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Loving the Skin You’re In

1024 683 Lauren Kennedy

I have always been an all-natural kind of girl, with palm trees, ocean waves, and sandy toes on my mind. I feel more myself with little to no makeup, a blow out or beach waves that look effortless, and high-waisted Levi’s for that all-American, undone look. Like most girls, I cared about what I looked like growing up, but I didn’t spend too much time getting ready or analyzing my appearance. I truly believe my parents’ love and encouragement was a vessel in protecting me from low self value, and believing that I was a daughter of Jesus aided in focusing on developing lasting memories and friendships, rather than becoming consumed with the physical. Yet, I was very challenged on this mindset and perspective when my life took an unexpected turn.

 

My calendar paused, my career path changed, and my platform increased after a night of injury in 2011. I was sucked into a plane propeller; the blade cut into my brain and the left side of my body, resulting in the loss of my left eye, left hand, and half my head of hair post brain surgery. In retrospect, I clearly see how I easily submerged in destructive comparison after this life-altering experience. I felt depleted of beauty, but my foundation remained the same. My mom and dad’s love and encouragement became stronger. My faith and trust in believing Jesus loved me grew substantially. Somehow my perspective of beauty shifted, though, and I believe one of the gifts of this tragedy was revealing to me the meaningless things that I apparently held so dear. What “bothered” me most about the outcome of this accident revealed what I held as very valuable. Did I let outward beauty define me? Yes. Did I cherish attention more than I realized? Definitely. I truly had to sit back and be still. I had to reassess my foundation. I had to refocus on what was important. I quickly came to realize that comparison is equivalent to worry; it only severely hinders and limits fruition. Plus, if we really think about it, wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same?

The Lord has brought such healing these last five years. He has restored in me a new kind of inner confidence that is rooted in where my identity truly stands, and I have realized the following to be true: physical beauty fades; attention is temporary and unfulfilling. Yes, my insecurities are a daily struggle. I often catch myself comparing not only to other people but to my “old” self. Grief is intertwined in it all as I miss my hand and my eye daily, but a lot of the hesitation in loving the skin I am in comes from wanting to hide what has changed. I have learned to be open about this struggle to my sweet husband, family, and friends, and I am slowly realizing that freedom comes from vulnerability . I am also seeing that beauty truly is in accepting the scars, in character, in the humility of freely being you, and in loving others well. I am learning to fully accept and value the path the Lord has put in front of me, and I am learning to view that path as beautiful.

This series is in collaboration with some stellar ladies.  Be sure and check out their posts on Self Care too: Kat Harris, Tutti del Monte, Danielle Bennett, Kate Labat, Joanne Encarnacion, Nikia Phoenix, and Chelsey Korus.

images: felicia lasala

OUTFIT DETAILS

jacket (similar + similar) | denim | shirt | sunnies

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6 comments
  • Claire
    REPLY

    Thanks for the great reminder! I put so much emphasis on outwardly appearances so much of the time and that’s not what matters at all. Comparison is something I struggle with too so thank you for your vulnerability – it is beautiful!!

  • Heather
    REPLY

    I also struggle with comparison & outward beauty. My husband constantly tells me I’m beautiful but it’s a struggle to believe sometimes. Then I remember I’m beautifully & wonderfully made God is good !

  • Carmen Elizalde Katz
    REPLY

    Thank you, Lauren! You are such an inspiration to me. You are a teacher and so beautiful. I read about you when I googled Jason. My son is trying to make it as an actor in L.A. and I am curious to know how successful people get their start in the tv film industry. I started reading about you when I saw you lost your eye. I have a autoimmune disease that has attacked my retina since I was 18 and I fear the doctors prognosis that potentially down the line I might lose my eye. I define myself by my physical appearance. But since I have followed you on Instagram I am changing. Your strength, grace and bravery is remarkable and the way you exude confidence is something for me to strive for. Thank you for helping me to take one day at a time.
    God bless you, Carmen

  • Meg
    REPLY

    I needed to read this today. Thank you for being honest and open with your journey. It truly helps more people than you know! I struggle with my body after having 2 kids–constantly comparing what I used to look like. I know it’s no comparison but you have really opened my eyes to keep God as my foundation. I always think about your journey and how you always talk about how God is working in your life. It truly is a beautiful thing. What an amazing thing–to be able to become your true authentic self. Keep it up!

  • Mary Beth
    REPLY

    This blog post really spoke to me! In 2015 I experienced a severe burn trauma, burning the whole front of my body and also having to shave my head. Dealing with the loss of my old appearance, learning to love my new self and learning to channel hurt into strength are all things I have been working on the last year & a half. When I first read this post (I say *first* because I have re-read it about 10 times now 🙂 )I felt such a strong connection to your journey & healing process. It was as if I sat down and wrote the words myself! I just wanted to thank you for being so open about your journey and experience. Even though your trauma is completely different from mine, in a strange way it brings comfort knowing there are other people out there who can relate to an un-relatable situation. Your strength and positivity are so inspiring!! Keep letting your light shine bright!

  • Katie
    REPLY

    Its amazing how just when we need to read or hear some things there they are. I am so grateful to get to have read this. Its almost like an affirmation in what truly matters… You’re such a wise woman! And a total doll. Thank you x

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