A poem for you

Please come home. Please come home.
Find the place where your feet know where to walk
And follow your own trail home.

Please come home. Please come home into your own body,
Your own vessel, your own earth.
Please come home into each and every cell,
And fully into the space that surrounds you.

Please come home. Please come home to trusting yourself,
And your instincts and your ways and your knowings,
And even the particular quirks of your personality.
Please come home. Please come home and once you are
firmly there,
Please stay awhile and come to a deep rest within.
Please treasure your home. Please love and embrace your home.
Please get a deep, deep sense of what it’s like to be truly home.

Please come home. Please come home.
And when you’re really, really ready,
And there’s a detectable urge on the outbreath, then please
come out.
Please come home and please come forward.
Please express who you are to us, and please trust us
To see you and hear you and touch you
And recognize you as best we can.

Please come home. Please come home and let us know
All the nooks and crannies that are calling to be seen.
Please come home, and let us know the More
That is there that wants to come out.

Please come home. Please come home.
For you belong here now. You belong among us.
Please inhabit your place fully so we can learn from you,
From your voice and your ways and your presence.

Please come home. Please come home.
And when you feel yourself home, please welcome us too,
For we too forget that we belong and are welcome,
And that we are called to express fully who we are.

Please come home. Please come home.
You and you and you and me.

Please come home. Please come home.
Thank you, Earth, for welcoming us.
And thank you touch of eyes and ears and skin,
Touch of love for welcoming us.

May we wake up and remember who we truly are.

Please come home.
Please come home.
Please come home.
by Jane Hooper, printed in The Wisdom Way of Knowing, by Cynthia Bourgeault

(check out my NEW book, releasing Mother’s Day 2013: Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, co-written with Dr. Dena Cabrera, HERE.)

A Dare to Love Yourself: In which I invite a man to share his story

 

 It’s A Love Dare, friends.A dare to love ourselves, and we’re meeting every Monday to discuss what this looks like.

Today I’ve invited my friend, Preston Yancey, to share his views on how we perceive our worth. In this post, Preston describes a relationship he had with an ex, and how they both struggled with image. (trigger warning: rape)

 

They sit on the bench outside of the brick building with the chipped cornerstone in the middle of May in the middle of the night in the middle of what would be one of their last lingering silences.

They feel a bit of the beat, even so far away, the baseline of an urban poet-prophet speaking of language and virginity as if the two were interchangeable.

She feels it against her skin like that time and the time after and that time her cries of No! were so loud she thought she could fracture heaven but they still weren’t enough. He feels it like aftershock, afterthought, the boy who never was quite enough, always a little bit too or a bit too little…

*for the rest of this post, follow me over to my personal blog HERE

**to pre-order my new book, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, go HERE

A Dare to Love Yourself

We sat across the table from each other, and there were thin girls walking in and out, and the smell of coffee and the young girl was twisting her hands.

She was telling me she enjoyed food. That she was looking forward to being released from the Eating Disorder Unit because she liked to cook food at home, and this isn’t uncommon for girls with eating disorders. When you have an eating disorder, food is all you think about. You write about it, dream about it, and prepare it for others. You just don’t let yourself eat it. Or, you do, but then you purge.

“So, I know you like food,” I said to her. “But what about your self? Do you like yourself?”

She stopped; sought the ceiling. Then looked back at me. “I’ve never really thought about it,” she said.

“Because until you like you, it doesn’t matter how much you like food,” I said. “Until you believe YOU are worth eating for, healing won’t be possible. It’s all about how you view yourself.”

Self-love is not a sin. Vanity is (excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments), but self-love is not. Self-love is being willing to die to sin so that you might live. FULLY live. Self-love is being willing to die to society’s expectations and believe in who God says you are: Loved. Redeemed. Forgiven. Accepted. 

