I use to be 35 pounds lighter than I am today.

The other day when a young woman told me that her number one goal in life is to be thin, my heart ached for her. Ladies, I am alive today to tell you that there is more to life than a number you see on a scale.

Our society defines beauty as a number on a scale, a dress size, inappropriately clad swimsuit models, pornography, the number of calories you eat in a day and the fact that you don’t eat hamburgers or ice cream. And each day, millions of girls and women from every country, get on a scale and hope to quench their yearning for happiness and success through the number that flashes back at them. I speak from experience when I say, that is fleeting beauty. I use to be 35 pounds lighter than I am today and could have easily died. My life, your life, is a miracle: cherish it.

It took me a while to comprehend that seeing my ideal number on the scale would never fulfill me. It’s so empty and tiring. The scale can’t measure your strength, beauty, courage, determination, perseverance, joy, love, gentleness, compassion, athletic ability and purpose. So you see, your validation of beauty and sense of acceptance, is not the width of your waist or the number you see on the scale. You aren’t your hair and skin color. You aren’t your shoe size or lipstick shade. You are not the number of miles you can run or sit-ups you can do. You aren’t the number you see in your jeans or the number of calories you consume at lunch.

What you are radiates from the beauty of your soul. You are beautiful because you are compassionate and sensitive. You are beautiful because you love passionately, have a gentle spirit and giving heart. You are beautiful because you find your worth in God the Father. You are beautiful because you are His daughter. You are beautiful because you embrace the challenge to be an authentic woman. Authentic beauty flows from the heart onto the face. Authentic beauty is compassion, forgiveness, gentleness, modesty, courage and strength. Authentic beauty is the Blessed Mother. Let us seek to mirror her beauty.

“Mary was not ‘full of grace’ because she was beautiful; she was beautiful because she was full of grace.” – Fulton Sheen

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On inside look at my journal from trauma therapy

Someone paid MIHI a beautiful compliment today. Your blog ‘I Fight Him With Love’ is the most beautiful blog for inspiration and anecdotes about being a truly beautiful woman.

Thank you so much, that was so sweet and kind!

Recently, Made in His Image has received a lot of emails in regards to therapy. Each week when I was in therapy, my doctor had me write a list of positive things from the week, as part of my homework. And I thought it would be a really great excercise for you too. Instead of focusing on the negative, how much it hurts, or how far you need to go: focus on the positive, what you are grateful for and write down your progress along your journey of healing.

The positive points below are taken from my journey and I would like you to read them and then come up with your own positive points each week and keep them in a journal. YOU CAN DO IT! Let me know how you do!

1. I looked at myself in the mirror and said aloud, “I’m a daughter of God, created in His image and likeness. I am beautiful because my dignity flows from Him. He doesn’t create ugly.”

2. A guy at work put his hand on my shoulder. It made me feel really uncomfortable, but I tried not to overreact and just to relax.

3. Tried to be more assertive at work. I did this by not asking what people thought, but instead was confident in my ability as a baker.

4. I didn’t lock my bedroom door this week.

5. I went running during the day light and tried not to let people staring at me bother me, or the guys that whistled at me. Man, I hate when they do that, it’s so annoying.

6. I went swimming and wore a bathing suit

7. I wore a sleeveless shirt without feeling self-conscious.

8. I saw my reflection in a window and saw God’s beauty, instead of the ugliness I have usually seen.

9. I decided after three years of being a slave to the effects of Charlie’s addiction to pornography that I wasn’t going to let it have a hold on me anymore. His addiction wasn’t my fault and I am beautiful.

10. I thought about how far I’ve come from college and thanked God for my progress.

11. I remember in college it was hard for me to wear shorts or short sleeves because I was so self-conscious. And I never wore my hair down because I knew some people would find it attractive, and I didn’t want anyone looking at me. But I did all of those things this week and it felt so good.

12. One night during the week I woke up from a bad dream and thought I heard somebody in my room. I got up and looked around my room and told myself that it was just a dream. And I didn’t even lock my door; I was proud of myself.

13. I tried really hard to look directly into someone’s eyes when I shook their hand. I also gave them a firm handshake.

14. One of the guys at work saw me lifting the 50 pound bag of flour and he offered to help me. My naturally inclination was to say, “I got it.” But, I thought about what Dr. Bellet said about letting people, especially men help me so I said, “thank you that would be great.”

15. I’m getting more use to physical touch, one of the girls at work gave me a really tight hug and it actually felt good.

16. I let my roommate braid my hair because I had accidentally sliced my finger at work and couldn’t braid my hair. It didn’t hurt, it actually felt good to let someone help me.

17. I chose to continue to choose forgiveness.

If you settle for anything less than the greatness that has been made possible for you, you are ignoring the twitch of the Divine weaver on the thread of your life. Let His grace lift you to where in your heart of hearts you want to be. ~George Weigel

It was harder to complete therapy, than to be a D1 Athlete.

I just got in from a hardcore run and a beautiful Rosary walk. Now, it’s time for some pizza and wine. But first I wanted to answer one of the many questions MIHI has been asked about therapy.

Also, really exciting news: Tomorrow morning, I will be live on the Teresa Tomeo Show on Ave Maria/EWTN radio. It is for a live interview (Thurs, 5/24) from 9:39-9:57am EST! Tune in and listen if you can! Click HERE to listen online.

Question: I’m so tired after therapy, is that normal?

