Congratulations: You Survived Thanksgiving. Finding Joy Within the Sorrows of the Season


Even though this week was really, really hard, you survived. You kept going. And I am so proud of you.

I don’t know the exact reasons why this week was hard for you. Perhaps you are not pregnant, again, after years of trying, and were forced to sit next to that cousin: the one that got pregnant from a one-night-stand and complained about being pregnant the entire time…perhaps it was the first time without your loved one, or was expected to be the last with your loved one…perhaps you didn’t go home because you finally mustered up the courage to tell your family about the abuse that you suffered so many years ago, and you were not believed…perhaps you were finally able to share who you’re attracted to or who you’re dating and were shunned…perhaps you had to sit across from your relative who supported that candidate, the one that you feel represents everything awful in the world…or perhaps you sat at home, alone, with truly nowhere to go, and watched your friends’ insta stories…whatever caused you grief, whatever caused your heartache, I am so sorry. Families, hearts, and dreams, were never made to be broken.

We Have A God That Gets It

Christmas has been disgustingly romanticized. Christmas cards picture baby Jesus in a clean barn smiling in the lap of his beautiful mother surrounded by shepherds and tall men with expensive gifts; and neglect that Jesus was born into utter poverty, in a disgusting barn, to persecuted refugees, and that his birth caused a mass genocide of Jewish baby boys. Not really romantic, huh?

But I say this to remind you that in this Season, we can remember that God gets it. He gets it. Jesus was not born into a perfect family. His young teen mother created quite the scandal in Nazareth when she announced she was pregnant, and Joseph planned to leave her, before the politics of their day caused them to have to travel hundreds of miles. He was born into a persecuted people group that, on multiple occasions, had their children slaughtered by the reigning government. In fact, after his birth, Jesus and his parents had to flee to a foreign country to escape his execution. Throughout his life, Jesus was displaced, kicked out of his home, abandoned and betrayed by his friends, and alone. At his death, even God turned his back on him. So if you have a dysfunctional family. If you’re experiencing persecution. If you have been wronged by the government. If you have been abandoned by your friends and your family. If you’re struggling financially. If you have had a friend or family member die “too soon.” If you feel completely alone. He gets it. Jesus gets it. Because he lived it.

A Call to Joy

Not only do we have a God that understands, that can empathize, but we have a God that calls us to joy. As a Christian, we are called to be joyful, in all circumstances.

Joy is different than happiness. We are not called to be always happy. In fact, Jesus was a pretty emotional dude. For example, we know that Jesus was so overcome with grief when his friend died that he wept, like gross snot running down your face, whole body shaking wept (John 11); we know that Jesus was so overcome with rage at the misuse of the temple that he, literally, pulled a Theresa Giudice and started flipping tables (Matthew 21; Mark 11); and we know that Jesus was in such anguish over his coming torture and death that he sweated blood (Luke 22; this is an actual medical condition called hematohidrosis). So Jesus was not always happy.


And, neither were the apostles. They were tortured, martyred, beaten, and Barnabas and Paul had a pretty epic friend breakup (Acts 15). Not really happy things.

But yet, while in prison, Paul and Timothy wrote this really powerful letter to the church in Phillippi about joy:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again–rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, whihc exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. THink about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-8

And, in other places in the Bible, we’re called to be joyful. For example, in Romans we’re told to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12).

Joy is different than happiness. Happiness is a current feeling influenced by our current circumstances. While joy is the hope that we, as Christians, have buried deep within. It’s the hope and knowledge that things are not as they should be, but that God is restoring, and one day soon we will be with Christ in a perfect place, free from any bad thing. In fact, Jesus reminded us to hold fast to this hope, this joy:

“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy becuase she has brought a new baby inot th eworld. So you have sorrow now, but I sill see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.” ~Jesus, reocrded in John 16:20-24

So even while we hurt, while we’re angry, while we’re disappointed and let down, we can find joy knowing that this broken, hurtful world is not our home:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. Philippians 3:20-21.

