savoring the year: a new respect for my body {5/365}

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How to do you feel about your body? Do you feel connected to it? Do you feel respect for it? How do you nurture it? How do you challenge it?

The curves and ups and downs of the cursive letter F has always bothered me. With two in my name, they were constantly nemeses to write in my younger years. The awkwardness of two directly next to each other made writing them torture. I never liked the dips or the way the top seemed lopsided and the bottom too heavy. No uniform could be found between the lines, unbalanced and messy. And its connotation with negative performance did not help it much.

As I scrawled words across the page recently and found myself making the familiar loops, forming an F with grace, I was surprised to find myself admiring its structure and shape. They fit in perfectly next to the other letters, their loops adding to the cohesiveness and beauty of the word's entirety.

Perhaps it is due to over two decades of experience with lines and doodles and scratches hitting the page or simply a change in perspective. Fresh eyes have a way of changing the surface unlike any other.

Fresh eyes come in many sizes and varieties and circumstances we cannot always control, surprising us along the way.

Respect for my body has been the same process. The wrong curves in the seemingly wrong places were in the forefront of my mind during adolescence and nothing could figure itself out. Awkward and unbalanced and messy and insecure described it so well.

My body has been sweeter to me than me to it. I have always been rough and hard on it. Demanding more from it than nurturing it, not intending to but rather expecting that is what it does. 

Diets of Cheez it's and Jack in the box tacos in high school and Crystal Light packets and more Cheez it's in college, along with Doritos and ice cream. It was for me to use, not something to treasure. 

A passionate nutrition teacher at the end of college and birthing two babies has changed my perspective and given me new eyes for my body, along with lots of prayers.

As the scale raced high in number than I had ever seen with each monthly pregnancy appointment, insecurity started settling in. And the thoughts of what would become after. The stretch marks. The post baby weight. The possibility of the skin shrinking back to its original state.

All the while my body was growing a new life, I hardly gave it the credit it deserved. The things it knew to do that I could not even imagine or completely understand. It performed perfectly. Twice. Graciously without stretch marks or extra skin after.

After much prayer and listening to God, genuine appreciation and gratitude has set in deeply. 

Thankful for ears to hear and eyes that see. For the freckles and each functioning limb, able to run and hug my children and chase them around the back yard. For the blonde hair I covered for years and the fingers that type the words out as they come to fruition.

And these days, I am a lot nicer to by body. Intentionally feeding it more wholesome food and salads when I can remember. But some days, I forget and God gently reminds me of the gift that my body is. How he does not make mistakes and how we are all knit together perfectly and made in his image. And how his love is not based on looks or performance but simply because he made us and we are his.

Here's to our body and being nicer to it. 

This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.
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