A Defining Question

Over the past week or so, my brother has gotten really into our family’s history. My ancestry. Genealogy. And I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty awesome. We’re talking 16th century London – ancestors who were contemporaries — and practically neighbors – with Shakespeare! But soft…


But I think it’s really fascinating how all of these DNA tests have broken out on the scene: Ancesty.com, 23 & Me – we all have this deep longing to know where we come from. Who we are. Which, I can tell you right now, no answer to any DNA test is gonna answer that doosey.

I spent a long time trying to answer that question: Who am I? Because recovering from an eating disorder forces you to answer that whether you like it or not. You’ve spent years merely existing as a shell of yourself – gone are your passions, dreams, ideas, personality; stripped away – stolen – by ED. And so when you get out the other side, it’s as though you just were dropped off in the desert on a one-way Greyhound bus. You’re disoriented, and completely lost. And probably smell bad…


Watching and being with my mom through her recovery from her stroke, I’ve been just floored at how similar the recovery processes are from that standpoint.

Rediscovering and finding out who you are is a daunting and overwhelming task.

But my mom and I shared a heart breaking moment this evening after dinner. It was a bit of a rough day, spirits low, and my mom wept for really the fist time since her stroke happened, December 27. She said, “I’m never going to be the same, am I?”

My heart shattered.

Behind my mom, as she said this, was a giant, wall-sized collage of family photos through the years. And seeing all the goofy and fun photos displayed behind her, depicting all the wonderful and vast facets of her vivacious personality, I couldn’t help but fight back tears, too.


I realized that that’s what was tugging on my mom’s heart in that moment- she’s trying to find out who she is. Who is she after this horrific event. Now that she’s picking up the pieces, what woman is she left with?

I think one of the biggest traps that we can fall into when we’re trying to answer that is using our accomplishments or accolades or titles to suffice. And looking at my mom, who is grappling with the idea that those defining things about her – right down to her personality – can’t answer that question. At least not right now.

In that moment, holding my mom as she sobbed into my shoulder, I was grateful that she was finally allowing herself to feel since the stroke. But I also prayed in that moment for God to give me the words to say. This was a hurting and scared heart that needed to be affirmed and consoled and validated.

I said, “Mom, I’ll take the woman I see in front of me. How you are in this moment. Every day. You don’t have to try to live up to anything or strive to be anything with me. I’ll take her. Just as she is.”

We didn’t speak many other words after that. Our hearts were heavy as we just swayed in the kitchen, hugging each other for about 10 minutes. It’s as though our spirits were enclosing us in, which I know sounds so out there, but we just held on to each other, because truly, that was all we could do.

Will my mom ever be the woman who talks in funny accents and spontaneously does this or that, going out of her way to make someone’s day, cackling a gut-busting laugh after spouting a funny remark that leaves the room in stitches…we don’t know. I believe so, but that’s in God’s hands.

All I know is that in that moment, I had never felt so close to my mom, ever.

The truth of the matter is that this stroke did change my mom. Sure, maybe some things are more difficult, and could be seen as “negative.” But it changed her in positive ways, too. She is strong. Resilient. Brave. Humble. She has a knowing to her. Almost as though she can see your soul.


Moments of fear like that are gripping, because they can make you doubt the answer to that soul-defining question, who am I?

Because at the end of the day, every single one of us wants to hear one word to that answer: enough.

If my mom ever asks me that question again, I’ve got a different answer for her. I’m going to look into her beautiful brown eyes, and remind her of the truth that was written by Jesus’s pierced hand:

You are enough.

Recovery, no matter what kind, shape, or form, is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. That’s been the most trying thing to remember here. And every day, my mom blooms more and more. This season is one of rebirth. And I can’t wait to see the beauty that will come (and is coming) from this trial.

Because if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that God makes all things new.


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245 responses to “A Defining Question”

  1. When my mom, a clown and fun person went home to be with the Lord one thing my sister told me helped. Our life is like a book we write and each chapter has special meaning. It is like catapillars. Our life prepares us when the time comes to be a butterfly. God has a plan.

    • Oh my goodness what a beautiful analogy. Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m so sorry that your mom has passed. I find comfort in knowing that our loved ones are with Jesus and in perfect peace and that we will be reunited one day. Thanks for sharing this. Hugs and love xox

  2. I loved this post! What amazing women you are and what a blessing to your Mom at this time. I think your writing has a new depth since this experience, thank you for sharing your heart! Praying for your Mom right now. Lord, let her know she is enough. That they both are!
    I also sent this to my friend who suffered a stroke 5 years ago and has had to find her new normal. Thank you

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad it resonated with you. and my goodness, what a kind thing to say. God is definitely teaching me A LOT during this season. thank you for your prayers and kind words. oh gosh, i will definitely keep your friend in my prayers 🙂 (And you as well, of course 🙂 ) Big hugs to you xo

  3. In some ways it’s difficult to watch you go through this, all this churn and turmoil in all the aspects of your life. On the other hand, it is amazing to see how God is leading you through it…through this gift in such an odd wrapping.
    May God continue to be so close, so present with you during this time. And may you grow closer to your mom, and appreciate and love her more, through this as well.

