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Lonely But Never Alone

Hey friends! I don’t know about you, but there are so many times in my life I’ve struggled with things that I never wanted to confront out loud. Not only because it makes it even more real, but also because sometimes we can feel so much shame about the areas of our life that we don’t take time to understand. I think that the enemy has two main tools especially in the life of women. I can only speak from my experience obviously, friends! But the first one I believe is shame. I’ve dealt with so much shame in my life that was completely fear based. For some of us, the shame may be because of our past… maybe our thoughts or guilt that we feel about something we’ve done. Sometimes our shame even comes from someone else doing something to you that you can’t control, yet you take the blame. Let me tell you friends, shame is absolutely NOT the heart of Jesus. It’s a tool to isolate and distract you from furious grace that you were born into. The second one (and the heaviest battle in my life) is loneliness. I cannot explain to you the hours upon hours of tears and questions and deep sadness that poured from my heart. Even as I type this, it’s so difficult to even put out there. BUT I promised you transparency in this space and that’s what you get. I remember the point in my life where I realized the sadness I felt wasn’t just a part of “teenage years” but an actual wound in my heart that needed to be acknowledged and dealt with. When I think back to that time and when I look at journal entries it’s so incredible to see how the lies from hell had completely submerged my mind in isolation. More than anything, loneliness was my only friend. It was my crutch, it was my claim to pain, it gave me a reason to live in the hell of quarantined oblivion. The nadir came when I lost all of my hope. Thoughts start to come like “nobody cares anyway”, “everything would be better without me since I can’t get anything right”, “I deserve to be alone so I can mess less things up”… When you start hearing these lies over and over again in your head, it’s consumed and then digested in your heart, and then baked into your core beliefs. These vociferous lies were so furious, so loud and disruptive. But it’s what I decided to believe. I don’t know if anyone has ever been in a season like that, or if you’re going through it right now. But I promise you – with heart and passion – the lies are lies. The truth is truth. SHAME is not intended to be a part of your story, nor does it need to be.

LONELINESS is a mind game from hell. Because well first of all, you’re not alone. You’ve got me. Hiiiiii! Second, you have the master of all friendship, closer than a brother, faithful and perfect. You have Jesus. Who, even if you’re not aware of it or WANT to be aware of it, is there. He doesn’t leave, you can’t play hide and go seek with Him. Even at your worst He thinks your lovely. And at our best, He only makes us better. Where pride ends, relationship can begin. I had so much pride in my belief that Jesus had completely forsaken me…I quietly mocked relationship because I didn’t experience it. When I gave up my pride and my bitterness towards myself, I met Jesus so fiercely. HE was always there, I just ignored it. Does that make sense? But like I said, as I can look back now from the other side and access – I realize now that it was the war of loneliness that did it. Because I had trotted down the trail of isolation, I quieted and disarmed any voices that spoke truth and life. I didn’t believe it. I was letting one rotten voice into my mind and when we do that we start to believe crazy things that aren’t even true!!

SO if you’re in a place where you feel like everything is against you, or like no matter what you do you can’t seem to feel present with others or Jesus… even if the room is full of people… please know you’re not the only one who feels that way and experiences that daily. It’s a real place and it hurts. But know how to identify a lie and defuse it. Call someone. Call me! Call you Father who wants to meet you at the zenith and the valley. You are loved.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. Romans 8:1 



Hey Friends!

I have major guilt for not posting in a while – the response to this blog has been beyond my dreams and I’m so thankful to hear from all of you that you enjoy reading the little thoughts of my heart! A lot of you know that I am engaged to a human teddy graham – Byron Matthew Rideau, the most handsome, darling and carmely man in the world! I’ve currently been in a whirlwind of wedding plans, pre-marital prep as well as working two jobs! Phew! I know so many of you can relate, take a deep breath! Light a candle, pour some tea… spend some time in the quiet today. Also, thank you everyone for the birthday wishes last week!

