About the Author

After returning from living in SE Asia with her family, Laura now writes from the mountains of Colorado. She runs the communications efforts at The Exodus Road, a nonprofit focused on fueling investigations into human trafficking. She also leads conversations for international humanitarian workers at the collective blog, ALifeOverseas.com. Laura...

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  1. I read this 10 minutes after posting on FB that I reached the 70 pound mark in my weight lose. Coincidence? I think not. Thanks for this!

    • Holy Moly!! 70 pounds! Marisa, congratulations on the hard work it must have taken to get there. What a journey you (and your body!) could share. Congrats, and I’m so glad the timing was “perfect”! Isn’t it true that issues with our bodies/self-image just scratch the surface of so many of our deeper issues of the heart? I’m sure you have tasted the reality of that during your weight loss journey.

      Congrats, again!

  2. i need this reminder in the summer. and the sad thing? i compare myself to my sisters more than anyone else at the pool or beach or on tv. okay. i like my hair. i like my arms.

    i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made. your works are wonderful. i know that full well. psalm 139:14.

    • Kendal, I love love love your honesty. And yes, I think the comparison game is totally evident among our families, too.

      And hey, your hair is pretty cool. 🙂

      And thanks for sharing this verse . . . obviously PERFECT for this post.

  3. I’ve totally written a love letter to my body, and I break it out every now and then to be reminded of what matters… and you did that for me today. 🙂

    • I love that– a “love letter to my body.” Maybe a good practice for the rest of us to do? Especially during bathing suit season??

      Have a great day, Stacie. Thanks for stopping in.

  4. NOTHING makes you feel more exposed than putting on a bathing suit and having to go out in it in public…like the pool or the beach…yuk! I just spent two weeks on vacation…one complete week on the beach and at first I did COMPARE myself and then I just got over it because I too wanted to be in the moment and truly enjoy our time together. I spent morning and evening in our condo working on my art journals and travle album and the days just enjoying the beach, the sound of the ocean the tide coming in and out and some days I read a few books and others I colored on the beach with my colored pencils…just like when I was a kid. I find myself “mourning” the lose of my “younger” body…especially since turning 51 this year. I get really bummed that I can’t eat and drink like I could when I was younger without it showing up immediately around my middle…that and the texture and tone of my skin has changed and there is no going back! SO…I’m learning to appreciate just being here and not worrying about how I look but how I FEEL. It really makes all the difference…some days are better than most but that’s life after all 😉

  5. Roberta, What a great honest comment. I think you speak such truth in the very-real process of getting older, of aging, of wrinkles, of easily-gained extra weight, etc. And I think you spoke what all of us feel– “vulnerability” when we are needing to dress-skimpy during this season.

    It’s so neat that you made a conscious choice midway through your trip NOT to let body-stuff ruin your time. That you chose to enjoy the freedom and beauty of the beach. I reckon that’s a much better way to spend a vacation, anyway.

    Thanks for sharing your insights here, Roberta.

    Love, Laura

  6. Thank you so very much. The paragraph that starts, “And, body, I am sorry for that.” really hut me, made me cry, made me realize, yes, my body’s been through an awful lot and I’ve not really appreciated just how much.

    I am in a program at church called CR (Celebrate Recovery), though I went to deal with my childhood molestation, I’ve realized I’ve dealt with it, now I’m working thru emotional overeating – I ate to protect myself from ever being hurt again, which js impossible to protect yourself from. But you can become strong enough to forgive yourself, and live yourself. The layers and levels of pain I’ve faced in only a few months is so freeing! My friend from CR sent this to me, and I coil not be more thankful for the reminder of what my body’s been through.

    Thank you, and thank you ladies for your posts, our bodies are beautifully made.

    • Angeline,

      Thanks for your bravery to speak out the realities of the trauma your body has endured. Like so many women, your body was used, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for that. I am grateful you are in a place of healing and growth. Our church in Colorado has a CR program, and I’ve heard good things. Proud of you for doing the hard work of fighting for your heart, for healing. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your world today.

