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CAROLYN1213

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Created for Beauty

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

I had the privilege of speaking to a group of 30 teenage girls last night on the topic of body image, value and worth. Our church sponsors this girls night a couple times a month. It is held at The Red Barn, so it is not in the church and those in the community who are not members of the church will feel comfortable and welcomed. It it truly an outreach ministry. There are a couple of adults who oversee the program and four or five girls from our university volunteer to mentor and help.

I would like to share a little bit of the basic message I shared with them last night. I have changed some of the images, but the message is the same.

Look at the picture below and tell me what words come to mind.

The words I usually hear are:
adorable
lovable
sweet
cute
cuddly
precious

When I was born, my parents loved me and adored me. They gave me a special name, a name that no one else in the family had. It was my own name selected for me by my parents. Carolyn Denise. They rocked me, they loved me, they sang to me, they had hopes, dreams and wishes for me.



I grew into a happy go lucky girl who loved to sing, dance and twirl around in frilly skirts. I also loved to climb trees, run, swim and just thoroughly enjoy live. I was the perfect tomboy princess.

Around the age of five, some other images started entering my world. There was lots of fighting in my home. Loud voices. Doors slamming. Name calling. Threats. I remember being afraid, a lot. Afraid of losing someone I love. Afraid of being hurt myself. Afraid that the mean words that were spoken might be true.

Over the years I started feeling bad about being a girl. The messages I had received said it was dangerous to be a girl. I could get hurt. Someone could want to hurt me, just because I was a girl. A stupid girl who deserved it. How could I be so stupid.

To deal with the abuse, my mother withdrew from my father and from me. She attempted suicide twice by overdose when I was a teenager. I felt abandoned by someone I loved. Someone I had tried to protect. A woman, like me, who felt no value or worth. I must not be worth much. I must not be valued. There are the messages I heard in my head.

At the age of 17 a boy I had known since the day he was born, violated my trust and love for him. In that moment, it was so painful to be a woman. I had developed a very curvy body at a young age and had always drawn the wrong kind of attention. I hated my body. I didn't want to be a woman. Girls are trouble. I'm nothing. I'm a whore. These are the devaluing words I heard in my head.

In response to the messages that screamed lies to me in my head, some eating disordered thinking that had started in my early teens began to escalate. I began hording food, binging, and practicing different forms of deprivation.

This past year, at the age of 43, I had what I refer to as my epiphany year. In a time of emotional crisis, I cried out to God to deliver me. After a couple months of spending time in meditation and solitude with God, my journal and a devotional book, I had the most awesome gift given to me. I had a vision. I know, call me kooky, whatever. It was the most awesome experience and changed my life completely.

I saw myself as a five year old little girl, scared, hurt and ashamed, hiding her face from the world so they could not see her pain. In the vision, I was sitting in the middle of a grassy meadow with no shelter to hide under, nothing to shield my shame. The grassy meadow was the palm of the hand of God. And then I heard him call my name. MY name. It sounded so sweet and so gentle, like a song. But I was ashamed to turn and look at Him. Afraid that he would see how worthless and un-valuable I truly am. Then He said my name again in a reassuring way that told me that He knew everything about me and still loved me. When I turned my head, I was looking into the eye of God. I cannot tell you what He looks like. His eye is all I could see. I cannot tell you what His eye looks like, because all I could see was His love and compassion for me. In His eye, I saw the reflection of all He created me to be. I saw myself as He sees me! And it was beautiful. I was created for beauty. I was created to enjoy life and to live passionately. All that other stuff was just a delusion that kept me in bondage.

I suddenly realized that all the messages I had received were lies. I had long ago forgiven my father. I love him. He deserves grace, mercy and love. I had reconciled my relationship to my mother. She is beautiful. She deserves grace, mercy and love. I had forgive XYZ for violating my friendship and trust. He was young, he didn't realize the impact his action would have on me, he didn't intentionally hurt me. I had extended grace, mercy and yes, even love to him. Each of those violations of trust and love extended of just a short period of my life. However, the most egregious violator of trust and love was . . . ME! I had allowed the voices in my head to continually abuse me on a daily basis. I was mean to me. I was harsh on me. I demanded perfection from me.

Suddenly, I realized I could make a different choice! Once I saw myself as God sees me, I never wanted to be anything less! My heart felt light, there was a skip in my step, a light in my eyes and a beaming smile on my face. THIS is ME!!! And I love me!

So the next time you see a lady (maybe yourself) who looks like this:

or this:

or this:


Reserve your judgment. Show some compassion, love and mercy. Remember, God sees her like this:


Replace any negative adjectives with the lovely ones you would speak to this little lady!


Live Beautifully! Speak Kindly! Love Passionately! Twirl Little Girl! Twirl!