Anywho- I’m about to go to work but I’ve been thinking about something all week this week! I know I’ve written about anxiety in the past, but today Jesus was really just helping my heart in a different way. I remember falling asleep last night asking Him – “why, even if everything around me is okay, do I still have anxiety about the things of the future? things that don’t even really matter right now?” I could feel an impression in my heart telling me to take inventory of every single time God has kept me, that He’s provided, that He’s restored in my life. It gave me such a way better perspective. The older I get, the more I’m realizing that Gratitude is the ultimate enemy of Anxiety. When we take inventory of God’s faithfulness, it reminds us that there’s truly nothing in this world that should have more power over our thoughts and our well being in general than Jesus. He has proven Himself to you – even though He doesn’t have to. He has showed Himself strong, He has healed you, shielded you from heartaches and accidents that we didn’t even know were around the corner.

So if you’re in an overwhelming season like I am, please first know you’re not alone, I’m with you there. And second remember that WE’RE not alone. Be THANKFUL today for every breath. We do stupid stuff all day long, and still He loves us more with every beat of our heart. Let gratitude override fear… Let joy override the temptation to feel sorry for our situations…

Love you guys! x M

ps: here’s one of my favorite outfits I wore my birthday week! A lot of you have DM’d me for details so here they are! x

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Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

(Pants, T-shirt + Blush Bag are all curtesy of Zara! Shoes are Steve Madden and Sunnies from Forever 21) x

(You Can Be My Outfit) It Don’t Matter If You’re Black or White

You know those days? When you stare into the abyss of your closet, sucked into the black hole called “I have nothing to wear” slash “not leaving the house” slash “questioning everything about your life”. And then you’re Mom or your Dad or your Sister or in my case – my Byron tells you, you’re crazy! Look at ALL of these clothes! What are you talking about? And you respond with a quick but meaningful look that explains they have no idea what they’re talking about…

I pretty much have that day everyday of my life. WHY is getting dressed so hard? Either it’s a great day with too many choices, or the more normally occurring day of – nada…zilch…nothing to wear. To the perfect, flawless, alien people who can’t relate to this post, I’m sorry. But for the rest of us ladies who deal with this please know you’re not alone! Getting dressed is terrible and I wish I could wear pajamas everyday of my life.

Any who- all of that to say… This outfit was captured by my friend (Stephi of and it’s become my go to. I implore you to recreate it any of those days… we’re all strugglebussing our way through that high fashion life (insert eyeroll emoji here). Getting dressed should be the best part of your days, friends! Wear what makes you feel CONFIDENT and ready to take on the world! And at the end of the day, remember what outfit really matters….“She is clothed in STRENGTH and DIGNITY.” Pr0verbs 31 



Jeans, Topshop

Scalloped Tank, Topshop

Belt, Aldo

Jacket, Zara

Bag and Earrings, Chanel

Shoes, Via Spiga


Xx M


Twirl, Babygirl

Hey Friends! Currently, I regret to tell you, I’m sitting in… starbucks. Which is my emergency only coffee shop. (For my houston friends, I’ll do a list of my favorite, small business coffee shops in the city soon.)  I was on my way to work when I got the call that I didn’t have to come in until later today… let’s just say I was so happy and thankful I got a little extra time to myself… Today I was thinking about so many things. I often write to you all about perspective, and the importance of seeing your circumstances with different eyes… A big picture mindset. But today, it felt like everything was just a big disaster. Every worst case scenario just playing over and over in my mind like a bad commercial with the worst jingle you can’t get out of your mind. I felt like a zombie today, walking straight through life, not caring about perspective, or the roses or the sunshine. I just wanted to get back into bed and sleep until everything in life seems better…

But then I took a second to think about why I would be feeling so empty… The sun is out, Byron is by my side, I have a job, I have a family, I love God. What’s wrong with me?

God then nudged me in my heart and whispered “Twirl, baby girl….” It didn’t make sense at first. But then I thought of when I was younger, my dad and I would always spend time together and if I ever had a hard day at school, or even just down in my heart- we would go for a walk and just talk through life. He would hold my finger, lift it up in the air and tell me to twirl. My dress would billow, the wind would fly through my hair, and I felt like a little ballerina. That tradition carried over into my adulthood and no matter how old I get, I’ll always let my dad twirl me around…

I know that God was reminding me today to never be too big, too stressed, too overwhelmed to twirl. Let the wind blow and get a good look at what’s happening around me. It’s like He wanted me to spin to my left and right to recognize that He’s got this. There’s no area of our lives that surprise God, catch Him off guard or worry Him. He’s constantly master tailoring every facet of our lives so that we can just put our trust in Him and only plant our seeds that’s in our bucket for the day.

