Body Image

I stood there looking into the mirror, the person staring back at me; I did not know. I have changed, I have changed in a good way. My body, no longer my own; the body from the past. There staring back at me I saw: confidence, self-worth, I saw a woman who no longer hides herself away. I never imagined such a body & such vision of myself existed beneath the insecurities & self-doubt. -…The Heart of Grace

I write today to express how I have been feeling lately about my own body. Though I had been in a rut, I look at my body in the mirror in amazement. Yes, amazement. I have not seen my body like this in years. I am happy. I am loving it. I am just content with how my progress is coming along. -Stephanie

Paint Your Own Image

Often times we determine ourselves to set goals that are based on someone else’s progress rather than what’s best for our own bodies. Every single body is different… I realized this a long time ago. Since my body has been changing, I am seeing that it’s not the “figure” I though I would have, so I have learned to love it anyway and stop “wishing” my body shape was like, “hers” or “hers.”

There’s there nothing wrong with the shape of my figure, just like there isn’t anything wrong with yours. The key is learning to accept it and love it as is.

Honestly

I have seen so many beautiful women online who flaunt their stuff with full confidence. It inspires me and challenges me to love my own body. I have been led to workout and take care of my body, which has helped me love my body a lot more than before. In no way does that mean that anybody has to do the same in order to love theirs. I think it’s amazing that there’s so many positive ways one can learn to love their own body. That is what we should accept.

Watching all these women show off their flaws, helps me to embrace my own. Yes, I still have the “pouch,” but I am not obsessed about it anymore. Little by little the problem areas are changing, I am happy with that.

When it came to my body, I was always self-conscious and insecure. I would look at other women with nice bodies and think to myself there was something wrong with me. I never imagined that the body I wanted was just underneath.-Stephanie 

It’s not the outer exterior that makes a woman beautiful, it’s the heart she has and the confidence she has in herself and how she sees herself. 

The Harshness of Your Words

To see change and to see yourself in new light, your opinion of yourself has to change. Our words paint a image and affect our reality. Though it can be a lie, you start to believe and live your life as if it were.

“I am ugly.” 

“I am fat.”

“I look like a fat pig.”

“You’re a fat whale.”

These are only a few of the many harsh things I have told myself… I began believing these lies to the point where my life began manifesting it. I hated myself so much that I no longer cared about what I did. I gained weight, it only added to my insecurities. I was trapped by the false image I painted through my words & thoughts.

21742234_269637850223124_188150978_o.jpg

 That’s a promise. 

Start by embracing where you are, accepting it and determining yourself to make changes. In the process you will learn to love your body, and in doing so you will see it change in ways you never imagined. Your body is for you, and not against you, it just needs the correct attention and nurture. ❤

I look at myself, now, in the mirror and words like these flow from it, “I have a cute body.” -Stephanie

 

 

Baby, You’re Worth It

When I first embarked on this journey I am on, I couldn’t imagine where it would take me. This road before me, not always has it been so easy. Many times, I wanted to surrender, I wanted to quit. A fire burning deep within, pushed me further than I thought I could ever go. I am still here, I am still going. My mind I have conquered, the thoughts I have extinguished. No longer am I fighting to move forward, I am now fighting to no longer stay behind. I have learned many things; about myself, about my body. I realized that this temperamental vessel will not always do what it should, but in loving it anyway you will see it move. My body is my own, I know that full well. I love it just the same. This journey has been rewarding, for I can see the progress being made. At times, with my own eyes, I cannot see what’s being done; deep down inside I know I am no longer the same. I am a new person. In a new body, learning to love this one is taking time. Things are new to me, the different clothes I am now able to wear… overwhelming at times, but nonetheless it’s an amazing feeling.  I am not where I want to be, but I am thankful that I am not where I used to be.-…Heart Of Grace

Where to begin?! It’s been almost 7 months since I began my weight loss journey. *Phew* Though I am not where I wish I was at this point, I am beyond thankful that I am not where I used to be, (7 months ago.) I was in bad shape, I was tired all the time, I had no energy to do anything… my body ached all the time. I know, I know… I have mentioned that before.