It’s Okay To Be Angry

I want to reiterate, though, that you’re feelings are 100% okay. It’s okay to be angry, to be upset, to feel lonely. Becoming a Christian does not require you to be happy all the time. Jesus wasn’t. Any preacher that claims that as a Christian you need to walk around with this fake, euphoric happiness all the time seriously needs to re-read the New Testament because Jesus was not always happy. And neither should you be.

There should be things that make you upset. Infertility sucks. Abuse in any form is horrific. Feelings of loneliness and abandonment are suffocating. But in this chaos, friend, I sincerely hope that you hear the whisper of joy and the quiet touch of peace.

I am so proud of you for making it through this week. Keep going.




As a Christian, The Nomination of a Trans Governor Makes Me Nervous


This morning when I woke up, it sunk in that Vermont made history last night by nominating Christine Hallquist as the Democrat contender for Governor, and made her the first trans woman in the country to be nominated by a party to this high of an office.

As a Christian, I’ve been worried all day, thinking what this means for our state and what this will tell our children.

I’m worried about how people, especially Christians, will treat Ms. Hallquist and talk about her, how they will tell their children about her.

I’m nervous for the hate that will fill my feed and for the bigoted slurs that the kids in my life will hear. I’m nervous that hate groups will fill our state. I’m nervous about the sermons on Sunday across the country that will demean the humanity of my neighbor, and the hateful acts that will occur.

Already, I’ve seen Facebook posts from Christians making derogatory remarks about her. Not only are these comments a reflection of a bigoted heart, they are completely un-Christlike. Grown-ups, we must not forget that our children are watching, and they will mirror us.

Disagree With Policies, Not People
If you want to disagree with Hallquist, that’s GOOD AND OKAY. But speak negatively after her policies disagree with her policies and proposals. I disagree with some of her political stances, too! And to be honest, I have no idea who I will be voting for in November. But, she is my neighbor. She is a fellow human being made in the image of God and deeply loved and desired by Him. THAT is who she is. 

Many Christians Have Lost the Right to Play the “Family Values” Card

The Christians that I’ve seen and heard saying nasty things about her in the name of protecting “Godly family values” are the same Christians that have defended a man who has been married three times, divorced twice, mocked sexually assaulting women, had multiple affairs, and paid a porn star to keep quiet about the affair he had when his third wife was pregnant. You don’t get to claim that you can disagree with one’s “personal life choices but support their politics” and then turn around and bash a woman with whom you “disagree with her personal life choices.” You cannot have it both ways, friend.

My Hope for Vermonters

I know that Vermonters are kind people. That being a neighbor still MEANS something here. I trust that we’ll LOVE AND HONOR our neighbor and refuse to let in outside hate groups.

I know that there will be Christians that seek to love all of our neighbors as ourselves, regardless of if we agree with them about any aspect of their life or not. Regardless of if you think someone is wrong that never, ever, gives you an excuse to be a bigot. That’s not who Christ calls and demands us to be.

I’m hoping that this election, Vermont shows America how to be kind. That Christian Vermonters show the Christian community how to be respectful and loving and above all else, honoring the dignity and worth of every individual.

What I want to Say to Ms. Hallquist

Ms. Hallquist, if you happen to read this, I want you to know one thing: I am thankful and proud to have you as my neighbor. To have a neighbor that is brave; that is kind; that loves their family; that is smart (you were a CEO of a major company, how amazing!). I am sorry on behalf of anyone who uses my religion to justify their hate and bigotry towards you. I know you are a strong person with skin as tough as nails, but I sincerely hope that you know that you are loved and desired by God.

“Hate does not grow well in the rocky soil of Vermont”



Becoming a Christ-Follower, Not a Christian: Rejecting Christianity as a Political Statement

washing feet

Last week I posted that I was no longer calling myself a Christian. Although I had thought that posting that I still believed Jesus to be the Christ would remove any confusion as to whether I was an apostate, confusion still occurred. So I’m hoping this post clarifies what I believe, and what I don’t.

