The Beauty of Humility

There’s a perspective that you gain with time.

There are things that you see when you’re out of the thick of the moment.

Kind of like when the news cuts to a helicopter-view of a traffic jam. From the viewpoint of a car in the snarl, all you can see are exhaust pipes and the highway median. But from above, you can see the magnitude of the back up, the cause of the jam, and when and where it opens up.

This Christmas marks the one year anniversary of my mom’s stroke. And I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on that monumental milestone as of late. Because seeing how my mom fought tooth and nail for her recovery, and is now the thriving, radiant woman we all know and love, I’ve spent a lot of time in gratitude and also reverence for His grace and healing — in all of us.

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And looking back at this past year, I’m definitely exiting 2017 as a different young woman than the one that entered 2017.

To catch anyone up who may have just stumbled in, this past year, I moved home to Ohio from NYC for eight months to help my mom recover. Just recently — in about September — I have been going back and forth from NYC to Ohio for various acting jobs and basically living my life in two places.

But anywho, although incredibly challenging, it has also been the most inspiring season of my life.  And I’ve taken away some lessons I will hold dear forever.

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Aside from the obvious of Trusting God and Cherishing Time, I’ve witnessed something far more nuanced and delicate.

There is beauty in humility.

Sometimes, I’ll sit down to write, and I’ll just get this overwhelming nudge to write something, and today was one of those days.

I’ve really been struck this year about the humility of the first Christmas. Given the recent miracle of my period, I’ve spent time thinking about what it must have actually been like for Mary to give birth in a barn.

Really. The hay. The animals. The smell of dung and musty stables.

Jesus – Savior of the World – was born in the epitome of a humble circumstance.

Not to mention, becoming human.

But as we’re approaching that milestone day, I’ve come to realize something quite remarkable.

I’ve come to realize that her beauty is much more than just her courage or perseverance.

It’s the same attribute that makes the birth of Christ so beautiful and deeply moving.

It’s humility.

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My mom has always been a community leader. She’s the planner. The communicator. The organizer. The people-connector. She’s one of those women who is literally everyone’s best friend. It’s her gift. If you’re familiar with the Spiritual Gift Inventory, she’s a “woo-er.”

For her entire life, she has always been the helper: organizing the meal deliveries for new moms or sick friends. She’s the one organizing the events and never asking for help, but going above and beyond.

Basically the female version of George Bailey.

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It has been such a incredible show of grace and class and humility to see my mother accept help. To see her be open to receive what people want to give. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy, but her doing so, it takes my breath away with love & respect.

My entire life, I feel like God has been smacking me over the head, trying to beat down the ugly pride in my life that pops up like a Whack-a-Mole. The anorexia – (including losing my hair!) was to break down my pride in the physical department. The whole sorority presidency debacle where I not only got stripped down to my undies in front of the Chapter, but also stripped of my position, was to break down my pride in the social department. And I don’t know, I just feel like, God keeps trying to get through to me, and I keep failing to pull it out from the roots, always having pride seep into some different area of my life.

So it has been such a magnificent lesson to witness her beauty in humility.

I spent a long time last week, standing in front of the manger scene at St. Patrick’s cathedral. If you’ve never been, it is definitely worth the effort.

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But standing there, literally among a life size display of our Lord’s humble entrance into this world, I realized that there is nothing more beautiful in this life.

And now I’m finally understanding just where this overwhelming awe of my mother is coming from.

And leave it to Jesus to set that example before us at Christmas.

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I wish you all a joyous and wonderful Christmas. I count you all among my blessings, and I pray that this coming year be filled with love and peace and a strengthening of faith and humility.

And just because I promised to keep you all in the loop…I’m going on a date tomorrow. 🙂

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166 thoughts on “The Beauty of Humility

  1. A wonderful blog post. Isn’t God amazing how he allows us to see so much suffering, so much pain so that we might garner wisdom, humility, strength, perseverance….I could go on and we are made in Christ’s image through these events. Blessings to you and your mom this Christmas. May the joy of sharing this journey bring you closer than you ever imagined possible. Merry Christmas!

  2. Love your blog post tonight. Humility is so important, but often over looked. When I interview for any position on my team, whether a leadership role or not, I ask questions designed to snuff out whether or not somebody is humble. Humility is key when I hire somebody.