BUT, I did something about it. I had gotten so tired of literally being tired. So, I stopped making excuses and became determined to change my life. Man, has it changed!!

Sunday, I had just gotten home from visiting family down south. The entire time out there I didn’t exercise, nor did I eat as healthy as I should have. I thought I had gained weight! I was afraid I would come back home; bloated, swollen, a bit rounder… either way I was determined to get my workout in. (Even though we were on the road for 10 hours and I was tired.)

A determined mind, nothing or no one can stop. -Stephanie

Before my workout that night, I decided to take a photo of myself in my workout clothes, just to see where I was at. I was so surprised, in a good way! I was amazed at how much my body has changed since March. I could have literally jumped up and down with joy, but I didn’t want to seem dorky. LOL So what I did instead was do a side by side comparison.

progress2

I almost feel embarrassed looking at the photo from March, but then I think to myself, “Don’t you dare, you have come a long way. You should be proud.” I guess I feel embarrassed for allowing myself to get to that point. I was going through so many things at the time, I didn’t feel like doing anything, I just stopped taking care of myself. I just kept eating & had no self control.-Stephanie

In the beginning it was hard, it took a lot of effort and determination. I was never used to pushing myself past what I thought was comfortable. Seriously, at the first sign of over exertion I would quit and stop. So many times I tried working and sticking to a diet, but nothing worked because I hated my body and wanted to punish it. I would try to do so much in one day that it would leave me sore and not wanting to do more the next day.

Nothing, absolutely nothing changes over night. That’s something I have been learning these past few months.

When it came to dieting, I would do those harsh diets, I would starve myself… why? Again, because I saw myself through eyes of disgust, rather than through love. I punished my body and demanded that it do what I wanted. It doesn’t work like that.

Something you have no love or respect for will never do what you want it to, especially when it’s being disrespected. It will shut off, burn out, or just breakdown.-Stephanie

sweaty(Photo Taken: September 3, 2017-after my workout.)

 

Raw Truth

I now cherish my body. My body is finally doing things I wished it would have done years ago! Being completely out of shape has caused my hormones to be out of order for far too long. If I wanted them to get back on track, I knew I had to make changes. I had to lose weight and start living a healthier lifestyle.

Last week, I wasn’t able to workout. My body was going through something I have not experienced in years. I was on my period. Yes! A full six day cycle… (that hasn’t happened in years.) I was always irregular, it would come every few months. When it came it was lite and only lasted three days. This time was different.

I was excited. I was really overjoyed. I was happy that I was finally able to use pads and tampons after 2 years without a period… like how many women get EXCITED over their menstrual cycle and things like that? I thanked God over and over for allowing it. I was in so much pain though, the cramps were a little overwhelming, I cried a few times. If it meant that I’m about to become regular again, it was worth it.

For the first time in a really long time, I felt more like a woman than I ever have before. I  felt truly feminine.  -Stephanie

I started my journey for this reason. To get my health back in order and for my body to start functioning the way it should. The way it was designed to. The way God created it to be.

 

We blame others for how our life turns out, but we fail to see that it’s our own actions/ choices that lead us down a path that we weren’t supposed to be on. I am talking about health wise. I ate and ate and did nothing about it. I didn’t think about how it would affect my life, until it was affecting my life. -Stephanie

I see so many people battling with health issues and still do nothing about it. That’s not life. What I desire is for my journey to inspire and motivate others. That if I was able to get up and start, anybody can. I am no longer ashamed, or embarrassed to share what I share, or of taking pictures of my body. I want to be real. I want to be transparent and not pretend…being like that, I know it’s not helping and will not help anybody.

People want to see real posts of change, and see real bodies, and not ones that have been edited… they want to see that their progress & hard work, too, can lead to real results.

My weight loss journey has been solely; eating right and working out on a regular bases. I have not had the need for supplements or anything like that. I wanted to do this without any help. I am seeing fruit. I am seeing real results that come from my hard work and efforts. I couldn’t be anymore proud of myself.

 

Love yourself enough to say, “This is the day, and I am determined to do what it takes to take my health back,” and follow through with it. Do it for you.-Stephanie

Yes, you’re the perfect reason to start. Be your own ”why.”

