I was laying beside him in bed, my hand locked in his, when he asked the question. The room had been silent after I’d whispered the words that I’d been struggling with–this deep heaviness that seemed to press at me every time I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. And then after the silence had settled, he spoke.
“What do you dislike about your body?”
I knew the answer immediately but it took a moment for me to force the words from my lips. “My belly, I guess.”
I don’t remember what my husband said that night, but my mind kept returning to the question and my answer. I thought about what I’ve learned about bodies, growth, and being created in God’s image. He called it good that we were made with bodies that stretch, grow, adapt, and change. The loudest voices in our culture always demand that our bodies become physically smaller or stronger–but never once does God bother to tell us we’re too much when talking about our bodies. Instead He tells us not to worry or fret (Luke 12:22-31) and to help others when they’re in need (Luke 10:29-37).
One day I was working in the barn, shoveling out last year’s pen pack, getting ready to bring the sheep in for winter, and I felt the question as if God was asking it of me. What do you dislike about your body, Tasha? And this time, I was a bit slower, the words sounding more like a question in my head. My belly?
Truth has a particular feeling, especially when it’s bursting into an area where darkness has been too settled for too long.
Your belly? The one that has dealt with an unknown number of cysts? The one that has cradled at least five babies? The one that stretched and grew and carried one of those babies to birth? The one that cramped and groaned and mourned the rest? That belly?
And as this realization rushed over me, it clicked. My body deserves my comfort, not my blame. Besides the trauma of infertility and loss that I’ve carried, there are also 38 years of stories in my bones–many good, but also so many hard things that I wear in my body day in and day out.
I’ve blamed my body for too many years. Blamed it for the babies I couldn’t conceive. Blamed it for the babies I lost. Blamed it for the difficulty in birthing our miracle baby. Blamed it for not responding to the hours of exercise and tricks that other people claimed worked for them. Blamed it for not doing and looking and being something more, or rather something less.
But one thing I’ve learned through years of dealing with trauma is that the fix for harm is not blame.
It’s comfort. It’s understanding. It’s grace.
Isn’t this what Jesus demonstrates to us? When we turn to Him, we don’t find a pointed finger. We find open arms and whispers of comfort and deep understanding and oceans of grace.
Maybe you need just what I needed… a few moments of preaching the gospel to myself. Of remembering the character and goodness of our Savior.
Maybe your body, like mine, needs comfort, not blame.
I hope you follow through, dear ones. I hope you walk with the God-of-all-Comfort and learn to lean hard into the peace and grace that was granted to mankind–that was granted to you.