    1. Aw thank you friend. You’re right – it is a really important characteristic! Hugs and love xox

  3. What a beautiful and insightful post. I don’t comment very often, but I do read your posts as they come out (I’m subscribed, lol!). Every so often something really strikes home with me from your posts, the latest being from your blog about losing your hair–“He still loves me. And He still loves you.” I don’t cry often, but that brought me to tears. The monumental f-ups I’ve made in my life make me feel I fall so very short from being worthy of God’s love…but just a simple phrase in your post brings His love home to me. Thank you.

    I want to wish you and your loved ones a very wonderful, Merry Christmas, and a most joyous New Year to come. And I hope your date goes well tomorrow! My daughter is dating, and watching the joys and the pitfalls through a mother’s eyes is a whole different lens than when I was going through it. I hope you find as wonderful a husband as I have, and what a joyous journey that will be!

    1. Thank you so much Lisa! Aw that seriously means so much 🙂 I’m so glad that resonated with you. Oh His love covers all. It’s amazing. Same to you! Merry Christmas to you and yours!! Hugs and love xox

  4. I love this post. Humility has been my keyword this year. Just when I think I’ve weeded that garden of pride, up pops another weed. God’s made me a much better gardner this year. I pray that you have a truly fantastic holiday season filled with God’s love.
    PS: I’m also not a fashion critic, but that blouse in the first picture is amazing. God bless you, Scott

    1. Oh gosh Scott, thank you so much! It’s true – He’s always teaching us! Hugs and love xox

  5. There is wisdom, grace and beauty in these words. Please keep up this good work. Continue to reveal light, to lead others to hope. No one can rise without humility. High five!

    1. Thank you so much friend. Yeah has been amazing to watch her bloom. She’s come a long way. I’m very grateful 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  6. Caralyn, your post on humility is right on. Mary had that rare quality. So good to know your mom has made a remarkable recovery. Have a Merry Christmas! xoxox

  7. Our struggles do have a way of showing us humility is the biggest way, doesn’t it? Great Post! And your mom is simply beautiful!!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!! Love!

  8. A beautiful post on humility! On another note, I must say I can see some resemblance between you and your mom. Your description of her reminds me of how my grandmother was after her stroke. The doctor said she was not supposed to live through it, but through her determination and the healing power of God she lived 12 years after the stroke and passed away at age 87. It sounds like you both have such powerful stories. Thank you for sharing your life with your audience! Your life is an inspiration to many. I wish you a blessed Christmas.

    1. Thank you so much Matthew! Hah yeah we do get that a lot 🙂 wow I’m so glad to hear she fought through that. But i am sorry she is no longer with us. Big hugs to you friend

  9. Thank you for writing this. Very encouraging. Humility is truly beautiful but it’s often ugly circumstances in which we finally see humility’s beauty. Merry Christmas!🎄

    1. aw thank you Jeffrey!! yeah, kinda crazy 🙂 wonderful! can’t wait to read them! hope you and julie are having a great night! Hugs and love xox

  10. You should do more Youtube videos 🙂 You have such a beautiful, calming presence. Also, any guy would be lucky to have you. Not only are you beautiful, but you’re a smart, pious woman with good values. You’re going to make a great mother and wife one day. I’ll be praying for you.

    1. Hi Tom! aw, thanks! that’s such a kind thing to say!! you’ve made my night. and thank you for the prayers! i’ll definitely think about doing more videos! ill be praying for you too 🙂 merry christmas!

  11. I would say meekness which is the knowledge of who you are in front of a holy God and the knowledge of how much he loves you. God loves to teach us his ways. May you continue to be close to him. God bless

    1. Oh wow, that is definitely a powerful thought. blessed are the meek… 🙂 merry Christmas to you Piers! xox

    1. oh thank you so much friend 🙂 Same to you! I hope you have a beautiful and joyous Christmas with you and yours! hugs xox

  12. A wonderful post!! Love your photos- you look beautiful as always. Hope you and your family have a merry Christmas! And I hope your date goes well 😊