 

~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~

determined

De·ter·mi·na·tion

1. firmness of purpose; resoluteness.

Synonyms:

  • resolution, resolve, willpower, strength of character, single-mindedness, purposefulness,  perseverance, persistence,  strong-mindedness,  stubbornness, courage

The Struggles Of A Wife

Today, Sunday, I woke up feeling alone. Though my husband is near, I see him hurting and deep down I don’t know how to help him. Emotionally I am checked out, the only way to guard myself… to escape the what is. There are times I feel like the only wife going through such things, but I know that’s not true. I am not alone in this battle, I am not alone in this struggle. We are not alone.

I have learned that what we go through is not in vain, but to help others going through it, but I’ve yet to encounter them. There are times I feel like we go through this for no reason-that’s what makes it hard. Ashamed  & embarrassed I feel for opening up, scared of what others may think of me for having such thoughts or feelings…but they forget, I am human too.

To think the way I’ve been, is to think God isn’t faithful & I’ve experienced his faithfulness time and time again.

A marriage like this, I can say, I never imagined. Since the first day it’s been a struggle with my husband’s health. Trips to the hospital, sleepless nights and just watching him go through this & not being able to make it go away… helpless.

I’ve wanted out. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Emotions raged from both sides. I have felt pushed away because what he was feeling. I’ve felt second to his health and what he was going through. I felt disconnected from him. I wanted out.

I have kicked and screamed many times, like a child throwing a temper tantrum. I have yelled out to God, reminding Him this wasn’t what I wanted. We are still going through this desert.

I have walked down a road, a temporary escape from my reality. I was being selfish. I was running away from my role, my responsibility. I was thinking I knew what was better for me, than God.

Yet, I am still here… He has given me the strength to overcome. He has given me the assurance that this will not last forever. He has given me the heart to love my husband past the circumstance, I have been renewed. For I know deep down this is where I belong. I know deep down my husband is God’s best for me. I just needed to believe that. For where we currently are, is not God’s final destination for us or our marriage. He has used all this to mold us, shape us and teach us so many things.

I still struggle, I am still tempted to do what I think is best for me, but that still small voice inside keeps me on track.

I am not alone. We are not alone.-…The Heart Of Grace

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.-2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

 

Speaking as a Wife.

I’ve been silent about my feelings with what I am going through, with my struggles in my marriage, for a long time. This is actually the first time I speak out as a wife and directing my message to other wives/marriages. I am learning to step out of my comfort zone in all aspects. I feel bold. I feel brave. I feel courageous.

Ashamed and embarrassed I have felt, because I’ve believed no one would understand or no one else was going through similar things. I kept feeling alone. Feeling helpless.

Vulnerability

I open myself up now because I believe there are so many other couples facing similar things. Another wife watching her husband in pain or the husband watching his wife in pain… both feeling helpless or alone. Whether family in Faith or not, you’re not alone.

For a long time, I kept asking God for forgiveness, believing that what we are going through was a consequence of what we might have done. That He allowed all this pain and suffering on us because we did something wrong, or that we got married at the wrong time… I even asked my husband to ask for forgiveness if it was something that he did.

It has nothing to do with anything like that, what we are going through. What we are going through right now is making way for God to manifest who He is. He has already done so. I still have my husband with me, when the Dr. told him he wouldn’t live past Thanksgiving, that was a few years ago.

Being vulnerable has never been a comfortable thing for me. I have always been known to hide things so deep within me. That’s not the case this time. I want to be open. I want to share my story in hopes of helping others and letting them know they are not alone. To help the wife who is being tempted to walk away.

While I may be struggling, my husband is the one going through it.

Because of selfishness in my heart and the mentality of “what I want,” kept me blinded from seeing and understanding that my husband was the one going through it, physically. I failed to tend to his needs and help him the way a wife should have. I pushed him away because I didn’t know how to be there for him. I was not used to anything like this.

My husband has been diagnosed with: Congestive heart failure: which then led for him to receive a defibrillator implant, because his heart isn’t functioning properly. Diabetes. Kidney failure, retaining fluid in his body.

