Sunday, July 15, 2012

A love letter to your body

A challenge to write a love letter to your body. A challenge by SheLovesMagazine that I read about on Sarah Bessey's blog. Ouch. I clicked through some of the submissions, finding myself in places in all of them. Mostly though, in one woman’s confession that she despises few, save herself. I know this is true. Never would I treat another the way I treat my own body. Never would I say or think the things about others that I think of my own body. I love extravagantly. It’s who I want to be. It’s who I am asking Jesus to form me to be. And yet….I have nothing but shame and blame and words full of death for the only body I will ever have. I think this may be a part of my brokenness, a part of my wounding, a part of my soul that my Jesus may want to heal. For she is me.

As I watch the women strut around the beach in bikinis with stomachs bigger and flabbier than mine, I inwardly groan with jealously. I see their self confidence and it makes me shake my head in wonder. I cannot imagine NOT thinking at all times about how my tummy looks. It, if anything, is my nemesis in flesh. I’m pretty much fine with the rest of my body….except my stomach. It is not flat enough, not muscular enough.

I approached this issue in counseling a few weeks ago, entering into dark wounds of my soul with Jesus about how my body was used. In that dark space, in the place where I began to despise my body – my Lord came and told me that it was valuable. He told me that my body should be cherished because it encases my soul. And then…I was told the most shocking thing….I was told that my stomach could be loved. I was told that my stomach was a microcosm of me. It bears the scars of 2 children who each gave little me little stretch marks and provided areas of my stomach that just won’t tighten. It is as flat as it is (though certainly not flat enough in my mind) because of the work I put into exercise and the joy I have found there. It is as flabby as it is because I love my McDonalds and Chickfila and because when I am overwhelmed and stressed out, I drink my beloved coke. It is me. So then why do I hate it?  Does this mean that I hate me? One could say, “if you think your stomach isn’t flat enough, than do something about it!” And yet, on the inside, I am ok with me. I am ok with my love of fast food. I am ok with putting my time into loving the hurting around me and sometimes not having the time to make a proper meal. I am ok with me. So maybe it is time to make peace with my body. Maybe it is time to love her too?

So here goes nothing….

Dear Body,

I love you. Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true. But I want to love you. I want to be kind and gentle and nurturing to you. You were given to me as a gift and will be the only body I ever have. And don’t get me wrong, there are parts of you that I don’t mind at all….

Your legs aren’t bad. In fact, they remind me of my mama. All chicken legs in the Anderson family. We don’t have to work at that at least J

Your arms have been a source of contention in the past as they jiggle…but they also are the places that show the most growth. Those boys at Krav making you do push ups have paid off and the jiggle is less these days.

I actually love your shoulders, all bare and tanned. I love the feeling of sun beating down and the process of browning as the summer progresses.

Your neck. I once had someone tell me that I had a nice neck. I didn’t know necks could be nice but I think I’ll own that one. Sure. I’ll love your neck.

I do love your hair as it lightens over the summer days. The blonder it gets, the more I know that summer has been had and enjoyed.

Your eyes are nice too. I have never minded their color of blue. And they work when I wear my favorite blue shirt. They sparkle and dance when I find joy in the moments I’ve been given and I know they are a window to my soul. They also have cried many tears. Tears for pain so deep it took my breath away. Tears for others who have faced and are facing oppression and pain. Tears shed with friends who so graciously share their deepest wounds. I am thankful for those tears that allow me to physically manifest my soul at a given moment.

Your fingers and toes and nose are all little and actually kind of cute.

But my favorite thing about you is that you know me. I have learned over the past 2 years how well you know me. You speak to me about what it going on in my soul. I cannot ignore my soul, for you tell me. You allow me to feel nauseous when my wounds are stirred up inside. You shake when I am scared. And I am learning to listen to you. When you shake, I know I need to ask Jesus what it going on inside of me. When you are sick and nauseous and your heart races, I know there are wounds that I’d rather leave untouched but that you and Jesus have decided that I must face them and find healing. For this I am grateful. It would have been easy to ignore and push aside so many of my wounds, had it not been for your persistence.

Your stomach, I will work on loving J It is a work in progress, but I commit to this one.

You know me. You are me. You are worth cherishing because you encase my soul. I promise to work on loving you and being kinder and gentler to you and about you. You are worth it. I am worth it.


  1. I know this line was before your actual letter, but I said, "Yes, me, too!" to it. "I am ok with putting my time into loving the hurting around me and sometimes not having the time to make a proper meal. I am ok with me."

  2. I loved your letter Brandi-Lea, as you explored all the pieces of yourself that you love. Just beautifully written. Thank you for joining in

  3. This is beautiful! Especially how our body acts as a window to our soul so Jesus can show us the wounds that need touched and healed. This blesses me. Thank you.