Growing up in my family, I was the “smart, pretty one.” Or, at least that’s how I remember it. While everyone in my family has blue eyes, I was the only one with blonde hair. While my sisters were average students, I excelled in all my classes. I wasn’t necessarily the prettiest or smartest or most popular girl at school, but I didn’t really lack self-confidence because I had plenty of affirmation from my family and friends.
As a young adult, however, my self-confidence and self-image were shattered through unhealthy relationships, criticism meant to keep me codependent, and comparison with the world’s standard of beauty. Fortunately, I had accepted Christ as my Savior as a very young child. In my heart I knew He was all I needed, but with bruised emotions and feelings of insecurities, I struggled to find my true identity. After some very difficult years, I surrendered to His will and He blessed me with a wonderful husband and a life I could never have dreamed possible. We’ve been married for almost sixteen years now!
However, ten years ago, I began having medical issues that turned out to be due to thyroid issues. While everything is controlled with medication now, the change in my metabolism wreaked havoc on my weight, my energy level, and my self-esteem. I began stressing about the weight gain and no longer felt good about how I looked in my clothes (any of them!). Over the years, I’ve lost and regained several pounds trying to find a balance that will give me the energy I desire to enjoy life without having to diet or exercise an hour every day. But, honestly, God has given me a life that keeps me engaged and happy, so I strive to make choices that will allow me to walk in my calling – which has absolutely nothing to do with the size of my jeans and everything to do with honoring the Lord with the life He’s given me!
Melissa Gross feels the Lord calling her to lead and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. She is a teacher by passion and by training and has taught everything from Children’s Church to Ladies’ Bible Studies to the Young-at-Heart (elderly) Sunday School, from middle school technology classes to university level business courses. She is also an avid scrapbooker and has taught and coached in online and in-person scrapbooking, cardmaking, photo organization, mixed media, and illustrated Bible journaling classes. When she’s not teaching Bible Journaling workshops or gluing pretty pieces of paper together in her craft room, Melissa enjoys reading, cooking, blogging, and traveling. She lives in Texas with her best friend/husband, Robbie, and shares their everyday adventures and her latest scrapbooking and Bible Journaling projects at Daily Life – Bits & Pieces.
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