narrow it down to 5 things, I could write a whole book about my mom! But I think these things will encourage you too. So without further ado, here are 5 Things I’ve Learned From My Mother.
Guys, this may not be what you were expecting but this is a major key in the Meleasa Houghton playbook. She’s literally been swiping moisturizer on my face since I was a baby and now I moisturize morning, noon and night! She claims that the drugstore stuff is just as good as the Nordstrom stuff. She is the perfect picture of natural radiance and she claims that moisturizing, drinking water and eating candy is why she glows. LOL. So here are some of her favorite moisturizers and where to find them!
My Mom has never been someone to make a show of herself. You can usually find her at a party, in a corner talking to the person no one was talking to. Anyone who knows her personally can attest to that, and I know it. “Come In Low” is a term my mom and dad taught me always growing up. Basically it’s just this idea of humility in every situation you end up in. I’ve watched my mom walk into rooms and change the temperature just with the grace she walks in. She never comes looking for attention, she always comes to the party with the intention to bless others. I really believe that the currency of elevation is honor, and that’s what I’ve watched her do my whole life! Humility, generosity, grace will take you places that self promotion never could.
This is a big one ladies, when you get dressed in the morning and you wanna look bad and boujie: the key is simplicity. Draw the focus of your accessory to two areas. A killer shoe and a killer earring. Or a killer necklace and a statement bag. But never all four at once. This is probably the first thing my mom ever taught me about fashion and I think of it everyday when I get ready for the day!
My mom is pretty much known for her earring game. Here are some Meleasa Inspired Earrings that I KNOW she would wear!
Something that amazes me about Mom is her ability to love other’s even if it inconveniences her schedule. I’ve never seen anyone who would literally stop everything to be there for a friend, a family member or anyone in need. I remember knocking on my mom’s door when I was little, she would be sitting at her vanity with a phone to her ear. I would sit and play and I always noticed that there were times when she would just gently give hums of understanding and sounds of sympathy while the soul on the other line would talk and talk. Towards the end she would give words of encouragement, offer prayers and help find a solution. She’s the best (and might I add free) therapist I know. When I got older she told me “there is so much healing in being heard, that’s what I am for other’s… a listener because Jesus listens to me.” I think that is so cool. She teaches me to find people, opportunities and circumstances that just need a shoulder to cry on, a heart to beat with theirs and a ear to listen.
The final and most recent lesson I’ve learned from my mom is the most simple. In this season of my life, there is so much new. New job, new marriage, new insecurities, new failures, new victories. Sometimes the change can feel like I’m drowning in waves of unknown. And you know what is hilarious? Anytime I talk to my mom about this, she listens, she waits and then she speaks. Nine times out of ten she’ll bring up a story about someone going through something 10x crazier than what I just told her. What is she doing? She’s not minimizing my pain, but she’s maximizing my perspective to see that maybe something I’m going through can bring someone else the healing that they need. My flesh screams “BUT WHAT ABOUT ME. I AM HURTING, HELLO!” But then I hear Meleasa whisper, “You’re going through this for someone else… That’s what you need to focus on.” Every. Time. She. Is. Right.
God has sent people my way that I know how to encourage because I’ve been where they are. I’ve been rescued and now I can pass on the life raft. Life is messy, life is sticky and life can be blatantly disappointing. But what do you do with the pain? Cover the scars with concealer? No! You show them proudly to show people, I’ve been through it and you can get through it too. I’ve watched my mom do this time and time again. Her vulnerability is unmatched to me. She’s an open book that speaks truth and beauty and dignity. She’s a well of perspective and she has this uncanny ability to challenge you and comfort you at the same time. Every messy room in her life she manages to somehow turn into a hospital for someone else. If you’re reading this on your tiny iPhone, mom… I’m amazed by you. Please write a book or start a podcast or something! I love you, we all love you. Everyday is Mother’s Day to ME!