What I Believe

My beliefs can be best summarized in the Nicene and Apostle Creeds. The same creeds that followers of Christ have affirmed for centuries:

Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the begotten of God the Father, the Only-begotten, that is of the essence of the Father.
God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten and not made; of the very same nature of the Father, by Whom all things came into being, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.
Who for us humanity and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, was made human, was born perfectly of the holy virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.
By whom He took body, soul, and mind, and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.
He suffered, was crucified, was buried, rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven with the same body, [and] sat at the right hand of the Father.
He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father, to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, in the uncreated and the perfect; Who spoke through the Law, prophets, and Gospels; Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles, and lived in the saints.
We believe also in only One, Universal, Apostolic, and [Holy] Church; in one baptism in repentance, for the remission, and forgiveness of sins; and in the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgement of souls and bodies, and the Kingdom of Heaven and in the everlasting life.

Other Beliefs

I believe that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you shall be saved” from eternal separation (hell) from God after death. [Romans 10:9]

I believe in “Believer’s Baptism.” That is, only an individual who is capable of understanding what it means to profess faith and has personally chosen to profess and believe that faith in Christ is the only way to be reconciled to God should be baptized. I believe baptism is only an outwardly showing of an internal transformation. [This is why I can’t become a member of my current Presbyterian Church].

Lastly, I believe that “[a] ll Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” [2 Tim. 3:16-17]

Jesus, A Radically Awesome Dude

jesus serving

This last year, I really “fell in love with Jesus.” I know that’s a crazy “Christianese” term, but I don’t know how else to say it. As I began the year with another faith crisis, I dug through the New Testament. Although I heard a lot about Jesus growing up, I realized I always spent my own Bible time in the Pauline Epistles, and never took time to get to know Jesus.

I believe that Jesus was God incarnate, fully God and fully human. The crazy thing about him, is that he chose a life of suffering. He chose to be a member of the lowest class of society.

Jesus, A Bullied Outcast

Jesus was conceived by Mary, an unmarried teenager. Premarital sex was grounds for stoning, and I have no doubt that that scandal rocked that town for decades.

Not only was he born to a poor teen mother, he was also a persecuted religious and ethnic minority. The Jews were a people that had been overtaken by a foreign government, bullied, and oppressed. That’s one of the reason topics such as taxes and obeying the government were “hot topics” in the New Testament and so controversial.

Jesus was also a refugee. After he was born, his family had to flee the country because their child was at risk of being murdered by the oppressing government.

Throughout his life, Jesus lived as a radical outcast: mocked, kicked out of his hometown, eventually crucified. He preached a radical messages love, service and acceptance that was rejected by the religious leaders at his time.

Jesus, Lover of the Outcast

Throughout scripture, we see Jesus radically pursue the forgotten, the sinful, and the outcast. He went out of his way to seek out adulterous women (aka: really awful sinner rejected by the religious community), defended a woman caught in adultery (aka person that should be severely punished because of their sin), touched the sick and defiled (aka the people religious reasoning and common sense tell us to avoid), ate with tax collectors (aka the ones responsible for persecution), invited children into worship (aka people the religious leaders said shouldn’t be part of worship service) and many more.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: Jesus sought out and defended the oppressed. He loved everybody, especially those the institution of religion had rejected.

Christianity as a Political Statement

god hates

The term Christianity has become a political statement. It means fighting for a child to be born and then not caring what happens to the child after it’s born, as The Handmaid’s Tale so beautifully illustrates, Christians only seem to care about a woman being forced to carry pregnancy to term, but then who cares what happens after; it means hating individuals of the LGBTQ community; it means wanting abortion doctors murdered; it means hating refugees; it means bowing to evil leaders because they say they’re Christian (but only if they’re Republican); it means loving guns more than children; and the list goes on. This is what I don’t want to be associated with. And if I say the word Christian, I’m saying I agree to all of this AND I DON’T.

