“For you created my innermost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16
A few years ago, I was at a workshop about body image. There was a woman in attendance that talked about how chubby her 14 year old daughter was getting. She didn’t like it one bit. She asked what could she do to stop her from getting more fat. As I heard her complaints, I was fighting back tears as well as wanting to shake her. This is a difficult issue for me since I suffered from an eating disorder from ages 13-24. and still have lingering issues of self worth due to my physical appearance.
I was a very skinny child. So skinny, the doctor was concerned. But when I hit puberty, I grew outward, not upward. (I am still waiting for my chest to catch up with my hips…still waiting…). People started to notice the change: family, friends, enemies, my doctor. I received lots of comments, “hey what happened, you used to be so pretty?” “Uh you must be eating lots of hamburgers and fries.” “you need to go on a diet” (that came from a 10 year old). So, I starved myself and exercised for 2 hours a day to then binge eat until I was sick. Physically that is what I did to myself. But the worst damage came from the self hatred and the thoughts I had for myself. I didn’t see myself with any value. I was told no man would ever show me love because I wasn’t skinny like the other gals were my age. I closed myself off. I isolated myself. I didn’t think anyone would like me, even as a friend, because I was chubby. When the image you have of yourself, is not how God sees you, the enemy will tempt you to make some bad decisions. I made some bad decisions. I would be in church on Sunday, crying asking for forgiveness, to then go back to making those same mistakes the next day.
I finally had a turning point, with a dear friend’s help, I asked for God to have His way in my life. From this experience, I do believe God can put the right people in our lives to have us know how God sees us. After I made that decision for God to have His way, I met my husband. He loved all of me. I couldn’t believe the parts of my body that I berated and cursed at for being chubby, he loved. He told me such positive things about my physical appearance, I began to change on the inside and outside. Therapists, say this is backwards and that I should concentrate on the inside first. I did try but my words felt empty. God knows what we need. He sent my husband to bring me to experience true love and joy.
Now about the mother who thought her daughter was getting too fat… I decided to give that mother a piece of my mind. Just kidding. I would have gotten arrested. I excused myself and got into my car. I cried and then wrote her a letter. In my letter, I told the mother to love her daughter unconditionally and to stop nagging her about her weight because she already knew it. Affirm her value of what a wonderful daughter she is, and be a good example to her. I told her a little bit of my struggle and how a family’s support is so important. So, I gave her the letter and told her this letter will shed light on her situation and ran out of there. I found out she cried when she read the letter and told the leader to thank me. I hope my experience stopped a young girl from years of torture. I am thankful that no pain is ever wasted. God used my pain and recovery to help someone.
‘Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your unconditional love. I thank you that you see me as valuable and worthy of goodness. I pray that you protect my mind from thinking I am not enough and that I do not have to fit the world’s unrealistic view of how my body should be. Let there be a shift in how the people in the world sees each other. Affirm in me, how you see me. Show us the right way to be healthy. In Jesus’ Precious and Mighty Name. AMEN!”