I would have walked away from him while he’s going through all of that.

The Role of a Wife.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”-Genesis 2:18

I am far from being that helper that is “just right,” but my heart is open and willing to learn. That’s what matters.-Stephanie

 

#1: Be a helper to your husband: in all circumstances.

helping-your-husband-through-hard-times

When my husband and I were getting married, I remember the vows we made to each other and none of them were, “I promise to be there for you, only when things are good and only in health.” No, I promised my husband, before God that I would be there for him through, sickness and health. Yes, I had to be reminded of those vows a few times to help me escape the selfishness in my heart. A wife is to be the helper, is to be there for her husband. To help him overcome what he is facing. I know he is there for me when I need him.

Wife, the man next to you, if God led you to them, he is God’s best for you, even though the circumstance is not. Know that it will not last forever. It’s only a season, a walk through the desert. Your promised land is soon to come. Don’t give up.-Stephanie 

Ecclesiastes-two-are-better

 

#2: Respect your husband: It’s the only way the two of you will rise above the storm. For you are no longer two separate people, but one flesh.

So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.-Ephesians 5:33

I sadly admit that I have failed in this area in my role as a wife. Coming into my marriage I had the worldly mentality of what a husband should be and how things were to go. When I didn’t see in my husband what I wanted, the respect level dropped. I saw him as incapable, I saw him as, “weak.” I was rude and disrespectful. I constantly made known to him my disapproval. What I failed to see was how it was knocking him down, instead of building him up. Words have power, thoughts have power. I was beginning to see the affect of those words and thoughts in my husband. It seemed like life was being sucked out from him.

God got ahold of my heart and my mind. He set me free from the old ways and opened my eyes to see what I was doing. I began seeing my husband the way God does and began speaking words of life. I changed the way I approached him and have been there for him. I see my husband as strong, brave, courageous… why? Because he hasn’t let what he is going through keep him from serving God. I see his faithfulness and determination. Honestly, it’s been a testimony for my own life.

Changing the way you view the obstacle in front of you determines what kind of attitude you will have, even when things are still the same.-Stephanie

 

#3: Love your husband– in those moments when loving him seems to be most difficult.

A-woman-who-treasures.jpg

Coming from worldly relationships to my very first and only Godly relationship was the most difficult transition in my life. After many years of broken relationships and brokenness, I never knew how to really love. I never knew what true intimacy was, let alone give it. My husband and I have been together for almost seven years, but only married a little over a year. To this day I am still learning how to open up and show him my love. We have been learning new ways of intimacy, especially sexually. This is where I truly open up about sex.

My husband and I waited until we got married. We did everything right. So I thought that things were going to be great the moment we got married. Sexual intimacy with my husband has been a challenge, due to his health. This is where I really had a hard time and became angry with God. I always had in my heart, “Why have you allowed this when for 6 years we waited on you?!” That was the attitude of my heart which led me to lose love for my husband. I thought love was just sex. In the midst of all this, God taught me how to be affectionate. He taught me how to show my love for my husband in other ways. He taught me how to be intimate without sex. I am still learning, and have a ways to go, but I am no longer angry. I have accepted the reality, but I know things will get better. For it’s God’s will for husband and wife to experience full intimacy within a marriage.

falling-in-love

 

#4: Submit to the leadership of your husband

A rebellious heart and a prideful attitude is the opposite of a wise wife.87e021df2c2dffb168d3f362d9b35790--submissive-wife-biblical-marriage

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.-Colossians 3:19

Changing the way I see my husband and our current circumstance has helped me submit to him. God removed the old mentality and replaced it with His. He’s opened my eyes and helped me understand the order in a marriage. The husband in the head, the one God speaks through and moves through. Something out of order cannot function properly, meaning a wife who is rebellious and is stuck in her own ways is out of order and hinders the blessings that are meant for the marriage. I learned this the hard way.

Being submissive to your husband doesn’t not mean the husband is the “boss,” and that they dominate over the wife. No, it means that you respect your husband’s guidance and judgment and leadership for your marriage.