Hey Beautiful Friends! I always share my favorite beauty products and new buys on my Instagram story, but I get a lot of questions about my favorite new things that I’m using. I’m one of those people that puts things into heavy rotation. Even if I find a foundation I LOVE, I still want to try new things! I just picked up a new foundation that I’ll link below and a few other products that I’ve bought and used just this month!
In the photo above you see that little pink bottle that says Joy! That’s my favorite Essential Oil from www.youngliving.com I sometimes wear it as perfume, or apply it to my pressure points when I need emotional balance or an uplifting! It’s a perfect mix of Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Geranium, Lemon, Tangerine, Coriander, Jasmine and Rose and it is divine! For more information about EO’s email me in Ask Mariah!
Okay! So my last products aren’t beauty products – but they are making my house beautiful! I love cleaning my house but I refuse to use any classic cleaning products filled with chemicals (sorry mom), so of course Mrs. Meyers is my favorite. For Spring they came out with a seasonal scent, Peony and it’s the very best thing I’ve ever smelled! It feels like I’m cleaning with the most beautiful perfume and I’m going to Target today to buy 10 more bottles so I can have it all year! I bought the Dish Soup, Multi-Surface Cleaner AND I have the Hand Soup and Hand Lotion on our bathroom sink. I can’t urge you enough to go buy this right now! So good!
I’ll be sharing each month my favorite products I’ve been using and finding that month! For any suggestions, ideas or questions comment below! All of these products are shared because I’ve used them and loved them! (no sponsorships). If you buy and use any of these let me know what you think! XO Mariah!
Remember when you were a kid and boys had coodies? And then remember when they stopped having coodies? Leonardo DeCaprio just sounded like the name of an old dead, French artist and then one day there are posters of him above your bed on the ceiling? I have no idea when I first started thinking that boys were cute but I DO remember that I started early…
Listen this is my testimony OKAY so don’t judge me… I had my very first kiss at three years old. Yes, it’s true. I liked older guys, I was 36 months – he was 42 months. I was a rebel, Ok? Hard to believe I know but there is photographic evidence. I thought we would get married, eat animal crackers together forever and be an always-take-home-the-class-pet kind of power couple. But it wasn’t God’s plan for my life and we broke up the next day. My first little heartbreak.
Now looking back I can see that I was, what the kids call… “Thirsty.” Who has their first kiss at three?? All jokes aside I was thinking about powerful women in the bible today and someone unexpected came to mind. Did you know the Thirst was real in the Bible too?
Let’s start off with the fact this woman in John 4 isn’t even properly named. We don’t know what she looked like, what her name was but I do know that she’s in heaven right now and I think that’s pretty cool. She was a complex woman (as we all are). She’s lived a ton of life I’m sure. I wonder if she looks down from heaven and sees women just like her now, in her heart urging them to open up the bible to John 4 and read her story. “Just learn from me…” I can imagine her thinking.
We know her famously as the Woman At The Well. But she’s so much more than that to me. She’s the Woman With A Pattern. She’s the Woman With The Past. Even though we don’t know her real name, she’s The Woman Jesus Calls Redeemed.
In John 4 we find Jesus on a roadtrip with His buddies, his guys went to go grab some chipotle and Jesus stopped to get a drink of water from a well. It was high noon, it was hot – so there weren’t a lot of people out there except for Jesus and The Woman. Now listen, our Sister here was kind of Sassy. It’s true. Jesus asked her for a drink of water but in those days men weren’t allowed to speak to women without their husband present. And especially Jews and Samaritans didn’t speak to each other much at all. The Woman questions Jesus, not knowing who He is of course, asking Him why the heck he has the nerve to speak to her out of custom? I love that even when we focus on the law, the reality of things and the state of who we are, Jesus only focuses on Grace.
