The B Word


Ahh, it’s that time of year again.

And no, I’m not talking about mistletoe. Or eggnog. Or oversized sweaters with Uggs.


I’m talking…

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Yes, friends. The time is upon us.

In case you haven’t heard, this Tuesday, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is coming to us live – err, pre-recorded – from CBS.

And spoiler alert: I will not be watching.

It’s not because I’m anti-VS. Not because I’m a prude.

It’s because I do not want to send my heart mixed messages about something that has taken me years to understand.

Beauty.

During my anorexia, beauty was an obsession. At least in the beginning. What began as giving sweets up for Lent, quickly turned into a severe eating disorder, shattering my self-worth and annihilating any inkling of self-love. And with it, my concept of beauty.

I’m not here to give you some essay on how beauty is found on the inside.

You’ve heard that a thousand times over. Just ask Dove.

When I was at the depths of my disease, the mirror was like a drug for me: destructive and yet something that I was addicted to. Staring back at me was an emaciated, grey-skinned, lifeless girl who had thrown away everything: relationships, passions, extra curricularsjoy, my relationship with God, my future – everything. Ninety percent of my hair even fell out for crying out loud. The contempt I had for my body and my soul…it is too potent to even express. I never thought that I could ever look in a mirror and find beauty ever again.


And for a long time, I didn’t.

Even years into my recovery, I would avoid the mirror at all costs. Because looking into it, all I saw was a monster. All I saw was the pain I had caused my loved ones. The guilt from ruining special occasions. The remorse and regret of missed opportunities – graduation, prom, senior year, freshman year of college – times when I should have been having the time of my life, I spent deteriorating. Pushing everyone away as I spiraled more and more out of control.

That was what I saw when I looked in the mirror. There was absolutely nothing beautiful. Nothing worth redeeming.


That is, until Someone came along, and worked on my heart, day by day, and helped me believe that I was worth redeeming. Worth loving. Worth forgiving. And that person was Jesus.

Now, I can honestly say that I can look in the mirror again and see my reflection for what it truly is: beautiful. And I’m not simply talking about aesthetics. Although, I have come to appreciate my physical beauty, too.

When I look in the mirror now, I see my interior beauty. I see the beauty that has come from brokenness. My past will never go away, but now, instead seeing my reflection through the filter of pain, regret and guilt, I see the reflection of a girl who has freedom. Who, yes, has an incredibly painful past, but who has overcome it. Been set free from it. I see a self that has been transformed. I see Christ in me.


 

I wish I could tell you that overnight, I had this “aha” moment. I wish I could tell you that once the weight was on, that all the interior battles were over. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. The storm may be over, but there is work to be done to rebuild the aftermath. As it is with ED.

My transformation, flat out, would not have happened, had it not been for Jesus – constantly whispering to me that my past is not who I am. That I am forgiven. That I am loved. That I am a new creation. “The old has gone. The new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17)

That transformation was one I never thought possible. And in complete transparency, is something that I continually have to work at maintaining: by listening to Christian podcasts throughout the day, listening to Christian music, going to daily mass. Why? Because I know that I am weak, and that if I don’t stay focused on the Truth, that ED will try to snake his way back into my thoughts. But ED is no match, because with the J-man, I am strong.

So no, I will not be watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show tomorrow night. As much as I’d love to watch Selena Gomez throw down an awesome concert, protecting my heart – protecting the transformation that took years to occur – is more important. That fashion show, with its supermodels (who are unnaturally thin and, yes, beautiful from society’s standards) will cause me to flirt with ED’s biggest crack in my foundation: comparison.


So I am going to avoid the temptation all together, and not tune in. It is an act of self-love.

So if you need me tomorrow night, I’ll be having my own dance party to Selena Gomez, celebrating my interior (and exterior) beauty, and rejoicing in the freedom that I have been given.

“Where ever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor 3:17)

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beautybeyondbones

BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

143 thoughts on “The B Word

  1. Such a good and honest read. Like you, I also battled with anorexia and the feeling of not being good enough and like you, God was the only one who could pull me out of that spiral. That show does disgust me. Because beauty is measured by what you have in the inside. Your soul and heart. Not what you look like.