Y’all, I love Jesus. I want to mirror him in my life. I want to stand up for the oppressed, to seek out the persecuted, to love the one’s religious institutions and society rejects. BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT JESUS DID.

Perceptions Matter

Growing up, I was taught that how people view me matters. I shouldn’t drink in public because people may think I’m an alcoholic or associated with sin and it will hinder my testimony; I shouldn’t live together with a man, even if we’re not having sex, because people will think we’re “living in sin” and it will hinder my testimony; I shouldn’t dress immodestly because then people may think I’m immoral and it will hinder my testimony. So, by no longer saying I’m a Christian is applying this reasoning: I can no longer self identify as a “Christian” because people will think I hate people, and it will hinder my testimony.

Supporting Evil Institutions

I also don’t want to financially or socially support institutions that I believe are supporting Christianity as a religious statement. But this becomes more difficult. What does this mean? What does this look like. To be honest, I’m not sure.

I love my church here in the City, and as far as I’ve seen, their views of what it means to be a follower of Jesus aligns with mine.

But what about the other churches I’m associated with? Cutting them off completely, refusing to ever step in the door for any reason, doesn’t seem to accomplish anything. In fact, I need to have conversations with those congregants about what, to me, it means to live as a Christ follower.

I know to the critics that read my blog and will never be happy with what I do, this isn’t enough. I know they’d want me to walk away from religion and Jesus completely, but I can’t I love Jesus.

But what I can do is condemn the political practices and call out those who are not loving Jesus, a persecuted refugee. I’ll be honest, I’m open to suggestions on how to live out my faith well.

So, here’s to being a Christ follower, and not a Christian.



I Can No Longer Say I’m A Christian



Since I was 9 years old, being a Christian has been a defining part of my identity. My community. It was who I was. I was Krista and I was a Christian.
But this week has been a tough one as I’ve watched professing Christians, “pro-life Christians” defend evil and abhorrent immigration policies. This past year I’ve questioned a lot of things as professing Christians, “pro-life Christians” have defended evil practice after evil practice and have used God to justify supporting evil, or simply done nothing at all.
And I cannot be part of this. I will not be part of this. I refuse to be part of a culture that justifies killing innocent people, ripping families apart, racism, rape, sexism, or just being an awful human being.
Yes, I still believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. But I don’t know how I can keep identifying myself as a Christian. I cannot be part of this anymore.

Last Chance to Join “The Handmaid’s Tale” Virtual Discussion Groups!

Image result for the handmaid's tale

Hey friends!

If you’re interested in signing up for “The Handmaid’s Tale” virtual discussion groups, please complete the form of interest by Friday, May 18 at 11:59 CST. I’ll be putting together the groups based on availability and sending out confirmation emails this weekend.

As a reminder, these groups will meet virtually via “Google Hangout” each week for 1 hour to discuss pre-sent questions. This will be a great way to learn from one another, especially from those you don’t normally interact with.

Although controversial topics will obviously be discussed (is there anything about the show NOT controversial?) my hope is that we can have mature, safe, learning-oriented discussions. Here’s the Link to sign up!

To Those Grieving on Mother’s Day: Your Pain is Real, I See You


Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. As my social media feeds become clogged with individuals sharing about their awesome moms, my heart actually hurts, because I know today, for so many people (including myself), is a day of deep hurt. Hurt that quickly can turn into grief, anger, and loneliness. So, I want all of you who are hurting today to know: I SEE YOU. Your pain is valid. And, I sincerely hope that in the midst of your pain and grief, you feel loved, comforted, and experience the peace that surpasses all understanding.

First, to the infertile women desiring to be mamas: I’m so, so sorry. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to see all of the handprint paintings today as the reality sinks in that, once again, you won’t be getting that painting. Your grief is deep and tough. And I really have no other comfort to offer than to say: I see you, I hear you, and you’re important.