    You are a brave, resilient, intelligent, God-loving woman. Being carried by Him, because you chose to be.

    • Hi Jeff, thank you so much for this thoughtful response. A gift in odd wrapping — wow that is such an accurate description of this season. thank you for your prayers and kind words. hugs xox

  4. Life is certainly a marathon. Truly a marathon to find out who we are connected to in our roots. Once we hear the call that is calling all of us to love, then another phase of the marathon begins. The choice lies before us to run our marathon away from the truth. And the best choice run the marathon In truth, with stumbling, failures, shortcomings, hope, truth, grace and love, All in an appropriate mix. It sounds like with your deep hurt, also has cultivated a deep love. Be strong and courageous my fellow pilgrim, after doing all, stand and love. Trust God that he will to heal the hurt that comes with it. It appears this is what you’re doing now Continue to be strong and courageous! You will never be separated from this kind of love.

    • A marathon indeed. Thanks so much for this, Denny. That’s such beautiful advice: trust God because you’re right…He will heal all that comes with us. Thanks for the encouragement. hugs xox

  5. My heart just dropped to the floor when you started this talking about a DNA test. A member of my family took one and we just got the results on her birthday and the 10th anniversary of my grandfather’s death. It’s shaken our family tree. I’m having a hard time with the results but I’ve been telling myself my real identity is in Christ and no matter how many despicable fathers or negligent mothers are in my family tree, I have one perfect Father and so has everyone else in my family tree.

    Your posts are always so timely. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Such beautiful sentiments. I was adopted and had struggled for so long to have the answers to the same question. I’ve come to realize that all really matters is that I am a child of God. Praying for mom’s recovery!

  7. I sincerely agree with your statement that recovery is a marathon. It is also a battlefield of the mind, especially when the enemy tries to throw darts of negative memories. I appreciate the candor of your posts. It relates to the heart of matters. Thank you for sharing about your mother. I am sorry that she had a stroke. My friend had one last year and she is definitely in the marathon. One of the challenges she faces daily is being able to speak like she used to. I feel her challenge when speaking with her.

    • Thank you so much 🙂 a battlefield of the mind – gosh is that ever true. Thanks for your kind words for my mom. I’m sorry your friend is having to go through that. I’ll definitely keep her in my thoughts and prayers. Big hugs to you xox

  8. Bless her and bless you! Continued prayers for recovery and complete restoration of all faculties and facets of life! Xo

  9. A deeply beautiful and insightful post! This one reminds me of what cancer survivors go through when they come through the other side. I cared for my wife for years and she was trying to find herself again. She went through a lot of difficult emotions. It was a very gradual process of recovery. Anyway thanks for sharing this.

  10. Beautifully written. You and your mom are both recovering. It is a journey neither of you would have wished for; but, God will work this to the good. You are right. He is making both of you into new creations. Perhaps not perfect from our understanding but perfect in His. You and your mom are more than “enough”. You are God’s workmanship: “For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them” (Ephesians 2:10). And God don’t make no junk.

    I believe that you and your mother still have good works yet to do, together and separately, in union with Christ..

    Know that both of you were chosen by God: We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you … (1 Thessalonians 1:4). You are His children, perfect in every way.

    Grasp the fact that you and your mother are sister’s of Jesus Christ, indwelled by the Holy Spirit and thus in communion with God the Father and Christ the Son…. then “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:7).

    Be at peace beautiful sister in Christ, for you and your mother are both more than “enough”.

    • We are God’s workmanship – WOW I love that so much. Thank you for sharing this. I think you’re right…we do still have a lot of work to do. Thanks for your prayers and support through this journey. it means the world. big big hugs xox

  11. I’ll take you, the woman you are, Love you, As you are in this moment. I loved this part. I don’t believe there is a more perfect expression of true love. Shouldn’t we love all in this manner. Truly inspired. The next being encapsulated in each other’s souls- Plausible/probable/likely? I think so, not out there at all. Experiencing this moment fully is, from my experience the quintessential spiritual experience, and requires acute, awareness. Thank you! Bless you!