It doesn’t matter how well we take care of our kids, or our husband, or our dog. It doesn’t matter how nutritious the meals we cook, nor how much we exercise, nor the number of hours of sleep we get. One could say, “Without love of self, a healthy lifestyle is but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Until you learn to like the way your left ear hangs lower than your right; the way you limp a little when you walk, or the way you snort out laughter; until you learn to say “Thank you” to your body for bearing your babies and for carrying you through life and for pumping oxygen through your veins, you’ll never be able to truly love another person.

“The art of gentleness toward ourselves leads to being gentle with others,” writes Brennan Manning in Abba’s Child…

(to continue this post, please follow me over to my personal blog, HERE. thank you friends.)

on the scale (guest post by kendall privette)

on the scale (full well)

me on the left, friend in the center and my twin on the right
c. 1978 (an era of confidence)

i liked myself as a child
you know,
before adolescence and an awareness
of
others
it was maybe fourth grade when
i began building this
ramshackle self-image
on the shoddy foundation
of the world’s eye
that saw
stringy hair, ruddy complexion,
spectacles and old clothes
in my thirties
i befriended
the scale, the world’s voice
fluent in lies as well as numbers
she interprets weights and assigns blame
she dictates our days and strips us of self-worth
she is power
(if we allow it)
and i fell for it
the husband, moms, sisters, doctors wanted me to know
what david-god’s-beloved knew….
he had a heart tuned to
god’s eye
god’s voice
and he sang
i praise you because i am 
fearfully and wonderfully 
made;
your works are wonderful, 
i know that full well
this breath-taking verse revisited yesterday

and i retucked it into memory
for when the world tries to speak
and i need her to
hush

so, what is your relationship to the scale?

(guest post by Kendall Privette at A Spacious Place)

i love my hips (and other ways women are beautiful)

i’m used to apologizing for them.

“i’m sorry about my wide Dow hips,” i said as my friend slid into the sled beside me, both of us with babies on our knees and toddlers between our legs, children left and right and me voicing contempt for the body that bore them.

and then i corrected myself even as the snowmobile started and we moved down the track of snow. “i mean, i’m sorry about my beautiful birthing hips,” i said, and my friend laughed.

and it’s a start. i’m beginning to speak in love about myself. it’s not perfect, but i’m not either, and God is and he is making new everything about me, spirit and body, even as i get older. because i’ve invited him in. i’ve invited him into my heart, and into my eyes. i’ve invited him into my soul and into my mouth.

because becoming a new creation is actually pretty literal. it doesn’t mean feeling new. no, it means becoming new. it means God taking our old natural instincts and replacing them. it means him breathing spirit and life into our vision and our speaking and our thinking.

oswald chambers puts it this way:

“Our Lord never patches up our natural virtues, He remakes the whole man on the inside. The life God plants in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ. Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power you have, until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus.”

i have a lot of days where i barely look into the mirror because i’m so busy looking into the faces of my children. i don’t have time to look at my reflection, and yet my children always think i’m beautiful. “do you see the way kasher looks at you?” trent says. “with the utmost adoration.”

and my boys see me at my physical worst: at my sweats and bathrobe, messy hair and sleep-worn eyes worst. they smell my coffee breath and my unwashed body and they snuggle closer. they keep their hands on my shoulder even as they play because they don’t want to lose contact with me.

our depth of relationships, with ourselves, with our children, and with our creator, define our beauty, because relationships are eternal. they give us meaning and value and worth. the world wants us to think that appearance defines beauty because it can profit from that philosophy. it can’t profit from something intangible, like love. only we can.

so i’m trying to speak kindly about my beautiful Dow hips, to stop apologizing for my existence. because this body gave birth to two boys, and it gives birth to marriage every day, and it bears spiritual life too.

i love my hips. i love my lips. i love my life. not because of who i am but because of who lives in me. and he is beautiful. 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/canvaschild

the weight of the scale (by Barbara @ My Life as an Adventure)

(Guest post by Barbara Isaac Croce at www.mylifeasanadventure.com)

This is a very hard post to write. Because I have to be real down to my toes, and then some. But here is goes.

