Tara Sun has built a community around loving and living God’s Word. With daily devotionals, podcast episodes and other resources, Tara loves putting her arm around her online friends, gently encouraging them to keep walking faithfully. She thoughtfully breaks down God’s Word into understandable, relatable pieces, while also showing her beautiful creative side through her digital art. It’s a grace to welcome Tara to the farm’s table today…
Resentment and embarrassment flooded my heart as I looked around the room at a half a dozen beautiful bridesmaids.
Like an all-out assault, my thoughts fired relentlessly at me.
“Oh, to have her tiny waist!”
“I wish I had her long legs.”
“Gosh, why is my chest so big compared to hers?”
“They all fit so much better in their dresses.”
It was the day that two of my childhood friends would say “I do” and enter into God’s beautiful covenant of marriage. My husband was the best man, and I was the matron of honor. Now, don’t get me wrong. There was nothing that could steal my joy for my friends, the beautiful summer day, or the sheer display of God’s glory through marriage. But man, did the enemy try hard to even steal tiny pieces of it.
While the photographer snapped pictures of the bridal party before the ceremony, I hid my insecurity behind a camera-ready smile. I tried to angle my beautiful, cascading bouquet of flowers over my midsection – one that had just birthed my beautiful baby boy four months prior. I tried to angle my body inwards to hide my chest that had grown exponentially from my new role as a nursing mother.
During the ceremony, I hid myself under an oversized jacket. (On a ninety-degree day of all days.) But the jacket wasn’t to make a fashion statement. It was a body shame covering.
“Fearfully and wonderfully made”, as the Psalmist said, is one that I have never really, truly understood until a few months ago. After nine months of pregnancy came the culmination, the crescendo, of that beautiful journey. An hour of pushing and out came the most beautiful dark-haired baby with the world’s shiniest eyes.
I was told that postpartum would likely be a rollercoaster of a ride, but I didn’t understand that until it began. Suddenly, my chest was constantly engorged and enlarged from the milk that would nourish my baby. Suddenly, my stomach was saggy and stretchy, speckled with brilliant red stretch marks.
I preached the message, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image!” but barely believed it myself.
My saggy skin. My mushy belly. My engorged chest. It all felt less than wonderful.
But after my best friend’s wedding, I had enough. The fact that I covered up my body in shame with a denim jacket in ninety-degree weather was enough. I ran to my Bible and poured over Psalm 139 again.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)
King David was a remarkable man. Not only was he one of history’s greatest kings and rulers; he was also a shepherd, soldier, poet, husband, and father. While he could have easily claimed that is what made him “awesome” and “wonderful” (NASB), he drew this simple, yet powerful conclusion.
He was fearfully and wonderfully made, not because of anything he had accomplished. Not because of his marvelous writing skills, musical talents, or excellent strategy as a soldier king.
“David could declare with all confidence in the world that he was fearfully and wonderfully made because of Who he was made by: God and only God.”
No, dear one.
David could declare with all confidence in the world that he was fearfully and wonderfully made because of Who he was made by: God and only God.
The Psalmist had seen enough of God, so much so that it ignited his admiration of the work of God, and ultimately, drew him to a holy reverence for the Worker Himself.
And what he said next is a marvelous thing.
This phrase stopped me in my tracks.
My soul clearly did not know this well.
You see, dear friend, the truth of the matter is, when we resort to shaming our own bodies, our souls truly do not know this truth well. Perhaps our souls do not even know this truth at all.
“True freedom from body shame comes by knowing that God Himself is wonderful and worthy to be feared and honored.”
True freedom from body shame comes by knowing that God Himself is wonderful and worthy to be feared and honored. When we believe this essential truth about our Creator with every fiber of our being, we can begin to teach our hearts to believe that our Good Creator does not make mistakes. He makes good creations. He breaths out only goodness of life.
He is intentional with every stretch mark, every dimple, and every curve.
Dear friend, we are not fearfully and wonderfully made because of our pant size. What makes us fearfully and wonderfully made is not whether we feel confident in a bridesmaid’s dress or not.
We are priceless, valuable, and loved – knitted intentionally and purposefully together because of God.
When our eyes are ever fixed upon the Rock of our Salvation, we can properly affix ourselves. When our eyes gaze upon His incomparable glory and splendor, we can gaze upon ourselves and others in the light of this unwavering truth: We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
“Do our souls know it well? Do we believe that God calls us beloved, with no strings attached?”
Do our souls know it well? Do we believe that God calls us beloved, with no strings attached? With no weight or pant size requirement? With no need to cover up our bodies in shame or embarrassment?
When we stand in proper awe of the Lord, when we stand in proper view of the reality of our Savior, we can stand in thankfulness and contentment for how we were created. Bumps, dimples, curves, saggy skin and all.
The world says confidence comes from “having it all together.” From fitting back into your jeans pre-pregnancy. From having a full, thick head of hair. From parading around your long, lean muscles that are “body goals.”
But I say confidence comes from knowing that you are held by God. True confidence comes from knowing that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, no matter what we look like. True confidence comes from knowing that we do not have to be a certain dress size to fulfill the great calling of our Great Savior. True confidence comes from knowing that we are God’s workmanship, created for good works in good bodies.
“For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36 NLT)
“In the fear of the Lord, one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26 ESV)
I don’t know about you, dear friend, but I don’t want to look back on my life and resent my body. I don’t want to waste another day wishing away the stretch marks that gave me my baby. I don’t want to wish away my tiger stripes that is evidence of a miracle God fulfilled through my womb. I don’t want to let silly, trivial, outward expressions of beauty to cultivate an inner spirit that is less than beautiful.
Wonderful are Your works, O Lord. Help our souls to know this well.
Tara Sun is an upcoming author (coming in 2023) and online community builder. Her podcast, Truth Talks with Tara, is dedicated to helping us know, love and live God’s Word. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and is a new mom, as of March 2022. Her ministry is just getting started. You can follow along with her over on her Instagram or on Tara Sun Ministries.