  12. Your words for your Mom were perfect, gently guided by God’s Holy Spirit. The image of you just hugging for the next ten minutes is heart touching. Although your walk of faith took an unexpected turn, you and your Mom are mutually blessing one another and creating new and special memories. You both are in my prayers for healing, love and comfort. Thank you for sharing your walk of faith!

    • Aw, thanks Rick. Yeah it was a special moment for sure. And yes, I feel that she is blessing me every minute of every day. she is such a great woman. thanks for your continued prayers and support! hugs ox

  13. Your mom is lucky to have you by her side through all of this. I can only imagine how tough it is to see your mom in this state. Good for you for being a source of encouragement and showing her you love her no matter what.

  14. I just visited someone today from our church family who is in the early stages of their journey of recovering following their stroke – so after that visit and reading your post I was reminded of this verse – Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Isn’t that an awesome truth? Bless your sweet heart friend

  15. This post was so moving. Your mum sounds like she’s going through a lot but you were there for her and that photo you put about not digging up what you planted in faith just touched my heart. I really needed to hear that right now. (I saved it in my camera roll!$

  16. Reminded me of Fred Roger’s poem It’s You I Like. I hear the voice of God in it.

    It’s You I Like by Fred Rogers

    It’s you I like,
    It’s not the things you wear,
    It’s not the way you do your hair
    But it’s you I like
    The way you are right now,
    The way down deep inside you
    Not the things that hide you,
    Not your toys
    They’re just beside you.

    But it’s you I like
    Every part of you.
    Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
    Whether old or new.
    I hope that you’ll remember
    Even when you’re feeling blue
    That it’s you I like,
    It’s you yourself
    It’s you.
    It’s you I like.

  17. Just wanted you to know that the poem you liked “Process of Life and Death” on lovesillusionblog was stolen from my blog word for word! It’s my ex stalking me and posting other crap about me. That’s my poem!

  18. Caralyn, this is one of the most beautiful, spot on articles you’ve written.
    “Mom, I’ll take the woman I see in front of me…” That was gold for the soul! I can only imagine what a warm feeling that gave her in the cold hour of doubt.

    You’ve reminded me of some of my less than confident moments in my recovery. I think I found what you have found, what you Mom will find; you’re still you. The core of your being is unchanged. Adjustments need to be made. Certain things must be bid farewell. The sooner we find the will to do that, the quicker our recovery.

    Hebrews 12:1
    [ The Race of Faith ] Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

    Physical obstacles and losses are the most challenging to our faith. Just as you have your mother’s life as your inspiration, such a fine woman surely has someone who is her inspiration!

    I’ve written a couple articles about heroes. One is about you, of course! Both are about the struggle to overcome. Maybe she’ll get something out of one or both.
    A Hero – https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/a-hero/
    Heroes – https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/heroes/

    • Gosh, Jeff, thank you so much for this beautiful comment 🙂 You are always so kind and generous with your words of affirmation and care. it means the world. I appologize for the lack of podcast tonight — I’m leaving for NYC on a 7am flight tomorrow morning, and I was at a shoot all day today in KY. So things are busy to say the least! but i will get it up by tomorrow afternoon when I’m all settled in ny 🙂 (I’ll only be there for a couple days.) But your words really touched my tonight — it’s true, those losses challenge our faith and trip us up for sure. I will definitely share those with her. She loves reading articles, so I know she will enjoy them 🙂 And thank you for that. You are so good, Jeff. I am grateful for your friendship! have a great night and I’ll catch ya on the flip side 🙂 hugs xo

      • I’ll assume you are in bed by now, but you have my prayers for a safe flight! Enjoy your short return to the Big Apple! And please don’t apologize about Patreon! I’ll just look forward to hearing it when you get it up. Hugs and prayers!

      • Thank you Jeff. Yep, off to the airport now!!! Have a rockin’ Friday! ((…did I really just say rockin??? Jeeze Louise, it must be early!!)) hahah xooxooxx

  19. Who am I! Your mom is a child of God. As are you. Only as children will we know and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Vulnerable in innocence. Dependent on others. Dependent totally on our Lord. Transparent in honesty. Our needs open to any and all, draw us closer to God.
    Your Mom is precious and so are you. Children of the Kingdom, today and now.
    Your writing flow is quality and at its best, brings honor to the Lord who gives us life.