    1. Thank you so much Robyn! 🙂 what a kind thing to say. And merry Christmas to you and yours as well! Hugs and love xox

  13. Humility is such a scarce commodity in today’s world. In all probability considering customs of the time and still practiced in parts of the Middle East today Mary would have been in her early teens. Yet she showed such maturity when the angel visited her and told her she was to be the birth Mother of the Messiah! In spite of the shame of a pregnancy without a husband, inviting being stoned in the market place in essence she immediately subjected herself in humility. Then of course there’s the fact that a member of the Godhead stepped down to enter this cesspool world to save those who didn’t want Him as a baby. That gets a loud WOW. Too bad after two thousand years we still have to learn to model that humility. Happy Christmas!

    1. Hi Ian, thanks for this thoughtful response. Yeah Mary is such a great role model when it comes to humility. Wow indeed merry Christmas!

  14. These words are an early Christmas gift for me. Humility is so very important if we are ever going to live peacefully with one another. I cling to the words of Paul in Philippians 2:3– Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in HUMILITY consider others better than yourself. Jesus could have floated down from the heavens as a powerful being that ordered us to straighten up. Instead, he arrives under the most humble circumstances, as a weak, vulnerable child! How amazing!!
    Thank you for putting me in a good state of mind this morning.

  15. So beautifully said, and more importantly, so profoundly true.

    The strongest self, and most transcendent places are reached by sinking down and going through the drain of humility. Some how getting diminished, selfless, towards nothingness, somewhere begins to uplift. Which, I have also found, is almost impossible to do – sometimes we are blessed with enough misfortune to have no choice in the matter.

    Anyway, you are so right on. – Honest, sincere, profound humility is the only place I know of where greatness – or, great meaning is can be found. No easy.

      1. so, your mom is well, did I read that right? there’s been two times in my life that i returned home for a 1/2 year or so – in my case more of a regrouping – nobody was sick, but those were some meaningful special times, humbling to be sure, but so meaningful

  16. Childbirth is incredibly humbling. And to do it in a barn, with only your young husband as an attendant, not knowing what motherhood is or how to do it (all the doubts and fears of a first time mama)… I marvel at Mary’s fortitude and strength of character. This was such a beautiful post, and a wonderful reminder that humility is not a bad thing 💙

    1. Thanks for this beautiful reflection Natasha. I marvel at it too 🙂 Hugs to you and merry Christmas!

  17. The humility of Mary, the humility of Jesus’ birth, the humility of your mother – a fierce giver all of her life, now being a free-receiver of aid from others…a wonderful reflection, Caralyn. Thank yoi

  18. I had a stroke on May 19, 2017 – exactly 1 week after my 48th birthday. I was lucky that I was in the ER for something else when the stroke hit. There were/are still side effects. Things that may or may not go back to “normal”, but I have persevered. It sounds like your mother is doing the same. Persevering. I’m happy she is doing so well. It’s a true and real blessing.
    May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that Aniela. I’m so glad that you were okay and doing well! Praise God! Merry Christmas friend! Hugs and love xox

  19. In our culture of me, me, me, me, I, I, I, I, the spirit of giving transcends, like the helicopter over the traffic. You and your mother are blessed to have each other’s gifts and giving. Christmas does not have to start or stop this Monday. Spend this Christmas, Present.

  20. Hugs and love for all you and your parents have been through!! You are a light on all the darkness of this world. You shine bright just like that which shone by Gabriel to Mary, and that which shone by the entire company to the shepherds in the field. What makes you so beautiful and amazing is sharing that light and knowing that God has helped you through so much and that you continue to want his help. You are an inspiration always and I send my love for a Merry Christmas and wonderful beginning to 2018 <3 <3

    1. Thank you Migueltio. Gosh i am so touched by your incredibly generous and kind words. Thank you you are such a good friend and i am so grateful for you in my life! Hugs and love xox

    1. Aw thank you friend! Eeh I’m in the Uber on the way home right now…it was alright 😂 i had a nice time – i May have built it up to be more than it was in my head you know what i mean?? 🙂 lol ok have a great night! Hugs and love xox

      1. Haha yes, I know what you mean. As long as you had a decent time, it’s all that counts. First dates can take some time before unraveling into something more. Anyways, much love! And I Hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 😁🎉

    1. Haha thank you again friend. A good guy! Local. Good family. We’ll see 🙂 Hugs to you! Xox

  21. Thank you, this is beautiful. I am going through something now that has been very hard and leading to much death of dreams. It is humbling, being taught to let others help, but I am because I need them so very much. I can only hope my college age girls can see what you see in your mom!