P.S. After the presentation, one of the college girls asked to speak to me alone. She shared with me a struggle she is having with an eating disorder and that the things I had shared really resonated with her. We talked, cried and prayed together. She and I will be having lunch together soon. I believe I was there to say those words for her and her alone. That very afternoon before coming, she had written in her journal how very alone she feels in her struggle with anorexia. She had no idea what I would be sharing and surely had no idea of her struggle.
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  • no profile photo CD5927538
    What an awesome and poewrful blog!! Thanks for sharing
    3605 days ago
  • no profile photo DEB4HIM1
    Carolyn,

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful blog with me. It made me cry. Your words touched my heart. I can relate to so many of the things you said.

    You are blessed to have been given that vision of God's eye and to see yourself as He sees you. That is my desire as well.

    Thanks again,

    Debbie
    3605 days ago
  • CACTUS-WREN
    Awesome blog!! Thanks for sharing this reminder for me to see others as God sees us.
    3782 days ago
  • SUSH_ASH
    hey what an amazing write up.. without our knowledge all of us are so judgemental about others.. i think there are so many better things in life for us to work on than to judge others or hurt them.. god created all of us uniquely and we need to value our uniqueness..God bless you dear
    3785 days ago
  • MAGDAGEN
    God bless you you are a genuine honest person. Magda
    3794 days ago
  • CASUSK
    What a beautiful thought. I'm crying and have goose bumps on my arms. This really hits home for me. Thank you.
    3801 days ago
  • CATANTIGO
    What a wonderful blog. Thank you.
    3801 days ago
  • RUNNING_LUCY
    Crying while reading this, you really spoke to my heart. I truly believe that you are right, God knew what you would be speaking about and in His infinite wisdom He brought you and that girl together. You are amazing, you are beautiful! Thank you for this post. emoticon
    3802 days ago
  • KRISTY_704
    Great post!
    3802 days ago
  • TRICIA140
    Thank you so much for this beautiful reminder of our worth. God revealed to me a vision of me as a little girl a few years ago, too. He actually revealed what I looked like to someone who did not know me as a child, and sent me this message, "You are my baby girl. I hold you in My hand, and You are precious to Me. I adore you."
    I will never forget Who loves me always, and that I am His princess.
    3803 days ago
  • GETRESULTSMDMEE
    wow this really touched my heart. we do need to pray for others and not judge the outside.
    3803 days ago
  • OPAL1973
    Beautiful.
    3803 days ago
  • BABYRN73
    amazing blog! i am going to have my own teenage daughter read this. thank you for writing it...
    3804 days ago
  • ADVENTURE-GIRL
    This is an amazing blog and you are doing good work for those girls.
    3804 days ago
  • RUNNINGPFUHL
    Beauty. Beauty Unspeakable. Love you!
    3804 days ago
  • JWENZEL723
    you are having an impact on so many people's lives. thank you for sharing this wonderful message!
    3804 days ago
  • JENNFIELDS4
    Thanks for this blog. It was great.
    3804 days ago
  • JEANNIEMAG
    I have tears in my eyes! You are an inspiration for all women. We are complex and intriguing and there is so much more to us than our outer shell! I'm so glad you are out there sharing your story with others! It's a beautiful story. I'm also happy for you for the obvious healing that has taken place within you. You rock! thanks for sharing.
    emoticon
    3804 days ago
  • OCEAN909
    emoticon great post; thanks for sharing
    3805 days ago
  • SKINNYJENNYBY10
    Very beautiful....Thank you
    3805 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6465553
    WOW!! How did this one slip by me. What a great blog. Thank you soooo much for posting this. You are so inspiring.

    emoticon
    3805 days ago
  • YOGAKARMAGRACE
    Carolyn, you always seem to amaze me with your thoughts and words. You ARE BEAUTIFUL in every meaning of the word, inside and out! I love you for who you are! Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    Grace
    emoticon
    3805 days ago
  • KWISKER
    WOW! Thank you for the inspiration!!
    3805 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7283927
    I'm 27 and your epiphany just happened to me on Saturday at a Beth Moore simulcast. I had been preaching God's love for how long but yet I forgot that love also extends to me. We are women, and God created us to be beautiful. Thanks for your blog!
    3805 days ago
  • HENABELLE
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    3805 days ago
  • THE_WELL_WITHIN
    You have certainly touched more than that one girl, I know that you have blessed me profoundly this morning. Thank you for sharing the insight that God gave you, you are truly a strong and beautiful woman!
    3805 days ago
  • IONA72
    All of us Sparkers are lucky to have found you Carolyn, thank you.
    3806 days ago
  • SMILEY_75
    That is so very true.......thank you for sharing this blog with SparkPeople.
    This is so inspiring.
    You need to keep speaking out. Look how you touched that ONE PERSON. You will touch lots more.
    Thank you so much for the Great Blog!!!
    3806 days ago
  • LADYSNOWFALL
    You are amazing! This post brought me to tears.
    3806 days ago
  • SILVERSADIE
    With all the unrealistic media messages we receive on a daily basis as well as the other issues you mention here it isn't any wonder that women struggle with their body image. Thank you for an inspiring as well as timely piece. YOu were indeed a messenger from God delivering the message to that group of young women.