My Jesus is a G. This is his response:
“If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”
If you’ve never heard this story before let me catch you up to speed. We may not know her name, but we do know her story. She’s had five husbands thus far. FIVE. (I love Byron guys, but one husband is enough for me. If I had 5 husbands I don’t know what I’d do with myself. LOL!) And after her fifth husband she went from first comes love, then comes marriage straight to first comes hot guy, then comes let’s just live together. Looking at her I can’t help but feel as though she’s settled in her life. I’m sure that she didn’t’ have five husbands just for fun… She was looking for something. She was looking for love. But she settled for lust.
Even though the woman had doubts about Jesus, he never stopped seeking to meet her deepest needs. She was willing to settle for less at this point, she was will to settle for lust. She was thirsty for something. She needed something and was constantly trying to fill an area. But when you only consume lust and not real love, you’ll be thirsty again and again. Even when we settle in our life and we give up on ourselves, Jesus never stops persisting to meet our deepest needs.
The scripture goes on and in John 4:13-14 Jesus says “Everyone who drinks that well water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give them will never thirst – not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” I don’t know about you guys – but I want the endless life. I want the spring within, please.
Y’all, hear my heart! I don’t know if you’re single, engaged or married already… I don’t know if your bank account is empty or full. I don’t know if your HEART is empty or full. I don’t know what you struggle with, what you’re needing what you’re lacking. We all have our own stuff. But here’s my question…
What Are You Thirsty For?
Are you thirsty for a temporary, quick fix that will leave you dry and empty and needing more?
Or are you thirsty for a love deeper than any well, a love more satisfying than anything on earth? Joy, confidence and fulfillment?
As a young adult there are so many things that can bring up insecurities and empty places that need filling. I’m learning that only Jesus can fill those places. Only Jesus’ living water can satisfy those secret areas of our life that we fill with fluff and leaves us thirsty again and again. For our Woman that is lust. It’s relationships that make her feel valued. Is that you? Or is it your career that makes you feel loved? Is it your talent that makes you feel worthy? Or are you living with so much undying, unlimited love that you can’t help but overflow with that living water.
Track with me…
Imagine you’re at Disneyland right. Happiest place on earth, no? Ok, you’ve got your cute mouse ears on, you got ice cream in your hand. You’re LOVING life! But imagine when it gets so hot, all you want is a cold bottle of water. You’d spend that ridiculous $8 on a bottle of water (of course it’s $8 because it’s magical Disneyland water) because you NEED it to quench your thirst. You put everything aside until you get that ice cold water. It’s hot, you’re dehydrated, irritated and exhausted until you get that water because you’re dependent on it now. You’re used to it, you need it to function. Think of this emotionally. There are things like that in our life that happen that habitually spin us into being dependent off of that one thing. Because you’re used to sipping on that drink, or letting that guy make you feel good, or spending that check on something pretty to post on Instagram…. You end up dependent on that satisfaction it temporarily gives you.
But imagine that you’re home from Disneyland now… All I would want to do is take a nice, long shower. Wash off that day, wash off the stress of kids screaming, wash off my muscles from standing and walking all day…. When I turn on that shower water faucet – I know water is going to come out of it. Because I know the water supply won’t run out. If I left that shower running FOREVER I would have the HUGEST water bill of all time, but I do know that it won’t run out. That’s the kind of love I want to live my life with. Not a temporary solution, but an everlasting spring of life. One that I could leave running forever and it wouldn’t run dry. WHAT A LIFE! That’s what I want to be thirsty for. Because once you’re thirsty, Jesus won’t stop fulfilling your need. He won’t relent in his pursuit of the satisfaction of your deepest need.
Which one are you living your life consuming?
The Water Well? Or the Everlasting Faucet? I want to challenge us all today to analyze our desires. The Woman at the Well was so disconnected that she didn’t even recognize Jesus was just trying to help her when He walked up to her. Some people believe that she even thought that Jesus was trying to FLIRT with her. I never want to get that disconnected from Him that I don’t even recognize when He’s speaking directly to me. When he’s just trying have have a conversation with me. When He’s trying to help me.
The story ends with The Woman coming to know Jesus and living her life for Him. She leaves the seen to go tell her friends all about Him.