  22. Beautiful Post BBB. I’m so happy for your mom, God is sooo good. You’ve had a wonderful year, especially year end, I’m so happy for you as well. Wishing you and your family a peaceful holiday. So excited about your date, hope everything went well…..I have my pom poms, cheering you on…no matter what, give your mom about HUGE hug from me. Love and Hugs =)

    1. Thank you so much Roshonda, what a kind thing to say. I really appreciate the cheers!!! Merry Christmas. Hugs and love xox

  23. You’ve had quite a journey this year. But your perspective is keeping you grounded and on the right path it seems. Thank you for sharing about the importance of true humility. It is a rare gem hiding beneath the canopy of mass narcissism.

  24. Dear Caralyn

    I see beauty in your own humility
    given the way you,
    as a busy and successful writer,
    still take time out to leave “likes” on tiny blogs
    such as mine.

    Thank you so much!

  25. Hi Caralyn. What a lovely post and so nice to see a photo of your mum. You look so alike. It’s been a tough year for me too and I hope that I have as much strength as you undoubtedly do to make it through another year! Thank you for your lovely words and a very Happy Christmas to you and your family. XX

    1. Aw thank you friend. What a kind thing to say. I’m sorry this has been a tough year for you. Know that you are in my prayers. Hope you had a blessed and lovely Christmas. Hugs and love xox

  26. Beautiful post. We battle with our egos/pride daily. You know that old saying, “Pride comes before the Fall.” That is so true! I admire your giving examples of prideful moments in your life and showing humility by it. It’s hard to be humble in a culture full of “Me first” messages. But, we just have to continually monitor our thoughts and actions to catch times when we act prideful, so that we can nip it in the bud, and that takes lots and lots of trial and error, but with God’s help, it can be done! I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and I wish you a blessed New Year. 🙂

    1. thank you so much friend. it really is a battle. thanks for your thoughtful response! Hugs and love xox

  27. Hello Caralyn! Merry Christmas to you and your lovely Mom. THANK YOU for being a great inspiration and a wonderful encourager. You’ve touched my heart in so many beautiful ways through your blog posts. I pray that God will grant your hearts desires in the New Year. May He open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings for you. May godly peace rest on you and your mom forever. Have a Happy New Year! Shalom

    1. Merry merry christmas Jeanie! I hope you had a beautiful Christmas with your family. thank you for your prayers and kindness! big hugs xo

  28. Love this. Humility is one of those beautiful qualities that requires a lot of pain to achieve. It eventually makes us appreciate the trial because of who we have become. Merry Christmas BBB!

  29. U have much wisdom for your age, God bless you, I pray He would continue to reveal Himself through life’s circumstances and His holy word.

  30. Wow, such a beautiful post. While I was reading it I was wondering how beautiful you have composed it. Will keep coming back for more. HAPPY NEW YEAR dear 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for this beautiful response. I really appreciate it Nikshita. Happy New Year! 🎉

  31. Thank you for writing such a beautiful life lesson. I’m thankful for your incredible life story and your willingness to openly share in order to help others.

    So happy to hear of your mom’s great recovery — praise to the Healer!

    Hope your date went well🤗

    Thanks for liking my latest post, “Run for Your Life” 🤗🤗🤗

    Hope your Christmas was a wonderful time of celebrating our Lord and Savior!

    Blessings for a healthy and joyous 2018

    Marcy

    1. Thank you Marcy, what a lovely note of encouragement. Praise be to God indeed. Hugs and love xox

  32. What a lovely and, may I say, humble story. I love seeing how God deals with us right where we are. He never wastes a thing! I’m happy your mom is doing so well and happy you are, too.

  33. +1 for the George Bailey / It’s A Wonderful Life reference. Tying in the classic Christmas flick with the humility angle was a double entendre worthy of a “like” from me. Cheers and blessings to you.

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