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I am fearfully and wonderfully made

July 25, 2012

A few days ago, I received a box from the “box man” as he’s known in our house (also known as the UPS Delivery guy).  Inside the box were four new books—three of which were brand new to me (the fourth I had checked out from the library and decided I just couldn’t live without it).  One of those books was Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner.

Lauren Winner was born and raised Jewish in Charlottesville, Virginia (the Charlottesville part is important just to me and mine because it’s in our backyard…right over the mountain from where I was raised).  In college she converted to Orthodox Judaism and then Christianity.  In this book she explores eleven Jewish spiritual practices and what they may look like for a Christian.  She doesn’t do this in the Messianic Jew or Zionist Christian vein—our heritage is Jewish so we should practice aspects of Judaism. Instead, she introduces the readers to the practices because she misses them and still sees the value in them.

While several stand out to be so far (I’ve read five of the eleven) and I love this book enough that I am going to suggest them to our curriculum committee at Sunday School, one has moved me—inspired me.

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.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

I thought of Psalms 139:13-15 this morning as I was getting dressed.  I thought of Winner’s thoughts on the body.  For a change, I looked in the mirror and as I put on moisturizer, I decided to thank God for what I saw instead of bemoaning the fact I am getting older.

Thank you God for these wrinkles that form around my eyes when I laugh and smile.  Thank you for years of laughing of and smiling that have given me these lines.

Thank you God for this no longer flat belly.  Thank you for this body that easily carried three children and performed as needed when it needed.  Thank you for this reminder that only you can create life and you have created all things good.

Thank you God for my scarred ankle.  Thank you for the ability to move and be active.  Thank you for the reminder that all parts of the body are necessary for fluid movement.  Thank you for always being present, even when accidents happened and things didn’t turn out as I planned.

Thank you God for these legs and this cellulite.  Thank you for a body that is strong and functional.

What if that’s how my day started out every day?  What if I stood in the shower and thanked God for my body—the weak parts, the strong parts, and the in between parts?  What if I actively recognized I was made in the image of God and claimed it for my own?  My purpose is so much more focused the times I have done been thankful for me.  God loves me for who I am and who I was created to be.  Why can’t I claim it with my physical body in addition to my spiritual self?  Why does my body need to be something I fight against?  Why do the functions of my body need to be embarrassing and why must my aging be fought?  How can I see the light in others if I can’t see past my own body to the beauty God has created in me?

Won’t that change how I take care of my body as well, if I see all of it as a gift given to me?  Maybe I will decide to eat healthy not so I can achieve a “perfect” weight, but so that I keep myself healthy and be a good steward of the body I was given. Maybe eating more healthy isn’t just a way of taking care of myself, but taking care of the earth as well. It is my responsibility to take care of myself–not so I can look someone in a magazine (who’s been airbrushed) or on tv, but so I am taking caring of what has been entrusted to me.  I exercise to take care of my whole person and not with the goal of having the 6-pack abs I wanted in high school (but never achieved!).

That’s my spiritual practice for awhile.  I will stand in the shower or look in the mirror and thank God for this body I have been granted.  All of it, not just the parts I am proud of, but the parts that have aged and changed, the parts that don’t work as well as they used to thanks to the injuries, and the parts that have never worked fabulously.

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