I frowned at the mirror as I pinched the soft folds of my postpartum belly in my hands.
That mirror revealed so many imperfections.
The bags under my eyes, the acne on my skin, a frizzy mess of unwashed hair, and at least 15 pounds of extra weight.
I’ve struggled with my view of my body on and off throughout my life. Even when I’m fit and trim, my body is never perfect.
I used to talk to the mirror about my body problems all the time. And not just to the mirror, but out loud.
To my husband.
In front of my kids.
“I need to get back to exercising and work these pounds off,” I would say.
But what I really wanted to do was crawl back in bed and hide.
I had gotten into the habit of complaining about my body. Vocalizing my self-hatred.
And in saying it, solidifying it.
Admittedly, it can be hard. With four kids, my body is constantly changing. My clothes don’t ever fit just right, my weight is never the same two months in a row, I can be toned and strong one season, exhausted and carrying extra pounds another season.
One day, my husband confronted my deprecating views about myself in a way I’ll never forget.
One day my husband cut me off, mid-complaint, and said, “It hurts me when you talk about yourself like that.”
I had never thought about it affecting him.
I was just venting about myself.
“You’re beautiful to me,” he continued, “I love everything about you, just the way you are. And when you complain about yourself like that, it makes me sad.”
He was wounded that I didn’t love myself the way he loved me.
He saw me as this beautiful vessel: strong, lovely, desirable. And all I could see were my faults, imperfections, and things I wanted to change.
But if my husband loved this body so much – even with postpartum baby fat, even with hormonal acne, even with signs of sleeplessness under my eyes – how much more must God love this body!
God who made me, who gave me my body as a gift, a gift that I had begun to habitually despise.
When my husband shared his hurt at my self-talk, I realized how much more hurt God must be when I talk (or think) about myself in a hateful, negative way.
Something had to change.
But it can be difficult – almost impossible – to reverse a lifetime of feeding yourself lies about yourself.
There was no way I could do it without a prayer and a plan.
After my husband called out my behavior, I stood in front of a mirror and looked at the body he loved. The body God loved.
And a verse came to my mind:
I praise you, Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Psalm 139;’14
So I looked at myself in the mirror, and I said it. I didn’t believe it, but I prayed it anyways.
And I continued to pray it – every day, every time I looked in the mirror.
I resolved to stop speaking and thinking negatively about my body, and prayed for God to transform the way I saw myself in my mind and in the mirror.
And as I begin talking and praying about myself in a way that shows gratitude for God’s gift for me, his great design for me, and his infinite love for me, my heart began to change.
It didn’t transform right away.
But slowly, surely, throughout the years, I’ve grown to love myself just the way God made me, and for his sake.
And I’ve realized the importance of teaching my children (especially my daughters!) to love themselves as the beautiful images of God they are too.
Because the world is going to tell them otherwise.
The world is going to lie to them and say they’re not pretty enough, and they’re not good enough and they need to change their weight, their hair, their size their shape, their face – WHO THEY ARE in order to be loved.
And they’re going to be tempted to believe those lies, just like I did.
So I’m going to be the first one to quit.
Quit telling myself those lies.
Quit believing those lies.
And I’m going to embrace and spread the truth about who I am and who my daughters are and who YOU are.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
You are beautiful.
You are beloved.
If you’ve fallen into a habit of negative self-talk, it’s time to reevaluate your self-image.
Dive into God’s point of view.
Start seeing yourself as the beautiful image of God he created you to be.
Should We Call Our Daughters Beautiful?
On my podcast Home But Not Alone, my co-host Tim and I recently discussed the question: Should We Call Our Daughters Beautiful?
In that episode, I shared the story above, plus dove into how I’m making sure my daughters know their beauty and worth in God’s eyes.
Please listen in here, if you want your daughters to know they’re beautiful and beloved by God!
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: a Reminder
If you, like me, need to grow in knowledge of your dignity and worth in God’s eyes, maybe this reminder will help!
I designed this window cling to put on every mirror in my house, to remind me to see myself as God sees me: beautiful and beloved, and to pray for my heart to change.
But I realized, women aren’t the only ones who struggle to see the worth and dignity of their bodies – men do too… and a flowery message is awfully feminine.
So I designed one that might appeal to the men in your life, husbands and sons, who may need prayer and encouragement in growing to love themselves confidently.
I hope these help!