INTERVIEW WITH MELISSA INGRAM Pt. 2 #THISISMYBEAUTY

What would you like to say to anyone reading this who may sometimes feel like they’re not pretty enough, smart enough, or simply not good enough?

M: You are not alone, I fight these feelings everyday, but there is freedom. To God, you are worth everything and there is nothing you can or can’t do to separate from that. There is only one you. Who you are right now is enough.

We were never meant to all look the same or have the same set of skills. It’s our differences that make the world beautiful.

We live in a culture of comparison, it can be a thief of joy. Especially in the world of Social Media. I used to subscribe to measuring success based on things like followers on Instagram. As a makeup artist myself, busting my tail off working on shoots etc, to then watching youtube /influencers doing makeup rise to the top and get booked over me because of their followers, really made me feel like maybe I wasn’t “ good enough “ or maybe even smart enough to be doing what they were doing. In other-words I was kind of having a desire to become the next so-and-so.

I will never forget me having this vision and not sure if it was really from God but He quickly answered that question. I wanted to turn my negative perspective on Social Media into something positive while changing the way people viewed Beauty. I wanted to strip it all down with a community of women coming together, baring our hearts for the greater good, hoping to encourage someone following who may be saying ME TOO! AND I’M NOT ALONE. The night before I launched FL&B, I received confirmation that this was exactly what God wanted me to do, although I was feeling unsure, insecure, thinking no one will follow, no one will care, I had attended a Bethel Conference and heard Christine Cain say “ God didn’t create you to be the next so-and-so, He said ‘ He is making things new’ creating you with unique gifts and skills to do something new and be the next YOU” I knew that was God saying, GO! And so I keep telling myself if only 1 person follows me and feels encouraged with a post, I tried something uncomfortable, I’ve overcome some of my insecurities and I’ve fought the good fight, using my gifts and skills to give back. No money can ever buy me that joy I get when I read comments or emails about women being touched and encouraged through some of my posts.

( Sorry for my long comment) my question is: What are some things that you have learned that have helped you stay deeply rooted in truth, to stay on your path while not comparing?

M: To stay in my own lane. It’s like driving a car, if you are busy looking in another lane you will start to head in that direction and chances are it’s not where you belong. You will end up crashing, hurting yourself and possibly others.

Knowing that God is in control of my path is helpful because He knows my beginning and my end. He knows what I do and don’t need. Trusting Him is everything. It’s hard and I am not very good at it but it helps.

Also something practical I do to keep myself rooted, in truth, is place sticky notes around my house with God’s promises, truths and scripture. I even put them in my car!

One minute I can be super secure in who I am and what I’m called to do and the next minute I’m doubting myself. Sticky notes are a helpful reminder of the truth.

Another practical thing I’ve learned to do is limit my time on social media, as we know can be not only a place of comparison but a huge distraction. I actually have an app that locks me out of social media that has been a total game changer for me!

Was there a time in your life, when adversity and chaos came, and hope was found? Do you mind sharing that story?

M: Yes, lots of times. I had a really rough childhood. My mom was not stable and we lived with a woman who took us in off the streets. The woman was very strict, some of my punishments included being hit with a 2x4 that said “I love God” on it, and being locked outside overnight, sleeping on a lawn chair.

I was isolated and when I was allowed out of my isolation I was sexually abused. The woman we lived with would constantly tell me I was fat, ugly, and that no one wanted me, especially my mother. My mother was never around so naturally I believed her.

I stopped eating, I measured my worth by my performance, love was very sexualised, and this was all before I was 8 years old. By my 9th birthday my mom had disappeared and I didn't see her again until I was 13. I was devastated and my heartbreak turned into anger. My life actually improved when she left, I was taken to live with my uncles and I finally had the freedom to be a kid.

Unfortunately when she came back into my life my world started to crumble. Literally, at one point the house my uncle and I lived in burned down. Also my highschool boyfriend, who I had given my virginity to, was cheating on me. It was a dark time, I struggled with depression, suicide and I was so confused about what love was.

I started drinking and partying all the time, I searched for attention in all the wrong places and I allowed people to treat me terribly.

Thankfully a friend brought me to church. I had been to church before, my mom forced me to go with her all the time, but this time it was on my own terms. This church experience was like none I had experienced before, but I went right back to throwing my life away.

It wasn't till a few years later when I hit rock bottom and was crying alone on my bedroom floor, that I decided to give my life to Christ. I dove in head first and was surrounded by an awesome community, I even met my husband.

It wasn’t pretty though, God had a lot of work to do. I started having flashbacks of my childhood, waking up terrified. I ended up in therapy and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

A lot of times people hear my story and apologize, but I am so thankful for my story because now I get to use it to love others. I have the opportunity to pour into women, and connect to people that often feel like no one would understand.

This is why I'm so passionate about people, knowing their worth, because I know the feeling of worthlessness. God has allowed me to start over, He continues to restore me everyday.

I am now happily married and the mother to a precious 3 month old little girl. I was terrified of marriage because love was once so foreign and I was scared to be a mother because mine isn’t the best. Like I said, because of my crazy story, I have the opportunity to love my my husband and my daughter even better, and I take that job very seriously. It is my number one priority.

To me, my family is a manifestation of the grace, hope and of Christ.

If you were told today that you could do anything you felt in your heart to do, without failing, what would that be?

M: Re-start my business. I started a business almost 2 years ago that supported women facing adversity, to reach their dreams.

We had the opportunity to help an aspiring makeup artist, start her makeup kit for school, and an aspiring doctor with paying for medical school interviews. It was hard work but I loved it.

Unfortunately I allowed negative thoughts and lies about myself into my mind and I shut the business down. I probably should have used my sticky note trick during that time.

How would you define BEAUTY?

M: To strip away everything else and simply be yourself. Fiercely and unapologetically. As I said before there is only one you, and you are beautiful.

At the end of your course, upon your last breathe, what 3 words would you like your tombstone to say?

M: This is a really hard question, but I think if I only get 3 words; love lives forever.

Any last words?

M: These are not my words, but they are certainly on my wall, in a frame much bigger than a sticky note. I hope they impact you as much as they have me.

“Our deepest fear is not that were inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It's our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves,who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous. Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God, your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking small, so that others don't feel insecure around you. We are meant to shine as children do. We were made to manifest the glory of God that is within us.

Its not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. As we let our light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence liberates others.

The greatest gift we can give to the people we love is to live to our full potential.”
           -Marianne Williamson, A return to Love