Marie is guest posting today from the mission field. For years has quietly spoken truth to women about sexuality, one woman at a time. This year she discovered Awaken-Love and is facilitating video classes to other missionaries.
I was on my way to another house visit in Asia. Temperatures were sweltering over 120 degrees and no one had air conditioning. I was soaked with sweat down to my underclothes, with my hair flat, wet and clinging to my face. Then I heard a desperate cry: “Miss America, wait”. Images of Miss America in her tiara and evening gown began to flood my mind, and they just did not mesh with the hot, dusty, dirty streets surrounding me. “Miss America, please don’t go.” I turned around, and a lady who must have been following me began running toward me, crying.
There was desperation mixed with sheer determination in her face as she grabbed my arm and pleaded with me to come with her to her home. As I entered her home several minutes later, I found myself surrounded by a group of ladies, their eyes filled with hope that today “Miss America” would tell them about God.
Someone had passed out Bibles to these ladies sometime before. To show respect to the God of this book, they had their husbands hang up shelves next to the family idols they worshipped. Every day they took down their Bible, dusted it off and said “I believe” before replacing it on the shelf. Through a translator with me, I began to explain who God was and how we should worship Him and read His Word, the Bible, every day.
I insisted they call me Marie and not “Miss America.” No, you are “Miss America” to us – so beautiful! They touched my skin, stared into my blue eyes for an uncomfortable length of time and marveled at their color. They stroked my hair and declared me beautiful, despite the fact that I was hot, sweaty, stinky and plus-size.
Later that evening I laughed as I reflected on my experience as “Miss America.” Yes, I have a pretty face. And back when I was thin, I considered myself very attractive. But now . . . I am heavier now, and “Miss America” I was definitely not!
Today, many years later, I live in another culture, in a village filled with people of shorter stature than me, most of whom are also super skinny. I am as tall or taller than nearly all the men, and I tower over the ladies.
Earlier this year I was taking the Awaken-Love class on-line with another lady. We were on week three and talking about lies, baggage from the past, and body image issues.
I was telling her about a particular lady who takes pleasure remarking on my size every chance she gets. She loves to tell me that I am fat and I should eat less. Sometimes she will grab my stomach and shake it, or she will pinch my arm.
I can take it if this happened once in awhile, but she was taking it to an extreme. Even when I told her to stop she wouldn’t. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I had had enough and lost my temper. One of my friends saw me losing it and quickly intervened before I could say something I would regret.
That evening I was sobbing in my husband’s arms. He tenderly and lovingly held me in his arms and reassured me that I was beautiful no matter my size. He told me that I had a beautiful heart and a beautiful body. Then he added his famous line, “Why spend so much emotional energy on this? Who cares what other people think.”
Who Do You Believe
He fell asleep quickly. I on the other hand kept analyzing what had happened, and God brought back the memories from my time as “Miss America” in Asia and how lovingly the people stroked my face and hair. They saw my beauty even though I was plus size, stinky and sweaty. And then God began to remind me: “Who do I say you are? How do I see you? Did I call you fat and unattractive? No! You are my beautiful and wonderfully made creation. Why do you believe these lies?”
Good question. Why do I believe these lies? Why do we believe these lies? How can we let fashion magazines, television and films dictate to us what is beautiful? Beauty standards change with time. Look at the 80’s. What were we thinking with all that super fluffy hair? The photos in those magazines are air brushed to remove the flaws and those models don’t wake up looking like that. Why does the media have more clout with us than what God says?
Who Does God Say We Are
God declares in Psalm 139 that He knit us together in our mother’s womb. What a truly beautiful picture! It takes time to knit something, stitch by loving stitch. During the process of knitting, one carefully checks the work, making sure each stitch is perfect. And the same holds true with God. He didn’t slap some DNA together and say “okay, next”. No, He intimately formed and shaped us, taking time to make sure His highest creation was nothing less than perfect!
We are wonderfully and fearfully made. God made us beautiful no matter our size or stature, no matter our age, no matter if we have freckles, wrinkles or a flawless complexion. We are a masterpiece, created by God in His own image and loved for who we truly are. Embracing this truth will not only impact our walk with Him, but release us into a new freedom to love and be loved by our spouse.