Gratitude for the Body You’ve Been Given

By Katie Sommers

I have been struggling with body image ever since I was in middle school. It seems like a pretty common issue among young women. Back then, I thought none of the boys liked me because I was “too fat.” (I was nowhere near “fat,” but I came up with this lie about myself, thinking there must have been something wrong with me.) This lie has stuck with me even through college.

I like to think of myself as a pretty positive person, but when it comes to my body, I can be pretty critical. When I look down at my stomach or my calves, I don’t see a beautiful gift from God, or limbs that move at my command—I only see the negatives. I notice that when I look down, I often don’t see good. Rather, I saw fat, faults, and flaws that I regard as pathetic results of my carelessness. Why is it that I easily can point out the beauty in others, but when it comes to myself, I cannot help but pick out the faults?


And to make it all worse, I constantly compare myself to others. When I see someone tall and slender, I suddenly feel short and fat. When I see someone with skinny legs, arms, and abs, I suddenly feel lazy. And the list goes on. Why am I like this? Why can’t I just rejoice in the beauty of others without forgetting my own?

But really— each body is so amazing. Not only is every body unique in so many ways (fingerprints, hair texture, eye color, etc.), but every body is truly a miracle made in the image and likeness of God. Every body has so much potential. When you see a baby, you can see how the baby’s legs are likely going to grow and how the human body is made to get stronger, to stretch, and to transform.


I think if we saw the full potential of our bodies, we could start to see the full potential of our whole selves—our souls, how we spend our time, and our relationships.


Bodies heal themselves, they fight for our health, they can get tan, they give you endorphins, they can sit for hours. Bodies can leap, run, lay, swim, crawl, dance, twist, bend, sit, kick, squat—the possibilities are limitless. Bodies can even be art (i.e. through dance, sports, or makeup), and bodies can even express a language.

I think it really sad how easy it is to misuse our own bodies— whether that be using them to do evil, or doing nothing with them. Either way involves not trying to achieve their full potential to do good.


So many times we neglect our bodies. We find ourselves spending hours idly sitting on our butts, comparing ourselves to people on Instagram. It is so easy to take our bodies for granted. Think about all the people who would love to spend a day with a completely healthy body with all of its parts moving fluently— the elderly who cannot walk any more, the amputees who would love to just walk normally again, etc.

Your body is a gift, so next time you look at your leg and only see fat or some other insecurity, think for a moment about who else in the world would long for functioning legs, or to be young again, or to have the great capacity for healing and cherishing that beautiful instrument.

Deepfake: When the Nudes Aren’t You

By Rebekah Hardy

A few years ago, I was sitting at my teacher’s desk while my students took their religion test. I was going back and forth between grading papers and checking my email when suddenly I saw one, then ten, then twenty friend requests come in to my Facebook inbox from men that I didn’t know. I checked my page to see what was going on and if I was getting spammed. When I checked my inbox there were messages… gross ones. 

I didn’t know what I did to bring all of this creepiness into my life. I ignored the messages and just deleted them thinking it was some kind of awful mistake that all of these people were messaging me. The next day I received even more friend requests and then finally a message that made my heart stop. Someone was kind enough to send me screenshots from a couple of popular sites… it was a picture of my face photoshopped onto a naked woman’s body with all my contact information listed. I couldn’t believe it.

I was struck with absolute horror and my stomach turned in disgust that someone would do this to me. I had never taken a naked picture in my life! I felt so shameful knowing that all of these men in my friend requests were looking at a picture of someone who they thought was me. People were lusting after this picture of someone they probably imagined was a consenting adult. I was horrified at the thought that one of my students, my boss, my friends, would come across this and how much damage that would produce- even though it was fake. 

I felt like it was real. The person who sent me the screenshot to me said they were so sorry someone had shared my pictures… but they weren’t even mine. Somewhere in the world, however, there was someone who did take that picture of herself. My heart broke at the thought that she was also being exploited through this. I felt for my poor sister in Christ.