      Peace and Grace and LotsofHope,
      Laura

  7. Laura, thanks for helping us see our bodies more like God sees them. I could totally relate to what you wrote–especially since I’m riding my exercise bike as I write this. Go, body, go!

    • Go, girl. Isn’t it wild that we don’t hardly ever stop to think of what an amazing machine our bodies are that even CAN exercise and ride a bike? I mean, it’s a fairly fantastical thing in and of itself.

      Happy exercising. 🙂

  8. This is just beautiful! You have summarized so much of what I have been feeling…..but in a positive way. I am printing this out to put in my journal, so I can read it in those moments of doubt and self-defeat. The truth of Scripture MUST replace these old habits of ours. Romans 5 declares that I am NO LONGER a SLAVE to sin (broken body image and all) but I am FREE. Thank you again! Beautifully written!!!

    • Shannon, you spoke it beautifully here,

      “The truth of Scripture MUST replace these old habits of ours.”

      Absolutely. TRUTH must replace the LIE in order for us to think, feel, believe, act differently.

      Thanks for sharing that reminder to us. Have a FREE summer, friend!

  9. Oh boy. I needed to read this post. My husband and I just had this conversation this week. When I was 44, I had my left kidney removed from cancer, and the surgery left me with no waist on that side. How many times have I complained about wearing stretch waists v. zippered clothing??? Instead of thanking the Lord I am HERE to even wear them? Body image is so prevalent everywhere you go. No one is ever satisifed with all their parts. Thanks for the reminder that the Creator is very satisfied with what He has made. And like someone else’s comment, I too went on vacation this year (age 53 now) and I too made the choice to have fun and forget what I looked like rolling around in the waves! The memories with my grandkids is far better than any memory of the sight I musta been 🙂

    • Lynnebee,

      Thanks for sharing your story! I can’t imagine the struggle of what surgery did to your body and the natural wrestling that must have brought into your life afterwards. I agree, it’s SO easy to see what our bodies AREN’T, instead of what they ARE. And the ARE far outweighs the “AREN’T”, right?

      And can I just say that I adored your last sentence on that comment! Awesome! I’m sure your grandkids appreciated a fully-present, free grandma to play with them!

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom here. 🙂

  10. That was great, Laura! Thank You!
    I just left the pool and have similar feelings as what you mentioned-particularly in the summertime. Two things I love about my body: 1- Its fearless ability to birth beautiful healthy children (one birth being completely painfree) 2- Its faithfulness… everyday up and at ’em. It is strong and dependable!

    • Tricia, thanks for sharing your list! I love those two things! Birthing babies and daily dependability are two qualities not to be overlooked, for sure!

      Glad you were encouraged. 🙂

    • Awesome. I love reading about what people LIKE about them. Funny how so often we don’t stop to appreciate those things . . .

      All the best,
      Laura

  11. How often I have had those thoughts. This was a beautiful reminder to cherish and be thankful for this body that God has given us. That we should love it and treat it as a temple in which He dwells and stirs and moves us.

    • Thanks, Kris. I, too, love the Biblical image of our physical bodies being the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells. What a beautiful image– one that gives our physical machines such value to be cared for and respected.

      Thanks for reminding us of that.

  12. I definitely struggle with this more in the summer time! It’s very hard for me to accept my body at whatever size I am, but I’m working on it! Thanks so much for this post!

    • Emily, So glad you were encouraged! I totally agree– in the winter I tend to hide, but the summertime pulls me into a more constant state of obsessiveness! Trouble is, I currently live in Thailand where it is tropical-summer pretty much all year long, so now I don’t even have the winter months to hide out in! (ha ha)

      Anyway, I totally relate.

  13. So timely.
    Feeling my age; resenting my seven-times-morphed, birthing-body. Angry with it even. Why so hard to lose the baby-weight this time?

    And yet:
    As you said so eloquently, Laura –
    This body has done great & wondrous things, joining in the miracle of The Maker, to create life, to nurture life. And now – can I love this body, this life?
    Help me, Lord!

