Just Beth. I’ve always been Just Beth. I was once introduced to someone by my mother as, “um, and this is… um… Just Beth.”

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She feels bad about it now, but though those two words haunted me for about a year after that. Then those two words evolved into a source of freedom for me.

It was during my first experience of living on my own in an apartment alone. I felt so alone. I’m an enneagram 2 and also an extrovert. I need people. I felt so vulnerable being on my own, and honestly the question, “If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you bring?” crossed my mind a lot. I would most definitely bring other people.

This experience of being physically alone had allowed me to establish my identity and independence. I’ve always been independent, but not living with people made me become emotionally independent. I’ll fully admit that I’m still emotionally needy. My sister will attest to that. I need validation like I need coffee. I need it every day, multiple times a day.

So a little background… Growing up, I lived with my family who each had their “thing.” I’m the middle child of three girls, and I will tell you right now, MIDDLE CHILD SYNDROME IS SO REAL.

My older sister was the musical one, and my younger sister was the athletic one. I was just okay at a bunch of stuff. Everything piqued my interest, and I was involved in music and in sports. I This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_4543.jpgwanted to do everything, and I got a lot of flack from my family for pursuing a hobby and then losing interest after a little while. I mean, I can play a couple nursery rhymes on several instruments, and I have a great collection of participation ribbons for a few sports. Occasionally, I’d have a shining moment in one of my pursuits.

I used to cry to my mom that I didn’t have any talents. She woud always tell me, “But Beth, you’re good with people!” To which I would lament, “But you can’t get a trophy for that!” My motives were very pure, obviously.

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First time at the Sunsphere in Knoxville

So when I found myself living alone while doing summer classes at college, I struggled, but God used that struggle to grow me. Suzy Holman said recently, “Strength is a product of struggle. So is progress.” It hit me one day that I wasn’t created to be Cyndi, the musical one, or Missy, the athletic one. I was designed to be Just Beth. God didn’t mistakenly forget to add a trophy worthy talent to my DNA. He made me on purpose.

During this time, I knew that God had orphan care in my future, but I was in a season of preparation and waiting. So I began to take myself out on adventures instead of pouting in my WiFi-less apartment. I learned so much about myself as I explored Knoxville alone. I grew in my acceptance of myself. I embraced my flaws, and I also discovered new interests. I became excited about being me. I was excited about the life for which God created me. This was MY life for JUST ME. It wasn’t a sad default because of my lack of talents; it was there result of God intricately designing my life.

Now many years later, I realize my mom was right. I am good with people in that I love people big. I’m still working to improve this talent of mine, but I do love people. I’m constantly trying to learn how to love people better. Did I mention I’m an Enneagram 2?

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Ultimately, this trophy-less talent has led me to five beautiful, incredible daughters, and this life of mine is a dream come true. God didn’t make you by mistake. You were made to be JUST YOU. I genuinely wish I had the voice of Adele and the humor of Jimmy Fallon, but I don’t. I am Just Beth.

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