UNASHAMED: “Dear Church, Are YOU Listening To Our Silent Groans?” by Mims

Hello friend,

I’ve been editing the posts of others and publishing them on here for you to gain truth in and as the last entry installment to this series it feels super weird to be editing my own but here goes!

JUST A BIT ABOUT MIRIAM

Anything you want to say about yourself that you’d like them to know?

I love intimacy with God – not religion but relationship. I hate religion. I hate that it puts God in a foolish box and robs people of the opportunity to see God more clearly and in more profound ways. I also HATE air-sickness but I love travelling. I also love cooking but don’t really like following recipes. Lol. Jesus has completely wrecked my life and I’ve found that obedience and humility are the only way to go. Proverbs 3:5-6 got it right. My worst moments in life were when I depended on my own human reasoning and logic or the opinions of others and not God’s.

What’s one insecurity that you’ve struggled with for quite some time?

My weight! I was never affirmed in my weight growing up by either of my parents or siblings unless they’d noticed I’d shed a few pounds. Even now, the only time that my mom would get excited (bless her heart) is if she thinks I’ve lost some weight. So, because I was never made to feel like I, as a plus size curvy voluptuous woman, was good enough I struggled with binge-eating and horrible dieting over the years. But GOD ya’ll. He’s constantly taking me to that place where the only voice that matters is His.

What’s one random/funny fact about you?

I learned how to play the piano (chord only) without a teacher but Papa Jesus. Wouldn’t have had it any other way. He taught me trust, the basics of faith, and it drew me closer to Him. He’s my Teacher for EVERYTHING! He’s so kind, forgiving, patient, and gentle!

What’s one moment you felt affirmed in your God-given identity or beauty?

So I was thinking about how terrifying it would be to walk down the aisle of my wedding one day in front of everyone! So I was lying down on my bed when Jesus softly yet firmly told me to get up and do a practice run. I was like, woah, WHUT. No. Nuh-uh. Ugh…okay…all in a matter of seconds. I took the sheet off my bed and wrapped it around me forming a one-shoulder wrap around wedding dress. I took my headwrap and quickly put that on because my head was a mess, lol! I hurried over to my closet and grabbed a bunch of flowers that were about to be thrown away but I wanted to save them for crafts! In a vision I saw Jesus pointing out a mini pathway in my room on the floor and He told me to walk in the direction fo that path. It was like a curved line goining out from my bed and shortly bending toward my door because my door has a mirror on it.

I was SO scared and shy. I was shy because I felt so close to Jesus in that moment. I felt awkward, vulnerable, and…just plain awkward! But I remember picturing my hand in His and I felt Him. I really felt the warmth of His hand. It’s funny ‘cus Jesus already confirmed that He’d be walking me down my aisle and that He wouldn’t let me fall. So that was really sweet to feel His hands even then in my room as the amber lights dimly lit it up. I started walking…walking…walking….teared up a bit and made it to my mirror. I started crying because in that moment I didn’t feel it…I knew it…that I was beautiful despite every word spoken over my body from those around me, the media, and those demons. I was affirmed. And I always will be by Him. Praying that you get to experience this with the Father many many many times – intimacy and being affirmed in your identity with Him.

THIS HAS TO STOP.

I am broken at the ways that we – as the thicker end of the spectrum of humanity – have been degraded and unfairly portrayed in movies. I am broken at the ways even our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ have responded to our extra skin.

I am angered that both you and I were crushed and deflated at their words just because we didn’t look like them. I am disappointed that we have not been affirmed in our God-given worth adequately or fairly. I am even angry that anyone period – thick or thin – have been taught that if you wear this you are more beautiful or handsome.

“If you wear this color it will make you look so slim!”

And my God…and I do not say that vainly…but in exasperation my God – when will we deeply repent of this? When will we grow? I’m angry Papa. I’m angry that we are valued based on our weight most often times. I am angry that I had to succumb to many critical words spoken over me by the women in my family. I am angry that, in their eyes, I was not worth asking how my day was but what I was doing to lose weight.

DON’T BE FOOLED

I remember riding with a family member one day and he asks me if I still go jogging. I could sense in the spirit that his question was not a genuine question of health but at how much weight I’d gained.

I’m annoyed. Deeply hurting.

My brother, my sister…I wish that I could say we as the body of Christ are very different from the voice of the world regarding weight and appearance but I hate to be the bringer of bad news that this mentality and toxic poison from the enemy has indeed leaked into our wells – and we’ve let it in.

