Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor



September 2011



What We’re Worth: A Community Collection

Written by , Posted in faith, life, Uncategorized, writing

Since I published my original post, “What’s a Girl Worth?“, and called for community responses to the issues it raised of worth and doubt, people have been test-touching and wincing at memories, wrestling emotions into prose, braving bare exposure, and still, somehow, finding the buoyancy to reach out to encourage others to do the very same, very difficult things.

I can’t help but believe the outcome will be marvelous.

If you are contributing to this community collection, I hope the writing of your story brought you catharsis or conviction. If you have ever doubted your worth, I hope you will read the stories being collected here and find community and comfort, hope and affirmation. And if you have the luxury of being untouched by the struggle of so many to believe their own worth, I hope these stories will graciously rob you of that today.

How it works:

If you have written a response or related blog post, please use the link below to add your post’s URL (as opposed to your blog’s main URL) to the community collection; you’re welcome to add more than one post. Please consider linking back to this post so that your readers can find the collection.

If you don’t have a blog or would prefer to remain anonymous, please leave your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

Thank you so much for being willing to share your story. Please be sure to take some time to read other people’s stories and leave them a comment of encouragement as well.

Click here to view the links and add your own.

(I know it’s scary– I’ll go first and wait for you.)

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  • http://baristabruce.wordpress.com brooskolin

    Tamara, this is such a God moment. I cannot help but think that this is going to be moving… Thank you so much!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks so much for being a part of it!

  • http://whoivealwaysbeen.blogspot.com Carolyn

    This is too rich, Tamara. I was thinking about how I had laid it out there in my post – been honest and vulnerable – and this voice comes to me saying, “Well jump up there and be somebody”. That is what an old boyfriend of mine used to say to tell me to shove my pig on out in the spotlight (isn’t that a real Southern-ism for you?). The funny thing is that this boyfriend whose voice rose up in my mind is one of the guys I was writing about. I am so glad that God gave us humor. Couldn’t survive these things without it!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Ha! Totally agree. Thanks so much for contributing.

  • http://www.alise-write.com Alise

    I feel super redundant whenever I comment here, but again, thank you. I needed that post more than I can tell you. I’m so grateful for the words you shared and even more, I’m deeply grateful for your friendship. Can’t wait to some day give you a real live hug. It will be tight and tear-stained.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      And you must know I’m deeply grateful for yours.

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  • http://leighkramer.com/ HopefulLeigh

    It was helpful to look back at few of the defining moments in the story of my worth and to realize that I don’t live that way anymore. I’m still figuring out who I am but I no longer passively settle for less than what I’m worth. Thank you for triggering that thought process, Tamara!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      It was so encouraging to read, too. I admire you.

  • http://www.veronicamonique.com Veronica Monique

    This is a wonderful opportunity for sharing and opening us to compassion. Love it, Tamara! Thanks for the opportunity!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      You’re welcome. Thank you for contributing!

  • A Non E-Moose

    Going anonymous in an attempt to “Honor your father and mother” — most family members don’t know the story I’m about to tell….
    What’s a girl worth?
    Depends on who’s doing the appraising. And the filter they have on their “camera”. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if there is crap all over the lens they are looking through? Can anything appear beautiful or worthy of honor in that case?
    Wait… You’re talking real “worth”? Not apparent worth? Ahh…. That’s a different question which I’ll get to later.
    Suffice to say that our ability to determine worth is hindered by what we’ve gone through and the baggage we carry with us. Not to excuse our faults saying “grandma wore army boots”, but our history does inform who we become. In my case, dad was a drunk, and mom didn’t approve but tolerated it to some extent. Of course, mom had previous experience – her mom was the lush she took care of as a teen.
    The ‘incident’ that changed our family forever? Dad cheats. Grandma blows whistle.
    (Note to philanderers: if you’re going to cheat, don’t frequent the same bar as your mother-in-law.)
    Mom has nervous breakdown. Dad denies everything, threatens grandma…. The young couple sticks together “for the sake of the kids” (3 of us in diapers), and the whole incident becomes a taboo subject.
    Dysfunction was the only function we knew.
    Fast forward about twenty years, off to college. What kind of girls do I like? The good girls with servant hearts that take care of those around them (i.e., like mom.) What kind of girls do I find myself with? Those that are attracted to the drunken carouser type like my dad… like me.
    I grew up resenting the guys that treated girls like dirt, and then I became one. I’d like a girl for the right reasons, but as soon as she gave in to the wrong ones, she got re-categorized and I didn’t like her anymore. (P.S. – I had no idea why. It was years later before I figured it out.)
    Got some ‘self-loathing pie’ for you here, mister! How’s that taste?
    “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom. 7:24-25
    I am so glad that I’m not living that life anymore, that I’m not living or believing those lies anymore.
    What lies? For one, the lie that the girls that said “yes” were worth less than the girls that said “no”. How about the lie that said I was destined to remain a failure/loser/jerk/pick-your-favorite-derogatory-adjective for the rest of my life?
    I’ve been redeemed and restored, and I’m so relieved. Married, kids… a good life. My path of redemption and my wife’s merged perfectly by God’s grace. And the redemption story isn’t just about me or us….
    Mom prayed all of her kids into the kingdom. And, she prayed grandma into AA, where she was blessed to be sober the last few years of her life. And, mom and dad’s relationship actually grew closer as her health failed and dad took care of her for a change. And, dad did finally turn to Jesus….
    There is only one that sees the true worth of each individual, because only one has a clear lens and an unobstructed view of who we are. As we draw closer to him, we see the junk in ourselves, but we also find that he loves us anyway. Then God gets to work on us, like a craftsman who restores precious works: he cleans off the grime, fixes the cracks, removes the stains, and restores the object of his desire to a condition that is beautiful, reflecting the workmanship of the craftsman in spite of its imperfections.
    What’s a girl worth? Or, what’s a guy worth? We’re worth enough that God sent his Son to die on a cross, so that we could have our relationship restored, have our grime and the stains removed.
    I try to remember – and I’m not always successful – that each person we encounter has a back story, a reason they are the way they are. I can’t see it, but God does. If we try to see people as God sees them, asking him to give us insights into who they are, we’ll be better able to ascertain what makes each one lovable and worthwhile.
    The secret? Every person we encounter is already lovable and worthwhile. We just haven’t discovered why….

