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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm NOT a Hanger!

Recently, I saw a picture depicting the different types of body. The first one was labeled "normal" and had non-touching legs, flat tummy, and small chest. The next one was "chubby" and depicted a not-so-flat middle, touching legs, and a larger chest. It went on and on until the person was unhumanly large. The entire post made me quite upset, naturally.

To label something normal means there has to be a norm to begin with. We would say that it is normal for someone to have all the appropriate body parts. We would consider it abnormal if someone was born without arms or legs (but we love them nonetheless). We consider it abnormal for a parent to hate their child, because parents love their children. To say that a certain body type is normal shows a narrow-minded view of the diversity of the world. It is no less insulting to say that a certain skin color is normal and all others are abnormal and should be changed. Why should we give a pass to someone who thinks everyone should be skinny?

I have come to the conclusion that the reason they use skinny models is because they are not powerful enough to take on the clothing they wear. I saw a plus size swimsuit model recently who was so beautiful that I didn't notice her swimsuit at all. I could only focus on how radiant she was. She oozed confidence! The swimsuit didn't own her, she owned the swimsuit! It was no longer about the clothing, it was about the person. On the show "Ugly Betty" one of the main characters said "Designers only want to put their clothes on skinny hangers" and it is true. Nobody noticed the hanger, they notice the clothing. I don't want to be a hanger!

Today, I was talking to my students about the importance of being happy with who you are. I told them that there is no such thing as a normal body because God made us all different. I also shared a truth that was told to me by one of the wisest men I have known: the late Preacher Burdette, the pastor who started the church I attend. When I was coming into my teen years, I tried so hard to fit in. He noticed this and said to me "When you try to change yourself or cover up who you really are, it's like you're telling God 'Thanks but I don't like what you'e created'. So be happy with yourself." Even though it was forever ago, that advice remains with me, and I was happy to pass wisdom on to my students.

Now, I make a vow. I will be happy with myself and who God created me to be. Thick, thin, tall, or short, I am just who God wants me to be and I will be thankful that He created me that way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Without Knowing

Today, I got a phone call from my dad during school. He asked for me and my sister to go somewhere private so we could talk. The last time that happened, he told me that my cousin, Caleb, had died. I was extremely nervous about what he was about to say.

When we had gotten into his office, he proceeded to tell about my grandmother who had been tested for the cancer gene that was passed down through the females of the family. If the test were to come back positive, it would be a death sentence for me. I would be a time bomb for cancer. My aunt (her daughter) had passed way from cancer in her 40's, and my grandmother was suffering through a second round of cancer. My dad was more than certain of what the test results would be.

My dad is a pastor, so he did what came naturally to him: he prayed. For two weeks, he kept this news from me while he prayed, asking God for a miracle.

The test came back negative. That's right, NEGATIVE! I do not have the gene!

Even though I was unknowing to this, I am elated! My dad was in disbelief as well. He just knew that my grandmother had the gene, and that he would have to be the bearer of such terrible news. However, I would like to bring into remembrance the following Bible verses:

 2 Chronicles 7: 14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

God was healing me without my knowing. My dad was praying for a miracle without my knowing. I was given grace without having to ask.

My God is still one of miracles!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

True Beauty

One of the most vague objectives in becoming Proverbs 31 is to show true beauty. I mean, seriously, how are you supposed to do that when there are so many ways to be beautiful. If you were to look at the American style of beauty (according to media) you would see stick thin women wearing flamboyant makeup, revealing a lot of skin, and having various hairstyles.

But not everyone is like that. Not even the models in the magazine look like the models in the magazine! Thanks to digital editing and makeup, you can look however you want to.

Is this fabricated standard of beauty the true beauty we should strive for? To be thin and fake? No!

We are all told that true beauty comes from within. That one's personality is more valuable that the outward appearance. This is true, but beauty shouldn't be based on your personality alone. After all, a pig can have a sweet disposition, but if it rolls in the muck, no one would want it in their house.

There has to be a balance. To take care of one's self but not become overly concerned with appearance. Also, to have a stunning personality that can win over anyone.

On Pinterest (my social media of choice), I see so many posts and debates on which is the perfect body type: skinny, curvy, or fit. I am here to say that there is no one type of body that is perfect.

DO YOU HEAR ME? THERE IS NO PERFECT BODY TYPE!!!

There are PLENTY of things that taste better than skinny OR healthy. Trust me, I have tried almost everything. The only people who are going to criticize your body type are those who are so self conscious that they resort to putting others down to help themselves feel better. So why would you change for them when they clearly don't deserve you?

My dad recently opened up to me about when he was going bald in his early 20's. He said that it bothered him at first, but them he decided to embrace to and shaved his head. Now he makes jokes and brags about his baldness. Like my dad, I am learning to take my insecurities and imperfections and embrace them, instead of change them to satisfy my critics and the narrow-minded media.

