Saturday, January 8, 2011

It is He who made us

This is the post I didn't really want to write. I have been avoiding writing this by telling myself I couldn't share something so personal until I had some sort of resolution. I compromised with myself. But please, bare with me, it's scary to be vulnerable.

"You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us." This amazing lyric is from the song Beautiful Things by Gungor. Ironically, ever since Austin introduced this song to me I have been obsessed with it. Like the one-song-repeat-for-an-hour kind of obsessed. I persistently requested that Austin do this song with our dear sisterfriend Camie. All this time I have been singing this song to my Creator, and unwittingly I was lying. I didn't really believe He made beautiful things out of us... well not all of us. Not me. (my heart hurts just putting that to words)

Since being pregnant, I have been so dissatisfied with my physical appearance. No, that isn't sufficient. I have lamented over my physical appearance. I have avoided mirrors. I have believed evil lies about myself. Shamefully, I even dreaded future pregnancies because of what it would do to my body. (I feel completely mortified putting words to that) I lived in bondage, whilst giving my Redeemer a slap in the face. Nothing looked good enough or felt good enough or was good enough. I had just welcomed our amazing and healthy son into the world and moved across the country being lead to an awesome church and community. I was learning so much about Him, but there was a growing spiritual cancer inside. I had come to a point where nothing in my closet was doing the job, and finally a point where nothing in any store could work either. At first I was buying new clothes and returning them the next day out of dissatisfaction. Around Christmas my sweet husband let me go out and buy a few things for myself, but I couldn't. Nothing fit right, nothing was cute enough, nothing was worth waiting in line for or paying for. We were in Dallas mind you, a place where I have had no issues blowing money in the past. This wasn't the first time that clothes or the lack thereof had broken me. This time, I was so anxious to get back to my parents' house and see Lyric. I was convinced that if I could just see him, I would remember why my body had changed so drastically and how worth it that small sacrifice was. But it didn't work. I sat looking down at him sleeping, and cried, whispering to Lyric (mainly to myself) "why aren't you enough? having you should be enough"

God had not been silent. My Savior had not abandoned me ever. He had been whispering and sometimes pleading with me to understand. He showed me that there are so many women that would give up their physique if they could just have a healthy baby in their arms. He opened my eyes to the other side of the coin, that if Lyric had been unhealthy that I too would have gladly traded my looks for him. He told me about my creation, "Katy, I did not create you as an infant and stop being your Creator. I created who you were yesterday, I created who you will be in 50 years, and I created you as you are now." And yet...and yet my sin was my comfort. My hatred of my changed body was fastening chains that bound me tighter and tighter. When I realized that this was sin that I was facing and not--what exactly was it that I thought I was dealing with? It had been so long since sin had seemed so big to me.

There was a series of events which served as a catalyst in breaking chains. In a long dark drive to a relatives' home, I finally started to understand how much it hurt my man that I completely despised my physical self while he "was obsessed with [me] post pregnancy." Being married, I almost always forget that "being one" isn't just a figure of speech. When I hate me, I hurt him. While we were in Dallas we had the opportunity to share dinner with our beloved friends the Patronellas, and after sharing my shameful feelings of inadequacy with sisterfriend, Andea, I knew that I had to move from this place. I wrote a timeline of sorts in my journal. How did I feel about myself pre-preg, during preg, and post preg. If I highlighted the number of times the word "proud" was written, you would need sunglasses to read the thing. Of course. Of course my pride had found another way in. Why did I think that this idol would just disappear from my life? While we were in Texas, we had the joy of attending my sister in-law, Tara's church, Stonegate Church. Our friend Rodney Hobbs is the pastor there and we were a little sad that he was out of town, but their associate pastor Dan was speaking in his place. Dan taught on biblical repentance, a topic that would hit me right straight between the eyes. Dan shared that sin was not just doing wrong things, it was anything that put tension between us and God and needed to be repented of. BOOM. And there it was. Finally, finally I could see the steps that were before me. It was repentance. It was not a total postpartum make over. It was not finding the most flattering clothes. It was repentance.

It seemed like God had softened my heart and taught me, like I had gotten that big fat nugget of wisdom I needed, but He was not finished. I just started the Siesta Scripture Memory Team through Living Proof Ministries. The idea is too choose two scriptures a month and memorize them, for a year (along with countless other believers). I need to arm myself with scripture to fight these lies. My Precious Lord gave me this to start "Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." Psalm 100:3. Such a simple truth, but one that shapes my identity. I just started looking for my next scripture to memorize when I read this with fresh eyes "but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious" 1 Peter 3:4. "in God's sight is very precious." Why wasn't that my approach? Why have I been living this way? While journaling away about these precious jewels, I found myself writing "It's exhausting trying to be beautiful for everyone." BOOM.(again) I was living for the world. I wanted them all to think I was beautiful, for all of them to give me a pat on the back for being beautiful. Not conforming to this world holds a stronger meaning when it means not caring what the biggest trend is or how thin I am.

This post has taken me a full week to write (not including all the "mental writing" aka lying awake at night with this looming over me). All week I have struggled back and forth. On one hand I felt like this battle was too current and fresh for me to post for the whole world to have access to. On the other hand, I needed (still need) to know that other women share this battle, so maybe if I share this then some woman out there can turn from her chains, or at least realize she is living in them. But, I can't ignore the call that compelled me to share this part of my heart.