To all the mamas who have suffered miscarriage(s): I am so sorry. Even though you may have never held your baby in your arms (or maybe you did), your child was real. It was loved, it was wanted, and it had a soul. Your pain is valid, and I apologize on behalf of anyone who may have told you that you can “just have more” or treated your situation differently than the loss of a child born alive. I am so deeply sorry.

To all the mamas who created adoption plans for their babies: I hope the grief you feel today is at times quieted by the deep peace and joy, you feel knowing how much you love your child, and how much your child is loved. You made the most difficult and sacrificial choice any parent could make, and I hope today you feel loved and supported.

To all the mamas who have lost a child, at whatever age: I am so sorry. I’m sure today, more than just about any other day in the year, you’re thinking about what your child would have looked like or what y’all would have done. Your grief is real and raw and valid and I hope you have the resources to celebrate the life of your child and grieve well.

To all the children that can’t see their mamas, for whatever reason: I am so sorry. I know, I can empathize, how difficult today is to see photos and stories of your friends with their mamas, to see them talk about their mamas, and to realize you don’t have that, and probably will never have that. I hope you can find the peace that comes with forgiveness, and although this loss will be a lifelong grieving process, I hope you find hope in breaking the abusive cycles you were subjected to. It was not your fault.

To all of the adults considering adoption: thank you, thank you, thank you! All children deserve to be loved, wanted, and missed. Whether you’re currently fostering or going through the adoption process, I want to stand up and applaud you for making the selfless decision to show another the love of Christ, and trusting God to sustain you as your heart is broken, and repaired and overflows with joy time and again.

To all the superhero women (and men!) that have taken on mothering roles to support these individuals: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Your love and sacrifices have forever changed the life of an individual. I know loving grieving individuals is difficult, it’s painful, and downright tiresome. But it is so, so worth it. Loving someone deeply is never a mistake.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-8



Why Posting a Picture of Myself in a Bathing Suit Was One of the Best Accomplishments of My Adult Life


Y’all yesterday I did something crazy. I posted a picture of myself (well, it was a boomerang video, but still). In a bathing suit (I literally just smiled as I typed that line because it is such an important accomplishment for me!). This was the result of years of therapy to overcome lies that I had chosen to believe about myself that I’d heard from culture, the purity movement, and a not-so-great boy.

Before I start this post, I have some important disclaimers.

First, yes, if you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll know that I’ve recently purchased a more “modest” bathing suit that didn’t arrive before my trip. It’s important to note that I believe our standard of modesty should be primarily about our relationship with God and not our relationship with other people. Showing 2 extra inches above my knee because my suit didn’t arrive is not rebellious or sinful, in my opinion.

Second, this is about my experiences. I fully believe that we have to allow negative thoughts into our minds and that we have to allow lies to become truth. I allowed lies to become my own truths, and I’m in no way “blaming” another person or a movement for how I viewed myself.

Why Write This Blog Anyways?
First, I want to break down the stigma that many Christians have about therapy, which allowed me to get to this point in my life.

Second, I want to be authentic as possible and encourage others that may be going through similar struggles.

My Struggle With An Eating Disorder

I remember the first time I forced myself to throw up out of disgust for myself. I was in 6th grade and felt truly ugly for the first time (yeah, 6 grade, I was 12). Many of my friends had already started middle school, and I heard about all of the “dating” relationships. Although I knew I wasn’t allowed to even really consider “dating” until I was at least 16, I still feared that I’d be rejected by my peers. And that, somehow, my ugliness or my “fatness” would keep boys away.

The funny thing about this is that, at 12 years old, no one had ever explicitly told me, “Krista, you’re fat.” I just knew that I was chunkier than my friends, and I saw my skinny friends got attention from boys that the chunkier girls did not.