Jesus ends their conversation by saying… “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
So… What are you thirsty for?
I love you all. Sorry for my lack of posts, I’m going to try to have new post up every Thursday or every other! Thank you for your endless support, love and emails. You’re all beautiful
Photo by @susannaapril
Hey guys! One of my sweet friends Emily Eisa has an incredible new single out on called “Exactly Where” – I love supporting my friends and sharing with you guys what I’m into at the moment! So I asked her to share a little bit about her story with us on the site! I can’t even imagine how many of you will be able to relate to her and her music! ENJOY! And thanks, Em! https://soundcloud.com/user-459322733/exactly-where
For those that don’t know me, I am Byron Rideau. I’m Husband and future baby daddy to the AMAZING Mariah Houghton. When my wife (still has a nice ring to it) asked me to write a blog for her readers I got a little nervous. One, because I have never written a blog before, two, what could I possibly write that she cant write better than me! Never the less it’s my honor and privilege to write to whomever may come across this post.
Some of you guys may already know our story, but here’s a little recap.
We met when I was around 15, and she was 13. We knew of each other but were never really close. “Her best friend was best friends with my best friend” type deal, and that’s how it was until August of 2014. A while of months before August I had just gotten out of a 9-month relationship. And my promise to God was to wait on Him, and learn to whistle while waiting. I told Him I wouldn’t date until I was content with who I was and had peace with who I was. Too many times we think that us waiting on God is a punishment. We are so used to getting everything we want when we want it! We live in a “microwave dinner” world that when it is time for us to wait we freak out. Whether it’s waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting for food service, or waiting for marriage, biding our time is more counter-cultural than ever.
I decided I didn’t want a microwave relationship but a slow, roasted, marinated, oven cooked relationship! Can I get an amen?! All the best food takes time and preparation to make, so why just jump into a relationship that hasn’t taken time to cook? “Whistle While you Wait” rings so loud for me, because I did it! I never “saw” Mariah until God opened my eyes to see her. Your husband/wife could be your next-door neighbor but you would never know because you haven’t waited God to reveal that person to you.
Now, a lot of people don’t know this but I was Mariah’s first boyfriend, ever! Which is a lot of pressure, I mean everything we would do together, like regular boyfriend girlfriend stuff, she had never done before. The crazy thing is that I knew I wanted to marry her. As a 20 year old, I was hit with asking myself 3 questions. How do I win some one’s heart that has never been won before? How do I pursue someone for marriage at our younger ages? And how do I not mess this up? To answer all 3 questions in detail I will have to write another post, but I will give you a little bit.
I would have never known how to pursue Mariah until I learned how to pursue God, even now after the wedding, if I’m not pursuing God the way I’m supposed to I forget or lose focus on how to pursue Mariah. Nobody is ever ready for marriage. Now you can be in a better place financially or mentally or emotionally but you will never be ready for it. You learn as you go. I’m not going to lie I wish I could have been an millionaire before we got married. I wish I could’ve had a perfect 9-5 job working at a church or full time ministry before but I knew God was calling us to wait that long. You see how FINE Mariah is! I couldn’t wait any more! But I WOULD HAVE. We stepped out on Faith, and God honors that everyday.
And that is how God pursues us. He can’t wait any more. He wants to be in relationship with you every morning every day. He knows that you have other things pulling on your mind and time but He waits for you. He’s been waiting for you before you were born. He was waiting on you before the foundations of the world. He wanted you so much that He gave His Son so that you would have LIFE. I didn’t know if Mariah was going to choose me or not but either way I already chose her.
Long story short, we became best friends in October. Started dating March 10th, 2015. Got engaged March 10th, 2016. Got married September 25, 2016.
I waited… I decided to not have sex until I was married and it was obviously difficult! I think the real reason why it was so hard was because I wasn’t satisfied with who I was, and I thought a woman would fill that void that I was feeling. “If God cant satisfy you when you are single, nothing will satisfy you in a relationship.” Whistling is something you do when you are at peace, satisfied, or confident where you are. So if you cant be content, at peace, satisfied, or confident when you are single. You can’t whistle in a relationship.