    • Teri,

      Hey, friend. First off, you are beautiful. And second-off (is that a word?), I totally get the resentment that can come when we sacrifice our physical bodies to birth children– both to carry them and to bear the scars from that birthing. It’s hard to release control in that area sometimes– especially when there is so much available to we women to correct any perceived flaw. It’s hard to not be embarrassed about stretch marks when the girls in the magazine never have them, and it’s difficult not to obsess about extra weight when “before” it was just so much easier to lose it.

      I get it. Motherhood does a number on the physical temple. But, I reckon, so does aging.

      Dannnnggggit.

      🙂
      (and you are right– “help me, Lord!” to have the right perspective on it all)

  14. You asked: Do you struggle with self-image more in the summertime?
    I answered: YES! It’s a 24/7/365 struggle! It’s so easy to compare yourself with images of perfectly curvy yet perfectly toned and fit bodies in the media/Hollywood/real-life and think that you’re simply not measuring up.

    You asked: What are two things you LOVE about your body?
    I answered: My smile and heart. 🙂

    Thank you for posting about this topic which is important to women worldwide.

    Great written work and it’s given us especially me something to think about! I’m going to think positive and not dwell in imperfections as I continue to workout and work toward being the best me. 🙂

    • Alexis,

      Thanks for your honest answer. I loved that you are loving your smile and your heart right now– perhaps two of the most important things to appreciate, anyway?

      I totally agree, too, that the images we are assaulted with every day from the media do not-a-thing to help the average woman feel beautiful. The standard is so unreachably high, dontcha think? Have you ever seen that DOVE youtube video where they show a sped up version of what it takes to dress up a model and photoshop her? It’s pretty amazing and such a good picture of how UNreal Hollywood is.

      I guess it just means we all have to fight harder to not begin to compare ourselves too rigidly with an ideal that doesn’t really exist.

      Thanks for commenting, Alexis.

      ENJOY your summertime-fun.

  15. I do not relate at all. No one ever complimented me on looks so I never grew up to put any stock in my body or my looks. So I am carefree and go to beach in bikinis, barely wear any make up, and I don’t mind it one bit.

    • R, Awesome! So glad to hear that you can be carefree in a bikini at the beach! What a gift of confidence that is. Can I borrow some? Ha ha.

      Thanks so much for chiming in. I guess it’s a really great thing that this is NOT an area of struggle for you. 🙂

      All the best,

      Laura

  16. This is so beautiful!
    The struggle between my mind and body doesn’t seem to care what season it is, but its definitely more prevalent when I know I’m going to being baring it at the beach. I can be so hard on myself about it which never does anything, or I can choose to see my body as a wonderful work of God and a temple of the Holy Spirit. When I choose to see myself this way, I feel so much more inspired to care for body and treat it as a beautiful gift from God, no matter what I see my physical body as.
    And I like my eyes, and my smile 😀

    • Thanks, Hannah.

      I totally agree with everything you’ve said here– about the vulnerability of beach time but the necessity for your mind/spirit to drive your beliefs about the beauty of You.

      And I reckon if I saw your smile and eyes, I’d say they were pretty beautiful, too! 🙂

      Enjoy your summer.

      Laura

  17. Thank you for this wonderful post. Such a great reminder of the miracle our bodies truly are, and that we need to be easier on ourselves. It is often hard to find the positives in a world of negatives. Two things I like: my freckles and my eyes.

    • Deidra,

      Yes especially to this,
      “It is often hard to find the positives in a world of negatives. ”

      Oh, and I’m a big fan of freckles, too.