    1. Hi Marlee, thank you so much for sharing this. I’m sorry that you also battled ED. But praise God that we both made it to the other side 🙂 You’re so right — He is our strength, and like you, I owe my recovery 100% to Him. And yes — beauty is the soul. the heart. Thanks for stopping by. hugs and blessings to you xx

    1. Thanks so much:) Yeah, the “J-man” is the best teammate EVER 🙂 hehe Thanks for your encouraging words and support! i appreciate you reading! <3 hugs and love to you xx

    1. Hahah thanks Jay 🙂 Honest to goodness, it is your encouragement that gives me the courage to press the “publish” button, so THANK YOU!!! 😀 have an awesome night, and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. It’s funny. I never understood this show. I kind of think the women look ridiculous in the angel wings. I like thinking of angels in terms of white robes, long hair, men (Gabrielle) and visiting shepherds. I also could never see myself wearing anything they have on (or lack there of) and so it’s almost other worldly. I thank God I don’t have TV and so for many reasons I will not be watching. I’ll have a dance party with you any day 😉

    1. Hi Ellie! Yay dance party partner!! If I suggest wearing Christmas onesies would that be too much?!? 😎😂😬 haha jk jk I’m with you on the angels though: White robes all the way! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs girlie!

    2. Ditto, Ellie! I think I flipped past it once, the first time it was aired and that was it. I have a TV but am extremely selective about viewing choices….
      – Kenzel

      1. Hi Kenzel! Yeah, it must be really refreshing not having a TV. So much stuff out there that, if I had kids, I would definitely not want filling their minds. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

  3. Praising God for what He has done and is doing in you, dear sister! Christ is not only beautiful in you, but through you is illuminating everything that lies in the darkness in all who receive such testimonies of HIS GRACE to OVERCOME the deceit. Thank you again for the kingdom work you are doing here; you are tilling hard soil, planting seeds, and/or watering, depending on the individual, all for His glory and their FREEDOM!

    1. Oh my gosh thank you Deanna! Your words are so beautiful and so kind. I really appreciate it. God is definitely the illuminator of all things and all people. I’m just so grateful for the transformation He’s done in my life. Don’t know where I’d be without Him! Thanks again for your readership:) hugs and love to you xx

      1. And I am thrilled with what He’s done and is doing in mine as well! What a beautiful body, this Body of Christ! I love your hugs! Love you too! 💕

  4. Those women look like little boys with long hair walking down the stage. They are soooooo skinny. Not healthy looking but THEY are supposed to be the standard of beauty. Ha!

    1. Hi PJacksone! Thankfully, we know where our true beauty lies: in our hearts. I know it’s cliche, but honestly, it’s so true! But you’re right. And it’s sad on many different levels. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs to you and yours!

  5. I love this! I’ve never struggled with an ED, but this reminds me of my recovery from depression that started when I found Jesus. He truly does give us freedom from everything, including from mental illness. Your words are very inspiring!

    1. Thank you so much! Ament to that! Jesus is a superhero, rescuing His children and loving them back to life 🙂 I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found freedom from depression and freedom and life in Christ. Thanks for stopping by and for your words of encouragement. hugs!

      1. Amen! Yes, Jesus has freed me from depression and now walks with me every day with my anxiety & OCD. 🙂 I don’t know if I could have made it without Him! Blessings.

      2. Hi friend! Oh I am so glad that you’ve found freedom and healing in or Savior. How blessed are we to have such a loving and merciful Father:) blessings and love to you! Hugs! Merry Christmas!

  6. Great post. As a men and women, we should appreciate true beauty and not the a beauty created by an industry. I just hope that the models in the show might come to a similar conclusion to yours some day, and put health and faith above fame and fortune. Thanks for your thoughts; I enjoyed reading them

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece. You’re right: the industry absolutely manufactures beauty now adays: from air brushing to plastic surgery. It is really a sad state of things. But health and faith are what matters at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing your insight! Glad you stopped by!

  7. “When I look in the mirror now, I see my interior beauty. I see the beauty that has come from brokenness. My past will never go away, but now, instead seeing my reflection through the filter of pain, regret and guilt, I see the reflection of a girl who has freedom. Who, yes, has an incredibly painful past, but who has overcome it. Been set free from it. I see a self that has been transformed. I see Christ in me.”
    This pretty much sums up my 2015! I am loving the new me, the freedom to be who God destined me to be. When I look in the mirror I see a perfect woman worthy to be loved and adored by the King of Kings. Isn’t it amazing walking in the freedom that Christ died so that we could have? I am loving the new me.