14 comments:

  1. Katy, thank you for posting this. I also have been struggling with seeing myself as beautiful and this post couldn't have come at a better time. I think every woman struggles with this. I personally listen to lies that I am never enough- in beauty and other things and it's just not true. I love that you are sharing something so personal and recent. The depth of your recent wounds is paving the way of healing for others. This is your ministry, you are being used.

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  2. Incredible. Thank you thank you thank you. I am that woman who would give anything to have a child. But even in this place of deep yearning, am afraid of how I will respond to my body changing when it happens.

    This is EXACTLY the type of vulnerable and REAL stuff I wanted for my book. Thank you, Katie. I love you so much and I'm excited to go through life together...through more kids together...and be in an awesome small group together!

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  3. This was honest and sincere. I'm glad for the direction you're heading and also glad to hear something honest about pregnancy for whenever I face that mountain.

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  4. I have written so many posts that have remained drafts. I have felt compelled to share and then afraid. Thank you for being obedient and brave... Your heart shines through this post and I am deeply encouraged. Keep sharing!

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  5. Thanks for being "scary vulnerable". If anyone says they have never dealt with this - they are lying! I listened to a pastor preach about all the things we try to put with Jesus to make this life work when all we need is Jesus.
    Jesus + Nothing = Everything
    Have a great day!

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  6. So true girl! I have felt the weight of that sin, and it is amazing to see God graciously reveal this to you. I love you, and so understand the feeling and pressure you put on yourself to "drop the baby weight". The fact that God has revealed this to you now is such a blessing. Miss you! Hope all is well. Send our love to Lyric and Austin.

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  7. Katy--I read this last night and wasn't sure how to comment to sufficiently express how great your post is. I'm still not sure what to say that hasn't already been said above. I think it's so brave of you to be honest about how you feel about your body. The bottom line is--every woman is lying if they say they don't have the same struggle--whether the grip of their chains is lighter or stronger. It's something we can't work out on our own--often times, and this is true for me, there is literally NO ONE who can convince us of our beauty. Despite that, we need each other, and it's posts like these that serve as a much needed buzzkill to our sometimes drunken stupor of self-pity (I'm speaking for myself here). So I guess what I'm trying to say is--keep it up. You've definitely hit on something that so many (I would wager everyone) can relate to. God is already using it.

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  8. Katy, you are an amazing writer. I would love to be able to put my feelings into words that flowed like you do. Your posts always inspire me and uplift me. I've never met you personally (I go to Harvest and have sat behind you once) but I hope that I do get the opportunity to meet you. You seem like such a loving, nice woman and for some reason I want to give you a HUGE hug... *HUGS*

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  9. Katy. Bless you friend. I praise the Lord for your sweet vulnerability. You have put honest words on this joy stealing, self-loathing, timeless struggle of women - the young, the old, post partum or not. You have encouraged me so to take a good look at this area of pride and sin and ask the Lord to help me with some serious house cleaning. Thank you for being so beautiful and letting your love for Jesus ooze from the inside out. You're precious to me dear friend. Love you to pieces.

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  10. My sweet daughter, I am so touched by your vulnerability and transparency. I am so proud that you have turned away from the natural desire to hide your feelings and have followed what God put on your heart to share. I know how hard it was. God is doing a wonderful work in you. I'm proud of you for following His calling to be totally open. What a blessing you are, Katy, in so many ways. I love you, sweetheart.

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  11. A beautiful post. I've found a wonderful way to help me recognize my own beauty is to tell the women in my life they are beautiful, too. YOU are beautiful! For every woman who says something to cut herself down, tell her you will not accept those negative words and attitudes toward your friends, no matter who is saying it. Don't let *anybody* insult your friends, especially not themselves. And for my younger sisters (22 and 11 years old) and all the little sisters of the world, I feel it is my duty to create a world in which women value themselves, starting with me. Seeing you here doing the same is an inspiration.

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  12. Thank you so much for this post. You are not alone in how you feel. I've become obsessed with how beautiful or not beautiful I feel.. really since becoming pregnant. I waste so much time obsessing on my outward appearance instead of striving to be a beautiful, Godly woman on the inside. And you're right.. it IS exhausting trying to be beautiful for everyone. It always leaves you feeling disappointment and upset. Anyways, thank you for this post, it really has made me deal with my issues with this instead of just pushing it to the back of my mind. I'm so thankful for a gracious Saviour who lovingly shows us that our identity is in him not in our appearance.

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  13. great post, my friend! very well written. love your heart and openness.

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  14. Found you through Katie Keating's blog. What a neat, albeit hard, lesson. I had a baby 9 months ago too. Prior to pregnancy I did struggle with self image, for whatever reason. I did a little post partum as well, but then I met women who truly embraced their changed bodies. And I loved that. The Lord has really used my daughter to weed that out of me. For whatever reason I feel so confident about everything now. My belly is curved, but that's a reminder that it housed my baby. My hips are wider, but they opened to receive new life. And that's just astounding to me! I don't know if those pictures are at all helpful to you, but they really are for me.

    "When I hate me, I hurt him." What a poignant statement! It almost brought tears.

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