Yesterday I got a text message out of the blue from a dear friend, an old friend, who I haven’t seen in many years. I had worked with her and then worked with her husband at a small company for a total of about five years. I was in my early 20s at the time: directionless, insecure, immature, and lonely.

In the text message from my friend, she sent a picture of the small group of us who had worked together nearly 15 years ago. As I looked at my 23-year-old self, waves of shame and embarrassment washed over me. I didn’t like the throwback to that season of my life.

Every insecurity resurfaced for me in that moment. Every relational rejection, every failure of my small music career, every way I felt unseen and un-beautiful rose up until my heart raced and every pore dripped sweat.

Since then, my life has been completely transformed. Both good and painful circumstances have gracefully birthed in me strength, courage, compassion, and wisdom. The girl in the picture has so changed that she is unrecognizable to who I am now, inside and out.

Today, I looked at the old picture again. And I stared into the squinty, naive eyes of that 23-year-old girl. “You are beautiful,” I said out loud. “You just don’t know yet. It’s ok, Beloved. You are going to mend.”

I post this picture of these paper map rosettes because this was one of my first creations as pendrops couture. When I look at it now, I kind of feel silly that I thought I could build a creative business making paper rosettes. And yet, it was just the beginning. By some unpredictable bends in my artistic path, I went from folding papers to designing textile art that is connecting with beautiful people around the world.

And I had to start somewhere. We all do. Surely there is no shame in that. Or in a quiet, misguided, and tender 20-something girl missing the mark at most every turn. No shame at all.

May we all embrace our Beloved-ness: not just for ourselves today, but for every version we’ve ever been. We are the Beloved.

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