Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Stacy's story

I grew up in a small North Texas town where I truly lived a cross between Mayberry and Friday Night Lights! There is a lot to be said for growing up in a town where everyone knows you – a place you could safely ride your bike and leave your house unlocked. We were at church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights. During this time I don’t really remember ever thinking that I couldn’t do or be anything that I wanted. There was a lot of time spent with family and friends. It was a great place to grow up, and I am blessed by the experiences I had there.

Somewhere along the way – I think around middle school or maybe high school – I started hearing things that made me pause. Things like: “Wow, you are a lot bigger than your Mom.” “You are built just like a fullback.” “You definitely are well endowed.” “You don’t need to eat that.” I don’t really think these things individually bothered me so much at the time. I was active in sports and school organizations, spent a lot of time with my friends, and truthfully was probably too busy to think too much about it. I do, however, remember wanting to be pretty. Like many girls my age, I wanted to enter the SEVENTEEN magazine model search. I filled out the form, had a friend take my picture, and prepared to mail the application. You can imagine my surprise when I was encouraged not to mail it because I “wasn’t the type of person” they were seeking. It was certainly a case of a loving person trying to shield me from disappointment, but it was then that I really started questioning some of the other comments that I had heard.

After high school, I went off to college. It was here that being the “nice” one was reinforced. I somehow always fell into the “nice” category – never the “pretty” one. I had experienced a bit of this in high school, but it was definitely magnified in college and shortly after. I was the person who was the guy’s friend and helped set them up with my prettier, more desirable friends. This discouraged me, so I tried dieting and running only to have my body fail me. I couldn’t maintain the limited calories and exercise schedule without passing out or getting sick, so I had to give up the control. That summer break, I heard, “I guess weight can look okay on some people”, and “you would look a lot better if you could lose about 10 pounds.”

As I progressed from college into the real world, the comments continued. “Why don’t you get the mole removed from your face?” “You should wear your hair differently so that your face doesn’t look so round.” “You do not need to wear sleeveless shirts because your arms are too big.” “You really don’t have the body to wear that.” And finally my favorite: “I have never seen boobs so big in my life. I told my wife you made Dolly Parton look like a teenager.”

Just before and right after I was married, my body failed me again. I struggled with health issues that affected my fertility. After I married, I had two painful miscarriages, and I wasn’t sure I would ever be blessed with a child.

I have struggled since high school with my body image. What can I do to make myself feel more beautiful, and will I ever see myself the way God intended are two questions that I constantly ask myself. I know that I am created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). I also know that He knows the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7). If He took the time to make each of us this unique and knows us so intimately, then shouldn’t we value ourselves as much as He values us? Why do I and so many others give the devil this foothold?

I’d like to say that I am confident in my beauty and have overcome the struggle. I have not; however, I am striving each day to remember that I am here because of a God that loved me so much that He died for me. Since God loves me so much that he made no one else like me, can’t I try to love the way He made me a little more? My pastor Ed Young recently spoke about this and termed it living with “Godfidence.”

My story has a happy ending…God blessed my husband and me with the most precious, healthy son seven years ago. My body didn’t fail me then. I have also learned that the struggles I have experienced are in part so that I can empathize and encourage so many other friends who have also dealt with insecurity and infertility. In the end, my daily goal is to strive to view myself the way my Creator made me. I want our entire family to exude “Godfidence”, and I especially want my son to know the eternal definition of beauty!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14


  1. Stacy, you are a beautiful girl. Outside and in. Don't ever change who you are for someone else. It's loving ourselves that teach us to love others Agape love.

    Jackie, thank you for returning to this series.

    All my best,

  2. In high school, I thought you were one of the prettiest, smartest, funniest girls in the joint. In fact, I wanted to be you. And, to top it all off, you were kind and sweet to just about everyone. I never heard you say an unkind word to anyone. I know you weren't perfect, but you were never "a mean girl" and that is rare these days. Weren't we lucky to grow up in such a special place?