Beloved

It’s about to get real honest up in here.  A little too honest for my own comfort; however, I have a story I have to share.  I’ve actually talked with Nick on several occasions about writing this.  I feel so passionate about sharing that I feel it might be the sole purpose for having this blog.  If this post can encourage one person, I will consider it a huge victory.

So, here goes.

THE BACKGROUND

You know this post where I talked about the struggle I went through last summer when I found out I was going to have girl??  Well, there was one small detail I left out of that post.

The number one reason I didn’t want to have a little girl is because I was terrified she would look like me.  I didn’t want to be responsible for bringing a person into this world who would have to deal with a lifetime of insecurity because of her weight like I have.  This is a fear that I have fought with for as long as I can remember…probably as far back as 8 or 9 years old…and it has plagued me.

In this post, I shared the truth that has been swirling around in my head and heart…You Are Enough.  Remember this girl I talked about…?

To the girl who has struggled with weight her whole life.  Who feels she’s been consistently looked over for opportunities, friendships, and experiences just because of the way she looks.  Who has been told time and time again by an appearance obsessed society that she is not good enough because she doesn’t fit into a certain size jeans or can’t shop at a certain store.  Who hesitates to begin a journey of weight loss because she fears she is setting herself up for failure.  Who believes that her identity is and will always be “the fat girl.”

Yep, that’s me.

I have dealt with and been insecure about my weight since elementary school.  There are a few unpleasant memories that seem forever cemented in my mind.  They are moments in which I felt it was confirmed, by those around me, that I was insignificant or unimportant because I was heavier than I was “supposed to be.”  Besides a few mean-spiritied jabs from some immature peers, no one ever actually came out and told me I wasn’t good enough…but I believed it and calculated my every step based on the lie that I was an insignificant nobody because I didn’t look the way I should look.

I allowed this lie to take root and grow.  The lie became a part of me.  It was around so long that I fully believed it to be true.

Amy is not good enough because she’s fat.  She’s an embarrassment to herself, her family, and those who surround her.  The ONLY reason people hang around Amy is because of what she DOES, not because of who she IS.  

So, I worked hard at being funny, smart, caring, giving, spiritual, crafty, fashionable, knowledgeable, etc. so people would accept me.  I felt I needed to offer all of these things to friends and acquaintances as a sort of a trade-off for associating with me despite my unacceptable appearance.

The lie was ugly.  It had stolen my joy and confidence.  This lie held me back and had taken me captive for long enough.

IT HAD TO END.

THE EPIPHANY

I become very aware of this lie I was believing and just how nasty it was when I went through Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” Bible study last summer.  In the very first session, she gave us two definitions:

  • Stronghold: anytime you are preoccupied with a destructive thought process
  • Bondage: anything that hinders us from living in the fullness in which God has called us to live; anything that makes me feel empty, insecure, lesser, etc.

Stronghold? Check. Bondage? Check.

When I took the time to truly reflect on my long path of strongholds and bondage, I knew that God could set me free from my insecurity, but I had lived most of my life comfortable in my chains.  I realized that, in a weird way, I had become comfortable in my skin.  If I took the leap and tried to start losing the weight or believe that I was worthwhile, special, or significant, I would be vulnerable.  I realized that my weight had become a wall of protection that I had built over the years.  Losing the weight would be like losing a part of who I was.

A few weeks into the study, Beth introduced us to the following equations:

My “truth” + Satan’s lies = CAPTIVITY

My “truth” + God’s truth = FREEDOM

My “truth” is this: I’ve struggled with weight my whole life.  I have experienced some sad things in relation to my weight.  I have missed out on some opportunities because of my weight.  My weight has been a constant, major issue for 20+ years that has held me back from fully enjoying life.

The problem with my “truth” is that I added it to Satan’s lies…you are worthless, you are embarrassing, no one wants to be around you, you are ugly, the only way you’ll maintain any type of relationship is if you perform…and it led me to a place of captivity.

What I learned throughout the 10 weeks of the study and have been continuing to learn over this past year is how to take my “truth” and add it to God’s truth so I can be free from my chains.  Yes, my “truth” still remains, but I’m choosing to add it to God’s truth…you are beautiful, I created you for a greater purpose, you can stop performing and rest in who I created you to be, you are my beloved…and it’s leading me to a place of freedom.