I struggled so much in this, I felt I needed to take up the role because I felt my husband wasn’t doing what he was supposed. I felt hindered and stuck. Me trying to take up his role only left me stressed, worried, anxious and angry all the time. I was picking up a burden that wasn’t mine. I had to learn my place as wife and what my role was. The moment I backed off, is when I noticed my husband took his. There is more order in our marriage and because of that God has been moving in mighty ways.

Being a submissive wife doesn’t mean you lose your rights, or have no say, it’s knowing when to speak, knowing when to act, and knowing when to move. She is led in wisdom and her actions become a blessing and not a hindrance. -Stephanie

A perfect wife, there is no such thing. Where we fail, God strengthens us. Looking to him and seeking his guidance we become the wife He has called us to be, whatever that looks like differs from the roles of others. Love your husband the way God leads you. Submit to him however it is fitting to God. Help him any way you can and do it with a humble heart. For a woman who treats her husband with respect, is one who has a heart for God.

I shared this from my heart. I opened myself up to help others and to let them know they are not alone. God sees what you’re facing and has the solution. Run to him.

For the wife who is tempted to run away, thinking she could find comfort in another, you will not find what you’re seeking outside of God. Do not run away.

I speak from experience. I was close to walking away. I had fallen into a lie, but God kept me from walking into that pit. I chose to listen to God. Because of that I received a word from Him, one that I shared in my previous post: His Faithfulness

“I am pleased because you have chosen to hear my voice. I am pleased because you have decided to obey me. A glorious door is about to be opened, one that you didn’t imagine would be so close to opening.”-God

I believe that is the same for you. We are never given more than we can handle. The victory is just around the corner. Do not give up.

 

prov-31

 

 

Lesson Learned

For the past few months I have been on a journey to better my life, my health. Last night I shared the lesson I received from an unexpected place. Lately I have been struggling with the fact that I have been stuck at only 20lbs lost. I realized I was depending more on my scale, and I wasn’t celebrating the accomplishment as I should have been. A day ago I went to grab ice for my ((beloved)) iced coffee.. lol I grabbed the bag of ice from the freezer. I realized it was super heavy and without hesitation I went to look to see what size the bag was. Sure enough it was 20lbs!

It was in that moment it dawned on me, I had that weight on me! It changed my mentality completely and how I see weight loss. To think that I have already lost that much weight is enough for me to begin being grateful, rather than getting discouraged because the scale doesn’t say what I would like it to.

I shared the video (At the bottom) as a form of motivation for women, but I believe it can bless men as well. You know, sometimes we fail to see the small achievements as something to be celebrated. It’s a small step towards your goals, your dreams. Think of it like this, you’re no longer in the same place… you’re progressing. That’s always something to celebrate. (Whether it’s losing weight, career goals, or whatever it is.) 

I have come a long way since I first began. (Photo: When I first began, and yesterday)

progressLooking at these two side by side, I now see how 20lbs is a HUGE deal!

loss.jpg

 

EMPOWERMENT

Last night I was not feeling like working out. I was feeling so lazy. I was feeling discouraged. I was feeling emotional. I also had thoughts saying, “go ahead a skip the day, you need it.” I was tempted to just stay in bed. Instead I got up and got my workout done. I pushed through the funk I was in and got it done. It was much needed, my mind was refreshed and I just felt so much better.

I have realized that exercise isn’t a form of punishment, but a form of love for my body. It helps me keep a clear mind, it strengthens me and it helps me remain healthier. I like a quote that says;

“I workout because I love my body, not because I hate it.”

I have said this before, when you love something you do anything you can to take care of it, the body is no different. Since I have learned to love my body, in whatever shape it may be in, I realized that it’s working with me and the workouts to get it into the shape its needs to be in. I am far happier now, than the person in the photo taken on, “March 12th.”

 

empowerment“Nothing can rob me of this drive I now have. There’s nothing that can come between me and this love I now have for myself, for my body. I am much stronger now; physically, mentally and emotionally than I have been in a really long time. I am determined. No one can take that away from me.”- Stephanie Ann

 

A MESSAGE FOR YOU ❤

((I made this video to share with my friends on Instagram, but I wanted to share it with everyone, not just women, but men as well!))