    1. amen to that!!! Oh my gosh, Colleen, this just bring so much joy to my heart! I am so happy for you that you’ve found freedom. That you’re celebrating the magnificent masterpiece that you are. Because you’re so right: you ARE worthy to be loved. You DO have great worth. Because we are daughters of the King. And if we ever forget, we just have to look at the cross. Thanks for your readership, Colleen. It really means a lot:) hugs and blessing to you.

  8. I adore how you weave your sorrow, fears, wisdom, growth, love & Christ so effortlessly. When I struggle with my own self-worth & attraction to foods or body image it’s my signal to buy myself some flowers!!! MY reminder that beauty on the inside is lovely (like these flowers) but the joy comes from the inside…and that delight seeing & smelling they bring to my Spirit!! Hugs to you for the brave post and fabulous reminder to simply turn the channel. (Not that I’ve ever watched…not my thing.)

    1. Hi Dawn, thank you so much for this beautiful comment! What a great idea! I always see flowers at the grocery store, and I always admire them, but never buy. Now I have a reason to: because we are beautiful just like those blooms! Such a beautiful reminder. Shoot, Dawn. I’m going to go out first thing tomorrow morning and buy me some flowers! 🙂 🙂 🙂 thank you so much for stopping by! hugs and love to you! xoxo

      1. You can always add some Angel Wings to the bouquet in honor of YOU being a grateful participant of God’s saving grace in your life! Which is far more beautiful than a runway Angel!! Hugs to you!❣

  9. Bravo! In my own personal protest, I turn off shows that do not depict real people – too shiny, too beautiful, underaged, underweight, unrealistic. I want to support realistic (not reality) television. Do you think it will ever happen? That we will value people for their character over appearance. You have taken on an important mission writing this blog!

    1. Thank you so much vjerale! I really appreciate your support:) Realistic television. That would be amazing. I’d like to have hope. In some ways, I think it is getting better, but then other ways, not so much. But you’re spot on: it is our character, the way we love others, our hearts — those are what make people truly beautiful. thanks for stopping by xx

  10. Really love this and your writing style. I love that you give credit to Christ and share your love of the most awesome guy in the Cosmos!Your Angels are always helping you too because they do His Works. Lots of love to you on your journey! Keep being beautifully and perfectly you 🙂

  11. I’m pretty sure the fashion show is being fast-tracked from the US to Australian television. Just another technique to poison the minds of teenage girls and adults…

  12. I just think this show should not be aired. Ever. Why does America need a naked “fashion show”? It’s tempting for men to flirt with ideas in their heads, for women to degrade their own bodies, and it’s an unrealistic view of the human body. I don’t know what it would take to get it off the air!!! Finding peace with our bodies is hard enough. Thank you for this post! Jesus is my savior and I thank God for His grace and love in my heart. Just last night I truly needed his peace…

    1. Hi Jess, you speak the truth, friend! Thank you for such positive remarks. I really appreciate your readership and encouragement. You’re so right-finding peace with our bodies is definitely a task-especially when this unrealistic standard is glorified as the “be all end all.” Like you said it’s harmful to both men and women. Yes, praise God for His grace. So thankful that we can dwell in his peace:) thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful morning! Hugs xoxo

  13. Ana, you have wisdom beyond your years. I love seeing how Jesus uses the very same verses and principles to take you through your ED as He used to free me from abuse, so many years ago. Getting and keeping our thought life in the right place is so foundational to healthy living. Purity and protecting this in our hearts and minds is so lost in our society. I think our TV remotes would make better door stops most of the time, there is very little true beauty to be found there. I pray for your continued healing, strenght and growth in Jesus. Thank you for blessing me this morning.

    1. hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for this beautiful comment. You made me chuckle when you said our remotes are better off as doorstops! Haha ☺️☺️☺️ but you are 100% right on the money: protecting out hearts is of utmost importance. Thankfully we have Someone who will help us guard it be filling it with His love and Truth. Thank you for the prayers. It means the world. And I am so happy for you that you found freedom as well. Hugs and blessings to you this morning. Thanks for stopping by xx

  14. Such a great thing to read to start my day! Thank you for sharing your battle with us, and reminding us all that the Lord loves us, no matter what. God Bless!

  15. I love your daily “diet”! All those good things you feed your thoughts. May we all be devoted to that healthy mental diet: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) Thanks for this post.