 When I talked in this post about the reasoning behind choosing Gabriella’s name, I shared it was important for her name to have a significant meaning.  Her name could serve as a type of trigger to remind me of the promise God had given me about who Gabriella was anytime the enemy might try to sneak in with lies.  Then, after Gabriella was born and two days later her life was on the line, I shared here about how powerful it was for me to have her name, which was representative of His promise, to cling to.

As I’ve been down my own path toward freedom and dispelling the lies, it has been equally important for me to cling to the meaning of my own name.  Amy means “beloved” or “dearly loved” and Beth means “God’s promise” or “God is satisfaction.”  The meaning of my name reminds me of God’s promise that I am dearly loved…just because I’m me!  I love this quote from Joseph Prince that describes us as God’s beloved:

You are God’s beloved not because of what you do. Christ did everything. He is God’s Beloved. But God put you in Christ. That is why you are “accepted in the Beloved”. And what God said to Jesus, He says to you today: “You are My beloved son. In you, I am well pleased.”

Along my journey, it has been important for me to remember the promise of my name for two specific reasons:

  1. Because the lie has been a part of who I am for so long, it is very natural for me to run back to my habit of performing in order to receive love and attention.  I do this with my friends, family, and even in my relationship with God.  In moments of anxiety about whether I’m doing enough to show my love or worth, it is important for me to stop, take a breath, and remember that I am His beloved, I am Amy, not because of what I’ve done or what I look like, but because it’s who He’s created me to be.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, I found that I was comfortable in the overweight temple I had built for myself.  Although I dreamt daily about wearing smaller clothes and feeling proud of the way I looked, I didn’t believe I could ever be in that place and I felt vulnerable coming out from the identity I had given myself as “the fat girl.”  This inner turmoil was persistent and overwhelming.  The most common solution to dealing with my pain was to eat, which gave me temporary comfort in a place of discomfort, making me a walking oxymoron.  I have had to remind myself and believe that God is satisfaction and can fill those empty places…if I will welcome Him in and allow Him.

THE APPLICATION

Part I

While I was pregnant with Gabriella, Nick began his own journey of weight loss.  While I found it to be very unfair that he was losing all his weight while I was pregnant and feeling larger than life, I was proud that he had stepped up and was leading our family into a healthier lifestyle.  Weight Watchers is one of the many amazing health benefits of his job.  He really enjoyed attending the weekly meetings for encouragement and ideas and mentioned to me on several occasions that he felt I would click really well with his WW leader.

About a month after Gabriella was born, we had some family pictures taken.  When we got the proofs back, I had a reaction unlike those I’ve had before.  I’m used to looking and cringing at pictures of myself, but this time was different.  I saw myself as beautiful and hidden behind my weight.

That was the day I decided to look into Weight Watchers.  Much to my delight, I found that they had a program specifically designed for nursing moms.  I officially had no excuse to not give it a try.  I went to my first meeting the next week.  I was skeptical for the first couple of weeks and didn’t really take anything seriously.  But, as of the first week of January, I have been 100% on board with WW and have successfully lost about 1 pound a week.  I received my 25 pound medal this past week which was the milestone I promised myself that if I achieved it, I would share my story.  So…here I am ;)  I still have quite a ways to go, but I am encouraged and excited to meet my goal weight and achieve lifetime status with WW.

**P.S. Nick was right.  I do love my WW leader, Michelle.  She has been a huge blessing to me!

P.P.S. If you have any questions about WW or would like to attend a meeting with me, let me know!  Seriously, if I can do this, ANYONE can.**

Part II

Our words are a powerful force.  What we say can be used to encourage or tear down.  I have zero tolerance for people using their words to slander someone’s appearance, character, or intelligence…specifically, anything that is beyond their scope of immediate control.  As a society, we do so much to feed the lie that you have to look, act, dress, talk a certain way in order to be accepted and loved.  We can’t control what people say, but what we can do is encourage one another.  When someone takes the time to share a word of encouragement with me, it makes my spirit soar.  I try to be ever mindful of this wonderful feeling so I can be constantly looking for ways to encourage those around me.  Maybe we can’t remove the negativity, but we sure can do a lot to replace it or cover it up with beautiful and uplifting words of encouragement.

