Embrace the Beauty Within You

“You are the one
who put me together
inside my mother’s body,
and I praise you
because of
the wonderful way
you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
Of this I have no doubt.”
Psalm 139:13-14 CEV

Growing up one of the things I was most insecure about was my weight. (*GASP* shocker!! lol). It wasn’t until I went through what at the time was the most difficult experience of my life…finding out I had kidney disease my junior year of college…that I was finally able to address this particular issue head on. Along with it came prednisone…and I tell y’all it was the best and worst thing I had to endure. The worst: I already struggled with my weight, among other things, from being picked on and being told by a relative that I came from ’roundness’ on both sides so I would need to be careful…what damaging things (be careful what you say, words are powerful). So in taking a whopping 40 mg twice a day I gained nearly 30 pounds in less than 3 months. My face broke out from the stress and I’m sure the addition of medicines to my daily regimen. I had no energy and was in pain. I got so depressed…because I didn’t recognize the face smiling back at me…because I was bigger than what I felt I should be…because people asked me if I had a baby…because instead of stretch marks I have rip marks on my arms and sides from the extreme stretching that I FELT happening. I cried daily, because I found no one to relate to. I stopped talking pictures (y’all know how I am about pictures)…all because I hated what looked back at me. I felt ugly and fat…something I feared being (which serves as proof that sometimes what you fear will manifest). It wasn’t until an encounter in KMart that I really learned to embrace myself and love me from the inside out. That was the best part, that I overcame my past to love me in the present and give myself a better future. (out of the mouths of babes :D)

Now the tables have turned, I have been hovering around the same weight, I eat healthier, and I embrace me and everything that entails for who I was born to be. That may mean I won’t be the ‘thickest’, the most curvy anymore, or any other beauty standard women are measured by…but I love me! I’ve been studying Esther’s life, and in that story, her weight as a requirement of her beauty is nowhere to be found! I’m certain her inner beauty–the thing that gave her favor everywhere she went, her gift from God–is what won her the coveted spot as queen in a foreign land! Ladies and fellas too, I share this today to encourage you to love who you are and watch things change. Whatever process ensues–cleansing, fasting, etc.–embrace it to be the best you yet! Physical beauty is only skin deep, but a beautiful soul will draw others to you! Let God transform you!

Below is a video I just did that elaborates on this…be encouraged! Love what you see!

Can’t Hold You Back

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6 ESV

God sure has a way of doing things. I promise you, this morning I was trying to sleep an extra hour, but He wasn’t having my laziness today lol. He wanted to talk to me. So here’s what I took from that…

I teach bible study online tonight (leave a comment for details if you’re interested) and after a few texts from friends, I remembered I needed to prepare. So I’ve been doing this series called “Effectual Prayer”. Over the course of the last 2-2.5 months, we have been exploring the various types of prayer. Long story short, the prayers I have selected for tonight are Deliver Us, prayed by Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19, and Help Us, prayed by Asa in 2 Chronicles 14. In both of these situations, from the outside looking in, the circumstances these kings faced were bigger than them, and to a faithless person, bigger than any God. But in both cases, they prevailed.

I have a tendency to ratchetness at times, haha. Several songs that I need to take several seats for came to mind. First, Rick Ross…I love how I can take a poem or lyric and it remind me of where I have been and where God has brought me. Anyway, Can’t Hold Me Back has several choice words, but this part is key–enemies and ‘the enemy’ do not have the power to hold you back. No one can keep you from your God-appointed destiny but YOU. Yes weapons will form (Isaiah 54:17) but they cannot prosper unless you allow them to defeat you. You see, what you are fighting for is power and control over your mind, because that’s where the battles are lost. But the beauty of God is that He can deliver us and help us in the midst of these situations, physically, mentally, and spiritually. That’s what He did for me…fought the battle over my mind, so that I could start winning the battles that were physically challenging me.

I love how I now ‘self-police’ my thoughts. The minute I allow a foul word to exit my lips, I immediately say something to change it. Why? Because we speak our realities into existence. Sure, a child didn’t speak abuse into existence, that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s that ‘woe is me’, ‘agony, agony’ victim complex that can plague our minds and keep us stagnant, not growing and not progressing. Back to our references, had either Hezekiah or Asa decided in their humanness to attempt to fight either of these armies in their own strength, their defeats were eminent and almost certainly there would be very few descendants to speak of it. But they chose to call on God, who in all His splendor and greatness, was more than well-equipped to to handle the battles. In Hezekiah’s case, the angel of the Lord came
over the 400000+ army of Sennacherib and the next morning more than 185000 lay dead, scaring them so bad that they ran home. And with Asa, the Ethiopian army that came against them were over a million men strong.  Asa, who was a man of peace, did the only thing he knew how to do and sought God for help. Of course this ended terribly for the Ethiopians.

As these words filled my thoughts this morning, I was reminded of my tattoo (yes I have a tattoo). I got it after having survived what at the time to me was the most difficult experience to remind me of exactly this thing. Psalm 27:1 says “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” It says exactly this; why fear, when you can call on God for deliverance, like I did? Why be afraid of what men, women, and the enemy say or try to do when God is your helper and deliverer? They can’t hold you back, they can’t hold you down, because God goes before you! Trust in that today!

“I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:4 NLT