I'm standing in my mother's living room and I see my sister I haven't seen in a few years. Before any hello is spoken she says to me, "Wow, your fat!" I can tell you those words hit me hard. I felt like a bulldozer just knocked me down and rolled right on over my heart. I reply to her, "What? I'm the same size I've been in the last ten years". She looks at me with a smile and says, "Oh, I don't mean to make you feel bad, you just look fatter."
I wanted to scream to her, "I'm the same size 8 I have been for the last ten years and when I just weighed I was 125 pounds! I wanted to cry. In this instance and on the drive home I began to doubt myself. I was telling myself, "Okay, I'm 5'4, should I be smaller? Have I gained weight and I just can't tell?" Girls, you know too well don't you? Every thought possible entered my mind. I went home and cried. I shared with my husband, who replied, "Your beautiful".
I have always struggled with body image. In my high school years I was anorexic and bulimic. I took every diuretic possible and I watched every single nugget that entered my mouth. I felt unworthy. I felt ugly. The thing that hurts the most is that no one knew. I'm not sure if I kept it so well hidden or my family and friends just didn't really know me as well as I figured they did.
So, as you can see, these words were crippling to me. They brought me back to a place I didn't need to be. Words not expected and words never before heard by my ears, only my heart. The inner me who never quite saw myself as others did. I grew angry. I thought, "How could she?" That was downright mean, but then I hear my Savior. His sweet words say to me, "Dear daughter, hurt people, hurt people".
My sister had just lost her love. He had died from a long battle of cancer. She lost her home and was now staying with my mother. She was hurting. Her world was now upside down. Everything before her was shattering and she is now left trying to sort out the pieces.
Her words were not soothing to my ears and because she was hurting didn't give her reason to hurt me, but that's what we do, isn't it? We take our hurt and use it as plaster for the hearts of others.
I didn't confront my sister. I chose instead to turn to my Savior. He soothed my heart. He removed my anger toward my sister. I began praying for my hurting sister. I made the choice to reach out to her and see if there were any way I could help ease her pain and bring comfort to her life that has been thrown into disarray.
I am sharing this with you today because we struggle with body issues. Women face the mirror and instead of seeing the beauty God has created, we find every single flaw and point it out. It's as though it's the first thing we see. We measure ourselves to other women. We go by size and weight. We save those skinny jeans and soon they are outdated.
Hurtful comments are often not even directed to us. It's empty words from a hurting heart. A heart in need. Those words hit my heart. Yes, my heart that is often insecure, inadequate and misunderstand. See, Satan knows our weakest points. He knows where we are most vulnerable. He sees those and seeks to destroy us by those very assumptions we have about ourselves.
I had to come to the point where I began seeing myself through the eyes of Jesus. Not through the eyes of this condemning world, but through His loving eyes. He created me just the way I am. Instead of me being critical of myself, He wants me to look in the mirror and in gratitude, praise Him for His wondrous creation in me. I am the only me. Think about it. That is pretty cool.
I have a daughter who takes my breath away. I cannot tell you how many people have come up to me and said, "Wow, your daughter looks just like you". If I am to criticize myself, I then am criticizing my daughter. She is gorgeous in every way. There is nothing about her I would change. I look at my granddaughter, who brings my heart to a stop when I see her. She takes my very breath away. You guessed it. This little beauty looks just like her momma, who in turn resembles me. How could I criticize what the Lord has given me?
Yes, this forty-six year old woman is learning to be grateful for every wrinkle, every curve and yes, I am accepting that cellulite that comes along with being a woman. As I age I look to younger women. I must be honest and say, I wouldn't want to go backward for anything. I like who I am today. I am growing into the woman of beauty God has created me to be. I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin. It's about time. But for women, this is a journey. It's a growth road of coming into who we are to be. If I'm not accepting of myself, what then am I teaching my daughters and grandchildren? I want them to see themselves as I see them. Beautiful. I too must learn to see the beauty in myself.
After all, I am created in the image of my Savior. I am created by the hands of my God. He knew me before I took my first breath. He created ever intricate part of my being. He gave me my blue eyes and short legs. He didn't stop there. After that He took the time to plan every day of my life.
When I go to the mirror each morning I look into those blue eyes and say, "Thank You, Jesus". Thank You, for my life. For all You have given me. May the beauty You have created today shine forth and bring glory to Your name. Lord, continue the work You have begun in me. Change me to look more like You today. Help me to accept myself in every way. May I not worry about the thoughts or comments from the lips of others, but may I continue to see myself through Your eyes.
Friends, it's not our shape or size. I had to come to the place where I simply stopped comparing myself to others. I had to put down the magazines of Hollywood and remind myself that I am a child of the King of kings. I am a beautiful woman of God and there is nothing no one can say to take that away.
Be healthy in this beautiful body God has given us. Do not allow the lies of this world to get you down. Don't allow anyone to tell you, you are not beautiful. You are a unique woman of God, created for a purpose and a plan. So ladies, put on your God goggles and see yourself for who He sees you as. Beautiful beyond description.
Lord, it is You, that makes me complete. There is nothing about me that You do not know. Create in me the woman You are calling me to be. Allow me not to fix my eyes on what I think this world calls beauty, but in what I know You call beauty. Sweet Jesus, help me to overcome myself and my doubts. Fill me with a clarity that gives me peace. Beauty begins in the heart and is an outward flow. Lord, may my beauty shine for Your glory. As I see myself, may I see my Savior and all the love You have for me. Amen
"For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began." Psalm 139:13-16
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8