Ironically, I learned about “throwing up” in health class, a class that taught about eating disorders to prevent them. I realized that I could never stop eating without my family noticing (we had sit down meals every day together) but maybe I could “sneak” in the vomiting. I’m stubborn and fiercely determined, so when I was unable to make myself vomit on the first time, I tried again and again until I succeeded. It was honestly the strangest feeling of my life: on one hand, I felt very successful: I had accomplished something I had set out to do. On the other hand, I felt overwhelming guilt and shame: I knew I’d be in trouble if my family found out, and I also felt strange that I had done something to my body, for no apparent good reason.

Over the next three years, I forced myself to throw up when I felt stressed. When I felt everything was spiraling out of control, I did it to regain control over something. It wasn’t bulemia, per se, becuase it wasn’t focused on binging and then purging, it was all about control.

In 9th grade, I was promoted from JV to Varsity soccer at the end of the season. In 9th grade, I had the best season of my soccer career and I kicked butt as a sweeper (center defender). If I was forced to choose a point in my high school career that I felt the most self-confident, it would be the Fall of my 9th-grade year. I was in 2 gym classes a day (I wanted to get those credits out of the way) with most of the athletic and older kids. We had subs for most of the class and we played soccer every day, and I was always one of the first kids picked. I still vividly remember one of the senior boys on Varsity soccer picking me first saying, “we’re going to kill it on defense.” (Isn’t it weird the things we remember?)

Anyways, when I was brought up to Varsity, all of my insecurities came flooding back. The girls were all so beautiful and athletically talented and I quickly realized that I simply didn’t look like them. My drop in self-confidence caused performance on the field to drop, and I went back to making myself throw up to regain the control. The next year, I was a nervous wreck during try-outs and did awful. Just awful. And I became the only player that had been brought up to varsity the year before to be kept as a swing player, playing mostly on JV. Once again, I became obsessed with control, and I dropped down to the lowest weight in my life and began to hate my body.

Purity Movement = Body Shaming

Around the same time, I got heavily involved with the “purity movement.” Feeling like an “outsider” at school (although looking back, I totally wasn’t) I began attending every church and youth group event. I felt “in” there. The “cool” movement at the time was the purity movement, and I got totally caught up in the broken promises.

There were various seminars or youth conferences almost monthly. And, guess what the topic of almost every conference was? PURITY! That’s right: the broken promise of how not having sex until marriage (and the less physical stuff you do, the more bonus points to you!) God will bless you with a hot husband, beautiful kids, and a perfect life.

Did the purity movement explicitly state this? No! But the authors of all of the purity books (like “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “The Bride Wore White”) were all married with attractive spouses. Same with the speakers at the conferences. Their silent message was simple: as soon as I “gave my heart to God…He brought me THE ONE” and THE ONE also just happened to be beautiful). I so desperately wanted MY ONE that I bought in. I bought in hard.

And the funny thing about being taught NOT to focus on the physical stuff is how much more important the physical stuff becomes. Like, “you only get to hold hands with, kiss, and have sex with one person ever…for the rest of your life…until you die…” So, of course, knowing this, you want to make sure you’re attracted to the person. Even though we were told “look at the heart” we all knew that since we could only ever touch one boy, he better be cute. Likewise, boys knew they could only ever touch one girl, so she better be beautiful. And to be frank, I didn’t fit that mold. So I hated my body and threw up more.

The Boy That Loved Everything About Me, Except My Weight

When I was 17, I started seriously dating (to be honest, it was closer to a courtship though, since we were both taught that you only date to get married) a handsome, kind, Christian boy. We dated for 1.5 years and never kissed (although I remember feeling guilty deep down for even holding hands…ridiculous, I know). When we would have our deep talks about our “future” or talk about our relationship, my weight would be brought up. Once, he told me that it was “the only thing he wanted me to change about myself.” He always seemed to be focused on my health, telling me multiple times that he just didn’t want me to get diabetes and other things like that.