  18. Laura,
    GREAT post – again! Mostly love how positive your words are to yourself and all of us, especially the digging in the sand on the beach!
    I have trouble reading that some women really don’t think of their body image much at all as I surely don’t know any who don’t at least sometimes. Summer isn’t especially hard for me . . . except the whole tone/texture of my skin on arms/neck now that I’m 54 and grew up a kid outdoors (thank you farm parents who let me take a job at the pool – no, really!).
    BUT: God did make me fearfully and wonderfully! Fearfully (read: respect-inspiring, awe-inspiring) in many ways, including how our eyes work! how a tongue works! how fingernails work to protect! what those tiny hairs in our ears do! Not to mention how we produce babies and think and sometimes at the same time! Then wonderfully: my feet really do support these legs (which I’ve always cursed as short, massive, veiny) which really do support the hips which really do keep my back lined up to hold up my shoulders that give my arms the strength to play with my grandson and dance w/ my husband and hug my friends and we haven’t even talked neck and head!
    I mean, we girls have GOT to start thinking about what our bodies CAN do instead of what they can’t: grace the cover of Maxim (thank you, God), or pole dance professionally (ditto to the thanks), be a leg model (we wouldn’t get to run through the weeds) . . . .We are made for so much more than those things!
    Apologies for the length and soap-boxishness . . . . crazy week and tired but jazzed . . .
    Hugs all around!
    Tamara
    (Can you believe I made it to a different site??)

  19. Tamara, I heart this comment.

    Loved all that you said, and loved how you speak from a place of confidence and gratitude and freedom. Do you think as we age it’s easier to embrace the goodness of our bodies, even though, technically, we may have more to “complain” about? I know for me, the older I get, the more I gravitate towards NOT obsessing. Hmmm . . .

    My favorite takeaway was, “I mean, we girls have GOT to start thinking about what our bodies CAN do instead of what they can’t:” Preach it, sister.

    And thanks for making it over here. 🙂

  20. OH how I love this post!

    Our gratitude is worship, and when we acknowledge the gifts our Father gives us through our bodies, we speak of His amazing purpose.

    I love that my body is strong, and that my eyes See with joy.

    Rich blessings, Laura, as your encouraging living gives courage to your little-ones in seeing His purposes…

    • Amy, Thanks for commenting! I love “our gratitude is worship.” TOTALLY. How often do we miss being wildly thankful for the gift of our bodies, instead of griping about them? Perhaps like the little girl who gets a real horse for Christmas, then complains that it’s brown instead of black in color.

      Thanks for your kind words . . .

  21. Laura,
    I love your spin on this, and I love how you remind me that I am wonderful, in fact, perfect as is. Forget the striving and trying to be something else. Perfect as me.

    • “FORGET THE STRIVING.”

      That is a perfect statement for so much of life, isn’t it? Thanks, Amy– as always, I adore your words. They always offer such encouragement. 🙂

  22. I love this Laura. I appreciate you pointing out how incredible our bodies are, and how silly it is to focus on the details we think it lacks. This is a great post for the heart of a women, especially American women.
    🙂

    • Kelli!

      Thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this conversation, as I know you have a real heart to encourage the beauty in women in your upcoming study of cosmetology! You are beautiful, friend– in so many more ways than one.

    • Alexis, THANK YOU!!! I was actually thinking tonight that I needed to hunt down a video that applies and link it here, and you beat me to it. Perfect. I hope people reading through the comments will take a second to click over to watch it! Thanks, again, for taking the time to give us the link. You rock.

      Love from here, Laura

      • Anytime Laura! 🙂 My friends who lead my church’s Young Adult Bible study often tell new members to our Bible study when I link a concept to a song, “She has a SONG for EVERYTHING!” 🙂 Let me know if you ever need a song to link to an article or concept! I’ll be happy to help.

  23. I love your sharing Laura, thanks! Encouraged by the various posts of sisters all over… Living in tropical Singapore, it’s summertime all year round. Though my figure is alright by many standards, I am never at peace with my body (the pear-shape body with heavier bottoms & thifhs

  24. This is a beautiful post and reminder. I struggled with anorexia for a few years and during the recovery process I wrote a similar letter to my body. I should pull it out and re-read as it is so healing to read and refresh my perspective. This is a beautiful post. Since starting in recovery I am learning to love my body more and more each day. It is the only one I have and I now chose not to take it for granted. God created us all in his unique and perfect way. I am beautiful in HIS eyes. YOU are too!

