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Clay pots, Waterford vases, and that pesky scale.

I am strong (2 of 2)I’ve always battled with my weight. I was never a really fat kid, but I was easily swayed by the message that our bodies had to be absolutely rock hard. I remember being in 6th grade and my friend Caitlin pointed out our fat rolls when we sat. That was the first time I wished I didn’t have any, not realizing that everyone has some version of it. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was playing softball, cheerleading, and I was a size 10. I was a hundred and forty pounds. Sophomore year I was on Metabolife that my grandmother would buy for me and not eating carbs. I was the largest cheerleader on the squad. I graduated high school a size 12.

In college I got down to a size 8 for one whole month due to the fact that I was just too busy to eat. I would spend all day living off of peanut butter crackers and one meal a day. Then I met Todd, and I’ve always gained weight when I was happy, so I went back to the size 12 I had always been. Fast forward another 12 years, two babies, and a lot of changes later and I’m 40 lbs heavier than I was when I was when I got married, and another 10-20 from my 15 year old weight.

I’ve spent many years only losing weight when I got fed up with myself and would mentally punish and shame myself into not eating certain foods. I would tell myself that if I wanted to be skinny I had to stop it and not eat that stuff. When I felt good about myself, I would eat whatever I wanted. I would indulge. I would also indulge when things were really hard.

In the last several years, I have been learning to be better to myself. I’m learning that I used this behavior cycle of mentally willing to be better and then shaming myself when I fell short of the high marks I set for myself. I thought I was doing it right, because it was no different than what I saw on TV, or even in my friends and families’ lives. Everywhere around me I saw women I loved telling me and themselves that they were fat and lazy and just needed to do something. I would look at them and I would see these beautiful women, most of them smaller than me, punishing themselves in their words and thoughts. Never content, never enough.

What I’m seeing today is that we are believing lies. The lie that there is a standard quantitative weight or size we must be at to be “normal.” The lie that our identity and worth as a woman lies in what we can produce, whether that is on a scale or in our homes or our jobs. We believe the lie that when we fall short, we are worthy of the punishment we give ourselves. Our identity was never meant to be found in anything we can manufacture on our own. 

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

I always associated 1 Corinthians 6 with passages on sexual immorality and purity, but there is more to it than that. If you are a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a vessel for the Holy Spirit. We are the jars of clay, with our temporary bodies that are meant to hold the greatest treasure in the whole world. Some of us may look like a Waterford vase, and some of us may feel like something my 6 year old made out of Playdoh, but we are all designed for the same purpose. To live a life for Him and to share this treasure we hold for as long as we draw a breath.

I move my body every day. I exercise. I’m strong. I hold my children in my arms and I carried them far longer than 9 months. I eat well but I need to do better. The point is, I’ve been punishing myself because of a size and a number, when I’m healthy and I use my body to do good things. I’ve got to trust Him to do a good work in me, and to release my struggle to Him.

As for me, I’m going to do my best to be okay with where I am, just as I am. When my identity is in God and not a number on the scale, I am free. I am happy. I am loved not because of what I can do or produce, but for me.

If you struggle with this, know that you’re not alone and you are not a number on a scale. You are so much more than you know. I am strong (1 of 2)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alma Berger April 20, 2016, 10:25 am

    I recall your grandmother, my sister in law telling me that I ate as much as your grandpa Tony because I loved meat. I always wanted 2 pork chops or 2 salmon patties or 2 slices of meatloaf instead of just 1 like my little nephews and she were having. This would have been about age 14 or 15 and I was a size 10 at 125 lbs and 5 ft 6. At times I would gain weight, probably 5-10 lbs but never getting over 135. My cheerleading skirt would get a little tight and that’s when I was introduced to a little book and counting calories. I too was the largest cheerleader on the squad. I always thought of myself as fat because the other girls were so thin. I look back now and realize I actually had a woman’s figure before the other girls developed theirs. Regardless I still believed I was overweight and fat. By the time I married I was up to 140 lbs and Polly said while making my wedding dress, “well this is the first size 14 dress I’ve ever had to make for you!”
    April, when I tell you I understand, believe me I truly do! I see myself in you. You just need to stay on the path you are on. You are loving, kind, caring, smart (not meaning to sound like a quote from “The Help” here), beautiful and so very important to so many people including your Aunt Alma!
    You are right, we are so much more than a number on a scale. As I type this I need to remember it also especially since I weighed this morning and gained 5 pounds in 3 weeks since my surgery. It doesn’t seem fair since I watched Tony drop 40 lbs after his surgery and Angel probably 50 – 60 lbs since his but then not all people are the same and not all things in life are fair. My struggle is to not feel sorry for myself at this time, try to eat less, not have the appetite of a man ha! and know that I too am God’s work and beautiful in His eyes. I love you sweet sweet niece !!!❤️

    • April April 24, 2016, 8:22 pm

      I love you so much, and I love that I look so much like you. To me, you embody all the beauty, kindness, gentleness, strength, and fun I hope to have! I have always thought you were just right.

  • Kimberley Williams April 20, 2016, 4:09 pm

    Thank you for this.

    • April April 24, 2016, 8:22 pm

      Thank you. I miss you, friend.

  • Deb Adams April 21, 2016, 8:18 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I am encouraged by your words. I am not alone. I am on a similar journey at 59 yrs old.

    • April April 24, 2016, 8:24 pm

      Deb, thank you so much for your sweet comment! I always thought women had this stuff figured out, and now that I am one, I’m realizing that we all are more alike than I would ever have thought. We can do this!

  • Kelli Moore April 21, 2016, 8:38 pm

    I simply could not love you more. I always look at you and think how exceedingly gorgeous you are – always. He radiates from with you and He gave you a beautiful vessel. Just saying.

    • April April 24, 2016, 8:24 pm

      I love you too, so so much!

  • Amy Langmaack April 22, 2016, 6:27 am

    I love your perspective on this! I’ve had similar thoughts and I think I need to spend some more mulling this over.

    • April April 24, 2016, 8:25 pm

      You know, Amy, I think I’ve wanted to finally start making peace with my body because I have a little girl. I don’t want her to carry my baggage, you know?

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