When I followed him to college, the focus on my weight increased. I was diagnosed with mono (funny, because it’s the notorious “kissing disease”) and was very sick my first semester. I don’t want to say “I let myself go,” but when you have mono, walking ten feet is difficult, let alone making sure your hair and makeup is done, or that I’m working out.

I remember vividly the night I knew something was just “not right.” I knew our relationship was falling apart and was so wrapped up in the lies of the purity movement and afraid to see myself as “damaged goods” that instead of amicably parting ways, I decided to “fight for it.” I was so tired that I couldn’t even do my own hair and had one of the girls in my dorm spend two hours curling my thick, long hair and picking out an outfit. I didn’t eat. When we went to the movie theater, he seemed disgusted that I got popcorn and a soda and wouldn’t touch me during the film. When we got back to school, my aunt had sent me a box of baked goods. When I opened it, he got visibly upset. stormed off, and then came back and told me how he was very concerned about my weight, and offered to make me an appointment with the nutritionist at school to talk about my “weight.” I threw out the baked goods and felt awful about myself. When the inevitable breakup happened the next month, I was devastated. He broke up with me because I was fat.  Even though there were many other good, valid reasons for the relationship to end, I let it fuel my self-hatred. I went back to throwing up until my friends caught me two years later and forced me to therapy. And, for the past six years, I have, wrongly, believed that I’m unworthy of any man’s love because of my body. Because of my ugly, fat, body.

Honestly, this has been fueled by the comments of others, too. When I opened myself to the scrutiny of the public eye four years ago, I have had my share of mean commentators. People who pick apart my weight. Not only that, but there have been multiple friends that have told me if I “really hated being single, I could just change myself to attract a man.” And I allowed those lies to sink in.

The Blessing of Therapy

I’ve been attending both faith-based and secular (with a wonderful therapist who is so supportive of my own religious beliefs) on and off for the past six years, but have really become committed to bi-weekly sessions this past year. And y’all, it’s been a Godsend.

As Christians, we need to remember first and foremost, how GOD, not man, sees us. We are wanted, we are sought after, we are beautiful. Not beautiful in the cultural sense that varies from place to place (what’s attractive in America is not attractive in other parts of the world), but instead, on the beauty that matters to God.

First, I had to recognize the dangerous lies that I had allowed to spill into my head, and that I had chosen to meditate on: my unworthiness for love, superficial values, my looks. I chose to focus on these things, instead of the things that matter to God.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Not only that, but we are reminded throughout scripture how important character is to God (I hesitated posting the 1 Tim and 1 Peter verses, because I know they have been blatantly TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT to suppress women…so please consider them in context and their ultimate meaning: that the heart of a woman should matter more to Christian men than her changing physical appearance).

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4 
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 
but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 1 Timothy 2:9-10
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 
Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. 
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:15-18
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
Before you do anything else or take these verses out of context, go read those verses IN CONTEXT! 
So these past few months, I’ve been working on changing my mindset. Instead of constantly focusing on how I look, I focus on what I’m doing. How am I serving others? What is God doing in my life?
And it’s weird, but my changing in attitude didn’t come overnight. It wasn’t a process of “puffing myself up” but instead, thinking about myself less. Thinking about the non-important things less. Yes, it’s important to be healthy. Yes, making yourself look presentable and basic hygiene are so important, but my looks should not define me. I shouldn’t want to be close to people who are more concerned about how I look than how I’m living. And. Neither. Should. You.
I don’t know your struggles, friend. But what I can tell you is: get the professional help you need to be emotionally and spiritually healthy. Doing this will allow you to view yourself in a healthy manner. Yes, you’re a sinner, but the God of the universe loves you, delights in you, and thinks you’re so, so, so worthy of love. And, so do I. And so should the people whose opinions you care about.
I wish I could tell my 21-year-old self this. My 17-year-old self. My 12-year-old self. It would have saved so much heartache. I can’t go back and tell myself that, but I can tell you.