Learn to whistle now.
I learned to “whistle” while waiting for my wife. And now everyday when I wake up and look over next to me, I see the blessing that God has given me for waiting on Him.
So, if you’re a virgin or not, in a relationship or not, married or not. Learn to whistle. God knew what He was doing when he created love. If you are looking for questions about love go to the SOURCE: Jesus is Love and Love is Jesus.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends…” John 15:9-17
If he or she is not willing to love you like christ loves us, HE AIN’T THE ONE BOO BOO!
Love is a gamble, but God knows the out come. He will give his children peace in the relationships to pursue, or the ones to run away from.
Hi!! First I want to say thank you to everyone who commented, DM’d and emailed me about my last post. I was overwhelmed with gratitude (and relief) that so many of you received something from it- I couldn’t believe how many of you expressed that “uninvited” applied to so many of your lives. Thank you, merci, always and forever.
Okay so – I don’t know about you guys, but there are SO many products out there that make promises to us in commercials and ads and then when we actually go get them we’re disappointed. So I decided to share some of my most favorite, loved, and trusted beauty products! My beauty routine changes constantly, but especially during different seasons. As soon as Fall comes my skin tends to get super dry… So I am constantly doing anything I can to keep it glowing and clear, even as the cold months approach us. I have to warn you though, I don’t believe in using products that have ingredients I can’t pronounce or aren’t safe. Natural is the way to go, my friends. Please believe me! Every night I take off my make up and wash my face with Coconut Oil (like literally from the grocery store! Hello $7.99! Hello #BudgetLifeVictories!)… After that I spray a natural facial toner. Sometimes I’ll make my own (Let me know if you’d be interested in the recipe!). And then comes a face oil and a moisturizer. About 2-3 nights a week I’ll do a clay or homemade mask. I promise, when you take care of your skin – consistently and naturally – it will change your life. You’re loving your body, taking time for yourself and investing into you. Below are a few of my favorite things right now. But I cannot lie… One of them is my most favorite.
I’ve always adored essential oils. When I was younger, my best friend in the neighborhood had fourteen brothers and sisters. Incredible, I know. Their mama, Jackie was my favorite person to see, though. It could be ANY thing: a cold, the terrible approach of acne, a scrape or cut… even a bad mood. Mama Jackie would have a cure for it. And it was always an essential oil. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to love those little bottles of liquid healing more and more. But today, I’ll share with you: Frankincense. THE MOST INCREDIBLE THING, EVER.
A little bit about Frankincense…
Health Benefits: helps relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reduces pain and inflammation, boosts immunity and even fights cancer.
Where it’s from: Frankincense is sourced from the resin of the Boswellia carterii or Boswellia sacara tree that’s commonly grown in Somalia. This tree is different from many others in that it can grow with very little soil in dry and desolate conditions.
How to use it: I love to sprinkle a few drops in my bath with epsom salt after a long day, rub a few drops on a scar, stretch mark, or acne as a remedy. Once I was out of toothpaste and mixed Frankincense oil with baking soda as homemade toothpaste (the bomb!) and also I diffuse it in my house as a stress reliever. My favorite use though is as a skin brightener and natural beauty enhancer in my moisturizer! I swear it makes my skin GLOW! Which is what inspired me to write this post, I couldn’t keep the goodness all to myself! Here is my routine of the moment:
(mix, a drop of the Frankincense into a dime size of moisturizer…)
If you’d like to know more about natural oils + ingredients and their uses just let me know! And if you want to get involved in the lifestyle of Young Living, Essential Oils – email me in “ask mariah”. We all gotta look out for each other, it’s a crazy world of chemicals out there! And as always, remember… Beauty is on the inside. When you can love yourself, because Jesus adores you and that’s enough, it shines outward. Beauty starts in your heart and ends in the way you live. All my love! xx Mariah!!
