So here is the first Guest Post on Whispers of Joy!
I'd like to introduce a good friend of mine, Carissa, who is devoted to her Lord, and has an amazing heart for encouragement. She is a wife, and mother of two little boys, and is wading through the ups and downs that these jobs entail. Carissa has a gift at sharing her thoughts to uplift others who are fighting the same battles, and enjoying the same blessings as she is. She doesn't have a blog of her own (YET! Let's cheer her on so she starts one up!), but plans to share her thoughts with us here occasionally.
Here is Carissa...
Looking back, I think it all started when the kid behind me in class was offering me some of his candy. As I took some he told me that I was skinny & needed it. That hurt. To me, he just said I wasn’t attractive & in order to be, I needed to gain weight. (Looking back now, he was just being a typical teen kid & teasing me. He didn’t mean anything by it.) I grabbed the candy, threw it in the garbage can as I walked out the door & to my next class, fighting back the tears & hurt. After that time, I was self conscious about my weight. Most people probably looked at me & thought I had it made. I was thin & could eat whatever I wanted without it affecting my weight. I, on the other hand, saw all the girls with curves & longed to look like them. To me thin, not-so-curvy girls like myself, weren’t that attractive. A girl I worked with had said one of her guy friends told her that guys like girls that have more to them so that, along with similar comments over the years, fed my secret worries later as a married woman.
“You’re so skinny, why do you need to eat healthy?”
“You’re so tiny!!”
“You disappear into the couch, you’re so skinny.”
The list could continue on. I realize now that all these people did not know what their comments meant & did not mean them to hurt me the way they did. But Satan used them mightily in my life. I hated being “skinny.” I wore certain clothes & avoided the ones that I thought made me look even thinner. I worried that my husband found other women more attractive, you know those ones with more curves? I secretly feared that he wasn’t being honest with me when he told me I was beautiful. I compared myself all the time. While I was doing all that, I would wonder why in the world I struggled with it! Outward appearance isn’t everything & I knew that. I would feel so silly & wish I could get over it! I would beat myself up for worrying & dwelling on something so superficial & unimportant! To this day, I don’t quite know why I struggled with it. All I know is I wanted to be beautiful & attractive. But I mostly came to grips with how I was made for a few years. I learned to not take people’s comments to heart & just be grateful for the fact that I didn’t have to worry about gaining weight.
Then I had kids. That did a number on my “feeders.” I didn’t get many stretch marks but my “feeders” are not pretty (in my ever so self critical opinion). I wanted to hide myself from my husband. I’d cover them up during our alone times. I feared he thought they were so ugly & longed for the way they were, before our boys came along. (Our boys are SOOO worth it! I wouldn’t trade them for the most perfect “feeders” in the world. ) :D No matter what my dear husband said, Satan was always in there telling me that he was just saying that to please me. That he would never tell me what he really thought because he didn’t want to hurt me.
In the study, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, there was a chapter on being content with the way God made you.
“Have you ever thanked your Creator for His loving supervision of your creation? Have you praised Him for creating your personality? Can you say with David, “I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made?.....You will never really enjoy other people, you will never have stable emotions, you will never lead a life of godly contentment, you will never conquer jealously and love others as you should until you thank God for making you the way He did.”
When I read that I started crying. I didn’t want to thank God for the way He made me because I thought He could have done much better! All I could think of was all the hurt & pain from comments over the years about my size. I thought of all the longing to be outgoing, funny & bubbly that I had done. I had argued with him in this area much of my adult life (short as that has been since I'm still not quite a grown up;) ). I told God that it would be a while before I could thank Him.
But God delivered me & gave me victory!!!!
I praise Him for never giving up on me & always working in this heart of mine. I can truly say I am content with the way He made me! It brings tears to my eyes saying that! :) I wish I could convey how intense this was for me at times & how FREEING it’s been to truly embrace what I’ve always known to be true. God thinks I’m BEAUTIFUL!! :) I love the saying that comparison is the death of contentment because I have found it to be so true! I am learning that instead of comparing myself with other women, to instead think, “She is beautiful. But so am I!” God hand crafted each of us & when He looks at us, He thinks, “She is beautiful & perfect. Look at what a fine job I did!”
I am learning to embrace the stretch marks & imperfect, well used breasts as beauty marks. My boys are well worth it! My Savior has scars on him from bearing the cross for me so that I can have life, in the similar way that I have scars, in a sense, from bearing & giving life to my boys. When I look at my imperfect self now, I think of how my Jesus has scars on him from me. It was me that sent him to the cross to die.
Now, I know not all thin girls have or have had struggles like mine. We are all different. Just because I struggled in this area doesn’t make me any less than you. Just because you may not have struggled in this area does not make you any better than me. We are all traveling this road together & each has our unique struggles. You may not struggle with outward appearance but are you content with yourself in other ways? Are you content with the personality with which God has gifted you? Are you content with the talents & gifts He has given you? I used to joke with friends that I got jipped in that department because I can’t cook great, play an instrument, sing, sew, create- you name it, I probably cant’ do it! I did not think about it very often but would joke about it occasionally. It hurt God when I would compare & wish I looked like that, had a personality like so & so & was gifted like her! Now, I’m ok with not knowing if I have many gifts. I KNOW that God has gifted me somehow. I’ve moved passed wondering what my gifts are to just praying that God will use my gifts, whatever they are, to glorify Him & encourage others in their walks with Him.
“God is painting a picture on the canvas of our lives. Our bodies are merely the frame. God intends to paint a beautiful picture-a picture to others of our character and unique expression of Christ’s life-and place it in this frame. But He can’t create this work of art without our cooperation. It needs to be a lifelong joint project between God and us. If you choose to criticize the frame or resist God’s brushstrokes, you will not find contentment. It will elude you. If you focus on God’s vision that integrates the picture with the frame, and the development of His message through you, you can say, “I am content to be me.”” -Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. (Highly recommend that study!)
In the words of songwriter Johnny Diaz, “There could never be a more beautiful you!” :)
Come back again soon to enjoy more posts from this encouraging woman! (and more projects and updates from me too!) :)
Thanks for stopping,
God bless your day!