Monday, September 19, 2011

happy anniversary tim!

Happy Anniversary my Beloved!  You are wonderful and I am so thankful that God brought us together. I love you more than I can say.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

the body He has made

"Then she came to a page which was such a blaze of pictures that one hardly noticed the writing.  Hardly-- but she did notice the first words.  They were, An infallible spell to make beautiful her that uttereth it beyond the lot of mortals. "

The above passage is from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.  Lucy is reading through a book of spells so she can reverse a curse, and she runs across this spell, a spell that will make her more beautiful than anyone else in the world, including her sister.  This  story is strikes home for me, and I'm sure it does for other women as well.

It's no secret.  I have a love-hate relationship with my body, that usually tends towards the latter.  I have struggled with my body image for a very long time.  Some days are better than others, most days are better than they once were, but I'm still not where I would like to be.

I change clothes and re-brush my hair hoping something will change.  Hoping that I will look at the mirror and be satisfied.  Hoping that one day when I pass a beautiful person I won't compare myself anymore.

This week I started reading a book called "Practicing Our Faith" a collection of essays about living out the Christian life.  It deals with many interesting and challenging topics, and one of the essays was titled "Honoring the Body."  In it the author, Stephanie Paulsell, writes about how God made us in His image and He made us beautiful.

I was particularly moved by a story she shared about a young woman who suffered from intense acne.  She could not bear to go out with her friends because she was ashamed of her face.  Her father asked her if he could show her a new way to cleanse herself.  He brought her to the sink and told her to splash her face once and say "In the name of the Father," a second time "in the of the Son," and on the third "in the name of the Holy Spirit."  Finally he said, "Look up into the mirror and remember that you are a child of God, full of grace and beauty."

I loved that.  Too often I look at myself in the mirror and critique all that I see.  I focus upon myself negatively and wish that I was different.  I forget that by wishing that I'm telling God He made a mistake when He made me.

God made us beautiful.  He made you beautiful.  He doesn't make mistakes.

I'm trying to change things up at home.  When I look in the mirror, rather than practicing spite and self-loathing, I thank God for making me.  I thank Him for being my Father.

I posted the following verse on our bathroom mirror:

"As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.  Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."  Colossians 3:12-14

I know my mornings would be different if I focused on clothing myself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and love instead of which jeans, t-shirt, sweater, socks, and shoes.

When Lucy finds the beauty spell in the magician's book she is tempted to read it as quickly as possible.  She sees pictures of herself becoming the most beautiful woman and all the kings of the world are fighting for her hand.

"will say the spell," said Lucy, "I don't care. I will."  She said I don't care because she had a strong feeling that she mustn't."

"But when she looked back at the opening words of the spell, there in the middle of the writing, where she felt quite sure there had been no picture before, she found the great face of a lion, of The Lion, Aslan himself, staring into hers.  It was painted such a bright gold that it seemed to be coming toward her out of the page; and indeed she never was quite sure afterward that it hadn't really moved a little.  At any rate she knew the expression on his face quite well.  He was growling and you could see most of his teeth.  She became horribly afraid and turned over the page at once."

It isn't pleasing to God when we hate the body He created for us, jealously desire beauty, or worship our bodies over the One who created it.

I know that my focus upon myself, though negative, is still a form of self-worship.  It consumes my thoughts and turns me away from my Creator.  I also know that my tendency to jealously compare is harmful to myself and others and disappointing to the One who created me.

You may not be like me.  You may be completely at peace with the body God has given you and be able to thank Him for His wonderful handiwork.  If you are like me, I know that coming to terms with what He has given you, to believe that it is beautiful when everything around you including yourself is telling you don't measure up, is very difficult.  Know that God loves you, and He fashioned you before the beginning of the world.  He knows your name, He knows every hair on your head.

God made our bodies, and He made them good.  And more importantly, He loves us, and He will love us forever.

"When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?  Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor."  Psalm 8:3-5

The Lord has made you wonderfully, and He wants you, His child, to draw near to Him.

"Then her face lit up till, for a moment (but of course she didn't know it), she looked almost as beautiful as that other Lucy in the picture, and she ran forward with a little cry of delight and with her arms stretched out.  For what stood in the doorway was Aslan himself, The Lion, the highest of all High Kings.  And he was solid and real and warm and he let her kiss him and bury herself in his shining mane.  And from the low, earthquake-like sound that came from inside him, Lucy even dared to think he was purring.

"Oh, Aslan," said she, "it was kind of you to come."