For example, I received an e-mail just a few days ago from a friend from high school.  She felt God was prompting her to share with me that I didn’t go unnoticed in high school…that she remembers me and what I stood for…and  that my faith served as an encouragement to her.  This friend had no idea that I was gearing up to write this post about my insecurity of being unnoticed, but she was obedient to what God asked her to do, and it blessed me so much.

Let us all make a concerted effort to slow down and take the time to look around us and watch for ways to lift someone’s spirit with our words and/or actions.  Let’s commit to encouraging each other more.  You never know what impact your words could have on someone’s day, perspective, or life!

ONE MORE THING..

I’m so thankful God gave me a daughter.  I was meant to have a little girl.  I’ve come to the realization that it was in my heart to have a daughter all along, but I wouldn’t let myself desire it because of my irrational fear based on a lifetime of lies.  Gabriella Kate has rocked my world and launched me down the path of discovering myself…Amy Beth, God’s beloved promise.

{source}


36 Comments on “Beloved”

  1. cindy b. says:

    well written Amy! and Congratulations on your milestone!

  2. You are truly amazing my friend. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to know you. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. I will be cheering you along on your journey! Love you dearly

  3. Beth says:

    Great post, Amy! This was like reading my life as well. Its a frustrating struggle! I also went through Breaking Free and it changed my life…in more ways than one. Its a process to replace those lies with truth! So proud of you and your 25lbs!!!! I LOVE WW!!! It also was a tool God used to change my life! :) Keep going, girl!!! Continue to use this as a ministry!!!! In our weaknesses, HE IS STRONG!!! And, people see Christ in us!

    • lifethroughmyeyes says:

      Thank you, Beth! I have been inspired by your blogs about your journey with weight. So glad we’re not alone in this journey!!

  4. darlin says:

    Oh Amy, the Truth is so powerful and you did a beautiful job of sharing it here. I’m overjoyed to know that lies are being dispelled and truth is being revealed in your mind. And what a transformative process that is!! So excited that you’re seeing the benefit of this freedom in your weight loss. I predict that when you’re further in this journey you’ll also see other areas of your life that the Lord has set free from captivity-areas that you didn’t even realize were captive :) SO excited for you and this faith building journey. Love you, beautiful!
    Jen

  5. Kristin says:

    Beautiful post Amy! Thanks for sharing I know truth written in such an honest, open way will encourage many. Satan hates that…wants those ugly things we wrongly think to be kept covered. Hooray for you in putting it out there in the Light!

  6. Michelle says:

    Wow! Your honesty and openness will have such an influence on so many people. You are beautiful, inside and out!! I am so blessed to be a part of your journey. You’ve made so many changes along the way, and it’s been so amazing to watch. Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. Awesome! So much insight to yourself. A rare gift. We can all lean from that! You ROCK! >^.^<

  8. Amy.. just wow..

    First, i found it ironic that the thoughts I wrestled with when I went to respond initially to this post are part of that same bundle of lies, the ones that say, “you can’t say you can relate.. she’ll think you’re an idiot..” Because people assume.. and many times, I’ve felt kinda like a gag order had been submitted each time I’ve ever tried to relate to someone about those struggles, with some of those same feelings I have.

    It’s infuriated people before, “how can you say that, you dont know what it’s like, you’re tiny..” etc.. and I understand and kind of appreciated it at the time.. but what I’ve learned over the years, is it doesnt matter if people assume that you’re confident in who you are in Christ and secure with yourself, if in the dark places of our mirrors, you can’t have one single thought about yourself that lines up with what God says you are. And regardless of what the lie is, or what our “truths” are, we all bleed the same when it comes to that heartwrenching feeling of “not good enough.” Throughout the past couple years, I’ve also learned, especially when it comes to women, the most powerful and encouraging words are sometimes “me too..” and thats why the enemy loves to try to categorize and compete our pain against eachother.

