Not withholding good from those who deserve It

I was told by someone in my past that telling the truth was the only way and you always need to tell it. While i agree with the majority of the time, there's a time where i don't at all, and it's when you're only telling it, solely.. to hurt someone. Because odds are if it's true.. that person probably knows it before you do. (however: sometimes truth does hurt. when i'm angry and need to tell brandon about something he does that hurt me.. it might hurt him, but my reason for telling him isn't JUST to hurt him.) 

Through my devotional, i've been letting go of hurts, bitterness, and anger. i don't have a lot of it i admit. I'm very blessed to have gotten through some difficult times and come out on the other side thankful and understanding. There are however a few voices in my head that still would love to trick me. 

i went through a time where i was negative and insecure about my body. As a woman, i think most of us go through a time like this. i also go through a mini time every month where my brain tells me i'm still not good enough, luckily i know when to detect it and tell that voice to shut up. but this time was when i was always down about how i looked. i couldn't get over it, i gained a little weight but to be honest, it was never an obscene amount. i was still rather "thin" but just gained that college 15 ish lbs. To be fair, i wasn't fueling my body with healthy food, good portions, or exercising much. which had everything to do with it, along with being unhappy. 

I look back wanting to learn what changed, and how to stay far away from that place again. there are still those tough days, but most days.. i love and cherish my body. i fuel it with mostly good food and lots of good exercise. What changed was the people around me, my habits, and my attitude. 

so what was this truth only told to hurt me? I'm not going to go into detail but it was comparing me to another woman. and it was hurtful. it cut deeper than i knew at the time. those words stayed with me for more than a few years and affected other relationships around me. it was a few things a  woman should never hear from someone she's vulnerable to, whether or not it's the truth. was it true? yeah it really mostly was. However they were only said to hurt me. after i heard them, i still let myself go. when a woman doesn't feel good about herself or good enough, it's hard to want to change. if she doesn't feel loved, why should she change? if i would've spoken to the friends that i was close to at the time, i know they would've encouraged me with beauty they saw but i didn't do that. ( it doesn't matter those things were said now, i'm sure i've also said hurtful words back and it's in the past) 

It wasn't until i was out on my own, on my first baby steps to a healthier life that i discovered so much more. i started eating slightly healthier for me, exercising as a stress reliever and discovering who i was all over again. i became happy with who i was, and when brandon came along and loved me at any stage i was in, i became even more content. i became somehow more independent and wanting to better myself. he was happy with how i looked, and because i was happy too, i could do even better. 

i'm a mission to encourage you. Truth is good, but i don't believe in telling it solely to hurt someone. i'm here to tell you the beauty i see in you every moment no matter how you feel. We all have things to work on and improve, but we are all captivating, loved, and beautiful. i was told by my close friend while working at a vegas wedding chapel that there is something beautiful about every bride we encounter. Even someone who comes in seemingly grumpy, maybe tipsy, maybe not even the right cut dress that there is always something to capture that's beautiful. Vanessa, your words ring true in my head and heart. Women will come to me and tell me what they don't like about their bodies, but i guarantee there is way more to capture that is beautiful on you than the parts you're insecure about. this is partly why i'm telling you, don't wait til you're "5 lbs lighter" you are you now. you are beautiful, and i'm here to show you what other people see when they look at you. 

Proverbs 3:27- Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it's in your power to act.  This verse has struck me lately as a mission for my business and personal goals. Whether it's a stranger on the street that I feel should hear how lovely she is, a tug at my heart to tell a friend i love them in a text, or sending small gifts to someone, it's been in my head lately to do this better. It's in my power to act and tell them truths i see  that will encourage their day. The biggest way i do this is through my photography. While photographing a woman, i try to let them know what i find extremely beautiful and special about them. It's more than just a photography session to feel beautiful for a moment. When a woman feels beautiful, it helps heal her heart and  feel encouraged to be the best person she can be. When sessions don't seem enough, i'm always here to listen. 

so why am i sharing this? we have all experiences that have hurt us and needed healing from. I ran across the verse a few weeks ago and in my journal i couldn't stop from scribbling pages worth about past bitterness, hurts, beauty, growth, and what i can do to help even in the smallest way. i share about a lot of good things in my life, but i always want to remind you that i struggle and have had similar negative experiences as you. That as women, we all have had real or fake voices telling us we're not enough. those voices telling us we need to be more busy, more put together, more successful. the truth is, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. One of my jobs is to remind you that you're enough. Work your cute buns off for what you want, but take time to relax and enjoy life. So don't withhold good from those that deserve it. love on one another, laugh, play cards, go to the gym. oh, and do those without makeup ;)

I'd love to know, women: what has helped you feel beautiful, encouraged, strong? Maybe a few good books or spending time with some fabulous girlfriends. Maybe a trip away or staying active at the gym. I want to know what helps you through the times where your girl brain kicks in, lies, and says you're not good enough. i'll start in the comments below. If you'd like to talk, i'm here. 

-Shanna Star

photos below are just a few of the MANY people who love and encourage me daily. thank you wonderful souls.