Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Dress is a Size 14

Last week, my mom and I decided to head out to a bridal show nearby. It was completely impromptu, and we had no idea what we were getting into. We figured we would walk around, get some business cards and free samples, and start diving into the madness that is wedding planning. For those of you that aren't aware, wedding planning is a lot of work! I had no idea where to start with anything, so we decided the bridal show would be the best start for ideas. After pigging out at Sheetz (another beautiful reason I love Western PA,) we started off to the show. Once I figured out that there was a fashion show at 11, we decided to detour to David's Bridal to take a look around.
One thing I learned as a result of going to David's Bridal: there is no such thing as "going to take a look around."  We walked into the store, thinking to just browse for ideas, and immediately I was assaulted with women giving me forms to sign, bags of books to look through, and free chocolate to eat. (Skinny Cow only, gotta fit into the dress!) As my consultant measured me, I started to get a little embarrassed.
For one thing, I was in no way prepared to try on wedding dresses. You're supposed to be there with your bridal party and future mother-in-law and all that crew, not just your mom. You're supposed to be tiny and fit into every dress they shove you in and leave room for them to clip it smaller so it fits better. (Warning! This next one may get weird!) You're supposed to be skinny, wearing the correct bra and underwear (not cheetah stuff, in case anyone was wondering,) and definitely not bloated from the effects of a combination of Sheetz food and Mother Nature. I've watched enough Say Yes to the Dress to know these little facts. The big reason for my embarrassment, though, was watching myself get dressed. I am all curves and awkward angles - big hips, big chest, big thighs; you name it, I have it in the plus size. Trying on the dresses was starting to get almost uncomfortable, because I kept not fitting into dresses, and only seeing my imperfections.
So you can imagine my surprise when I stood in the dressing room in a corset and slip, trying on dress after dress. Before I even knew it, I slipped on another dress that the consultant had put in the room for me...and just stopped. It was perfect. As I walked out of the dressing room, I saw that the dress didn't close in back. As a matter of fact, barely any of them did. The consultant and the seamstress came into the dressing room after, taking more measurements and deciding that I would need to order a size up from the sample - making me wear a size 14. At that moment, though, I knew that it didn't matter that it wasn't the right size. It didn't matter that it needed altered. All that mattered was that finally, after what seemed like a lifetime of searching, I felt beautiful.
Sure, I've felt beautiful a few times in my life. Once in a while when I had a nice outfit on, or was on a special date with Ryan, I would feel kind of beautiful. Otherwise, though, I never really felt it. According to society, my size is too fat. Too big. Too much of everything. Size 8 is too big for jeans to be on a woman, because it's much too far away from a size 0 - let alone a 00. A large shirt isn't ideal, because only extra small shirts are okay. And, most definitely, a bride shouldn't feel beautiful if her dress is anything bigger than a 4.
I'm not one to mince words. I obviously don't care what others think, considering I just named my sizes on the internet - big no-no for society today! Why should I care what people think of me? Nothing is wrong with my body. My God made me exactly as He wants me. Why worry about His workmanship?
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
We are not our own. Our bodies don't even belong to us - they're temples for the Holy Spirit. That temple was made and designed to be exactly as it is - whether it's a size 0 or a size 10.
I have oodles to say on this subject - it's a hot button topic nowadays. As a curvy girl, I can choose to either shut up and accept what society says, or I can embrace the temple God has given me. My favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 31:30.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Who cares what people think about our bodies? What does it matter that I don't look the same as you, or my friends, or the supermodel on the tabloid? It doesn't matter how much I put into my appearance. Beauty will fade away one day. It's not going to matter in 1 year, in 5 years, in 10 years, or even an hour from now. I am God's temple, beautiful in a size 0, AND a size 14. Whatever size I end up in come November, I'm still going to be beautiful to my family and friends, to my incredible husband-to-be as he watches me walk to him, and to my God, who I know will be smiling down on His daughter as she gets married.
My challenge to you is this - are you caught up in your body image? Are you concerned what people say when you go shopping or think about wearing a certain piece of clothing? Stop right there. Don't be. God loves you just as you are, no matter the number on the tag. He made you exactly as you are, and He's made incredible things. If He can make the universes and place all the stars in the sky just so, who are we to question how He designed us?  Read Psalm 139:14 until you have it memorized - we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Consider your self image. Do you realize how beautiful you are? If not, take a look - you are.
Are you in?



Well, hello out there. It's been quite some time since I last posted - really, how has it been 8 months? I don't quite remember how to even post on this blog anymore, and I don't remember where I was going with anything I posted previously...but it's okay. It'll work out, somehow.
I tried making a resolution for this year to post at least once a week, but I didn't even bother making it. With how crazy my life has been over the past few months, and with how crazy it most certainly will be in the coming months, how could I commit to posting every week? I'm certainly going to try and post as much as possible, but life happens, my friends. And I certainly will not be sorry because of it.
Just to fill everyone up to speed with my life, I'll give a quick recap of the past year or so. Things have been crazy, and much has changed - for the better!
Blessing #1 - I'm halfway through my senior year of college, and it is terrifying. If someone would have come to me a year ago at this time and told me how insane this next year would be, I would have probably locked myself in a room somewhere and cried. There have been days of total exhaustion, of questioning God's plan for my life (several of those a week, in fact!) and days where I absolutely had to drag myself to the car to make the drive to Pittsburgh. Student teaching has been fun, but it certainly has been difficult and oh-so-exhausting. Like I said, I'm halfway through. This next semester starting in a week is sure to be the craziest and most difficult yet. I'm ready though, and I can do it.
Blessing #2 - Gone are the days where posts like these are frequent. God works in mysterious ways, my friends...and sometimes those ways are completely strange, unexpected, and incredible. I had the blessing of meeting the love of my life in this past year, and as of last December we're officially engaged! Our wedding is planned for November, and so my winter break has been filled with wedding planning, thinking of what to do and where to have it, and just sitting back and seeing what an incredible time it's been. He's my best friend, a total man of God who is dedicated to his fiancee, his family, his job, and his God. I'm so blessed by having him in my life, and I can't wait for our life together to begin!
Blessing #3 - Since it's my last semester here coming up, that means that I'll be graduating in May. In less than 5 months, I'll be finished with my education and thrown into the real world. Last year at this time, I was terrified to even consider what would happen when I graduated and had to consider reality. Now I'm filled with this weird sense of peace. I know I should be flustered - finding a job, much less a teaching job, in today's world is a miracle all in itself - but really, I'm not. At least, not at the level other people are. I know it'll be difficult to find a job, and it can be super stressful (and adding the fluster of planning a wedding on top of that!) but I know it'll all work out. Jeremiah 29:11, right? Goodness knows I've been leaning on that verse lately! So I can't find a job right away. That's okay. I can substitute as much - or as little - as I want, and continue searching as I live with my HUSBAND (!) who thankfully has a great job that can provide for both of us until I find one for myself. God is faithful. It'll work out.

So, there's a lot going on. Many changes will be happening this year, and hopefully this blog will be right with it. Forgive me for the gaps in posting so far, and for the gaps in posting that will most certainly happen in the future. No official challenge happening in this post, but I would encourage you to sit back and count your blessings. It's easy to get caught up and overwhelmed in the nonsense that can accompany a new year - resolutions failing, heading back to work with a busy schedule, all of those fun things - and so it can be difficult to get away and see the good in all the fuss. Take a piece of paper and start simple - your family, your friends, your health, anything. You may be surprised how quickly your list - and your awareness of your blessings - can grow.

Are you in?


P.S. - Here's a picture of my fiance and me taken at our engagement shoot yesterday. Isn't he handsome?