    • Brittnie, Thank you, sister, for sharing your words of encouragement today. It’s so inspirational that you have tasted healing, post-eating-disorder. That’s a beautiful hope for the rest of us who may be struggling. I, too, struggled with eating issues, esp. in highschool, and I had a glimpse of how defeating that can be. Have you heard of the site,

      http://chasingsilhouettes.wordpress.com/

      It’s a collective site encouraging those who struggle with eating disorders, who have struggled with it, or who love those who are struggling. Might be a fun place for some of us to pop over to visit!

      Thanks, Brittnie . . . .

  25. Sorry, I’m continuing from my comments… heavier thighs, small bust… I often envy those ladies with slim thighs, perky butts & ample bosom. Though as a long-time believer & knowing that I should thank God that I am fearfully & wonderfully made, still deep in my heart I desire to have a more ideal figure. I was just sharing with a friend how age was only just a number to me, til last year after my 37th birthday, I started realizing it is no longer a number… It has been coming to terms that I no longer am the same as when I was in my twenties or early thirties. Physical leathery, grey hairs, thickening waistline, eyebags… Just to name a few symptoms… Yet after reading your post & others, I appreciate my body for journeying 2 childbirths with me, enduring 2 terminations of pregnancy with me, & traveling to various countries around the world with me… The mountains I’ve climbed, seas I’ve swam in & the many beautiful creations in nature God has created… How often I’ve taken my body for granted… I want to consciously appreciate this temple God has bestowed me & render the love & care it was created to receive. Yes, Abba, help me!
    I want to thank God for my perfect eyesight and Iike my lovely collarbone. Yes, my 9 year old daughter has such a beautiful body, shapely legs & butts… I’m amazed by His grace & beauty. 🙂

    • Ling, Hello to you in Singapore!

      Though I am traveling right now in the States, we are returning to Chiang Mai, Thailand, in about a week, so I guess I will be on your side of the world again– heat and all!

      I loved reading through your comment. I loved that while you honestly claimed the ways you struggle, you are at a place of appreciation for all that your body has endured in your Story– from pregnancies to travel to LIFE. And I think your prayer is one many of us can claim, “Yes, Abba, help me!”

      Thanks for commenting today . . .

    • Have been following the Dove evolution series for a while . . . do we even have to wonder why the media hasn’t picked it up in a big way? Thanks for bringing it back to our attention!
      Praying God’s blessings of calm and peace and supernatural energy for your upcoming travels and the goodbyes / hellos.

      • I love even just the title of that series by Dove, “Campaign for Real Beauty.” And I love how many of their models are various ethnicities, ages, and body types. Such a good thing for our girls (oh, wait, and for us!) to see, right?

        Thanks, friend. 🙂

  26. This post and the comments are so good for me to read. I am currently on a a weightloss journey and have lost about 60 lbs so far. No matter how much weight I lose, I still look in the mirror and see someone who is fat and has a long way to go. However, this post makes me realize that instead of thinking about how far I still have to go, I am to be thankful for how far I have come. And no matter what I look like on the outside what matters to God is my heart and how that is changing and growing.

    Thank you for reminding me to be thankful about what God has naturally gifted me with. The 2 things I love about my body are my hair,( it is perfectly waving/curly and looks good with little attention) and ankles ( I have my mothers skinny ankles).

    • Larissa,

      WOW!! 60 pounds! Amazing!

      So much to be thankful for, definitely!

      I’m so glad you were encouraged today, and I’m grateful you are trying to look at where you are and not being discouraged about where you’d like to go.

      And, I bet there are girls who are jealous of that hair of yours! Hair that requires “little attention” is a gift, for sure!!

      Take Care, and know that you are, indeed, beautiful.

  27. Love this Laura! My body image has been a life long struggle of mine; not just during the summer. However, I feel like this is the year that I will finally overtake the voices in my head that say I am just not good enough. I absolutely agree that I need to change my focus and just enjoy the gift for what it is. I know God is working on my emotions in a mighty way!
    Thank you so much for sharing!!
    HUGS!!