During my teenage years, I started worrying about my body image. Unlike many of the girls at my high school, I never developed curves. Standing a little over five feet, I sometimes felt like a little girl compared to the rest of the tall, well-developed girls striding by me in the hallway. I often wondered: when would I feel like a woman?
In college, the negative perception I had of my body continued to seep into my mind like a poisonous gas. I gained about fifteen pounds, which only made me hate my body more. I tried several diets and for a few months, I ate as little as I could without starving. I lost all of the weight I’d gained and exercised like crazy, but I still wasn’t content with my body.
After I got married, I doubted my ability to have children. I had no valid reason to believe I would have trouble getting pregnant, except I didn’t “feel womanly.” I can only imagine God smiling down on me and shaking his head. As soon as my husband and I started trying, we conceived right away.
As my baby bump continued to grow, I became so thankful for my body, and in awe of God—that He had made me to help create a new life. Slowly, my immense gratitude diminished the negative perceptions, and a peaceful contentment took root inside my heart. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care if my arms looked toned. I didn’t mind if my thighs couldn’t fit into my jeans. It didn’t matter if my feet could barely squeeze into my cute flats.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
Around twenty weeks, my joy was tested. The doctor noticed that my cervix had started funneling, and I was showing signs of pre-term labor. She told me that if I went into labor now, my son would have a fifty percent chance of living. My husband and I were scared. I was terrified of losing my son, and I wondered if my body would fail me after all. All those familiar doubts crept in, but I refused to drown in them like I once had. I immediately took my fears to God, praying that He would keep my son safe.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Through God’s leading, we found a new doctor who had very similar beliefs. During our first appointment, he said, “Only God knows when your son will be born. There is no reason to worry.” His confidence in God’s plan reaffirmed my faith. God designed my body as a beautiful “masterpiece,” just like my son’s. I needed to trust in God’s future for us.
Fear and worry could’ve taken away my gratitude during such a special time in my life. I could’ve hidden in bed, attempting to control the situation. But I put God in control by praying and thanking him for my son. I didn’t want my fears to take away the peace I finally found.
Thankfully, my son was born just three weeks early. He was a healthy seven-pound baby. Holding him in my arms for the first time, I called him beautiful. At that moment, I fully grasped how God sees His children.
No matter our size or shape, He views each of us as beautiful masterpieces.
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7
- Are you letting fear drive away your peace?
- Is there anything preventing you from seeing yourself like God sees you? If so, ask God to help you feel as beautiful as you really are.
- What are three things about your body that you are most thankful for?
Crystal Joy is a stay-at-home mom with a heart for people. She loves getting to know them, writing about them, and inventing them. When she’s not hanging out with her hero and heroine in her latest romance, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, being silly with her little ones, and drinking endless amounts of coffee.