Of course, if you don't like something about yourself you can always change it, but don't change yourself and make your life miserable in the process. Do it to make YOU happy!

I had an associate to lose a lot of weight at the beginning of last year. At the same time, I was gaining due to stress. This person would make me feel miserable and put me down every time we were together. It got so bad that I quit hanging out with them and kept our relationship strictly professional. They wanted me to change to be like them, and I refused to conform to how they thought I should be. Yes, it hurt to let go of a friend, but negative influences have no place in my life.

The only person on this earth that I choose to influence me is my husband, and rightly so! After all, it is he who matters most in my life. He loves my body just the way it is. I don't want to change something that my other half sees as so wonderful.

Yesterday, I came home to find that my husband had taken every article of clothing from the bedroom or laundry room and folded them or put them on a hanger, and were ready to be put away. I was speechless! I was so thrilled that he had helped me with the housework! He even paired my cardigans with shirts he thought looked nice together. As I was putting the clothes away, I was noticing the amount of clothing I had and how beautiful they were. Then I asked myself, how much of these clothes show my worth as a woman of God? The answer: NONE.

I have resolved that for Lent, I am going to be more conscious about my clothing, from what I buy to what I wear. I want it to show that God owns me, not the opinions of others. I am not going to shop for the fun of it. I will refrain from shopping at clothing stores unless my husband or a family member is with me. That way, I am less likely to buy unnecessary things. I am also going to be thinning down on my clothes and get rid of anything that is immodest or shows self-focus. I do not want to be noticed for my killer bod (which is long past gone) or fashion sense anymore. I want to show the world that I am not owned by opinions or media anymore. I have grown past that. I am not saying I am going to be like Abnegation (for all of you Divergent fans!) and never think of my appearance or myself. I want to present myself as a woman of God. I want to place my husband before myself, and God before my husband. The best way to achieve this is to purge what I focus on the most - myself - and replace it with the tings that are more important.

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Becoming Proverbs 31

All my life, I have wanted to be a wife. There was no question that I would marry a Godly man, raise Godly children, and be involved with my church. That was my vision for the future.

How did it turn out?

I am married (obviously), still waiting on the kids, and I spend every day except Saturday at church either teaching at the school, leading youth group, or attending services.

Seems great, right?

Over the past several months, I have been a very cold person. I have no close friendships, and have almost resolved to not make new ones. I don't want anyone except my family in my life right now. Why am I so bitter? Because I have experienced great pain and loss involving letting people into my life. My relationship with my husband has become stand-offish, a terrible thing to have. I keep him, and everyone for that matter, at arms length in fear of being hurt. Beginning with student teaching, my life has been a downward spiral into a pit of despair. I need healing. I need rescuing.

Lately God has been dealing quite heavily with me on my behavior. I have become isolated. I have covered myself up in order to avoid being hurt. In doing so, I have cut off the viable things of life, such as human relations. I have taken away a necessity for me to be healthy and thriving. I can feel the drought in my soul.

What am I to do?

To begin my journey of healing, I turned to the Bible. As a Christian, my desire is to align myself with God's word. But more specifically, I needed to align myself with the example God has given for a woman. In Proverbs 31, we read about the virtuous woman. She is an influential woman of God who is fully capable of handling anything that comes her way with grace and integrity.

Upon further research, I have come across these points and verses for how to be a Godly woman:

1. Put God first (Commandment number one, and Matthew 6:33-34)
2. Conduct yourself in a holy manner (Proverbs 7:18-29)
3. Speak and act truthfully and faithfully (7:18-29, 31:26)
4. Look after and care for your home (Proverbs 31:13, Titus 2:5)
5. Serve others (Proverbs 31: 15,20)
6. Be trustworthy (Proverbs 31:13)
7. Be financially responsible (Proverbs 31:16, 24)
8. Work hard (Proverbs 31:17, 19)
9. Have an honorable reputation (Proverbs 31:23)
10: Be meek and humble (Proverbs 9:13, 7:11, 31:26, 2 Timothy 2:24, 1 Peter 3:1-7)
11. Seek sound Biblical wisdom (Proverbs 31:26)
12. Serve the Lord fully (there are many verses for this, but I like Colossians 3:23 the best)
13.  Dress modestly and show true beauty (Proverbs 7:10)

These thirteen points seem like a lot, but it is what I (or any woman for that matter) should do in order to become the woman she is called to be according to the Bible. I look forward to sharing my journey with you, reader, and challenge you to align yourself with these standards with me. After all, it is better to travel together than to venture out alone.

God Bless.

It's not about being "perfect"... It's about living life with purpose! 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman, plus a FREE PRINTABLE! @ AVirtuousWoman.org