For weeks I would report these pictures and they would be taken down only to pop back up a couple of days later with more raunchy captions. I felt like I wasn’t safe when I would think about the ill-intentioned people who might be on these sites seeing the place I worked next to the naked picture of “me”. I would have nightmares about them showing up at my work and following me through the parking lot. Out of fear for my safety, I told the priest who was my boss at the time about what I was going through. Thanks be to God, he took me under his wing and immediately reached out to the police in our school district to report everything that happened. He told them to keep an eye on me and make sure I was okay- and told me to call him if I ever felt unsafe.

That same day I went to my hometown police station with my dad and received so much kindness and concern from them as well. I got several calls from the lieutenant who took down my story over the following days to ensure that all was well and to give an update of the status of things. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t do this earlier. It was partly out of shame. I was so embarrassed at the thought that they might not believe my story. For fear of being misunderstood or disbelieved, I suffered in silence.

The whole time this was happening, my only consolation was that I knew it wasn’t me. Even if everyone else didn’t know that, at least I did. However, something else was weighing on my mind at the time… I thought of everyone in the world who this actually happens to. Revenge porn is a real thing and I know people who have actually had their real nudes circulated online by an ex or a spiteful friend. To this day, I pray for those men and women. The human body was never made for this.

To all of the women and men who have been lied to and made to believe that sending nudes is a normal thing- I am sorry. To all of the women and men who have been exploited because of nudes they have sent- my heart breaks for you. To all of the people who are reading this and are tempted to judge those who ask for and those who send nudes- don’t. None of us are perfect but all of us can be better.

For anyone who might be feeling pressured to send nudes, I would just like to encourage you and tell you that it isn’t worth it. I promise you that anyone who’s love or attention might be hinging on the requirement that you show them something so personal and sacred as your naked body is not the kind of “love” or attention that you deserve. While that may sound arbitrary, believe me, I know. I have had pressure to do the same thing from people I’ve dated and people who weren’t even looking for a relationship with me. Looking back, I am so thankful that I didn’t give them what they were looking for.

If you’ve sent nudes before and you feel like you can’t turn back now- that’s a lie from Hell. We know from Saint Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians that “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17). It is never too late to start over when you have Christ. Start today. Let Him make you new. That isn’t you anymore.

Fearless Strength

By Brigitte Bowman

It was a cold October night. I didn’t know what to expect, thinking this night would be the same as every other. My parents happened to be out of town, so it was just the three youngest of six at home, just us sisters. We weren’t scared about being alone together; as far as we knew, we would always keep each other safe. We finally all went to sleep.

So there I was, asleep in my bed. And then I heard a voice from God saying: “Wake up.” My eyes opened to see an unknown man with a mask standing over me.

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Chivalry Is for Women Too

By Hadley Adair

Valentine’s Day was approaching, and I, being the haughty, single woman I was, had adopted a new motto. I began to tell everyone I encountered: “You know, guys cannot complain about being single on Valentine’s Day. That’s all on them.” This phrase led to my reasoning that if they want a girlfriend, then they have the freedom to ask a girl out, but us poor women are simply maidens in waiting. Poor us, striving for authentic, Christ-centered relationships, yet living in a time when chivalry is far gone. I had reduced my vocation to the mere passivity of waiting to receive, while at the same time demanding of men immediate and heroic action.

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Our Worth: In Our Eyes vs. The Eyes of the Creator

By Amelia Harman

Think about God as a sculptor. As a sculptor, he begins with this amazing idea. He begins to dig deeper into this idea, forming aspects and qualities of this piece of work. He spends days upon days sculpting every single detail to perfection, before he finally sits back and admires his work of art. He loves it. He adores it. He thinks it is his greatest masterpiece of all creation. He knows it is worthy enough to be presented to the world. He wouldn’t send out an unworthy or unfinished work of art to the world.

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