    • A Non E-Moose

      Sorry about the jumbled mess…. cutting and pasting to comments loses all the formatting.

      • Sarah H.

        Something I love (really love!) about this post is that there is not just a realization that God loves us despite our crap, but that he’s actually getting his hands dirty and cleaning it up, making things right, little by little, redeeming both what we’ve done and what we’ve been subjected to. We are wretched, and yet he loves us, AND it doesn’t end there…he WILL save us from this body of death! What an amazing God.

        • a non e moose

          The thing that amazes me in the “redeeming both what we’ve done and what we’ve been subjected to” is his attention to detail, and his patience to work it out in his timing, not ours. I was able to see things (or I should say, the Lord pointed out things) late in dad’s life that I hadn’t realized before, not that they excused the shortcomings, but it made more sense of them… and that helped me to forgive, to let go of judgmental attitudes I had. If I had gone through the crap my dad did, I very easily could have made the same mistakes….

          There but for the grace of God, right? We have no idea how true that really is…..

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      You nail it with this: “only one has a clear lens and an unobstructed view of who we are.” Thank you for speaking truth.

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  • http://ironicmom.wordpress.com Leanne Shirtliffe

    Thanks, T, for doing this. I have nothing to link now. But I’m reading.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks so much for reading. I hope you’ll drop a few notes along the way– your gracious words always encourage.

  • http://allthingscommunication.wordpress.com jmonsewicz

    I decided best not to post this on my Tumblr, but this is for anyone who comes across this page. I know my WordPress information is shown, but I don’t think others, my family specifically, need to see this. Sorry for the length in advance.

    Worthiness: A Struggle

    Understanding what I’m worth has been a struggle for me for several years now. It’s all rooted to my family and the issues I have with them. I don’t truly have great models of what a family (Christian family specifically) is supposed to look like. I don’t know what it’s like to have a support system from a family, to be able to talk openly and freely. Greatest of these issues, is the loss of my relationship with my stepfather.

    He’s an ex-Army Ranger drill instructor…yeah. So needless to say, we didn’t always meet eye to eye. Everything fell apart the fall of 2007, for months I slipped into depression, disregard for my schoolwork, and an overall change in my demeanor. I lost who I was. I was forced to leave my home, but thankfully a youth leader at my church, Jason, opened his home to me. I moved in with him and his wife for the remainder of high school (I was in my senior year), spent a short time at my biological father’s that summer, and in August 2008, I began college.

    My freshman year was of course spent battling the issues from the previous school year. Not much really happened to be honest. Sophomore year though…I could write a book on that entire experience. In short, I entered a relationship with a girl I had met my freshman year, and we rushed things, especially in the physical department of our relationship. And before you read my next sentence, please know that I know I am forgiven and covered by grace, but I still regret what I’m going to say. I lost my virginity to this girl…and I took hers.

    The rest of that school year would be spent battling temptations, falling into those temptations, having several upon several arguments, fights, and at the end of the school year, being threatened with eviction from the campus ministry I not only attended, but lived at. And before anyone gets in arms, I deserved the eviction. I was given several chances and the minister never gave up on me. I don’t know how he didn’t, but he never did, and he still hasn’t.