  20. This was so deeply moving, I had to reblog it, I hope that’s okay. My oldest sister had a stroke when she was only 34. She had so much stripped from her. Its hard to say this is a spiritual awakening at times. I am so glad you could say the words of love you said to your Mum and support her in her pain. I often sat by my sister’s bed befor she died two years ago holding her hand. Its one heck of a journey. Love and light to you both. Deborah <3

    • Hi Deborah, thank you so much for sharing this. Gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that about your sister. My heart just goes out to you. It sounds like your presence was a real blessing to her when she needed it most. Gosh, I’m sending you the biggest hugs ever. xoxo

  21. Ancient heirlooms are always so fascinating and I love Seinfeld. If you like that show than may love my material. Weve got a rough draft out for a new short story called Eaten an Eskimo and we would love your feedback. Its getting edited as we speak and could be in the process of being published, so we need great blogger like you to come by and express your words of wisdom. Hope to see you at Gastradamus

  22. Such a great post. I love this.. “All I know is that in that moment, I had never felt so close to my mom, ever.” I remember when my dad had a stroke at end of 2002. It came as he was also battling stage 4 cancer. I remember my moment, too. Thanks for this. PS. Keep writing my friend. You have a gift. You matter much to many. – G

    • Thanks for sharing this, G. Gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that your father had to go though that. How truly tragic. I’m glad this resonated with you, in such a personal way. Thanks for the encouragement. It really means a lot. hugs ox

  23. There was a pastor talking about Ezekiel. He rambled a bit and I perked up when he said, “His disciples asked why he speaks in parables and he answered because you already believe.” Things happen and we ask why but we should also ask why not. Does my faith give me shortcuts in life? No. It actually makes life more challenging. Her why not might be now. When the tears dry and she adapts she can still be what she wants to be, so can you.

    • Thanks Jane. I’m so glad it resonated with you. Yes! That quote really hit home with me as well, I just had to make it into a quote image thing 🙂 thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  24. This post is beautiful. I have a few similarities in my life and at times they have been hard to talk about. I lost my dad to brain cancer, but I am still in awe of his fight. Prayers to you and your mom. I am new here, but I can’t wait to keep reading!!

    • Thank you so much Carly for sharing that. I am so sorry that your father has passed. Gosh that is so hard. My heart just goes out to you so much. Thank you for the prayers. Know that you and yours and inmine too. Big hugs xox

  25. Beautiful, heartfelt piece. My mum’s cousin had a stroke last summer, she was fiercely independent and outgoing and it has shocked everyone. The thing is, they were estranged for years and only got back in touch 4 years ago. She was actually with my mum when it happened. We’re trying not to think of it like ‘all those years missed and then this’ but more ‘God brought her back into our lives for a reason’. But you’re so right, she is enough, just as she is. I wish your mum health and happiness, I will say a little prayer for you all. 😊 xx

  26. It’s so nice for you to be there for your mom as ahe goes through this phase. I pray she comes out stronger. I lost my mom just over a month. Would guve anything to hold her one more time reassuring her she’s loved and just enough.

  27. My dear friend,

    This experience with your mom, your words: “…(the stroke) changed her in positive ways, too. She is strong. Resilient. Brave. Humble. She has a knowing to her. Almost as though she can see your soul” – in this moment I thought this also was a reflection to you: it gave you too: positivity, strength, braveness and humbleness – so life is like a mirrow: what we see in others is in us too – so both: negative sides and positive side – in this way we also learn who we are, not just isolated by ourselves but in the contact with all people we have around us.

    By the way: I am also very much interested in genealogy and found realatives from the 17th century.

    Thanks for sharing – beautiful story 🙂

    • Oh Didi, thank you so much. I am incredibly touched by this beautiful affirmation. Thank you. Wow. I am nearly in tears reading that. You are just so kind. Thank you. And wow! The 17th century! That’s awesome!! Isn’t it neat to think about living back in those times? How life would be different. Wowzas. Have a beautiful weekend! Hugs and love xox

      • Welcome, my friend 🙂

        Yes, I spoke even with my grandmom. She became very old and told that at her times they used still horses for agriculture and for travelling. Incredible – in our modern computing time, nearly not thinkable. During the last 100 years there was an enormous technical push, but unfortunately man has little done for his own development – thats why we see so much tension and injustice in the world.

        Have a nice weekend

  28. I agree with you about the “knowing” that some people seem to have after a major illness or setback. It’s as if God helps them slow down and look at life differently.

  29. Your mom is so Blessed to have a daughter like you. God has Blessed her to have you as her strength in her times of weakness. A loving daughter will always take her mom as she is and a loving mom will always know she has that daughter. Blessings to you both and hang in there when times get tough.

    • Oh Corrie, what a kind thing to say. Thank you. I really feel so blessed by her!! You’re right though, those feelings of love are a two way street 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  30. As I read your words I realized I’m in a different form of recovery, and that the road seems never ending, with not much apparent progress. Thank you for the reminder that this is a marathon.