I don’t know what you’re going through today… what’s on your mind or in your heart. But if you’re anything like me – sometimes it’s difficult to just really take a moment to recognize how much we really don’t need to worry.

So go in your closet, put on a dress, go for a walk and do a little twirl, babygirl. Look at the beauty around you, look at what God is doing for you in your life. Whatever is lovely, whatever is pure -stare at THAT. Glance at the rest. He’s got you. He’s got us.

xx M

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Blue Jean Baby, Nashville Lady, Seamstress for the Band



“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” proverbs 27

Some of my favorite photos of Audrey Hepburn are the ones with a scarf in her hair, high wasted denim and a tank top. I love gowns, chandelier earrings, high heels and glamour… But there’s something to be said for denim on denim, hot summer days, popsicles in hand and adventure on your mind.  I loved running around my favorite city in this jacket I found at the melrose trading post in LA – some of my best pieces are from flea markets. My tank top is from Forever 21, I wear it pretty much everyday. If there’s one basic item I can’t live without it’s a lacy tank top that goes with everything from mom jeans to tea skirts. My shorts are so comfy and from american apparel, and the shoes are the greatest find on earth at asos.

This weekend I got to travel to nashville to speak to some amazing young women, and also spend time with some of my closest friends in the world. I know that a lot of you saw my photos from the trip on instagram! A lot of them taken by the fantastic Stephi Valez of – my most favorite website on the whole internet. Stephi is the most compassionate, talented, wildly creative mind that inspires me daily, and soul that encourages constantly. I implore you to check out her site… She’s one of the best.

I loved spending time, serving God, eating too much ice cream and laughing every moment. But even between the donuts and the laughs- there were tears. There were tough conversations and real moments that were shared. Sometimes, we get into this routine of work, home, work, home. We get so tired that at the end of the day, I usually just want to be alone. In my loft with hot tea and the bachelorette (which i actually can’t watch alone anymore because Byron is SUPER into it – he’ll deny if you ask, but it’s the truth). And as necessary as it is to spend time alone, with yourself and with God, I think it’s equally as important to surround yourself with a – as the kids say- squad. Who will fight for you in your life? Who will text you right when you need it because they ask God to keep their ears open for you? Who is going to worship with you when you don’t even have the strength to raise your hands… who’s door can you knock on in the middle of the night? For me- I had to pray for these kinds of people. I was a little island, and still have the habit of isolating myself at times. But this weekend I was reminded that, in the midst of it all, God gives us people that are an extension of His love. The biggest trick of the enemy is lying to you that you’re alone, no one cares and your not worthy of people’s love and time. If that’s how you feel – please know that’s a really big lie. Iron sharpens iron, and scheduling time to let your hair down and put some records on with the people you love is a major key.

I’m feeling full and thankful, reminded that even in the stress of life and the chaos of the character of reality – His strength is so tangible. Even in just the reminder that He loves us enough to not want us to be alone. Hold your friends close, and if you find yourself feeling like you don’t really have those people you can count us, trust, and love unconditionally – pray for them. I’ve been there and I understand. But honestly, until then, know that you’ve got a friend in me. xx Mariah




Leave The Lights On, Darling

“You won’t need the sun to brighten the day or the moon and lamps to give you light. The Eternal One will be all the light you ever need. Your God will provide your glory, brilliance for all time. Your sun will never set; your moon will never be eclipsed in shadow, For you’ll bask in the Eternal’s light and silver splendor forever. Never again will you suffer the dark night of despair and gloom of mourning.” Isaiah 60:19-20

Happy Summer, everyone! I hope that all of you lovelies enjoyed my last post. Thank you so much for stopping by to hear my heart today! I have another confession, I have an unfortunately low tolerance for stress. I honestly shut down at the first taste of feeling overwhelmed… Just one of the many reasons I am so thankful to have Byron as my almost-husband. I’ve never seen anyone who can deal with so many issues at once, and still shine so brightly without dimming under pressure. I’m getting better at handling the feeling that I’ve disappointed someone, or the stress of learning how to handle money, work two jobs, volunteer at church AND get ready for marriage! I know there’s so much more that a lot of you deal with on a daily basis, but just to be transparent here: most days I feel like I’m underwater.

