I have a story to tell you guys. Its a good one. Its good because its one of those stories where the end is awesome.
This story is true and real. Its a story about Jessi.
Your Daddy and I met Jessi and her now husband Ryan in our college years. Although it took a while for us all to be close, the friendship bloomed over our time spent in school. Ryan was a part of our wedding and Bob and I were blessed to be a part of theirs.
Jessi is a kindred spirit, and a woman of great courage and perseverance. Her story is too powerful not to tell. You see girls, Jessi has waged a harsh and bitter battle against anorexia and depression. She has dealt first hand with the unachievable standard of physical perfection this world embraces and the crushing self loathing that comes when good is never good enough.
Her battle I am sure started innocently enough with the desire to be thin. Our society embraces thin bodies as beautiful and we idolize them, how easy it is as a young woman trying to find acceptance to not embrace it too. "If only I looked like that....." Once it starts, it can quickly begin to spiral out of control as you stop eating, start exercising and begin to chase a vision no woman was meant to be. And let me tell you....for a while, it feels good. "Oh, you look so beautiful, Oh you have such a tiny waist, You look amazing."
In a short amount of time your perspective of beauty begins to change and you become obsessed. Obsessed with your looks, your weight, your food, your size and yourself. Nothing you are or do is ever good enough. You begin a trajectory of self loathing which leads inevitably to depression. Its dark.
Jessi is a woman who has walked to all of these dark places. She has lived in an emaciated body. I can remember a few years ago spending time with her and literally seeing her waste away. My heart hurt for her.
But Jessi is strong, she is brave.....and she has a wonderful support system. Jessi knew she needed help and checked herself into an intensive program for eating disorders. Today by the grace of God she is in recovery. She has been through the battle and has emerged a victor.
But girls, many women aren't as victorious, and are not as brave as Jessi. Their battle against this disease and the depression that comes with it has consumed them and many have lost their lives.
I share this powerful story with you because above all, I LOVE YOU. More than that though is the desire to make sure you are reminded every day and in every way where your true beauty lies. It lies in your heart, and out of a heart that loves Jesus. Be mindful of the world and the mis focused obsession with outward perfection. The world will try in every way to lure you into it. It is easy to become consumed by some version of unattainable "beauty." It will be hard, and it will take courage to stand against it and cling to the truth. Your value does not lie in a size, a number or a body type. Your value cannot be quantified or dictated by the world. You are valuable because you are a child of God. You are valuable because you are you!
"There could never be a more beautiful you
Don't buy the lies, disguises and hoops,
they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you"
~ Johnny Diaz (from the song More Beautiful You)
I Love You,