    So, entering my third year of college (2010-2011), I was starting off fresh. I began counseling on campus. It helped immensely. I began to see a peace in my life, I began to relax, I was able to smile…truthfully, not faking it. My greatest moment of testing came in January of 2011. The previous summer (2010), my stepfather actually apologized to me. I began to visit again and stay at my “home” again. It’s a crazy story within itself, but I will say I never took his apology sincerely due to several reasons behind it. But that January, after some things that happened, he told me again he didn’t want me in his life. For days I was swimming in a constant state of anxiety, reliving memories, weeping, and completely breaking down.

    I eventually spoke with a man who came to our campus as a guest speaker. Of all things, it was about dating. We began talking after he spoke and somehow the subject of my stepfather came up. He stopped me short at one point and asked a question that would change my life. “Do you honestly care to have someone like that in your life anymore?” I met his eyes, and with a fierce sincere reply, I said “No.” He smiled at me and told me to keep in touch.

    Now, I say all of that, and honestly that is a very, VERY, brief summary of my story, to tell you this.

    I struggled and still struggle with my worth because of my now non-existent relationship with my stepfather. But through that experience, I gained a lot of people who support me, opened their arms, loved me, and showed me what family and love truly is. It took me years to understand it, but in the moment where I uttered the word “No,” it all came together. Since that moment, life has become joyous once more. I’ve learned that I am worth something to those who love me, truly love me. And to be honest, my relationship with God currently is in a state of what feels like disrepair, but I know and truly believe that in His eyes, I am the most beautiful and precious child to Him. And the same goes for you.

    If you’re struggling to find your worth, do not be afraid, we all have and all will. You are worth more than you can ever know to someone out there. And more importantly, you are worth everything to God.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I am so glad that even though your relationship with God feels to be in disrepair, you have faith enough to believe in the worth He sees in you.

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  • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com ChadJ (randomlychad)

    This is a beautiful, beautiful thing you’ve done here, Tamara. By going first, you’ve given us all the gift of going second. Your bravery has engendered the same in countless others. May the Lord bless you abundantly!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks, friend. I feel like He already has. 🙂

  • http://rasjacobson.com Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson

    I posted my story at Deb Bryan’s. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever written.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I can’t wait to read it. Would you mind adding it to the collection of links?

      • http://rasjacobson.com Renee Schuls-Jacobson

        I didn’t realize that I put it in the wrong place until I went back and read all the amazing posts over at the other site.

        If you don’t mind, I’m just going to keep it here. It is still really hard for me to put out there. I go back and forth between feeling brave and feeling scared. Love you, friend. You are doing such good work. And your writing is exquisite.

        • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

          Totally don’t mind. Thank you for sharing it at all. xo

  • http://www.holdingontothemagic.com boomchuckpixyniki

    I definitely intend to participate (and I’m commenting as a way of reinforcing the memory in my head because I’m annoyingly forgetful), but after tomorrow. I just finished a week of student writing conferences (3 classes’ worth of studentzzzzzzzz… and one class scheduled for next week) and I have an art showing at our local Dog Fest all day tomorrow (my first, and my first real chance to do some networking for my new pet portrait painting business–yay!). I do have some thoughts, though, and I expect they’ll end up offering a new or lesser known perspective. 🙂 But for now, I must address my checklist and check my bug spray.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Looking forward to this lesser known perspective– thanks for taking time out of your full schedule to participate!

  • http://whoivealwaysbeen.blogspot.com Carolyn

    This was good. But much harder than I expected. Reading how both men and women have felt devalued – reading the stories about how that happened to them – was hard. I’m going to have to take some time to process it. More writing will probably come out of it. I did have to find some balance right away, though, so I wouldn’t sink before I had a chance to find the lesson in it all. If you want to know how God helps me find balance when I’m emotional, you can read more about it here: http://whoivealwaysbeen.blogspot.com/2011/09/god-loves-me.html Blessings to all of you – writers, readers, and lurkers. Blessings.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I agree– it can be hard, but it can also be so good that I think it’s worth it.

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  • http://baristabruce.wordpress.com brooskolin

    Tamara, I continue to be moved by this initiative. It’s amazing how stories and insight spark healing and conversation, giving a voice to the voiceless. Speaking is healing, empowering and community-creating. Again, Thank you so much!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I’m so glad you’re seeing all that going on. Thank you for championing the cause so well!

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  • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

    okay, here it is.

    for what it’s worth.

    wait. i mean, literally. that’s the name of it.

    thank you again for opening the door for this to happen. if you hadn’t reached out, i wouldn’t have share it, even already knowing i was supposed to.



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