Howdy, friends! I’ve been traveling non stop this past week. Houston to Dallas to Arizona, feeling homesick and missing my sweet husband. I’m currently on a flight on the cutest little plane on my way home. I long for our own bed, our little kitchen and my DVR box that’s begging me to catch up on my shows! There really is no place like home. Also! If you’ve emailed me in “ask Mariah” the past two weeks- I’m catching up on emails like a crazy person! I haven’t forgotten! Promise!
Anyways, anytime I write a post I always ask God what to write about. That’s why sometimes I’ll go weeks without a post- a lot of the time our jobs and business get in the way, but also I never force a post. It has to be heavy on my heart and on my mind. Quality not quantity, my friends.
God made it very clear though what to write about this week. There isn’t really a particular story I can tell you, or a recent situation that I want to vent about. Just a series of little things that add up to a conversation I wanted to have open up.
Have you ever felt so uninvited that you just want to give up? Or even change yourself in the hopes of being included?
I’m what you might call a… people pleaser. I love love LOVE for everyone to be happy. As I’ve gotten older, I really have grown to appreciate my priorities and what makes me happy too. Maybe that’s saying no to a friend because I know I need quality time with my husband. Or it’s forsaking extra sleep to wake up 15 minutes early to spend some quiet, alone time with Jesus (oooh yeah that’s right, married friends! sometimes you need your devotion time just by yourself. you and your Father- you’re not leaving your husband out, rather refueling to love even better! I promise.)
I’m my happiest when I feel that everyone around me is happy. That may turn into what may be classified under, overbearing pushing over-ing. (< I made that up and I would appreciate you pretending that’s it’s a real phrase / real grammar.)
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to what my Papa calls “over-do”. Going all out with gifts, favors, and being so loving that it left no time to love myself. But you know what is the funniest thing? Even with every effort in the whole world- it still wasn’t enough for the people I was trying to make happy. Dare I even say, the people I was trying to make like me. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have some weird complex about not sleeping at night if everyone didn’t adore me. But I do love for the people I’m around to like to be around me! (does that make any sense?) But still, even in every effort, it wasn’t and still isn’t always enough.
In the world of social media, it’s so easy to see everything at the drop of a hat. As they’re happening, you’re aware of it in real time. Whether it’s all of your friend’s together without you, or people you desire to be your friends together without extending an invitation. It could be your siblings, cousins, extended family. It doesn’t matter: there are circumstances you feel forgotten about sometimes in life, no matter how wonderful you try to be. If that’s how you feel, I want you to know that it happens to me, too. Sometimes people mean to hurt you, sometimes they don’t. What matters is how you react and respond. There are moments in life when I want to be sassy, sarcastic and react out of my emotions. I can’t say that that never happens- but I try my hardest to take time to understand situations before I hurt so deeply and respond in a way that would hurt the person right back (what does that help?). It takes a lot of soul to find the reason why we can be so hurt by missing out on things by way of being left out. I deal with it to this day, this week I had a conversation with a family friend who’s way advanced in life – she felt the exact same way. I couldn’t believe that such a successful, beautiful, talented and hilarious wife, mommy and business woman dealt with the same issue that was on my heart at the time. She spent her time blessing people, loving on people and inviting people just to get the opposite back.
I personally think that what the enemy would love to do, out of this specific situation, is plant seeds of self doubt and self-loathing. Now I know what you’re thinking “Mariah, ‘self-loathing’ because you weren’t invited to a party is a bit dramatic, don’t you think?”
It may sound like it, but you’re talking to someone who dealt and deals with this from time to time… The devil will plant any rotten seed to grow a root of bitterness. A childhood tragedy, a middle school breakup, someone at your church or school that just looked at you the wrong way. He’ll use other people’s issues to plant insecurity in your heart, water it with words of destruction and shine the deep darkness of fear over it until that thing grows and grows into a core belief. In that definition of the word ‘uninvited’ above, I really liked what #2 said: “Not wanted or encouraged.” #NoKidding. Have you ever dropped things for someone, listened to them, talked them through hard times and loved on them, but when you need that attention back they’re nowhere to be found?
