Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday

I have not been feeling too bloggy lately, but I have been dying to share with you my big accomplishment: I finished my first 5K on Saturday! It was such a fun day, from start to finish. I loved being part of such a beautiful group of women that included every size, shape, color and age imaginable.

The challenge of training for and completing this race has taken on a deeper significance for me over the last couple of months. While I am incredibly proud to have reached one of my fitness goals, I am far more grateful to have finally come to a place where I can say I am at peace with my own body. Like so many other women, I have spent years at war with my body--starving it, stuffing it into girdles, hiding it under carefully chosen clothes, saying horrible things about it, keeping detailed lists of every flaw and mistake. My struggle with infertility was the last straw--not only did my body not look as it should, it wouldn't even work as it should. It was the ultimate betrayal.

However, on Saturday, as I ran alongside my fantastic clinic leader, Renee' I crossed the finish line and saw my wonderful husband cheering for my gorgeous little boy hugged me and cried, "Run! Run!" I looked around at all the amazing women who were celebrating our success together...I was finally able to reclaim this body for what it is: a gift from God. It's not perfect, but it is a gift nonetheless: A tool, a vehicle to move me through this life and allow me to work and play and serve and grow and experience all this world has to offer. I promised God that I would begin to celebrate the gift of my healthy body as a way of honoring Him, and so I thought I would start right here....

1. My arms can comfort my baby, hold my husband, and hug my friends.

2. My hands can write a note of encouragement and fix food for someone who's sick.

3. My legs take me quickly down to my baby's room when he needs me in the middle of the night.

4. My lungs allow me to sing praises to God when I gather with my church family.

5. My heart beats all day long, all night long--I never even have to think about it. That's pretty amazing!

6. My back is strong enough to carry an ever-heavier toddler, bring in the grocery bags, haul the laundry basket, scrub the toilet, and make my house a pleasant place to live.

7. The little lines forming around my eyes and mouth show that I have spent many, many moments of my life smiling. I am thankful for those moments--even if I'm not exactly thankful for the lines!

8. My feet have carried me through some of Jonesboro's roughest neighborhoods, down the dusty streets of Honduras, along mountain paths in Ecuador and trash-littered streets of Guyana, through cobblestone sidewalks in Hungary and Costa Rica, up the side of a mountain in Colorado and through dozens of flooded streets in Mississippi and Louisiana while I tried to do what God had called me to do in each of those places.

9. My body is the most sacred and special gift I can offer my husband.

10. My lips allow me to speak words of blessing to those I meet every day. What a powerful privilege and responsibility.

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Psalm 139: 13-14


Brian, Jamie, Molly & Sarah said...

You go girl! I think that sums it up!

Also, JM's shirt is absolutely fabulous!

Danna Ramsey said...

ASH! This was beautiful. I needed a smile this morning. I am so very proud of you. Wish I could have been there!

Hannah said...

What a wonderful post! You really know how to put things in the right perspective. I am so glad you are my friend! I loved getting to watch JM today. He is so funny! I forgot to tell you that he told me "thank you" when I handed him an animal cracker. I just thought you would want to know that he is doing what you taught him! It's a wonderful validation!

Brian, Jamie, Molly & Sarah said...

Hey honky! Are you ever going to post again? I am going through withdrawl!

Kim said...

Ashleigh - you said all of this so perfectly and eloquently! As women we beat ourselves up about the outward appearance, even though God looks at the heart. And I love how you saw a positive twist for each body part! I love your perspective. Thanks for changing mine!!!