Friday, July 18, 2014

Beauty in the Dark Places

"He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory." -Isaiah 61:3

I have been to the dark places of self worth. I have seen first hand the evil that lives there. It takes over your mind, heart, and spirit. You feel crushed and broken. The dark places where you don't recognize yourself. I have been there. I have conquered that dry and weary place. 

I have always had body image issues. Ever since I was a little girl I remember being a little bigger than the other girls. Not the kind of big that most people would notice but the kind that you see in the mirror when changing clothes. It didn't start as a big deal but as I became more mature I felt different. I wanted to look like the other girls. They didn't have hips or curves. They seemed more athletic and and more beautiful in my mind. 

I struggled with my body image all through high school. I thought I had to look a certain way. What I didn't realize was I was made in the image of God. He created me and He did it out of love. I know many girls (and women) who struggle with an unhealthy body image. We look at magazines and the TV and see models. Models who are bone thin and struggling themselves to fit into a "Hollywood" image that is fake. 

I have been so depressed that I starved myself. Except that didn't work because I really love food. I have eaten myself into oblivion. I am a stress eater. I don't reach for healthy snacks either. It is always ice cream or chips and dip. I used to think I looked really bad. I didn't know how to take a compliment. Especially, one from my husband. He always tells me I'm beautiful and my immediate response used to be "yeah right" or "ha!". I am changing my responses to "thank you". 

No matter how many times I tried I just couldn't feel good about myself. I would beat myself up mentally about the way I looked. Now, after having 3 children my body is totally different. I weigh more now than I did when I was pregnant with my children. I have stretch marks and age spots. And, if I thought I had hips before, well, I don't know what to call them now. LOL! 

I have been praying for my health for the last year. I have had so many issues and I believe they all stem from my diet and lack of exercise. I recently ordered the Trim Healthy Mama book and plan to dive right in when it arrives. If you don't know much about the book please look it up. I am very excited. It is a costly book but if I don't get my act together health-wise it will be costly for my family. I want to live a long and happy life. 

A friend of mine recently inspired me to get healthy. Not necessarily to lose weight but to feel better. She sent me a bible verse and I have been praying it ever since. 

"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." -1 Corinthians 6:19-20

After reading this verse and studying it in my quiet time, I have come to love it. My body is a temple and I should treat it as such. That doesn't mean I can't have an occasional dessert and have a nice dinner. It means that I should take care of what God has given me. My body is His. He paid the ultimate price on the cross for me. I want to do my best to be a Godly example for others. 

I have the support of my husband. He is going to help me along the way. I have hope that one day I will be pain free and feel great. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I am taking the bull by the horns and embracing this new lifestyle. Yes, it is a lifestyle. It is not a quick fix. It is a lifelong commitment to take care of the only body I will ever get. I am doing this for God, my family, and myself. 

I know some people may read this and think I am being a little vain or self centered. That is not what I want you to think. There are many things that have led me to this place. My love for God is first and foremost. I want to please Him. One way to do that is to get myself well through a healthy lifestyle. I love my family and want to be there for them for a long time. 

If you are struggling with an unhealthy body image I am praying for you. I have been to that low place. The dark places that seem to cover your whole life. I know it seems lonely. But, you are not alone. God is with you. He was there with me through it all. He is holding your hand and holding your heart. God loves you just the way you are. 

I hope this helps someone today. I have poured my heart out here. This is who I am and who I was. It was hard to write but I know that God will use it for His glory. He will give you beauty for your ashes. 



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