You are altogether beautiful, my love.

1 Corinthians 15:10 – “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” (NIV)

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It has been so long since I have actually sat down at my computer with my worship music playing, spilling my heart out and sharing the goodness of my God. Let me tell you, I’m one sentence in and I’m already feeling free.

This time last year I went through something that changed me. I haven’t had the courage to share about that experience in-depth, until now!

Peak experiences – It’s a time in your life when you aren’t transitioning, you aren’t waiting, you are just right where you are meant to be. 

At the end of 2016 I was living, embracing and walking out my peak experience like there was no tomorrow. I was content in my friendships, my job, my family, in myself… So I thought.

I began to focus on my health a little more than normal. I have always struggled with body image. I started out with a healthy routine, going to the gym a few times a week & cleaning up my diet but before I knew it, all of a sudden I was stuck in this vicious cycle of over exercising and restricting the foods I was consuming. It just happened and I couldn’t seem to gain control over the matter. All I was focussed on was loosing wight. I was fixated on a stupid, pointless number. I thought it would make me a better person, I thought it would make me feel beautiful, I thought it would make me feel worthy. I Believed the lies that every woman believes – “If you look a certain way you’ll be happy” “If you weigh this much, people will like you more”. I used to get angry, literally angry at myself if I didn’t workout or if I ate carbs. I lost my period, the very thing that makes you a women. My body was failing. I felt like I was failing. The enemy tainted my vision and I saw exactly what he wanted me to see, I was right where he wanted me.

During this time, I had my faith but I chose to listen to the world over my God. It breaks my heart to write that but I did. This season of my life was real, it turned horrible but it taught me ALOT.  I got a head of myself and I took God’s blessings for granted and as a result of that the bad got the better of me.

It wasn’t until I ran back into my Saviours arms – broken, lost, insecure and ready to be made whole in his presence again that my world began to turn around. It felt like my heart was rooted in the ground but it was covered in weeds and as soon as I fell at his feet, flowers started to bloom again.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (NIV)

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Last year in Hawaii, for the first time ever I saw myself the way God see’s me. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a moment like that but it was the most beautiful, liberating and empowering moment of my life. It’s not something I can put into words because it was such a sacred moment between My incredible Jesus and myself. I still have days when I am insecure but because I am clinging to God and resting in his promises I have better control over those feelings.

Beautiful one, You are not defined by a number on a scale, you are not defined by how many friends you have or what you look like. You are made new and whole in a God that adores you, longs for you and see’s you as nothing less than perfect. You are made fearfully and wonderfully. You are more precious than rubies. Never feel like you are too broken to come to him, he wants you as you are. He is a God that can pick up the shattered pieces of your Story and make a masterpiece out of them. He is ready to shape you and mould you into the beautiful being he has predestined you to be. There is so much more to his plan than your outward appearance, let him free you of the negative thoughts that run wild in your head, allow his grace to fill your heart and soul so you can rest knowing how much he loves you.

Beth xx

 

Heart Photo: Pinterest.

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Embrace YOUR Body!

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I have had a stirring in my heart to write about body positivity yet again. Surprise, surprise!

Earlier last week I was scrolling through my Instagram and I became quite irritated. The more I scrolled the fire bubbling up in my belly became stronger and stronger. I sat shaking my head, thinking how truly disgusting society can be.

These days, Instagram is full of Women in bikinis, diets, workout routines. You know how it goes… and for what?

Why are we so desperate to keep up with the next “in” trend of a body type. Do you understand how much that irks me? And how sad it is that A Woman’s body type has become a trend!!!!!

Think back a few years ago… What “body goals” were women trying to achieve? Petite bodies with a thigh gap.

What is it now? Small boobs to prance around in a little bralette, a tiny waste and a big butt.

I have been watching women work them selves to the ground just to achieve these results. What are they really going to gain from it though? Validation and acceptance of themselves because in societies standards they are “Beautiful”.

As women we should be spending more time in community, empowering each other to embrace OUR own individual body type.

As you know I am a Christian and I have grown up in church. I often come back to this bible verse. Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

In the Christian world it is such a well known/ used verse that it can become repetitive and easily overlooked. I am here to drill this verse into your being like there is no tomorrow. When you actually sit down and take this verse in, it’s life changing. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of the universe. He made you as an individual. You are your own person and you are the only person in the world with your exact body type. How do we not see that as the coolest thing ever and why the heck are we not embracing that more?

Recently, I have had an incredible awakening in my personal journey of body image and after a lot of prayer, seeking, crying and self hate I have experienced healing in a way that I never have before.

I am able to write of the body trends above because that was me not too long ago, trying to seek acceptance in all the wrong places from all the wrong people.

I was ashamed of my body, the way I looked and who I was as an individual. My journey has been very up and down. I have battled through issues and habits in regard to obsessive eating, exercising and fixating on numbers that I didn’t even realise was happening because it was so normal to me. I speak a lot more in depth about this in the book I am writing.

When I was in my mid teens I killed for “the dream body”. I wanted to be skinny, I wanted a thigh gap. I wish my 21 year old self was there to tell me that would never be achievable for me. Not in a harsh way but in a place of love. You see, that would never be achievable for me because that’s not my individual body type, that’s not how God created me. I am a curvy girl with thick thighs. I get that now, I accept that and FINALLY, I am embracing that.

Just the other week I was sitting down eating some food and my last bit of the meal fell into my lap because my thighs were touching. If I looked down and saw that about 6 months ago I would have been so ashamed of my body but you best believe I was praising the Lord for my thick thighs! I picked my food up and I finished that last bite with complete satisfaction.

