This is the next to last post in this series I have been running since December. I have to say this one broke me wide open. I can say candidly that as women we struggle with our bodies, some to different degrees than others. I relate to Nicole in feeling deformed about my body, it was born with something wrong. I had brain surgery to “fix it” but it still feels broken.
Reading her words of beauty that came from The Most High. The words of love that speak to true beauty.
To Breaking Beauty.
I fought that word. Beautiful. We wrestled and she broke open. Her guts spilling everywhere. I never meant to break her, I just wanted to own her.
Breaking Beautiful turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. God is like that. He takes the broken things and says, “Now that’s better.” At the age of 30, I finally broke open my idea of how Beautiful was allowed to look and be. And now Beautiful is everywhere, spilling all over, even in me. When I stopped trying to own her, Beautiful was mine.
But it wasn’t always this way.
I was born deformed.
1. (of a person or part of the body) not having the normal or natural shape or form; misshapen.
My spine is misshapen, with severe scoliosis. You wouldn’t know it, necessarily. I am a very good hider. I’ve always been small in every way. I’m the kid that climbs out of her hiding place long after the game of Hide ‘n’ Seek is over, only to find everyone eating lunch. So, I hid my deformity, but sometimes it peaked out in the way I stood or held my head. I had to remember to stand taller and tilt my head back up to hide the problems inside of my body.
I thought God made my birthday suit wrong. Imperfect. Deformed. The curve of a spine moving slowly but surely in the wrong direction since before I was born. The center of my being pulling to the side. While others grew strong and straight, I grew slanting and sliding. Now, there are artificial rods freezing my spine in place, fused in an epic surgery just before puberty. Metal and plastic serving as scaffolding for this building that will never be renovated – at least not in this life. My body was made stable, but never how I’d hoped. And so I grieved my reality. I didn’t understand why an all-powerful God would mess up on making me.
Grief and mourning are the exhale of a healthy life, I know now. Love and gratitude are the inhale. With each breath, now I see it. My grief was never weakness. It was and is the natural exhale of my living, breathing soul, and there always comes a time to breathe IN.
“All beautiful you are my darling,
there is no flaw in you.”
This surprising little verse … in a little book in the Bible all about sex and glorious bodies… is my life’s verse. It came to me when I thought this body was done for after another major injury from childbirth. I questioned how I would ever find pleasure from my body that just kept getting further and further from perfect.
All Beautiful. There is no flaw. My Darling.
Sometimes the one who struggles with doubt is the one most touched when God shows His hand.
Over and over, after that verse snuck into my heart, I asked God “How? Why?” It made no sense. Obviously, I am deformed. Obviously. Every doctor and chiropractor and observant 4th grade boy could tell you that. By definition there is a FLAW in me. So we wrestled, me and this verse. “All Beautiful.” My definition of beautiful didn’t include all of me, and yet here were words stating the opposite. They felt true – too good to be true and yet still true.
The whisper in my gut said that these words were meant for me. Not just me, but … all PEOPLE.
All People, the Darlings of God. All Beautiful.
No mistakes. If I don’t find something in my body beautiful, then my definition of “beautiful” is wrong, not my body.
Psalm 139, The one that used to taunt me because I could not thank God for my body… now I am starting to stand curved and beautiful under it. To know I was formed on purpose just the way that I am, and that YOU were too:
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.”
This is the amazing thing. He knows my every bone. What was called “deformed” by the world is purposefully, beautifully formed by God. Not deformed. Just formed. The rods fused to my spine are a part of me now, a reminder that I am cared for in surprising ways and a reminder that beauty is not perfect. It is Good.
When God made us, he said “Now that’s good.”
The Hebrew word for GOOD, “TOWB”, also means BEAUTIFUL.
For instance, in Genesis, as the stars and the ocean are made, as the trees and the sun are formed, God says they are “good.” When we were formed, He said we were “very, very Good.” Very, Very Towb. Beautiful like the stars are beautiful. Beautiful like a tree. Even MORE beautiful than those.
This body is not perfect, but it is good.
It is beautiful.
I still wake up wanting to fight that word, but then I remember the truth. When God created my birthday suit, he said it was very, very good. And I am starting to believe Him.
“All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you.”
-Song of Songs 4:7
Nicole is a helluva of a writer, and awesome friend who loves with all her heart and funny as shit.