Emory. I wish you could each personally meet her. She’s an old soul, wise beyond her years, and a confidant I never expected. She reads the room, reads people well, but all with a heart of patience and love. Her story of Real Beauty may sound different than most, and that’s okay. But at the heart, Emory’s story is one of discovering what it means to be misunderstood, from where her identity truly comes.

Emory / Misunderstood / Real Beauty Series

“Every time I drive home, I drive past the high school that contains years of painful memories. Competition defined those walls, leaving me in the center of the athletes, the academics, the artsy, and the stunningly beautiful. “What are you?” They asked, like I even knew myself. “Misunderstood,” I answered. But I, like countless others, began to paint an illusion.

To the world, I was the girl who was together, but internally I was angry, disappointed, and broken. “Misunderstood. Misunderstood. Misunderstood.”I began to perceive rejection that didn’t even exist. I built a fortress of a protection around myself and completed it with a moat. I spilled the details of my life to anyone who asked, but didn’t allow them to cross the bridge.

Suddenly, someone came in with a sledgehammer. They tore down the fortress and filled in the moat. They removed nail after nail after nail. Hey there, Jesus. I’d like to say that the remnants of the fortress have vanished, but that’s simply not the case. The debris still surrounds me. And I occasionally try to glue it back together. But I am a new creation. Jesus didn’t call me to be a better person, but to be alive. He transforms present moments into eternal realities. Anointing oil only comes from olives that are pressed. And He has shown me that He will protect me regardless of the enemy that tries to lay siege on my heart. How blessed I am to have a Father that pursues me relentlessly.”

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