    • Thanks Brian. I’m glad this resonated with you. You’re right- recovery can feel very never ending at times, but the funny thing about recovery is, is that one day, you’ll just look up and realize that the road is no longer treacherous and foreboding, but a walk in the park and has led you to freedom:) hang in there. Hugs and love xox

  31. I cannot underscore how beautiful this post is. It moves me to hear the cadence of your rhythm and heart as you run this marathon. Books are written about the kind of love you eloquently wrote about in this post. As I read I felt as if I was being washed over with a beautiful Yo-Yo Ma recital, and as I visualized the swaying as you and your mom held each other the embrace embraced me.

    You’re an incredible daughter, and I too, look forward to seeing more fruits of your labor on this blog.

    Wow. Just wow.

    • Thank you so much Daniel, gosh I am so touched by this wonderful encouragement. My heart just feels so warm. Thank you again. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  32. Sweetie, I’ve been where you are now. It’s hard & it sucks!
    Tell your mom to run her race. Each race is different. Some are harder than others, but it’s all about finishing strong.
    Love to you both.

  33. What a beautiful moment you described. The pain of this new place you are in is being met by your shared faith and the resilience that brings. Your Mom and you are examples of grace to all your readers. The trial is a moment that is bringing out a new set of glories from the both of you that couldn’t have been seen any other way in this world. They are reflections of eternity that you will both one day see fully. I am praying for you and your mom and your family.

    • Thank you so much for this wonderful encouragement. I am truly humbled by your words. I do feel that God is working on both of our hearts in new and healing ways through this time. Thanks for the prayers 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  34. Another beautiful post as you stand with your mom during her recovery. I think I’ve said before that my daughter had the same role with me. A role you wish your child ever has (or chooses) to take. She and I are getting ready to travel to AZ next week for three days of direct sunlight and hiking. Not as mom and caregiver (I dont need her in that role any longer) but as mom & daughter. You are a shining light! 💕

    • Thank you so much Alexis, for sharing this. I hope you guys have an amazing trip. It sounds like the two of you have such a special relationship 🙂 thanks for this wonderful encouragement! Hugs and love xox

  35. Such a beautiful story. I love reading your posts. I was away from my grandparents as our family went through dementia, diabetes, and Alzheimer. Stories like this help me understand some of what they went through while I was gone. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much. Gosh that’s so kind of you to say! Oh gosh, I’m sorry that your family had to go through that. That’s so tough. Sending hugs and prayers. Xox

  36. After reading all of these “Spot on” remarks from other authors and poets, I have to agree in full with them. The only thing that I can add is to always tell your Mother everyday how much you love her just the way she is. As Christ has loved us – love Unconditionally!

  37. Good luck with everything. Sounds like quite a trial. Just about everything you write now makes me feel sad. I think I’m going to have to quit reading your blog or go into depression. You leave me wondering if your mother is hinging on death and awaiting resurrection with that last phrase. :*(

  38. Your mom (and so many other moms) are amazing stories of perseverance. I pray that she can see the wonderful person that she is. We are blessed by our mothers! Thank you again for the amazing blog. I pray your lent is good and you know how amazing you are too! God bless you!

    • Thanks so much, yeah I am so inspired by her courage and fortitude. And I so appreciate your prayers for my mom and I. I hope you have a moving Lent as well! Hugs and love xox

  39. I think you are so right. We all want to know that we are good enough. I love this. Your blog is beautiful by the way. I love inspiring words.

  40. Dear Beauty, How blessed your mom is to have a daughter like you who can say, “You are enough.” I can only hope that if I were in your mother’s position, my children would say the same. Praying for you and your mom.

  41. I drive my poor kid sister nuts. She has mapped our family back to somewhere and sometime in Europe, but I have yet to go look. 🙂 I am glad she has done it though, it will be there for my 2 kids if they are interested.

    I understand a little of what your mom is going through. 8 years ago I had a very minor stroke, and daily I can feel differences and frustrations. Mom’s have to be magnified immensely over mine. You are doing exactly right being there for her, and make sure to point out any and ALL improvements

    “Mom, last week there was NO way you coulda done this!” Its small, but all victories are important. AND just keep loving her! Great post!

