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April 16, 2013

Body Matters Conference | Grace Church

Yesterday doesn’t make sense.  And my heart is breaking for those in Boston who have been affected by the bombings.  And while some will take this and things like 9/11 and lose their hope in the world and in humanity, I can’t say I blame them.  Because the truth is, humanity is going to let us down.  We aren’t perfect.  We aren’t always going to get it right.  But there is hope.  And I think that began to shine through as those who were able IMMEDIATELY stepped up and started to help.  It shined through as those who finished the race didn’t stop running but KEPT running to the hospital to donate blood.  It’s shining through as people around the world are praying and offerring help in any way they can.

But the truth is, we can’t let our hope rest in humanity because we’re going to let ourselves down.  But the One who will never let us down, who always keeps His promises, and who always gets it right is One we CAN put our hope in.  I know that everyone who reads this blog doesn’t believe as I do, but my faith is who I am.  It, unlike anything else I do or will do, will never change.  Ok, yes, my faith will grow and diminish at points (I’m human!), but my faith in Christ and what he did for us on the cross will never change.  I may not always be a photographer.  I’m not a mom right now, but I will be one day.  I haven’t always been a wife and if (heaven forbid), Ben breaks our pact to go to heaven at the same time (I’m talking exact same time! ;-) ), then I won’t be a wife anymore.  But I’ll always be a Christian because Christ is in me and he’s not going anywhere.

This past weekend, we had a women’s conference at church about body image.  As I sat in my office at church last summer and last fall, my dear friend Chrystie Cole would tell me about the research she was doing for this conference and how important it was that we talk about this!  Our culture has gone off the deep end in terms of body image and how we look and it was time that we sat down with our women and talked through some of this.  One thing that was mentioned was how Miss America will work out anywhere between 14 and 38 hours a week.  So yes!  She’s going to be toned and buff and in shape and look amazing.  But the thing is… that’s her JOB.  To be in shape.  To be a role model.  To take EXCELLENT care of her body.  Working out is NOT our job (for most of us anyway!), yet we keep comparing ourself to someone who works out for a living??  We aren’t giving ourselves a fair playing field there.

Just last night, as I dropped 90lbs of weight onto my back at the gym (don’t worry, I’m ok other than some bruises on my back and to my ego), Ben had to remind me that we aren’t competing.  We aren’t signed up for the Crossfit games and no one is judging us on what we can do or how much we can lift.  This is for US.  For our health and well being.

If you’ve been around the church for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard the saying that “our bodies are a temple of God and we need to care for them as such!”  Which usually translates into a list of things we shouldn’t do… don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t overeat, exercise, dress modestly, etc., etc.. But for a lot of us, as we hear things over and over again, they begin to lose meaning.

So, Chrystie walked us through some passages where scripture talks about our bodies being a temple.  So yes, even though it might be overused, it’s true.  But what I hadn’t thought about before is this… in the Old Testament, the Israelites built a temple to the exact specifications given to them by God (if you’d like a full lesson on this, pick up Beth Moore’s study called “A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place”.  It’s amazing!).  Well, inside of that temple was a place called the Holy of Holies and only the most high priest could enter.  In this place, the priest would make sacrifices for his sin and the sins of his people and God’s presence would come down to rest in that place, in the temple.  Well, when Jesus came to earth, he was ours and the last most high priest.  And when he was crucified on the cross (our sacrifice for our sin and everyone’s), the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies was torn… from top to bottom meaning that now, anyone could enter.  Because now, Jesus, God’s presence, resides in each of us… his temples.

And what she said next made it all come together… each of us needs to care for our bodies as the temples they are because all of us together make up the collective temple (the church).  So what each of us does to our own bodies doesn’t just affect us, it affects ALL of us!  We need each and every one of us to serve, to use our talents, and to reach out to those around us.  And if we’re hindered because of how we’ve been treating our bodies (too much or too little exercise, too much or too little food), then that affects the Kingdom!

My friend Kim was the MC for the weekend and 1) she’s beautiful inside and out, 2) she’s HILARIOUS, and 3) her heart is chasing after the Lord and that shines through!

Virginia Griffin is a wonderful woman that has been sharing her gifts and love for the Lord with our church for a while!
She and Chrystie tag teamed most of the weekend and it was wonderful!

And really, you can’t have a women’s conference without some yummy food! (Thanks, Anne Wood!!)
Please note, there was a wide variety of healthy options as well as yummy treats :-)

850 women in one room from 30+ churches and 7 different states.  Wow.

Psalm 139 should be one of those chapters that is underlined over and over and committed to memory…
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.”

“Modesty isn’t just about what we wear (because there’s nothing wrong with dressing to look great and to feel confident!), it’s an attitude… our eye contact how long we shake hands…”
This conference wasn’t about giving out a list of rules regarding what we can or can’t wear, it was about our heart and the WHY behind what we do.

The worship was… amazing.

So thankful for Caleigh and Courtney for leading!

Breakfast on Saturday morning was just as amazing as the treats the night before!

This?  This is a parade of scarves. And as Kim went down the line, these women shared things they wish we could not have!  Like zits…!  And all kinds of things :-)

Another break with more yummy treats (that I did not partake of… not finished with our Whole30 reintro just yet!)!

When we came back, Kim came back on stage with a scale tied to her.  And a pair of scissors in her back pocket.

We are FREE from a number and what our culture says is pretty.  Yes, we need to take care of ourselves (no matter our age or season of life!).
But, that looks SO DIFFERENT for each of us!  Because each of us is so uniquely designed!

Our last speaker was indeed a man.  Bill White, one of our teaching pastors, has actually been a huge part of our women’s ministry for a while.  He was a big part in developing
the curriculum for Ezer: Biblical Femininity.  If you’d like more info on that, I’d love to talk with you!!  It’s really changed how I view myself and my role as a woman who has
been created in God’s image (not as a wife, or a mom, or a single girl… but as a woman).

Yes, he can get a little intense, but he knows what he’s talking about and his heart is FULL of the Lord.
Bill so much wants for our women (and men too!) to really get and understand who God is and who He’s calling us to be.

Chrystie and Virginia said this weekend that this is only the beginning of this conversation.  It was an amazing conference but really, they only just barely scratched the surface.  I can’t wait to keep talking about this so that when we have a daughter one day (no time soon!), I’ll be more prepared to walk her through her teenage years long before she gets there.

  1. Kelley says:

    So well written and such beautiful pictures.

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