As a part of the Being: Me blog series, I wanted to bring in friends of mine whose stories have inspired not only me, but so many other people. They are the definition of what Being: Me is, but they have had one incredible journey to get to where they are today. These are my peers, my role models, my sisters in Christ. First up, we have my best friend Madison Wheat. I could talk about her for days, but to sum up our friendship, we met 12 years ago, had a long distance friendship, then quickly became roommates for a few months. We’ve been through one car accident, two stolen debit cards, a few heartbreaks, a couple crushes, multiple church services, lots of hikes, an insane amount of sushi, and a never ending adventure of conquering our dreams. There’s so much more to tell you about us, but for now, I want you to meet my girl, Madison.
Madison’s story is complex. She’s been through more than most people have in life at just 23 years old, but the thing I love most about Madison, is that she isn’t afraid to share her story with the world. As she said, “I believe God allowed me to endure some really hard times so that I could encourage and cultivate an environment of vulnerability for other young women to know that their brokenness is welcome here too and that I stand with them.”
So, let’s start with the Being: Me slogan. What does “Being: Kind, Being: Brave, Being: His, Being: Me” mean to you?
Madison: I don’t care what anyone says, I think kindness gets you so much further in life. I think that people believe that they have to push their way to the top, when truly just being kind, loving on others, and showing genuine interest is going to get you so much further. We have to learn to love people despite our differences. We have to learn that there is a difference between hating somebody and just disagreeing with somebody. One in every three college students is battling loneliness, but we have the power to change that. To simply be kind, and offer a hello, ask them “Hey, how are you today?”, instead of just passing them by. We need to stop looking for differences in each other and start looking to things that unite us. Whether the difference is race, culture, religion, career choice, or social status, we need to put those things aside, learn to be kind, and embrace our differences because that is the most important thing our world needs today.
Being brave is also vital to who we are as women of God. Learning to step out of our comfort zone and trust him. When God called me out to L.A., I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have a place to live, I didn’t have any money, and it was hard. I was poor and I ate Taco Bell way too much! But I stepped out and trusted God. I was brave to move all the way across the country to a place that I was unfamiliar with to trust His calling, and in turn, I was blessed through that. Being brave is so important to fulfilling His calling in our lives. God is not calling us to be comfortable. God is calling us to step out and be voices for those who don’t have one. Sometimes that means leaving our comfort zone, and doing something that may make us a little bit nervous. So that’s when being brave is extremely important.
In regards to Being: His, it is so important that the number one thing you remind yourself is who you are and whose you are. You are His beloved, cherished, prized possession. You are held in high esteem, forgiven, redeemed, and heeled. There are so many adjectives that could be used to describe the way the Jesus sees us. It is so important to remind yourself of that.
As for what makes Madison, Madison: It’s her story. Her past. Her faith. Next, I asked her how her life circumstances have affected the woman she has become today.
Madison: Whether it is sexual abuse, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, clinical depression and anxiety, I feel like the circumstances that I’ve walked through in life have truly shaped me into the woman I am today. I am a young woman who is passionate about other young women, who will fight for the security, joy, and worth in other girls whose circumstances are also difficult. I think it’s important for girls to know that nobody’s life is perfect. None of us are immune to hard times. None of us are excused from difficult trials, but it’s what you do in the midst of those circumstances. You have to have an attitude of gratitude. You have to learn to be thankful in hard times. It could be easy for me to allow myself to wallow in despair when I think about my childhood and the abuse I endured, but I believe God allowed me to endure some really hard times so that I could encourage and cultivate an environment of vulnerability for other young women to know that their brokenness is welcome here too, and that I stand with them. That I know what it is like to be broken, to be on the lowest rope. And because of that I can empathize with them, but also look at our hope, at how much greater God is than our problems right now. In all of the hard times, it’s really important to look to the future. 12 year-old Madison was stuck in an abusive cycle where she was told that her worth was only determined in the pleasure she could give to a man. But 23 year-old Madison is in a healthy relationship with a man who honors and respects her. A man who loves her, but loves Jesus more. 16 year-old Madison was swallowed by depression and anxiety, but now 23 year-old Madison is leading a bible study and is cultivating an online community of young women to come along side of each other and encourage each other through hard times. 17 year-old Madison wanted to take her own life, but here she is today, living and learning to love life even when it’s hard. Whatever you are going through right now, there is a better and brighter future tomorrow. And one day, you’ll be able to look to your husband and children and say, “man I’m so glad that I lived to see this day.”
So how does Madison let her faith determine who she is as a person today?
Madison: For me, I grew up in the church and I grew up as a believer, but I wasn’t aware of my dependence on the Lord and how much I truly needed him until life really started to get hard. I’ve seen His grace come in and radically change my life in the ways I interact with other people and the ways that I see myself. It is so important to know that God has created you as a unique, beautiful, worthy being who has different talents and different abilities than the girl standing next to you. So for me, going into every opportunity, it’s important to know that my talents were given to me in a unique and special way, and that someone else’s inability to see my worth does not determine who I am. It is not a bad thing to know your worth and talents, to know the things that you are good at and celebrate those, even cherish them. I have to keep the Lord at the front of it all because through blessings or trails, he deserves the glory. God is in control. It doesn’t matter how much I plan in my life, ultimately the Lord’s will is going to come to fruition, so I might as well give him glory and honor in that. Sometimes His blessings look different than we think they will look. I have waited many times where God has said “no” to a dream of mine, and I’ve come to realize that God’s “no” is really a form a protection. It usually means there is something better around the corner. And sometimes His “no” is simply a “wait”. A “wait for better timing.”
Want to find out more about Madison? Head on over to her blog and social media pages to get
Instagram: @metoosister and @madisonwheat
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