Sometimes it can feel like you pour out and pour out and you’re left empty. Let me tell you, don’t ever let this stop you from being an encourager. I believe two things about our life here on earth:
There are times: you can love so well. Encourage well. Friend well. And you are left without a healthy reciprocation. People aren’t always able to love you back in the same health, because they’re still learning to love themselves. I refuse to be a friend to people who only are able to give something to me. Sometimes there are relationships in your life just for you to be a blessing. God will give you people, friends, mentors and family that will go through the hard times and the good times with you. Not everyone will do that – nor does everyone need to do that. I’m begging you, don’t let this make you give up on people. Love love love until the day you’re called Home. Because I believe it is truly our purpose. Love those who do you wrong, just as much as those who bless you well. You’re planting seeds of life. Sowing a harvest that is so big that your great-grandchildren will reap it long after you’re gone. (If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that God blesses generationally. And I love that my kids will reap a harvest of graciousness that I may never see.)
I conclude by saying:
God taught me a cool lesson this month. What I may see as rejection, may actually be God’s divine distance from situations and areas I don’t need to be in.
And even if there are people who have forgotten about you, know that that doesn’t give you a license to ignore them back. Love from the distance you’re at, bless them, and keep moving forward. You may never know how impactful that could be on their life, spirit and heart. And as always, if you ever feel left out, know that you’ve got a friend in me.
Just a little something on my mind today… What do you think about when you hear the word “Grace”?
Do you think of your past? Do you think of mistakes? Or do you think of maybe something you need to share with another?I grew up in church, I know the lingo. I read the bible, I know the terms. I sing the hymns, “… amazing grace how sweet the sound….”. But what does Grace actually mean in our everyday lives? You’re tired, you’re exhausted, you’re overwhelmed. Bills are due, bank account is low, relationships go up and down, our bodies are tired… There are so many emotions and things and distractions that happen hour to hour. Can I be honest? When I’m doing laundry and dishes and in the gray crevasses of the mundane, glorious grace is a contrast. Life can become such a show, don’t you think? We try to keep up an appearance of peace so much that our own hearts get strained with chaos and the pressure of what our lives “should” ideally look like. But what should our lives actually be? For me Grace is the awareness that my brokenness doesn’t discount me from His approval. WHAT would happen if we lived from Grace, not for grace? What would we do if we knew that even if we did fail, grace is the net that scoops us up and props us back to start again? So much of the tedious, regular things in life (that I’m usually using my energy to stress about) become smaller and smaller, and His reality gets bigger and bigger. I’m tired, y’all. Tired of being afraid of messing up, of making mistakes. I lived in such bondage because if I made any kind of mistake it would truly paralyze me. To the point of self hatred and such nauseating, emotional pressure. But g r a c e is a force that not even my biggest mistake or failure can measure up to. No show, no filter, no perception of a “perfect” life could outweigh the reality of Grace being the only reason why I breath. I know I write about perspective a lot and seeing things differently. But Grace is about seeing yourself differently. You were made of grace, by grace, for grace. And the best part of it is that we could never deserve it. We could never earn this grace- so there’s no pressure to try to be perfect enough for it. So keep sailing on the ocean of grace, He’s the wind in your sails, He’s the calm in your storm, He’s the sun light and the moon light. Sail on, friends.
On another, breezier note: lately I’ve been really into dressing for comfort. Not only do I love it but my husband loves it too. I think there’s something so attractive about a woman who knows her worth, who’s comfortable in her skin and also her clothes. I know everyday when I step out that I’m clothed in strength, dignity and grace. I absolutely love this clothing line, Gracemade- because that’s what they’re all about! Check em out. Www.thegracemade.com
More outfit details below.