    God Bless You
    3806 days ago
  • COOLYELLA
    Wonderful post. I hope your meeting with the girl is positive and encouraging to her. My sister struggled with many of the same things and she committed suicide at the age of 19 (over 20 years ago)...

    Two years ago, I read the book "Every Thought Captive" by Jerusha Clark, and I highly recommend it. It changed my life. She is a Christian author and writes about those very same kind of struggles we have in our heads, those toxic thoughts that keep us from the Truth.

    blessings,
    Joyella
    3806 days ago
  • COOLYELLA
    Wonderful post. I hope your meeting with the girl is positive and encouraging to her. My sister struggled with many of the same things and she committed suicide at the age of 19 (over 20 years ago)...

    Two years ago, I read the book "Every Thought Captive" by Jerusha Clark, and I highly recommend it. It changed my life. She is a Christian author and writes about those very same kind of struggles we have in our heads, those toxic thoughts that keep us from the Truth.

    blessings,
    Joyella
    3806 days ago
  • AHEALTHIERME9
    "I was created for beauty. I was created to enjoy life and to live passionately. All that other stuff was just a delusion that kept me in bondage."

    "However, the most egregious violator of trust and love was . . . ME! I had allowed the voices in my head to continually abuse me on a daily basis. I was mean to me. I was harsh on me. I demanded perfection from me. "

    WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!

    Gosh, Carolyn... this is profoundly moving and just... well, just incredibly beautiful and meaningful.

    THANK YOU for sharing this with us... YOU ARE AMAZING!

    I have tears right now... I need to read this a second time... lol

    Hugs!
    emoticon
    3806 days ago
  • MICHELLENRGZED
    This is really a beautiful entry! Praise God for healing, eh? :D We are all His children, & He created us in His image, which is beautiful. I'm so thankful that you've had healing in your soul & that you are now able to see yourself as God sees you. Blessings to you, Carolyn! :D I'm so glad to've read this post of yours. :D
    3806 days ago
  • GUITARGIRL2396
    I am so glad you found God. Good luck and I love you!
    3806 days ago
  • DAWNFIRE72
    Thank you for sharing so much with us and with those girls. I agree it seems like some force wanted you to share this and I am glad that your talk with the girls helped you to help someone else in knowing that they are not alone and that somewhere someone else knows how they feel.

    You are a strong and powerful woman and I now have a lot to think about.
    3806 days ago
  • SPARKMYWAY47
    This blog just blew me away, brought tears to my eyes and made me cry. I felt as if I was right there. Absolutely beautiful and so deep. Thank you, reading this just made my night. God bless you. emoticon
    3806 days ago
  • ELISAODUM
    Thank you. I know what it is like to lose all self respect and to be violated as a woman and I also know that God is still a God of miracles and is changing lives daily.
    3806 days ago
  • no profile photo LORI12342
    This was great to read and it is so true God created us and he loves us so matter how you look.We should always remind ourselfs of that and try to be happy with self....
    3806 days ago
  • CLAIRESML
    very moving blog! you are God's messenger to the college girl for certain.
    You are doing great work. My best to you....
    emoticon emoticon
    3806 days ago
  • KOSHIE1
    I wish....
    I will surely pass this on to my 20 year-old daughter....
    3806 days ago
  • GALABLUE
    Wow, thank you for sharing this experience. Very touching. Keep up the good work for yourself, and others.
    3806 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4363132
    What an awesome message you delivered to those girls -- and to us! Some of us not-so-young girls still need to hear this message. Thank you so much for sharing your personal story and the wisdom you've gained from it with all of us.

    emoticon
    3806 days ago
  • HAPPYSPARKE
    Wonderful blog! Resounds with many of us I am certain!
    emoticon emoticon
    3806 days ago
  • OBIONE686
    I know exactly what you meant about hating yourself for being a girl, and hating your body. Between family, school, and men whom I loved, I thought I would never be beautiful. Thank you for reminding us that we are who God made us. I hope somebody shares this with the people who lashed out at us. We are not to judge one another, or even ourselves: that is our Father and Lord's business. emoticon emoticon
    3806 days ago
  • AMOHAME2
    Thank you for sharing this blog, it really does give us all a lot to think about.
    3806 days ago
  • BRIDIE5
    Exactly..thanks for sharing this truth..
    3806 days ago
  • JUST_SIMONE
    Wow, this blog moved me to tears (and I'm at work!). Thank you for sharing your story with us and with those teenage girls.
    3806 days ago
  • LDY_ALI_79
    Wow this blog touched my heart! emoticon
    It's something that goes through my head as a mother of a little girl. I try to reassure her on a regular basis about love, respect & beauty on the inside & out.

    Thanks for sharing & I'm sure that young lady couldn't have been sent a better angel. emoticon

    Take care~
    3806 days ago
  • TESSASMILES
    Thanks for sharing with us all, a wonderful story.
    3806 days ago
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