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Floating horizontal and weightless on the surface of the water, I barely blinked as clouds above me crept their way across the sky. There was no sound, just the muted ebb of water in my ears. My arms worked themselves back and forth, gently raising my head with each stroke. I wondered if I could rest like that forever in this personal lagoon, where dreams took root and conversations with God were as familiar as breathing. Some days there wouldn't be a single boat on the lake. Those were my favorite - not a ripple in sight to disturb the vivid reflections of a changing sky. 


 
 
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Waiting...

For a new job. To be noticed. 
For the next stage of life. On the healing. For the apology. A thank you. For finances to fall in line. The pregnancy. On a new season. For the much needed break.


 
 
It's March and body image has been creeping into our conversations. The vines are blooming here in Carolina and some of us will be heading someplace warm for Spring Break or family trips. Many of you have already been enjoying the sunshine (a shout-out to our southern hemisphere friends - savor these dwindling days of summer).

My husband and I are celebrating our ten-year anniversary next month with a vacation so, just the other day, I stopped into TJ Maxx. Wouldn't you know, I found a couple of cute bathing suits and didn't shed a single tear in the dressing room...


 
 
Over the past few weeks, there's been a particularly feminine focus here at the Pearl (sorry Charlie). These recent messages are in direct response to the stories of women who've recently participated in our local workshops and other community events. If you, too, share some of these struggles, be inspired. You're not alone.
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There was this thing I was supposed to do years ago. I lost sleep over it, tossing and turning. You know those God-prompts that only come when He finally pins you beneath the covers, a captive audience? I argued. I diverted. I didn't want to draw any attention to myself or invite judgment with this writing-about-hard-things stuff. Counseling behind closed doors was plenty for me! 
Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. 
Num. 12:3


Moses and I would have gotten along just fine. My mostly-introverted self could be content wandering the desert, "watering flocks." I know many of you wish that you could disappear amidst the sand dunes every once in a while too. I hear you loud and clear when you say that you want to get away, but there's just one problem...


 
 
February. For some of us, new diets are becoming a struggle and frustration is growing. We're reminded by the pretty faces staring back at us from magazine covers that summer will be here in the blink of an eye. Just when I feel pressure to look my best, I remember that you might be experiencing the exact same thing. I sent this love message to you for the first time three years ago, so internet kin, it's time for a body image revisit...
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I've circled this island in my kitchen no less than fifty-two times and I swear, there's NOTHING to eat in this place. I'm tired, irritated, and after putting the boys to bed, I cleaned the you-know-what off the side of the toilets and tile flooring. The stool overflowed again. Some days there isn’t enough Clorox in the world to accomplish the super feats of Mom. It’s only 8pm. I drag like a weary, homemaking soldier headed home from battle and want nothing more than to settle into the respite of my comfy, tan couch.  


 
 
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Valentine's has come on gone. For some of us, it was a love-filled occasion, and for others, just another day. Sadly, some of us might have received our welcome to the broken hearts club this year. If that was you, here's a empathic wince and an over-the-internet fist bump of solidarity. Regardless of how your 2017 has gone so far, we can all relate to the sting of walking away from a relationship, feeling irritated with a friend or family member, or replaying hurts from the past over and over in our minds. 

Maybe you're having a rebuttal thought right now - I've never been one to hold a grudge. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising. So many of us miss the symptoms of unforgiveness that we never consider it to be one of the root causes of stress and suffering. 

This week we're working to clobber those hidden woes, so here are a few questions that we can ask ourselves to begin...


 
 
Women (and men) of grit and grace,

I went and did it - looked not good enough in its ugly, lying face and submitted this article to Kelly Balarie's #FearFightingBook contest. It's my prayer that you, too, will be inspired to clobber any fear that lingers in your life. 

If my words are an encouragement to you, I humbly ask that you'd vote for my submission. It's easy! Just click the button below and leave this number in the comment box at the bottom of the page: 
46
Also, take some time to visit other entries. You'll be blessed by some great writers. Because of your vote, I could win the opportunity to learn how to improve every resource and word offered to you here at the Gritty Pearl. 

With gratitude and truly nothing to lose,

Meg

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She bought the bathing suit, but hid under t-shirts.
She knew the answer, but couldn’t speak the words. 
She took the blame to get it over with.
She had a question, but didn’t risk the attention.
She tried the new thing, but made sure nobody was watching. 
She dated the guy and sold herself short.
She made the friend but held her at a distance.
She changed herself when the world wouldn't change.
 

She hid. She shrunk. She conceded. 

Invisible is always safer than the fear of being abandoned, attacked, or ignored...
until it costs a woman her soul.


 
 
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*Susan Brubaker Knapp's quote was garnered by interviewers from National Public Radio, following the events of the 2016 election. Most of us have likely made similar comments, or heard them from friends and family.

Hands waving, I'm calling for it. A Ceasefire. I'm tuckered out, like so many of you, but still moving forward. Wobbly, but clinging to my hope stores - set aside during the more peaceful years. 

I have faith in us, dear reader. I believe that there's a better place to dwell, far removed from the knee-jerk reactions of cutting-off friends, coworkers, and family. Thank you for joining me with a determination to foster productive, faith-filled conversations. I'm glad you're here.



 
 
Please join together in welcoming Carrie Boos to the Gritty Pearl this week. Carrie is a dear friend, a fierce woman of faith, and a survivor of parents' worst fears. We trust that her story will fill you with hope and embolden you to face your own giants.
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I can remember the worst day of my life like it was yesterday. I was 34-years-old, seven months pregnant with my third girl, and working in my classroom. Throughout an anxious day of teaching, I'd been waiting for a call from my doctor. When it finally came, my life was turned upside down.  

I’m sorry, you have cancer. It's spread.


 
 
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She couldn't focus. In fact, she couldn't even function. She just sat there at her desk, crying off and on throughout the day. Just 7-years-old and buried under the belief that the president-elect hated her, she was devastated. While others celebrated the passing of the torch in the White House, young *Mya couldn't help but to wonder how her friends could be so happy. This was the man who said that she and her family were bad people. At least, that's what she'd been told...

The story is true and it happened in the days following the election. I know this young lady personally and others like her. This week we're talking about our adult responsibility to teach children about the world in terms that are both appropriate for their age, and sensitive to their hearts. Welcome to the conversation...