But my brother? My sister? We are not hopeless. God is moving in this area and we must believe that. We must also believe that people do see us and that we are loved by others regardless of our weight. This truth though will not promise that every one who loves us – especially those who are ignorant of our struggles – will always respond to us in an encouraging way. Much of it is ignorance and also the enemy intentionally using people to attack an already sensitive area in your life. This war is spiritual remember?

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

That verse is no joke and it wasn’t kidding when it said “dark world” – so are the opinions of this dark world towards people of weight or weight in general. They’re very dark, void of any compassion and sensitivity towards us just like the voice’s author – Satan. Are you surprised? Are you surprised that everything that the word says about beauty is totally challenged and tossed to the side in society? The word calls Satan a roaring lion who seeks someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He’s coming after you by attacking your weight and any ounce of truth that you hold regarding body positivity because he knows that TRUTH SETS PEOPLE FREE. Satan will be the man who locks you in a burning room because he is that evil. Do not underestimate this struggle, friend.

Your struggle is bigger than you. It’s not about you. Satan has a vendetta against all of God’s people  and do not think that this vendetta is ignorant to our zest and zeal for physical beauty. Every single area of society and our personal lives is fair game for Satan and he doesn’t care. He’s very strategic. We underestimate him. He sees that and is and has taken advantage of that. When’s the last time you saw a movie cast not where make up for a film? It’s all about looks with Satan because he knows that if you begin to focus on what truly matters to God then you will become  force to be reckoned with.

CAN I SHARE MY STRUGGLE WITH YA?

I remember a close friend of mine once studying in Tampa looked at a picture of my body before I put on over 20 lbs in less than 2 years said these words to me with the most pitiful reaction on her face that I’d ever seen someone give to me because of my weight “Miriam…” she said, “What happened?” I was so stunned and paralyzed by her reaction that I more than likely blew it off at the time – I laughed. As I write this now, tears that I never got the chance to cry that day along with all the hurt is wrecking me.

But I bring you hope friend…

WISH that I could somehow record on video the encounters I have had with Jesus about my weight. My God….God’s view of my weight and physical appearance are nothing compared to the voice of society. I may be 260 lbs at 5 feet 4 but dang…He values me despite my thickness and it shows in the way that He talks to me about and affirms me in it.

He celebrates my fluffy tummy. He admires and looks lovingly at my rolls. You may think me crazy – haha – or you may be thinking that I’m making God look like a crazy person but I am not lying to you.

Lately I have been confiding in God about my insecurity of being sexually intimate and naked with my one day husband. Wanna know what God said to me?

“Am I against your body, Miriam? Do I hate your body, my daughter? Then why should you worry? Why are you worrying about the way he’ll see you? I married you despite your flaws. I chose to commit to you not on the basis of your weight but who you are. Yes, I want you to be healthy but healthy doesn’t mean that you have to be a size 0-2 at Forever21. Being healthy doesn’t mean you will not have stretch marks. Being healthy doesn’t mean that your thighs won’t rub against each other nor jiggle while you’re running. My dear, being healthy is you taking care of your body and enjoying it because I am not happy if you are not pleased with your body nor living in it.

People will tease you, they will look at you with disgust – but I promise, I won’t. They will not be pleased with your stretch marks. Not everyone will celebrate you and you must know that. This world? Is not paradise – I am. So put your trust and worth in me – not in them or their words. I love you.”

My brother and my sister…does this look like the God you know? If not, then I am praying that your view of how God sees you begins to light up with truth in your life. I know that it will. I have faith in these words, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20). He is at work in you, my friend, re-molding your identity and the way you respond to others not-so-welcoming responses to your weight. He will finish what He started. But will you open up to Him? I am challenging you. Will you seriously open up to Him? I’m talkin’ all out – not withholding anything.

WEIGHT LOSS ROLLR COASTER & PCOS

This is me at my high school graduation in 2013 before I decided to go to lose weight – feeling so pressured to do it. High school was filled with insecurity and comparing myself to others. My best friend, at the time, was a beautiful and tall woman from Honduras. She had long curly hair, got all the attention from the guys, and there I was – still insecure because I placed all of my worth in my looks.

I grew up hearing more voices criticizing my weight and physical appearance: my parents, my siblings, my aunts, my grandparents…everyone. I grew with people admiring my beauty openly and more vocally when they noticed that I had started losing weight.

This shouldn’t be. We should always affirm and encourage each other in the body of Christ. And no. Not to lose weight  but because we – in and of ourselves – are enough. We already have demons telling us we aren’t.

My best friend, at the time, made me feel like I could somehow measure up when she told me something along the lines of, “For a thick girl, you have tight skin on your thighs.” So I began to admire my thighs. They were thick but uncovered by cellulite. I began to idolize them too. Fast forward 3 years down the road and the now the suckers have cellulite – I thought. I can’t be bothered – lol.

