I have a belly. I see it sometimes in the mirror. Or in pictures at certain angles.
I almost didn’t write this post. I could see the eyes rolling into the back of people’s heads as I discussed the belly they feel is a figment of my imagination. I could hear the sarcasm in their voices as they agreed that I absolutely had a pooch (which only I could see).
The day after my discovery, I ran and ran and ran. I tried to run it off. I considered that maybe my current workout regimen was not enough. For those less familiar with my current routine, I exercise 4-5 times a week for 20-30 minutes, mostly high intensity with a mix of strength and cardio.
I am 5’9″, 135 pounds, and I have been the same size give or take since high school. I hardly ever watch what I eat. I do not consider patterns, styles, or colors when I shop, which is actually one of my favorite pastimes – clothing shopping.
I can feel the “you poor thing” feigned empathy, but if you hear me out then perhaps your empathy may become sincere.
Imagine spending your entire life being ridiculed for something you could not control – name-calling, modern day bullying – all acceptable because you look like the girl on tv. So you accept the characteristic. It becomes ingrained in your every fiber. You are that girl. You love that girl.
Then, as uncontrollably as the characteristic comes to you, you begin to lose it.
Not only are you losing control, but people feel it is okay to comment.
They poke me in the stomach like the pillsburg dough boy. They tease about the weight gain. As if all the rules of etiquette I have been so careful to follow with them somehow do not apply with me.
And as I ran, I overthought all of the layers I have built that God has begun to peel away. All the responsibilities I have shouldered, God has begun to reveal and remove.
I could not understand why having an almost unnoticeable belly bothered me so much. Why was I so obsessed with making lifestyle changes to get rid of something only visible to me?
And I realized, I was heartbroken. I love my husband and my family with everything in me. But this past year has been a transition. I have not actually convinced myself that life is not a constant state of transition. The one constant was me. If I had nothing else, I had myself.
My body was an outward manifestation of some of the internal changes. I was not anywhere close to high school anymore.
Then I thought of all the people who loved the negligible weight gain – my husband, my friends. And the words of Joss Stone began to play in my head.
1. And I’ll be all right. And I’ll love again.
And He began speaking: you are a little unsure of the girl you are becoming. You do not understand this consistent transition. But you will be fine. You will love her. You will be infatuated with the woman you are becoming.
2. And the wounds will mend. I’m bruised but not broken.
Today my random burst of tears came watching an old OnDemand episode of my favorite guilty pleasure – Love & Hip Hop. I wanted Tammy and Waka to work. I wanted Bambi and Scrappy to figure it out. And for 15-20 minutes, I could not stop the tears. Where in the world did this girl come from? Furthermore, why were these scenarios affecting me like this?
And I heard Him again: you are healing. I am pulling back the layers. Opening scars you did not even know were there from people who hurt you. People you relied on who let you down. Guys and girls. You did not even know you were still hurt. Yet, here you are – mending. You are bruised doll. Not broken.
But even if you were, I can fix broken too.
3. And the pain will fade. I’ll overcome my fear. Is not the end of me. My heart is still open. I’m bruised but not broken.
You are going to love her – this person you are becoming. Life lessons and experiences have accumulated over time and left you with them some bitterness and hurt feelings, but that will fade. Those layers slowly disappear.
You are petrified. I understand. You have never been here before. This is all new. You are scared that these people you love more than anything in the world will let you down. Like the others did. You wanted to hold onto the one thing you felt you could control – your health.
You cannot control that my love. You never could. Only I can do that.
It is time to let go of layers you did not even knew existed. You have your whole life ahead of you – a wide open world that I need you to conquer for Me.
I created you to live for Me. I made you ordinarily extraordinary.
And I have healed your bruises…and broken bones.