    So, all that to say, that I wrestled with that same thing in wanting to respond to this. And I won’t go into details here, but the weight of the struggle that i’ve had to view myself rightly, physically and otherwise, the past few weeks has been brutal. And when the words do find enough courage to come out of my mouth, someone usually says something like, “oh geez.. shut up. You’re (fill in the blank).. ” but the enemy speaks a lot louder.. and he’s relentless. And he knows what hurts.. and he knows the memories and the people and the comments that dug the root, and he knows right when to launch the right dagger.

    Your post was bold, and the humility and courage it was laced in was undeniably the finger of the very grace of God. Your words stomped right past my flesh, and nearly looked the enemy straight in the face and laughed.. and continued on to bring refreshment into my heart like a flood.

    Thank you for your vulnerability. You are so beautiful.. You have this virtue about you that I’ve always found kinda stunning, just in passing.. and it thrills me to know that God is walking you through this healing process.. there is no better feeling than freedom that Jesus brings in our souls.. I’m gonna be praying for you, and for all of us really.. Thank you again for this post. Be blessed, sister. ;)

    – Krissy

    • lifethroughmyeyes says:

      Krissy, thank you so much for taking the time to share these words with me. Your encouragement is so valuable to me! I appreciate you!!

  9. That was beautiful! “Well done good and faithful servant.”

  10. lesley says:

    Amy, this is so well written and I’m so proud of you!

  11. Dianna Heginbotham says:

    So interesting to see how Satan lies to people in different areas of their life. The only thing I ever see when I look at you is, “Wow, what a beautiful lady, inside and out,”

  12. Adria says:

    This talk given by a girl whose blog I regularly read was inspiring and powerful for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBrKgUR_iyQ

    Maybe not the religious pieces of this, but the things she said about body image and it being important for us to love our bodies, especially as role models to our daughters, was very moving to me.

    Congrats on your milestone and your bravery in writing this post. You are most definitely not alone in your feelings of inadequacy. I still struggle every day and admire your strength. Keep rocking!

  13. Caney says:

    Thank you for sharing this.
    I love coming to work and jumping on the computer to see if you have blogged about your adorable kids, amazing loving family, or your crafty/organization skills, but today as I read this one I felt so connected and like you were writing some of my life. This by far is the most inspirational beautiful blog ever. You have encouraged me to join weight watchers I cannot wait to start this journey. I am going to start going to Lynn Lane for meetings, where do you go?
    Again, Thank you!

    • lifethroughmyeyes says:

      Thank you for always being so encouraging about my blog, Caney! I’m so happy my story could speak to you and I can’t wait for you to join me at WW!!

  14. Kendal says:

    I had a very similar moment to this about four years ago. I really started to wonder about my weight and my looks my freshman year at TU, and why I never looked the way I “should.” In reality, God does make people all shapes and sizes, but I’ve learned that God also says to respect your body, and by eating and living the way I was, I wasn’t doing that one bit. It sounds harsh to say, but living unhealthily in any way is no different to me than being anorexic or smoking cigarettes. These things are all unhealthy and terrible for our bodies.

    Since that time I’ve been on a huge journey to lose weight. I started off doing a very intense diet that was “somewhat helpful” but left me feeling very week and not feeling healthy. I got into the rut where I would simply moderate my portions, but WHAT I was eating ended up to be very bad. For example, I may have a small portion for a meal, and feel good about myself, but that meal was a small burger and some fries. Sure, I lost weight, sure I met my goals, but it came back after a time. That was so fleeting, and BEYOND frustrating.

    I also didn’t feel good about myself. Audra was always so skinny, she could eat whatever she wanted and never gained a pound, and it made me so mad, I felt like I actually sort of resented her. But then again, I resented myself. I started to wonder “Would this person actually marry me, looking like this? Does she really find me attractive or is she just settling for my personality and trying to bypass looks?” I had a lot of hard times with these thoughts. I really considered myself to be a joke sometimes (which of course, nobody things that, it’s just the devil’s words in your head) walking around with my skinny girlfriend, I felt as though I was being judged, that people were saying “what is she doing with HIM?”