    • Hi Tony, oh gosh, I’m sorry you can relate on such a personal level. I’m glad you are doing well now! That’s great advice. I always fear being *too* encouraging, and making her feel like I’m patronizing her, but I think you’re right – a little morale booster every now and then is a good thing 🙂 Thanks for stopping gby! big hugs xox

  42. Thanks for reading my blog posts so regularly! I am long overdue in reading yours… I just wanted to offer my support (spiritually, anyway) for your lloving care of your mother. I have a sister with a brain injury, so a lot of what you are experiencing is so familiar. And heartbreaking. And humbling. Take care of yourself…

    • You’re so welcome, Kathy! Thank you so much for your prayers and support. it really means a lot. I’m sorry you can relate on such a personal level. It’s definitely tough. So glad you stopped by! big hugs xox

  43. Bless you and your mum. I feel touched by your story. We may have different beliefs but what’s important is how we are connected to God. This reminds me of my late father who was paralyzed due to cervical disc injury. That was the time we figured who we are. Our life has changed now, for the better. Thank you for sharing. God speed her recovery. And thank you for stopping by 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry that you father had to go through that. It sounds like you, too, know the power of God’s lessons even in trials. Hugs and love xox

  44. “The truth of the matter is that this stroke did change my mom. Sure, maybe some things are more difficult, and could be seen as “negative.” But it changed her in positive ways, too. She is strong. Resilient. Brave. Humble. She has a knowing to her.”
    I personally agree with you, adversity as a sage once said, brings out the best in us.God also uses adversity to humble us and us give a simpler worldview.

  45. Hello, who are we? Genealogy, very interesting. I’ve done some from my country in England, mainly potters and miners, making crockery for the world and digging coal, in my immediate lineage. A relative that went down with the Mary Rose battle ship in King Henry V111 time although no proof as yet. Yet most importantly who are we, from Jesus who loves you me and all. Lovely post.

  46. Who am I? I asked myself the same question when it came to my mental disorders. Only we know who we are, but one thing is for sure… we are not our mental disorders. Excellent post my friend. :O)

  47. I did not know how much MORE real it could get with this tribulation with your mother but there it is. WOW. If that is not true vulnerability, I do not know what is. It is such a gift for you and your mom to share such a level of rawness and intimacy. To cry together is so powerful. Some of us are not blessed in that way, so hold on to that as long as you can!!

    What is amazing about how God created us is that we are more complex then we can ever know. The stroke of your mother may have altered a few things, but just like after a volcano erupts, beautiful new growth shows up in ways it has not ever before. I believe that for her. I believe that for you.

    You quoted “You Are Enough”!! The author Brene Brown rights about that in her book DARING GREATLY. Such a healing read.

    Thank-you for continuously feeding our hearts with your stories!!


    • thanks JV. Yeah, that was a pretty real moment. i just had to write about it. thanks for the encouragement and the book recco! i’ll definitely have to check it out 🙂 big hugs and have an awesome weekend! xox

  48. As always, I love this faith walk that you and your beautiful Mom are on. I love your honesty and rawness. God bless you guys always!

    Always in my thoughts and prayers.

  49. We are enough because He is enough. I am my beloved’s and He is mine. The one thing this world so desperately needs, to be enough. Thank you for this reminder on days I struggle with being enough for all of the grubby little hands pulling on me.

  50. I am not one to focus on religion alone in times of need or stress. Reading this made me simply appreciate life and the limited time we spend here. Watching movies is also not something I do often but I happened to see the movie entitled “The Legend of Bagger Vance” which conveys a life message. I won’t bore you with the details or the why I liked it but reading your post brought it to mind. Thanks for life appreciating words.

  51. Beautiful as always! I certainly can understand that feeling of being “enough”. I think for many women and especially mothers, we always think of what we could have done better. I love that reminder that we don’t have to have it all figured out or be doing things perfectly for God to see us as worthy and enough.
    Thank you for your beautiful reminder. You’re mother is very blessed to have you by her side!!

  52. As ever my comment is far down – partly that’s the change of timezone factor! However, just to say, don’t knock the DNA tests – some of us who have ancestors from many different countries/continents may want to ‘know’ to check stuff, and, because there are heritable diseases which affect certain groups (e.g. Jewish, which is somewhere in some of us) so it’s not about who we are, inwardly, to God, but who we are descended from, physically! Inwardly, to God, that’s ‘who we are’ of course …

  53. Hi,
    You liked my blog a few times, so I thought I’d come over and say hi!

    I’m also asking myself who I am, as I try to deal with my own mental health issues (mostly depression and OCD). It’s hard. I feel like I’m doing stuff I should have done as an adolescent, but I couldn’t at the time because for various reasons it didn’t feel safe to explore who I was. So now, in my thirties, I’m trying to work out who I am, sort out my career and hopefully get married. It’s quite scary. But I think people can come out of difficulties stronger.

    Recovery, no matter what kind, shape, or form, is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. That’s been the most trying thing to remember here.

    I need to remember this!

  54. It’s been a long time since I checked in at BBB — probably prior to your .com address, and I was delighted to get a recent like from you. Thank you. I’m glad you’re continuing to write. I looked into the genealogy pursuit years ago and wearied of it. I’m simply who I am. Thanks for visiting Under Western Skies.

