Friday, August 30, 2013

"I Will Declare" Written By Deena Gifford

Good morning!  I am so excited for today's blog because I did not write it!  Today you will be reading from my friend Deena Gifford.  I first met Deena while we were in college and I can tell you she is truly one of the most awesome ladies I have ever known.  Whether through incredible laughter, sound wisdom, a listening ear, or a spirit of giving like no other, she truly makes people feel not only loved and valued, but also leads others to be more like Christ.  She is married to a wonderful man named Paul and together they have three beautiful sons.  She is passionate about life and the Lord and I could think of nobody else to write about the topic that was on my mind.  

I asked Deena to talk about body image and worth.  I basically told her to take liberty to come at it from any angle she wanted, and as I expected, she hit the nail on the head and then some.  Deena doesn't just talk- she lives.  Thank you Deena for your honesty, your candor, and your real living example of what it means to be beautiful. 

And now it is my privilege to share the following post written by my friend, Deena Gifford.  

I Will Declare the Beauty of the Lord
By Deena Gifford

       This is the day that Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. (PS118:24)     Seems like a simple statement right? I can say that now that I have begun to rejoice and be glad and embrace who I truly am each day. I can say that because I make the choice to live out who I truly am in the eyes of the one who created me. I say choice because I have learned through this journey that it has to be a choice that I make each and everyday that I have the privilege to live.  I have learned not to take lightly that God chose me to be a temple that houses the amazing gift of his Holy Spirit.

      This is where I am now but my journey has not always been this way. I have been a professional dieter since I have been 10 years old. I never could rejoice or be glad about anything because I was to busy comparing myself to others and trying to be what this world portrays as beautiful.  A girl in my 1st grade class called me thunder thighs and those hurtful words dictated how I viewed my body for the next 30 years. Yes you heard me 30 years!!! I never wore shorts or a bathing suit without something over it. I did every weight lose plan out there.  I did diet pills and cocaine so I wouldn’t eat and try to attain a body that I thought would make me acceptable to the world and men. I will tell you that through the use of drugs I did get the body I thought I wanted and that I thought would make all of my problems go away and make me feel accepted. I will also tell you it only last for a season. Then it wore off and all I was attracting were idiot guys who only wanted a body, credit card bills for cloths, hair, shoes, and partying that I couldn’t keep up with ($12,000 to be exact).There I sat right back in the same place I started except more empty, more alone than ever, ugly, and still searching. The only difference was it all wrapped in a pretty, skinny package with a designer bow. What I thought I wanted: to be thin, looked at as beautiful, and all of what the world makes us want was not what I wanted at all.  So there I was at a cross road faced with a choice  do a do what I’ve always done (taking the easy way) or do I choose the path that was unfamiliar and work. I chose the work.

      This journey has been a long one and one of the biggest things I have learned is that real change does not occur overnight. Real change takes work, discipline and determination. Real change is a choice one that doesn’t come in a pill, a fad diet, or material things. Real change comes when we begin the journey on the path of finding who God created us to be. He didn’t create me to be like anyone else- I have my own identity in Him. I will never be free or beautiful if I am trying to be anything other than what he created me to be. That includes me comparing and trying to be like someone else. God created you and me for a specific purpose. There are things that he created me to do that someone else cannot and them for things I can’t do. Now that’s beauty.

      My desire is no longer to have beauty by the worlds standards. My fulfillment and desire is that “My life will declare the beauty of the Lord!” He is the only one I want to impress. The awesome thing about that is that he was already impressed that He sent his son to hang on a cross for me. It was not until I changed my perspective and found balance in my spirit and mind that I was able to conquer my body. It was not until I was able to stop comparing stop trying to be like someone else and getting comfortable in my own skin that I was able to achieve my fitness and weight goals. I had to know my identity in the eyes of the one created me first. I needed to block out what the society, TV, even my own friends perception of what beautiful was and focus on what God says beauty is.
That true beauty comes from loving Him fiercely and loving others with a passion. I need to remind myself daily that the beauty is kindness, gentleness, self-control, patients, love, peace, and joy. And live in His truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. His truth is that He has a specific plan for me designed just for me. His truth that I am strong and beautiful because I am His child. I no longer eat to be thin or have a great body. I eat to be strong and I put good food into my body in the right proportion because I care about myself and what God created. I don’t lift weights & exercise to compare myself or be better then anyone I exercise and attain to be strong because I desire to maintain this temple that God entrusted me to care for. I take care of myself because I desire to have the energy and health to live out the purpose and plan God has for my life.

      So my friends my declaration to you today is “Declare the Beauty of the Lord.” Clothe your self in the things that matter. Run the race that is marked out for you and stand firm against anything that tries to get in the way of that. Take care of your body, feed it good food, and exercise because you are important and because your goal is to glorify Him. 

Deena and Paul

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