    1. Hi Karen, oh I love that verse! One of my favorites:) thanks for this encouragement! Thanks for stopping by and sharing that beautiful tidbit from His word! Hugs and blessings to you 🙂

  16. Thank you for sharing your journey. I love your words on comparison, and I find so much strength. You are saying what I keep trying to tell myself. Thank you!

    1. Hi Pam, thank you so much for this affirmation. I always have to talk myself into pushing the “publish” button, so your encouragement and supportive words mean the world. So THANK YOU 🙂 hugs and love to you xox

  17. Hey, BBB: This may be asking too much, although maybe you’ve already written more directly about it.

    What did it feel like? I have this intuition, from what you write, that you learned in Christ to see yourself with your heart rather than with your eyes. Sometimes there’s a moment in which the lost realizes that her heart is the perfect instrument for receiving the perfect love of Christ, and it is in that inner perfection that faith in her own self is found. Is that what it was like for you?

    Really, what did it feel like? Not just in your heart, but in your fingers and toes?

    Sorry if this is too personal.

    Brian

    1. Hi Brian, thank you for asking this question! I am happy to answer. I think you hit the nail on the head. My heart was truly broken, laying in shambles. And Jesus swooped in and started mending it. The “breakthrough” moment was when I was listening to the song, here I am to worship, and the line, I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross. I just broke down. My knees buckled and I fell to the floor, sobbing and yet smiling and laughing for the first time in years, because in that moment I let Jesus in. I accepted His forgiveness and love that he had been so desperately trying to get through to me for so long. It was such an intense mix of true joy and peace and gratitude. That’s how it felt no hope that answers the question. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts. It means a lot

      1. Well, don’t thank me yet. I was leading up to something: for myself, I stopped being afraid of sin when I came to realize that I had surrendered myself so completely to love that I could not imagine not having it flow through me. Every opportunity to share it with others was a joy to me, no matter how ugly or frightening the circumstances might have appeared to me in the past.

      2. Sharing live is a beautiful thing. In fact, it’s what we’re called to do. Accept His love, and then have it flow through us to others, all the while reflecting Him and bringing others to Him. So happy for you that you’ve found that peace and joy. 🙂

      3. Thank you for wishing that upon me. I do the best that I can, but I haven’t been able to satisfy the voices that call out to me for consolation. Maybe I shouldn’t feel as much guilt about that as I do, but it keeps me focused on the goal.

      4. **i just saw that my last post had an autocorrect “oops” in it … I meant to say sharing love. But you’re welcome Brian. I mean that with my whole heart. We are all on a journey. All we can do it take it one day at a time and keep our gaze focused of Him. 🙂 goodnight!

  18. Shy away from the plastic-fantastic that is so rampant in this culture. It may be pretty but it ain’t beautiful. Beautiful lasts because its comprehensive. Beauty is inside and out, mostly inside. It lasts that way.
    ‘Pretty’ has a habit of fading.
    What do they say about houses made of sand..er silicate? Gravity, for one has an issue with them.
    You remark, “when I should have been having the time of my life”…well that time is now, I hope.
    In my own life I found that I squandered my youth. ‘Youth is wasted on the young.”
    But ‘Now’… and if not ‘Now’, When?
    So, Now!

    1. Hi Boon! Thank you for sharing such great wisdom! You’re so right…now is definitely the time! And I agree – pretty faded. It is the beauty of the heart that lasts 🙂 thanks for stopping by!

  19. Another wonderful post as always 🙂 You have the right idea about enjoying life to it’s fullest which is something some people do not take to heart as often as they should. You know one of the wonderful things about blogging is one can openly express (depending on the theme of the blog) joy and pain and feeling a sense of relief afterwards. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    1. Hey there John! Thanks as always for reading and your thoughtful response! You’re so right, it has been so healing for me to be able to express my heart through this blog and I am just so grateful and humbled that even one person cares to read it! Seriously, thank you for your constant support and encouragement. You rock my socks 😎 happy Wednesday!

  20. It’s so wonderful to see someone come out the otherside of something heart-wrenching, life-changing, and oh so difficult and be ready to write about it, maybe heal others. Blessed be to you

  21. Reblogged this on janjoy52 and commented:
    Here is a reality confession and tale of a journey that speaks wisely into the demon battles we all engage with daily. Bravo sister! Thank you for transparency and words of encouragement! Praise Jesus for His sweet belief in us and commitment to see us through to the other side of our weaknesses to become wise and strong and equipped to accomplish amazing things by His Spirit.