Every body type IS beautiful.

If you have freckles, You’re beautiful.

If you have a thigh gap, You’re beautiful.

If you don’t have a thigh gap, you’re beautiful.

If you have a bit of a chubby belly, You’re beautiful. (I love choccy too much and I’m rocking it)

If you have a flat stomach, you’re beautiful.

If you are tall, you’re beautiful.

If you are short, you’re beautiful.

Self acceptance comes when you beat the mental battle the enemy is forever trying to win against you!

Wearing a skimpy little bikini that covers next to nothing just for you to gain a little bit of attention isn’t going to make you happy. The boy that just “liked” your last Insta picture isn’t going to make you happy. Posting a body photo when your sucking in your stomach to the point of struggling to breathe and sticking your butt out to make yourself look smaller isn’t going to make you happy. Can most of us just admit that we’ve been there at some stage?

I encourage you to try your very best to honour your body. It is so so precious. Looking back I wish I cared for and valued my self and my body as much as I do now. Embrace who you are and do things to nourish yourself the right and healthy way. Stop trying to seek the approval of others to validate your self acceptance and stop playing the comparison game. As soon as you start to compare yourself to others you are allowing complete negative thoughts to grow and that in itself is a really dangerous place to be in.

Your worth isn’t found in a number on the scales, it’s not defined by toxic words people say to you, it’s not placed by how many followers you have or how revealing your posts are, it’s not shaped by a false image we have been led to believe by societies standards. It is found in the very essence of your being – Your heart!

I know that I am no where near where I want to be but because I am finally starting to see myself the way Jesus see’s me and I am spending time filling myself with his truths about me, I have found contentment. It’s crazy, amazing and all things wonderful!

There is only one place you are going to find complete contentment and real self acceptance. Go search, I dare you!

Beth xx

STOP COMPARING GIRL!

The last few days I have felt a strong pull on my heart to talk about the word Comparison and the completely toxic and negative things it does to our minds.

The definition of the word compare is: To estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

In some circumstances it’s okay to compare normal and practical things in life but when it comes to a females body I’m going to slap a big fat NO on that!

I will happily put my hand up and say I have been the first person to compare myself to others. Looking back I can clearly see that it is not a healthy nor is it a full way of living. So often I would reach this place of happiness and contentment within myself only to be crumbled by comparison because of the insecurities in my own mind. A perfect example of this really wasn’t that long ago. I was super happy, eating clean and exercising everyday for all the right reasons. I wanted to nourish my body and help it become strong and fit but somewhere along the way it became unhealthy and my motive changed. It turned into I NEED to go to the gym so I don’t get fat and I limited myself to the foods I would eat because I didn’t want to get fat. Anyone that knows me well knows how much I love sushi but I stopped eating it because of the rice, because I was scared that if I consumed too many carbs I would gain weight! My goodness, I am silly. It’s not okay that I made a conscious effort to stop eating something I loved, my treat, because of this stupid fear. This stemmed from a few years ago, I tried to go vegetarian and ended up gaining 8kg in 6 months. It wasn’t my smartest choice but it didn’t change who I was as a person. I was still the same Bethany. I realise that now. I haven’t been to the gym in a while and I’m sitting here with a completely thankful heart because my body has been lazy (who would have thought i’d ever be happy about that?) I’m thankful because I have now had time to reflect and sort things out in my mind so I can go back with the right attitude, mind frame and the right goals.

That brings me to the lessons I have learnt. A self love journey should start from the inside which then will naturally reflect on the outside. I still like to nourish my body with the right foods and the foods that work for me as an individual. Lately I have been asking myself “Will my body thank me for eating this?” A perfect example of this would be ice-cream. I flipping LOVE it but my body doesn’t, hands down every time I eat it I will feel sick and have a belly ache afterwards. That doesn’t mean I limit myself though. Once a month my best friend and I go to cold rock and share a massive chocolate filed cup. It’s all about finding your right balance.

Every woman has been sculpted differently, no one is the same, yet we are all equally fearfully and wonderfully made. The sooner you embrace the woman you are with all of YOUR strengths the happier life is going to be for you. Don’t scroll through social media wishing you looked like her or you had her hair or her abs because you never going to because thats not YOU! I’m all for empowering other woman, If you like something compliment her but don’t forget that there are amazing things about you too.

I’ve started a project for unveiling beauty and my beautiful, beautiful cousin has decided to be a part of it. Her answers are honest, raw and real, I really admire her for it, more than she will ever know. She talks a lot about “bouncing back” after pregnancy and in my opinion she is quite hard on herself but what she doesn’t realise is she is in her “bounce back”,  she’s tackling it head on every single day. She compares herself to others yet she doesn’t ever take time to sit and feel empowered by her own strengths or how far she’s come. She has had two babies in two years.. THAT IS INCREDIBLE. HER body has grown not one but two lives. She has bounced back, she is fierce and she is courageous.

If you are a woman reading this I urge you to start a journal or look at yourself in the mirror and write or speak out 3 positive things about yourself daily. The power of words are so strong. Speaking life into a negative situation is only going to bring positivity and happiness the more you do it. Take time to do the things you love, that might be getting your nails done, getting a facial, doing a hair mask or reading a book. What ever it is, do it, take half an hour out of your day to practice your idea of self love. Embrace your heart moment and be bold with your body, respect it, love it and nurture it. I promise you, your world will change once that switch in your mind is flicked.

By Bethany Calverley.