Ladies, let’s chat. Cool?
Whether you are single, in college, engaged, newly married, married with a kid, a high schooler, or a single mom… I think it’s safe to say our bodies are a hot topic, regardless of what stage of life you’re in. I always thought when I was younger, “Oh, when I am “older” I won’t be so weird about my body anymore.” HA. Gosh, I wish. The reality of that thought is that your insecurities don’t disappear with age, they disappear with truth. So, let’s be honest with ourselves. I would venture to say it’s safe to bet that at some point every single one of us has struggled with our body image. I will be the first to raise her hand and say, “I sure have!”
My story? I was a dancer my whole life, and slowly felt the pressure of being “small enough.” Mind you… I was 5’1 and definitely never was overweight to begin with. It was all self-inflicted pressure. I lived my life with calorie counts and checking my side view for years until I withered away to basically nothing. Then, unlike I had hoped would happen as I got older, my insecurities didn’t disappear. They just followed me into college and marriage. It was my insecurities that absolutely subtly effected my perspective on becoming a mom for a long time. I definitely had a list of other fears ranging from no sleep, already hectic schedules, and figuring out how to keep my marriage priority with a kid. But, my greatest fears when it came to the idea of having kids was labor itself, and then the fear of my changing body.
I knew deep down all those other things could be figured out… but what would happen to me? That terrified me most. Funny enough, I was in the best health and shape of my life when I got pregnant. Mentally and physically, I was doing awesome. I had spent years figuring out what I could and couldn’t eat from allergies, and just spent over a year reversing -thanks to a crazy scientist doctor- years of misdiagnosis and doctors telling me “nothing is wrong” when I knew something was. Finally, I wasn’t sick all the time. Finally, I had answers for my fatigue. Finally, I felt like more than a shell of a human being walking around. And, above all, I was so secure in my own skin. And then… I got pregnant. HA. I had to accept my body was about to change drastically. Again. I was about to be exhausted… all the time again. I was about to be nauseous… all the time again. Different reasons this time around, but I was about to feel like crap again. It seemed silly to me. I worked so hard to get healthier, battling both mental and physical sickness, and then as soon as I was feeling great… I felt like it was time to become a mom. Funny how that happens.
But here’s the best part you guys. I realized through pregnancy just how much I love my body. God used my greatest fears to reveal my greatest joys. I found freedom in the midst of my biggest fear. What I thought would be my greatest road block in pregnancy became my favorite part!
Question: What is your biggest fear that, if you took bold steps into, COULD actually be the deliverance you’ve been needing?
Alright, so pregnancy went great. I felt awesome and I was proud of what my body and I just did for 9 months. *high five, body!* And then, my labor didn’t go at all as I had expected and I had to have an emergency c-section. I felt a little betrayed by my body that I had grown to love so much over the last 9 months. For the first time in my life, pregnancy made it feel like we were on the same page. It felt like we were working together… and then, I couldn’t deliver my son. I tried. I tried so hard, and nothing was working.
I thought my body had tricked me, stabbed me in the back. But then I realized it actually was my son’s saving grace. It knew better than I did to not progress or the baby inside of me that I loved so much would die. I have nothing but gratitude for my body. More than ever I can say, “I love this body!” I owe my son’s life to it in more ways than one. It grew my son, every ounce of weight gain and expanding hips, nausea and fatigue… It was all worth it. All I have to say to you, body, is thank you for bringing my best little friend into the world exactly how you knew it needed to be done. So sure, my body lays a little differently now. My tummy region is shaped differently, and no matter how hard we work at it, that bottom little pooch just won’t seem to disappear yet. My ribs legit look different now. They set outward and a little higher than before. But, I love you anyways, body. And, in fact, I vow to never speak ill of you ever again.
I wrote that to my body a couple of months after Knox was born. It’s taken me almost 9 months to talk about it. But, that’s where I am at. Thank GOD our bodies were designed by a creator to do more than we could have ever imagined.
Now, listen. Whether you’re pregnant, just had a baby, or having children is NO WHERE on your radar… It’s amazing how God can use situations we dread in order to show us freedom.
Jesus walked into a situation he absolutely dreaded by saying “yes” to death on a cross. Don’t believe me? He sweat blood he was so anxious and terrified for what was about to come while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He begged God to allow this cup to pass… He didn’t want to die a gruesome death. He DID however want you to experience freedom. So, He went. He carried the cross for you, for me, for every insecurity. Through death, freedom was found. Life for all of us came through a painful situation. Aren’t you so thankful Jesus went to the cross? Let Jesus’ example be what leads you into freedom from whatever it might be in your life. Maybe it’s body image, or maybe it’s a tight hold on things you cannot change. Whatever situation you are seeking freedom in, perhaps walking into the depths of what you fear most will reveal a freedom you didn’t even know was possible. Jesus will meet you in the darkness and shed light. You can’t see what parts of you need light, though, unless you do in fact go into the darkness to expose where shadows are dwelling. Perfect love casts out all fear, and darkness literally cannot exist where light is.
Find freedom, friends. I hope you know you’re beautiful. I hope you see there is freedom from whatever your insecurities might be. If you find yourself pinching, poking, and turning to the side to see if it’s a “skinny” day… please, go to the darkness with a torch in hand (psssst, that’s Jesus!) and expose what parts of you need truth.
You are beautiful.
You are made exactly how the Lord designed you.
You are irreplaceable.
You are knit and woven by God, The Creator.
You are special.
You are perfect as you are.
You are enough.
You are worthy.
This shoot with Knox is my favorite I have ever done with Hannah from Cottonwood Road Photography. I told her I just wanted something simple. My hair is its natural straight style, these jeans are 3 years old, and my top is from last winter. My nails aren’t painted, and my headboard has a button missing. There was something freeing in and of itself showing up just as I am for this shoot. Also, I mean, look at this kid. WOW. It hurts how much I love him.