  22. Powerful words and a truly transformational message. Thanks for your openness in sharing your journey. As a pastor I constantly seek ways to share the truth that we have value and that it does not come through the world’s accolades, but through knowing Christ. Your blog will be something I pass on to others. Bless you.

    1. Hi Denny, wow thank you so much! It has been a long journey, but I am so grateful for the freedom found in Christ. It is 100% because of His love and mercy that I’ve adopted recovery. And your so right. Our worth comes from Him. That was the biggest truth for me to accept that help with my recovery. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

    1. Thank you so much:) that means a lot. It is my deepest hope that these words will help even one person. Thanks for stopping by and for your words of affirmation! Hugs and love to you!

    1. Thank you so much! Oh my goodness what a beautiful thought… I absolutely love it. Yes, a beautiful soul transcends time❤️ thanks again for taking the time today to browse my posts:) it means the world. Hugs to you xx

  23. Thanks for being such an amazing living testimony for God. I truly am blessed by your posts and His word. Indeed the old has gone and the new has come. We all need to learn to rest in God’s word and presence before He can Restore what’s been stolen by the devil. 🙂 thanks for being such an inspration. xx God bless!

    1. Wow thank you for these words Cheryl. It really means a lot. I’m so glad this struck a chord with you:) yes, there is so much rest and peace to be found in His word. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love to you!

  24. Anyway!! I started a fb group that focus on recovery through God’s words and we post encouragements for each other on that group! Would you be interested in joining? If you are, do you mind looking up for me on fb? my email is cheryl_nn@hotmail.com
    Add me and i’ll be able to invite you to that group! 🙂

  25. That’s a wonderful testimony to what the Lord is doing in your life! You are living out Romans 12:1-2
    “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
    Wait and see how He blesses you!

  26. I rejoice to hear your story and add my prayers to your journey. Believe it or not I encounter quite a few adolescents suffering from ED as a professional astrologer. I do my best to inspire in them the love for all of life that Jesus teaches.

    1. Thank you so much Kilaya! I appreciate the prayers so much. Yes, that is such a great lesson to teach. Love is so important and so needed in today’s world! Thanks for stopping by!

  27. On top of your reasons for not wanting to watch the VS fashion show, everything I’ve purchased there has been really poor quality. They’re not all they’re cracked up to be.

    1. Thank you Jeffrey. I literally owe Jesus my life, so how can I not praise Him and share of that great love?! ☺️ your words of encouragement and kindness bring such peace and joy to my heart, Jeffrey. Cheesy, I know. But I mean them in all sincerity. I am grateful for your friendship:) hugs xox

  28. When I read the title to this here post, I really thought you would be talking about an entirely different “B” word. It made me laugh to think about what you might say on such a topic. I’m still laughing. Fart jokes are funny, too. Watch out, Beebs, somebody might start doing a spoof blog of beautybeyondbones to make really excellent parodies. You’re too serious, Beebs. You need to lighten up. Just the thought of you, and it feels like my back muscles are already tightening. I could try doing a spoof on this blog post, but I don’t know where I’d write it.

  29. you are an amazing girl with an amazing attitude. as one who has struggled with the same ED as you, and who is not quite to the point of understanding and self-acceptance as you are, thank you for being an example to to others like me.

    1. Thank you so much LG. That really means a lot. I’m sorry that we have Ed that connects us but I’m so glad you’ve also embraced the freedom of recovery. I’m cheering for you, friend! Xox

  30. You have a fantastic story and it’s so great that you’re using it as a testimony for Jesus! Don’t ever stop that!

  31. Hi!
    Your story could so easily be my story, many similarities – I really can relate to
    “Pushing everyone away as I spiraled more and more out of control.

    That was what I saw when I looked in the mirror. There was absolutely nothing beautiful. Nothing worth redeeming.

    That is, until Someone came along, and worked on my heart, day by day, and helped me believe that I was worth redeeming. Worth loving. Worth forgiving. And that person was Jesus.”

    Such good and beautiful truth! And I do truly have fallen victim to the trap of comparison all to often and still do till this day sometimes. It’s annoying!

    1. So glad it resonated with you. Amen! He changes things and I’m so glad He did for you too! Hugs and love xox

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