I was up last night thinking about BEFORE. 

Before we were married. 

Before we bought our first home. 

Before our first miscarriage. 

Before childbirth, where I felt my body had failed me. 

Before our first son was born.

Before postpartum anxiety

Before completely unbalanced hormones. 

Before moving from a small town to a large city. 

Before diagnosed health struggles. 

Before infertility

Before infertility medications and the way they made me feel. 

You see, last night I couldn’t shake it,  I couldn’t get Before out of my mind. When I think about Before, everything was so . . . different. 

It was when we drove to each other at 10 at night because we couldn’t handle going another night without seeing one another. 

It was when we didn’t care about what the inside of our home looked like, we only cared about the memories we were creating inside our home. Our decorations consisted of a mattress lying in the center of our tiny living room floor from a movie night we had two weeks ago involving an entire bag of boxed wine and a fireplace. 

It was when I’d fearlessly put my two piece swimsuit on in the heat of the summer without a single insecurity running wild in my mind. 

It was when I loved everyone so freely, because I hadn’t experienced loss and the fear it creates. 

It contained very little memories of what anxiety felt like, what the darkness was.

It was when I felt like I knew and understood my body and mind. Before health struggles and hormones and medications changed me. 

Before was beautiful and innocent and happy and naive. It hadn’t experienced much perseverance. 

There will always be a Before. Where you wonder who you’d still be if you hadn’t experienced the hard. But, our current residence is Earth. So while we’re here, we will continuously experience hard. 

But just remember, through every old and new difficulty, you earned the NOW version of yourself. You walked through the hard, and came out more refined, beautiful. You see, I would never want to go back to Before. Because although Now is different, Now is not jaded. Now is pure beauty. 

Now is wiser, authentic, raw. 

Now doesn’t plaster on a fake smile. 

Now can’t help but see the beauty in every imperfect thing. 

Now looks into the eyes of souls, and feels deep compassion. 

Now sees strength in weakness. 

Now knows how to love so purely, genuinely, and wholeheartedly through grief and pain. 

Now understands what commitment and perseverance is, and how to love through disappointment and imperfect. 

Now understands Christ’s version of marriage a lot better. 

Now looks at my C-section scar and sees the day that I became a warrior. The first day I submitted to letting go of controlling everything. 

Now is fearless about past failures. 

Now is fearless of vulnerability. 

Now is able to give grace and receive it. 

Now knows how to dance in the rain. 

Now has earned self-respect. 

Now understands that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be absolutely beautiful. 

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Kaleigh Christensen

Kaleigh is a stay at home mom, wife, and former Kindergarten teacher. In her spare time she loves to write about the things that matter. She shares real and honest vulnerability about the ups and downs of motherhood, marriage, infertility, miscarriage, and just plain life. She loves to inspire others to find the beauty mixed in with the mess of life. To read more of her writings, like her Facebook page, Messy Footprints, @MessyFootprints