I lost 20 pounds and kept most of them off. I dared to face the lady in the mirror. I even smiled at her without cringing. I took hundreds of women with me on this journey, and we worked with each other, speaking truth to our spirits, minds and bodies, attending to this shell we live in, and now we all stand up a bit taller, more accepting of who we are, less degraded by the media. I ought to be pleased with myself. I know my stuff. I’m successful at it.

I said it at least a thousand times: “Don’t let the scale talk to you; it plays mind games with you, it seeks to poison the very core of you. It tells you lies about who you are, what matters, what your future is, where your beauty stands.” And we all agree.

And then, I step on the scale.

And it feels like my world is coming to an end. I forget who I am. I forget what truly matters. I forget that I am uncommonly beautiful. Wonderfully becoming.

How can these three little numbers on the scale have such power on me? My feelings take a ride on a wicked roller coaster and I wind up sick to my stomach, and I throw up from the ride. I lose all common sense, and the numbers convince me that I have no hope and I might as well dive into those cookies I have not touched in two months and I don’t really like anyway. And while I eat those cookies that I don’t like and I am not even hungry, I decide that I am going to lose these last few pounds once and for all, even if it kills me.
I have lost my mind.

And no matter how hard I try doing all the things that always worked before, the scale won’t budge for me. And I drive myself insane; I am the lady who teaches by example, you know. I not only talk the talk but I walk the walk. How am I supposed to continue if I myself can’t lose the weight?

And when the tears are gone and I lost all my anger, the answer comes in the quietness of my soul. I hear my very heart repeat it time and time again:

I teach by example; I walk the walk. That’s what works.

Real when things go well, real when things don’t go as I want. Real life with its pretenses peeled away.

Humbling, nitty-gritty life. The kind of life where it might be necessary to put the scale in solitary confinement for a while so that I can work against the power of its numbers. The kind of life where I own to and accept gracefully the lady in the mirror, even when she doesn’t match up with the one in my head. The kind of life where I don’t give myself excuses, but I don’t lie to myself either, pretending that size is where my worth comes. The kind of life that fights against the incessant need to be admired. The kind of life that is fulfilled because of the here and now, and the God who sustains.

Wonderfully becoming. That’s what I am. May I continue to teach by example, aging gracefully without hiding. Ever.

on learning to love ourselves as women

…we’re in bed, and my husband leans in, and i ask him to tell me, just one more time. “but why?” he says, this farm-boy that walked me through my relapse when i was 23. “don’t you know it by now?” he says.

i shake my head. “tell me again,” i say.

“i love you.” he pulls me close. “i’ve never stopped loving you,” he says. “and i never will.”

i let him kiss me then.

and i’m learning to stand up for myself this way, to treat my body with kindness. and i know it has nothing to do with me. i know it has everything to do with me being a product of God’s genius. his hands molding dust into skin into breath.

he’s the one who makes me beautiful. so i sit boldly at the kitchen table in the afternoon light and eat a bowl of ice cream, my sons beside me, eating theirs, because we need to do this together, this life. this learning to eat, this learning to be gentle with ourselves and others.

(so delighted to be over HERE at (in)courage today where Chasing Silhouettes is being featured as a Fall Recommended Read… won’t you join me?)

ALSO, She Loves Magazine is doing a book study on Chasing Silhouettes HERE through the month of November, so purchase the book for only $10 at Amazon, and join the study group! we’re considering these questions together, today:

1. What was your view of God like when you were young, and what factors influenced this view of him?
2. How has your view of God changed since then, and why?
3. What was your view of food like when you were a child, and how has that changed? What factors have influenced how you view eating and mealtimes in general?
4. How do you talk about God and food within your homes, with your children? Do they/you associate God and food with love, or fear?
5. How do you seek to affirm your children, and to speak their love language to them?
6. Is being skinny important to you? If so, why?
7. How do you talk about yourself around your children and husband?
8. How does your husband talk about himself, and others, around you and your children?
9. What are some efforts that can be made by yourself and your husband to foster a more affirming,positive environment when it comes to food, faith and self-confidence?
10. Do you suspect yourself, your husband, your children, or any other loved one of having an eating disorder, and if so, why?