    • Thanks Mitch. Oh I’m so sorry that you can relate on such a personal level. May she Rest in the perfect peace of Jesus. I look forward to reading your words. Hugs and love xox

  55. I don’t know anything about eating disorders or stroke recovery. So I am not sure what I am saying is right or wrong.

    I believe your mum had two worries when she wanted to find her identity again:
    1. she felt like she lost a part of her past identity, and now wonder who she is
    2. she maybe worried she wouldn’t be loved as much as before because she wasn’t her old self anymore.

    In my opinion, you perfectly answered to the worry n°2 : “Mom, I’ll take the woman I see in front of me. How you are in this moment. Every day. You don’t have to try to live up to anything or strive to be anything with me. I’ll take her. Just as she is.”. By your words, I guess she understood you loved her no matter the circumstances.

    I don’t think “you are enough” wouldn’t be enough to transmit your feelings to her. It is too short for a person to understand the deep meaning behind these words, especially when she was weeping.

    Even if the past defines what she has become today, acting in the present will help her to define her new identity. I don’t think she has to become the person she was because you will always love her no matter what. Today what is bothering her is to find her identity. It means : what she loves, what she wants to do. It is a personal goal and It will take time. You can tell her you will always support her to find her identity, even if ultimately it is something she has to find by herself. But she will succeed it, just like a student who doesn’t really know what she wants from her life but by living she finds her own way of life. So you can tell your mum maybe the path to find her identity seems obscure for now, but more she walks towards that direction, more the path will become clearer and one day, she will see the light.

    • Thank you so much for this thoughtful and beautiful response. That’s such a positive and powerful response to her. You’re right, I need to just tell her that I believe in her and that she will see the light. That’s really a hopeful message. Thanks for stopping by! big hugs xox

  56. Obviously my situation is different from your mother’s, but I have spent a great deal of time over these past months wondering who I was, who I am, and who I will become as I try to heal from my loss. My entire adult life, I have been half of a couple, and to not have that as part of my identity any longer just adds to my sense of being untethered. I’m trying to remember that I, also, am enough and that I can (and will) grow from this. Thank you for continuing to share your story. God Bless


    • Hi Cheri, thank you for sharing this. I’m sending you such big hugs. Hang in there my friend. This too shall pass, and you’re right – you ARE enough and you can and will grow from what you’re going through. Sending lots of love xo

  57. I love you analogy that you put here! “Recovery is not a sprint it’s a marathon. ” for me, I’ve had to recover from not just eating disorders, but PTSD, drug use, cigarette use, alcohol abuse… I could go on. Every day, being free from something like that is a blessing, every moment, every second of freedom from those things is a blessing. Just like in a marathon you have to take each moment and each step in careful stride. keep fighting soldier! Your faith is incredibly inspiring

  58. This is power, and speaks to healing all the way around. I haven’t struggled with a stroke or ED, however, anything that shakes who you have known, or has changed the trajectory of your life (even if it wasn’t a good one to start), leaves you with the question: who am I. Some people never come close to figuring it out.

    We are such multifaceted and layered individuals, there’s no way we will ever truly be able to answer that question until the end of our journey – and even then, who we are will merely transform again. Sometimes, I get who am I confused with what is my purpose. They are similar yet distinctly different and just because you answer one question doesn’t mean the other is answered either.

    We can only determine in our hearts that where we are and who we are at present is not ALL that we are.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. You’re right, that is a question that we all have to figure out at one point or another. And it true, those are similar very distinct. I’ve never really thought about that before, but it’s right on! Thanks for this great food for thought 🙂 big hugs xox

  59. Awe, what a beautiful love story you paint with your Mom. Not to mention the encouragement it brings me, as I work through some health issues with my own Mom. Thanks for being so open. Prayers for you and your Mom!

    • Thank you so much Jennifer 🙂 I’m so sorry that you can relate on such a personal level. I will definitely keep her and you in my thoughts and prayers. big hugs xox

  60. Hi BBB,

    Great perspective. God allows broken to get people closer. Do you know that Casting Crowns song, “Broken Together”? It is about marriage, but it would be the same here, too. Keep on sharing.

    In Christ,

    Gary On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 3:58 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “Over the past week or so, my brother has gotten > really into our family’s history. My ancestry. Genealogy. And I’m not gonna > lie, it’s pretty awesome. We’re talking 16th century London – ancestors who > were contemporaries — and practically neighbors – with” >

  61. Hi Caralyn,

    I know I’m so delayed with my comment here; I was elsewhere and all over the place. I still feel I must say something to you. 🙂

    You wrote what you said to your mom: “Mom, I’ll take the woman I see in front of me. How you are in this moment. Every day. You don’t have to try to live up to anything or strive to be anything with me. I’ll take her. Just as she is.” Even before that, I was holding back tears. I just couldn’t.