    The last four months or so changed all of that for me. I had a client come in that told me about a documentary called “Forks Over Knives” that talks about living a plant-based lifestyle, which of course I thought “yeah that’s for hippies and weirdos.” Still, I was not nearly where I should be in terms of weight, definitely wasn’t pleased with my energy and headaches, fatigue, lack of drive, sometimes even bad attitude in regards to my appetite (i.e., got grumpy too easily if I was hungry, etc). I watched the documentary on Netflix and it literally has changed my life. Since March 1st I’ve lost 50 pounds, I’m now down to a healthy weight, I’ve gone down 3 pant sizes and 2 shirt sizes, and I’ve just never felt better.

    Now I don’t want to make this a commercial, because the bigger picture is that while God does love us despite our flaws, it’s very hard for us to love ourselves in this pure way. It’s very hard to feel confident, feel loved, feel special, when there are things about ourselves we know that aren’t right. Too often I think people associate this with feelings of the heart, which are obviously absolutely important, our attitudes and emotions make up a huge part of who we are, and letting the enemy creep into our attitudes and emotions is FAR too easy. But I wound up going back to what it says in James, which is something along the lines of, if you know what you should do and you do not do it, you sin. I’ve known my whole life I was overweight. I’ve known my whole life it was unhealthy. My parents knew it, I knew it, my friends knew it. I know the way I was living was unhealthy, and I decided to change that.

    While it has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, it truly has shown me the joy of being healthy and feeling better about myself. I don’t ever want to live in a delusion again like I was before, saying things to myself like “yeah, I look good,” when I know in my heart I hated the way I looked. Eating the right things and really cracking down and being honest with oneself is a very hard thing to do. It was about giving my body the RIGHT foods, not just the right amounts. With the vegan lifestyle, I worry so little about how much I eat, I just eat when I want, and feel great. Check out the documentary if you get a chance – it’s fascinating.

    Anyway! I commend your progress! It’s not an easy task. You’re on the road, just keep on driving.

    • lifethroughmyeyes says:

      Wow, Kendal! Thank you for sharing your story with me! I’m so proud of your progress, too! Congratulations!!

  15. Heather Tiger says:

    Beautiful, raw, and honest post Amy! I am so glad you shared this part of your journey and God’s truth in your life. Whoever the girl from HS was that emailed you, I second her opinion. I remember you as being very kind to all and standing up for what and who you believed in. Keep sharing and keep up the amazing work! I have my own weight issues I have been praying about sharing, so this helps give me some courage!

  16. Stephanie R says:

    Amy,
    I have been attending Michelle’s meetings and it’s as if she was prompted to share your blog with me. I feel as if this blog came from my heart. I too have gone through life feeling hatred for myself and as if I don’t matter.

    Thank you for putting your feelings into words. I became a lifetime member with WW in 2008 and was blessed to have my first child, a daughter, in January 2011. My pregnancy brought a lot of unwanted pounds, along with the ever so familiar hatred. My daughter has saved me in more ways than one and as I go through each day gaining more and more strength, I begin to feel grateful for the struggles I have endured.

    I feel more confidence in myself after reading your blog and knowing there are others out there feeling the same I do. :) Good luck on your journey!

    • lifethroughmyeyes says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me, Stephanie! It is definitely good to know we’re not alone!!

  17. Jen says:

    Amy, once again you’ve got me crying. I love you, girl! Thank you so much for sharing this post. The impact that the Lord can have on people’s lives when we’re willing to tell His story in us is incredible!

    As I was reading this, my mind was swirling and I was thinking about asking you what I can do to ensure that my Madeline (who is larger than the average girl her age) has a healthy self-image. She is SO much like me – she loves to eat, she’s much taller and heavier than most girls her age, she believes she is non athletic, she is fearful of trying sports because she doesn’t want to fail in front of others. And I hate that I see those hindrances in her little life already. I wanted to beg you for a quick fix and some sound advice. And then, almost as quickly as that thought popped into my head, the Lord told me that as I allow Him to work through my body image issues and the lies I believe about food, He will break the chains that my daughter could be bound in. As He makes me free to treasure myself and see myself through His loving eyes, He will make me free to extend that view to Madeline. So I am motivated now and am ready to bust out my copy of breaking free that I never finished years ago :) Thank you so much for your transparency. More people can identify with you than you realize. You are beautiful, inside AND out!

    Love,
    Jen

  18. Susan says:

    Amy you touch my heart in so many ways I don’t think I could explain if I had to. Thank you for sharing this.


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