When I was growing up, I never had pressure from my parents to be “perfect”. Never pressure from them, or church or friends. Just from myself. For some reason I operated under this microscope that I made for myself. It wasn’t until one random day in Australia, I realized I was actually dying under the hot lights of perfection I placed above me disguised as a halo.

I don’t know how this happened, but in my quest to please God, please my family, please these outrageous standards I’ve set for myself, I disconnected so much from not only myself, but from God. I didn’t want my family to know how much I was hurting on the inside, so I tried so badly to be happy and smile and make people laugh like normal. But in my private moments alone, I was so frustrated and displeased with myself that I would be surrounded by total darkness. I didn’t make room for the light of Jesus but was still trying to be “salt and light” in front of others. You know what? The energizer bunny is a perfect example of what I was. I was running around, beating my drum trying to be adorable and loudly sweet to distract from the pain needing attention inside of my heart.

The light I was shining was temporary, it was synthetic and too bright to be real. For me to want everyone to think everything was perfect and sunny and happy all the time was the contributing factor to being burned out. I was constantly turning my light on for people and off when I was alone because I was trying to conserve the energy I had. Maybe you can relate to this, if not deeply then maybe just on those random days when you’re feeling low. But either way, I am typing this to tell you I’ve been there. Sometimes I still go there if I’m being real!

The reality is, sometimes we feel so deprived of true joy, true friendship and light and we don’t know “what’s wrong with us”. Especially women, I find us giving out so much. Taking care of so many. Being married, working jobs, going to school, holding our families together … We don’t realize that we’re living off of batteries instead of being connected to the source of eternal and effortless light that is Jesus. I was definitely living off of batteries, just like that energizer bunny. So temporary, an external connection rather than an internal relationship.

It wasn’t until I connected myself to Jesus not just in my deeds, but in my faith. Not just in acts of christianity, but in a friendship with my Father. It was then that I was able to actually leave the lights ON. Instead of flipping them off and on to conserve what was left of myself for other’s. When you realize that your identity is in Him, you don’t lose yourself in the pressure of perfection…Because He’s perfect.You can leave the lights on not just to shine bright for other’s but in your privacy with God… He sustains you. His source never gives out, it never dims or dilutes. So it’s not your energy that keeps the lights on in your heart, but HIS presence that does.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

This is just a reminder today to stay plugged into the Source, give up the batteries and pressure and fear of being “on” for everyone else. And let your Father keep you above the waves.

Xx Mariah


Interior Design

“God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish.”
Philippians 1:6

Today, I woke up feeling tired, weary, disappointed in myself and devastatingly unmotivated. Just finding it to be a challenge to remember the sparrows and find the bright side. Some days it’s hard to fight off the lies from hell… but I got out of bed, washed my face, and started cleaning, organizing and redecorating (a normal occurrence in my loft). And then Jesus impressed something upon my heart. Just because my loft needs work – some polishing, some more furniture and organizing – doesn’t mean

I’m just going to forget about it and move out. No! I’m going to spend even more time here, using all the energy I can to make it beautiful so that I can invest into others and use it as a place of healing and worship. I’ll keep rearranging things for awhile because I want it to be the best it can be. I have a vision for my space, for my life, and I know that it won’t be a perfect apartment overnight – if ever! Just because it’s not perfect yet doesn’t mean I’m just going to move back to my parent’s house.

I feel like that’s what Jesus does for us. I want to be a space, a vessel, that Jesus can use. But most times fear, failure, sin and humanity can make a mess inside. God doesn’t just leave me and move out and stop using me (just like I wouldn’t move out of my loft when there’s dishes in the sink).

God still uses us in progress. In the polishing, the decorating, the vacuuming. He doesn’t wait until we’re perfect. It’s His presence and design that makes us worth using, worth living in and loving.

He uses you. He lives in your space and loves you while He’s working. Trust Him with every dirty dish, every unmade bed, every pile of laundry. He lives with the carefree AND the brokenhearted. Wherever you are in process, know He doesn’t leave you or wait for you to be a perfect house to live in. He loves living in you, using you, decorating you and perfecting you in His image. He’s (drake voice) faithful faithful faithful, faithful to finish what He’s started in you.

He will never move out, He will never stop designing.

xx Mariah

malena blog

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