    You have such wisdom… and I hope you apply it to yourself also. You are so right. I think that the reason we even get confused about who we are is because we try so hard to be what others expect or want us to be. We get stuck in trying to be other than who we are. This also makes us think/believe that we are not enough. You said it, too; we are enough.

    This is a really touching post for me. I don’t even know why. Perhaps it’s for the mere fact that you have wrote the truth. There are many of us, I think, who get lost and/or confused because we are not who we are, not because we don’t know but because we allow others to dictate who we are.

    Despite the negative, and there are, and sometimes I think that God shouldn’t be so tough for us to see things clearly and/or to learn, there is a purpose to your mom’s stroke. I still hope that she recovers fully. Miracles happen. For now, at least, you are listening hard to what God is telling you. You are strong for sharing this. You are strong enough to fulfill your “mission” on this portion of your life story.

    Much love and hugs to you, dear friend. God bless you, your mom and your family.


    • Oh my gosh, Anne, I am just blown away by your encouragement here. thank you so much. Gosh, I am seriously so touched. I think you’re right – God is going to work all this together for good and we’re going to see the blessings that come out of it. I definitely believe in miracles. Truly, and i believe that I’m in the middle of one right now. My mom is going to get “better.” Every day she regaining her memory more and more. it is so beautiful to watch God at work. Thanks for stopping gby. I hope that everything is well with you! big hugs xox

  62. I can’t even begin to imagine the depth of emotion between you and your mom in the moment you described. I can’t even begin to imagine what you have been going through these past few months and what you are still going through. It must be so hard to stay in the present with all the uncertainty of what lies ahead, both for your mom and for you.

    Often, I try to remember that love isn’t just a feeling, it’s an action. It’s a choice. But you are actually LIVING that choice by choosing your mom, just as she is, and declaring that she is enough. Your writing about this experience with your mom is PROFOUND. It is so easy to dismiss myself and everyone around me, to find flaws even in the people that I treasure the most. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your pain and so much of your personal struggle. Your insights are a deep well of wisdom.

    • Thank you again, Lulu. Yeah, it’s been a bit of a rough few months, but strangely, I am thankful for the time we’ve had to reconnect in such a special way. Yeah, lots of challenges for sure. That is such great perspective. yes, it is an action. I have to remember that during hard moments 🙂 Thank you for the incredibly kind encouragement and support. You are a blessing to me. Big big big hugs xoxoxox

      • You are such a blessing to me, too! I think it is a sign of wisdom and maturity that you are able to see God’s grace even in the most difficult situations. His grace is always there, but I have trouble seeing it. It gets a little bit easier with practice, but the closer a situation strikes to one of my “raw nerves,” my real, closely guarded vulnerabilities, the harder it is. Sending hugs back! xoxo 😊

  63. This post really reasonated with me. For one, I have one of those DNA tests sitting on my counter waiting for me to send it out. But also as someone adjusting to the trauma of my husbands illness and death. And if he had survived, he wouldn’t have been the same. Sometimes I think we all have our scars and we have to make the decision to let it destroy us or rise above it.

    • Thanks again Kerry. I’m so glad this resonated with you. My heart breaks to hear about your husband. I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know why we have to endure those hardships. Gosh. Know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending all my love xox

  64. Perhaps, dear, dear lady, the answer really is, “Who do you say that I am?” Perhaps the answer is that which creates a moment of love so strong and intimate that nothing can assail us? I love this account. You have plucked a heartstring for sure.

    • Wow Michael what a powerful perspective. Thank you so much. What a kind thing to say. You’re right, by defining who He is and who He says I am, will reveal a lot about His heart:) Hugs and love xox

      • Not only that, but it gives us a great question to present to those who you develop relationships with. It’s a Trinity right? Who do you say that I am? Who do I say or feel that I am? And, ideally, who does He – who sets the bar – say that I am? And, equally as ideal, the answer should feel that all three be closely aligned, Ñ’est pas?

  65. Your writing reminds me of an Abba song, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”! Lol…
    You are far too young to write with so much wisdom. I enjoy that you poignant stories make me review the details of my experience and share them as answers. For that, you are a treasure. Take good care. God bless you richly.

    • Thanks Michael, gosh you’re kind to say that 🙂 that touches my heart so much. haha – i honestly can’t say I know many Abba songs! only the ones in Mamma Mia the movie! 🙂 heheh big hugs xox

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