I think the biggest thing I’ve come to realize here in the last three months since getting married is that when it comes to my life, I am no longer just living for myself: I am a pair. I am part of a team with my husband. I have now become a we.
And it’s exciting and it’s beautiful, but it’s something that has very tangible, practical manifestations: everything from bank accounts, to decisions about dinner or travel plans or holidays — everything now has to be taken into consideration from the standpoint of us. And that is so beautiful.
There is one aspect, though, that has proved to be harder than the others. And that is when it comes to my body.
You see, given my past with anorexia, coming to peace with my body has been a long, arduous journey. One that has taken over a decade to get to a good place. For the last several years, I have finally come to a place where I love my body and see it as the gift that God gave me: treating it kindly, nourishing it with healing foods, and celebrating the beauty that comes from Him and His handiwork.
And that was all well and good. But if I’m being brutally honest, I was still keeping myself at the very bottom of a healthy weight range.
Now that I’m married, and my body is no longer just mine, but also my husband’s…that just isn’t going to fly anymore. Not if we want to conceive children.
If we want to be able to grow a family, I need to be in the best physical shape to conceive — and I’m not talking about having a six pack of abs or the cardiovascular endurance of Michael Phelps. Being in the best physical shape to bear a child means being strong, healthy, with enough body fat to sustain life.
And I have been actively increasing my fat intake and improving strength for just that purpose.
But there’s one thing that comes with it that, I’m going to be honest, kind of snuck up on me this week and caught me off guard: my body is changing. And that’s been hard to accept.
Maybe this is too much TMI, but I’m sharing openly because I think this is something everyone struggles with from time to time.
But conceptually in my head, I can put my body into God’s hands and verbally embrace the concept of gaining weight and becoming stronger. But when clothes start fitting differently or not fitting, and looking in the mirror and seeing a different reflection, it has been challenging.
And perhaps I shouldn’t also be experimenting with “going natural” with my curly hair at the same time, because perhaps it’s too much of a change all at once, but I’m going to be honest, this week I struggled. You see, it’s time to start whipping out the blue jeans and as every woman know, their fit does not lie.
Thankfully, I am blessed with an incredibly patient husband who reassures me and affirms me in all the ways that speak to my soul. And for that I am so grateful.
But I am finding myself constantly having to remind myself of all the things I clung to back when I was in recovery from anorexia, having to weight restore and dealing with a changing body.
What I’m reminded of is that my body is merely a shell here on this earth for my eternal soul. It is the heart and spirit on the inside that is what is most important.
But what’s more is that I am loved. God created me: mind, spirit and body. And one of the greatest gifts that He bestowed upon women was the ability to bring children into the world. It is such a superpower, and is truly what I feel I was created to do in my life. And hopefully, one day soon I will so blessed as to do just that.
But in order to, I need to be physically in a place where I can. And I have to embrace all the changes that are going to arise from that.
At the end of the day, life is about so much more than what we look like in the mirror. I had a moment of clarity this morning, thinking: Sheesh Caralyn, there are people in the world who would love it if their only problem was feeling large today. And that quickly snapped me back to reality.
Just do the next right thing.
That has been the guiding light to my recovery when I’ve been in the trenches: just do the next right thing. Keep forward. Keep trusting God. Keep listening to the Holy Spirit and not the enemy.
Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.