The photo on the right is more than likely a year into my weight loss journey. It was taken at this christian conference called IFES World Assembly (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). I was a mess emotionally. I was so caught up in finding a guy and BOYYYY  am I thankful God protected me – a relationship when I didn’t even know my self-worth would have hindered my walk with Him severely. I wouldn’t have known how I deserved to be treated by and pursued by a guy because I was the one pursuing them so aggressively emotionally. I was not content with myself or with Jesus. I was still operating out of religion instead of relationship with Jesus. I’ve grown. Still unhappy with my weight but I found value in my work – which didn’t leave me in a better position either. I was still placing my value and worth in other things besides Jesus.

My struggle with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) made it extremely easy to gain weight yet so darn hard to lose it. Women with PCOS have a drastically slower metabolic rate compared to others. Hence why it was so easy for me to go from 180 lbs at the beginning of college to my present day 260 lbs. To top it off, I had poor eating habits and not enough encouragement. I also struggled with lots of depression.

Oh friend…this is one of my proudest photos. Do you see how skinny I am and how slim my arms are? DO you see how much thinner my torso was? Let’s not forget that face? Remember all that fat I had on my face?

I’m obviously being sarcastic.

I remember looking back on this photo and resenting my poor eating habits and exercise – I remember beating myself up mentally. I was so angry and disappointed that I “let go” of myself. I was angry. But back then, I still thought I was enormous. Do you see how the lies of the enemy work? I won’t even call them insecurities. Straight up lies.

Forward to present day Mims…

I cut my hair and put on a lot more weight. But you know what? I’ve grown so much. I’m content with my singleness. I have amazing community and prayer warriors who got my back. I’m growing. But I wish you saw that. I wish people saw who I was in God’s eyes before they saw my weight.

I pray that God would raise up more confident sons and daughters so that they would be the voice of His heart in society – not the voice of the enemy’s.

I honestly think and assume…no…we have made weight-loss and physical appearance a mad giant of a stronghold and idol in society. I think about it now and I am so shocked and disappointed at how much grounds we’ve given the enemy in our thoughts and lives so much so that these are the statistics I’m finding…

SAD STATS

This study found these significant mortality rates attached to the following eating disorders: 4.0% anorexia nervosa, 3.9% bulimia nervosa, 5.2% eating disorder – the fact that there’s even a death rate shows that there’s a ministry of light needed in the way we take care of our bodies.

“25-40% of people with eating disorders are males.”

Eating disorders rage among males because men are so stigmatized for what was originally thought of as issues “only women face” and so do not seek help.

Another study stated that, “Across age groups, in 2005−2006, 4 percent of hospital stays involving eating disorders were for children
under age 12. Young patients aged 12−19 accounted for 23 percent of stays. Patients aged 19−30
accounted for 27 percent, while patients aged 30−45 accounted for 25 percent of the cases. The
remaining 15 percent and 6 percent were for patients aged 45–64, and the elderly (65 years or older),
respectively.” Four percent for those UNDER age 12????

That same study pointed out that, “Hospitalizations involving eating disorders for children under age 12 increased 119% from 1999−2000 to
2005−2006. All the other age groups in 2005−2006 had more hospital stays comparing to 1999−2000
except for the age group 30−45. While eating disorder-related hospital stays decreased 3 percent for
patients aged 30−45, the hospital stays for patients aged 12−19 and for patients aged 19−30 increased
18 percent and 19 percent, respectively. A 48 percent increase of eating disorder-related hospital stays
occurred for patients aged 45−65, and a 24 percent increase occurred for the elderly.”

Isn’t this sickening and insane? The group coming in at under the age of 12 increased by 119%! This tragedy of health won’t slow down if we don’t do something about it.

Does it surprise you that the statistics is showing the enemy is crafting these strongholds on weight and appearance  starting with the young ones? For which they will struggle and be ineffective in this area of their life as teenagers and then as adults who risk raising yet another generation in this sickening entanglement and mindset. Does this surprise you? What are you going to do about it? I’m using this post and my songs to change society. What’s one small thing that God is asking you to do to bring light to this area in your life that will change the lives of others if you release that truth?

Eating disorders are not decreasing with age it would appear. The Renfrew Center in Pennsylvania, which is renowned treatment center for these things, has actually reported a 42% increase in middle-aged adults struggling with eating disorders between 2001 to 2010.

