The act of loving myself was a very hard and progressive journey.

There were days when I'd take it out on everyone around me, especially those closest to me. Days where I would shut myself in my room and cry all day. Days where I'd fall asleep hoping to never wake up. There were so many days where I thought I was unlovable. Sometimes I even felt unloved, but looking back there was always that one person who never, and I mean never, missed a beat.

That person just so happened to be my Mama.

She spent many sleepless nights crying and praying that I would soon discover who I am, who she saw in me my entire life. She would spend hours trying to help me in any way she knew how, even when I resisted and tried to turn it into self pity. She felt my pain, sometimes even harder than I did. It took a toll on her, but nevertheless she persisted in loving me. She never stopped. She prayed for me every single day. She still does. Sometimes she felt like a failure, like all of my pain was somehow her fault. She would try to bear the weight of my hurt on her shoulders in attempt to ease the pain I was putting myself through.

I failed to understand her actions. I tried to shut her out. I hurt her in so many ways, but never once did she stop loving me or supporting me.

Now as a girl who knows and loves who she is to the core, I am so grateful for her and everything she did for me throughout that emotional period of my life. I'm thankful for the tears she cried. I'm thankful for the prayers she prayed. I am grateful for her unfailing love and support. I'm grateful that she never stopped loving me even when I gave her a million reasons to. I'm grateful that she still loves me after all of it, and never fails to show me how proud she is of me.

She is the absolute definition of Mom. She has never failed her role, even though she often feels like she has.

She is inspiring. She inspires me to be who I am every day. She supports ALMOST all of my ideas, and the ones that she doesn't support are because she sees things far more logically than I ever will. She makes sure my goals are achievable so I don't hurt myself trying to chase them.

She is beautiful. I brag of her beauty often because I see all she is and all she has achieved. I see her strength to conquer anything she faces. I see her smile that hides so many tears. I see the way she walks around so bravely after everything she has been through. I see a woman that fears God so intensely. I see the person who bears the weight of so much and so many on her shoulders, but never fails to let it change who she is. I see her for all she is. I see she often feels alone and broken, but she never lets it control her actions. I see a woman who rocks natural. She rocks gray hair. I see the most beautiful woman within her. Inside and out.

She is hardworking. You can ask anyone who knows her. The first thing they'll say when you mention her name is about how she never slows down, she doesn't. She somehow manages a full time job, three daughters, being a full time college student, being a preacher's wife, being a sales representative for Mary & Martha, a caretaker for her mother-in-law, and she still somehow manages to spend time with the people she loves. She does it all. She's a go getter. She's crafty. She can do anything she sets her mind to. Literally.

She is faithful. She is loyal. She loves everyone, but you know when you are hers. She cares about people. She never fails to make sure all needs are met for the people she loves the most. She is faithful to my daddy. She is faithful to my sisters and I. She is most faithful to God. She has a servant heart. She is obedient, and does everything in her power to fulfill God's Will for her life.

She knows who she is, and whose she is. She carries herself well. She knows who she is, and never tries to be anyone else. She loves herself and knows that she was simply created to fulfill what she was called to do, and that's exactly what she does. She's real. She never sugar coats anything. She tells you how it is, and whether you like it or not, it's always exactly what you need to hear. She knows she is HIS. She knows she's a daughter of the King, and she tries to live her life up to his expectations. She knows her purpose, and she fulfills it everyday.

She is a lover. When she loves you, you know. She never hides her love. She will do everything in her power to make you feel it everyday. She puts others before herself. If you are happy, it genuinely makes her happy. She is supportive. She helps where she sees a need. She loves endlessly. You'll never do anything to make her not love you. She may not like you, but she will love you regardless. She does her absolute best to love like Jesus does, and more often than not, she succeeds.

To say I'm thankful for who she is or what she has done for me would be an absolute understatement.

She gave me life, but she also gave me my wings. In the worst period of my life, she was there for me. She never left my side. She supported me even when I did everything in my power to push her away. She loved me when I was almost unlovable. She's supported everything I've ever done whether she thought it was a good idea or not. She allowed me to find myself on my own, so that I would know who I am wholly.

She's my biggest supporter and my best friend. Life without her, well wouldn't be life at all. I'm thankful for everything she has done for me, and everything that she continues to do on a day-to-day basis.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for never failing to love me even when it pained your heart. I'll forever look up to you as my hero. Thank you for being my biggest fan. Thank you for giving me the life I now love so much. Thank you for always making sure I had everything I needed even when it meant you had to go without. Thank you for never letting me be treated less than I deserve. Thank you for being you. Thank you. So. Much. I love you with all of my heart. You'll forever be my person. You'll forever be my best friend. You'll forever be my strongest critic, but also my biggest fan. You'll forever be the greatest mom.
You deserve the world Mama, but thank you so much for settling for less. Thank you for settling for us.
I love you beyond the Stars.
Thank you for it all.

“If I turn into my mother, or even half the woman she is, I'll consider my life a successful one."

Follow Swoon on Instagram.