The International Journal of Eating Disorders surveyed around 2,000 women (50 and older). They found this: 70% were trying to lose it while an enormous 80% said what they saw in the mirror affected their self-image.

This is crazy because even I as a daughter of God have struggled too. And it’s weird knowing beautiful mature women I come across in the supermarket could silently be struggling with this at any point in time. Does any of what I’m showing you disturb you yet?

If not…there’s more. Unfortunately.

Our humanistic efforts of dealing with our physicality obviously backfired in very unhealthy ways: eating disorders…suicide… We desperately need Jesus. We need more people to release truth and to challenge the spirit of this age in schools, in churches, in our communities, in our own friend groups.

The next time you see a brother or a sister talking down to themself or nitpicking their bodies and their meals please encourage them and build them up with faith knowing that God will use your bravery and give you exactly the right words to say.

We cannot risk another area of our life being taken captive by the enemy. As the salt and light of this world, no area is too insignificant, un-cared for, or too big for God to move in. And He is not a God of ignorance – He releases knowledge and in doing so truth.

Disagree? The same study that calculated the mortality rates among the three different eating disorders also found this – a high suicide rate in those suffering from bulimia nervosa.

People are dying from this silent killer. Children are dying. We as a community are suffering in this area because we are ourselves are so un-knowledgeable about it that it is destroying some of us. Hosea 4:6

These are all demonic strongholds and attacks on the truth about our identity and God-worth. And we are fighting with dieting and not with the power of the Holy Spirit.

That’s why quite a number of us are literally dying from this attack on our souls. We have no Holy Spirit ammo found in the word of God that can be used to easily recognize and wage war on those seemingly coincidental thoughts that are really rooted in the lies of the enemy strategically placed their to oppress, distract, and destroy our life.

Did you know that “5-10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease and 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years.”

Were also aware that,  “the mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15-24 years old.”

Perhaps this video might convince you even further that this war needs more soldiers fighting back by seeking and revealing the truth that they discover from God boldly and unashamed and unafraid of the kickback they will receive from others…

 

I too struggled with eating disorders – mine was binge eating and constant overeating. I found my comfort in having more food in my tummy. I remember moments of eating so much that I would physically hurt myself and then hate myself for it. My life was unstable. I was visited by many bouts of depression, anxiety, and a spirit of isolation. I didn’t know that these were areas the enemy was attacking me in. I thought, “What could Satan care about my weight,” But he does. He knows that this is an area of our personal lives that can do the most destruction to his kingdom and that, if surrendered to God fully and filled with His truth on our identity in Christ, would make us more ineffective on earth.

There were many times where I thought that I would have been better off dead than alive and where I would get angry at God for giving me the family I had or the life I had. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be fought for. I wanted to know that someone out there found me worthy of their love and attention despite my weight.

God heard those prayers and He said there is no way in hell you are going to live this life without knowing the One who does love YOU. The One who died for you. The One who has fought many wars declared over you in the spiritual realm and in the natural. The One who knows that you are worth it.

He wants you to know that and now you will. I declare that over you bravely and with faith. Your season of struggling without hope, joy, strength, and without knowing how loved you are by God is over.

He is not an absent Father – He is a Good Good Father. He sees you. He knows you. He sent His son to die for you – not for your body or your looks. He’s sees much deeper than the surface and into your silent pain.

HOPEFUL TRUTH

So how do we get to where we should be? I would like to share with you what God has done in my life as I challenge you to live out truths in your own life and to take them seriously. Truth is your ammo – it also sets you free. This war on your soul isn’t casual. That’s why I am so passionate about filling you up with as much truth as I can so that God can use my faithfulness like a catalyst in a reaction to speed up in your life and to get going in your life everything the enemy is hindering. Therefore, I cannot be casual. I cannot worry about the truth offending anybody.

 That’s what I am praying that you open up your heart to as you prayerfully consider not just these next few words but carefully listening to how God wants you to apply them and live them out.

Not just this post but the entire series.

As for me, I am learning what it looks like to place my worth in how much God loves me and how I am seen through His eyes and nobody else’s. This is not the Mim you would have encountered some years ago.

Satan wants to keep us shackled and in bondage to those lies. Do you really think he wants this truth out there? I don’t the people you do therefor I cannot share this with them but you can. Truth isn’t to be hoarded but passed on. Satan makes it harder for us to be the light in this dark world by attacking us with fear, through those closest to us because he knows the hold they have on our heart, and by various lies and doubtful thoughts we often think are our own but are really and truly Satan’s minions – homeboy ain’t God ya’ll. He can’t be everywhere at once. So will you join me in being a truth releaser by sharing this post with anyone the Lord puts on your heart?

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