Be at peace, it is completely normal to be tired after therapy. Therapy is hard work, it was harder for me to complete therapy, than to be a Division 1 athlete. Due to the nature of what you are talking about it is completely normal for you to feel physically and emotionally drained. You are engaging your mind, memory and senses in events that were/are exceedingly traumatic or painful for you. And this requires energy, which is the reason you are tired.

Something that I did, that you might consider trying, is to take it easy after your therapy sessions. I would always go pray afterwards, then do something relaxing, for example: take a nap, go for a walk, write, draw, go for coffee with a friend, or something fun. Perhaps you could try to do something painless and easy after your therapy sessions too.

Also, it’s okay to cry too when it hurts. Trust me, I did plenty of crying before, during and after my sessions. And remember, crying doesn’t mean you’re weak.

Imagine if you ran a marathon, what would you do afterwards? You would relax, refuel and take it easy, right? Picture therapy as your marathon. Therefore, you need to relax afterwards and realize that it’s okay to be tired. Would you get upset at yourself if you were tired after a marathon? Of course not!  Now apply the same mindset to your therapy sessions.

As a runner, it’s easy for me to compare life situations to running. But if you aren’t a runner, you can easily compare it to something else that you do on a regular basis.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

So why MIHI, he asked…

Yesterday someone asked me, Why did you launch Made in His Image? And this is my answer: Made in His Image exists to help women find their worth and cherished dignity as a daughter of God. This is for the woman who sees her self-worth through a number on a scale. This is for the woman who looks at a photoshopped model and wants to be her. This is for the college athlete who needs to try harder to honor God with his or her athletic ability. This is for the college student whose hope has run dry. This is for the young girl who has nightmares of traumatic events and still locks her door at night because of fear. This is for the girl who has scars on her body from abuse and even deeper emotional scars on the inside. This is for the woman who just heard the words from her boyfriend, I’m addicted to pornography. This is for the woman who can’t stand her reflection in the mirror. This is for you, because I love you. I love you with every ounce of my sensitive heart. And I will not stop until you know the Father’s love, until you feel His gentle arms around you saying, you are my child and I love you not because of what you do, but because you are mine.

Now, on to some positive thinking…

You are what you think! Today, take one negative thought and turn it into a positive thought. For example, if you look in the mirror and are tempted to think “I hate my body” instead, choose one positive thing about your body. For instance, “I love that my eyes are blue.” I know you can find something positive. Try!

ALSO: YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN! Poor planning leads to a disaster.

One woman involved with Made in His Image wrote the following.

Summer Goals:

  • Daily Holy Hour
  • Daily Mass (3 times a week)
  • Confession twice a month
  • Sunday Mass
  • Continue counseling
  • Go to the beach frequently
  • Train for 5K (5 Days a week workout: 3 cardio intense days, 2 light cardio days & lifting)
  • Overcome my eating disorder
  • Lose weight in a healthy manner
  • Job if possible
  • Lots of baking/cooking
  • Read lots of books
  • Write
  • Take pictures
  • Go to at least one concert
  • Most importantly, make Jesus happy!
That’s AWESOME!! MIHI is so proud of her!

Another woman wrote:

I remember once, about a month ago, when I was extremely hurt and felt such a strong urge to binge/starve myself, drink and cut myself or take an overdose. Instead I decided to try something different and I went to the chapel and prayed and cried my heart out in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The release, peace and joy I felt afterwards were incredible. – written by one of the women Made in His Image helps hold accountable

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament….There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires. – J.R.R. Tolkien

What’s your plan? Let Made in His Image help you! Contact us today!

YOU Have a Purpose

The other day someone really special to me sent me this and when I read it I thought of MIHI. I meant to post this yesterday for my weekly Wednesday Inspiration. So this is your Wednesday Inspiration posted on Thursday.

The following passages are easier said than lived out eh? But here’s the challenge – let’s live it out. Let’s place our trust in God. Let’s let Him use us as He wills. Let’s be saints.

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.

Let me be Thy blind instrument. I ask not to see. I ask not to know. I ask simply to be used. – John Henry Cardinal Newman

They need YOU!

In fact, we have no conception of just how much they need us. For at every moment of their existence they suffer more than the human mind can comprehend. The torrents of suffering they endure are in reparation for their sins against God, for they must be purified before entering Eternal Life. These are the holy souls in Purgatory.

Would you like to help them? Wouldn’t you like to relieve their immense pain if you could? Well you can!

Today is the feast of St. Gertrude the Great. St. Gertrude’s life was the mystic life of the Cloister, a Benedictine nun. She meditated on the Passion of Christ, which many times brought a flood of tears to her eyes. She did many penances and Our Lord appeared to her many times. She had a tender love for the Blessed Virgin and was very devoted to the suffering souls in Purgatory. She died in 1334. Her feast day is November 16th.

Our Lord dictated the following prayer to St. Gertrude the Great to release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said.

Eternal Father, I offer thee the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with all the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Let’s pray for the release of every soul from Purgatory today in honor of St. Gertrude. Ask God today, especially during the 3 o’clock hour – the hour of Divine Mercy. Ask Him with confidence and faith, knowing that He alone can do all things, if it is aligned with His most holy will.

Just imagine how those souls will pray for you when they enter Eternity and learn that YOU helped them arrive there sooner. Their gratitude will be boundless and for all Eternity they will besiege our Heavenly Father for your sanctity and soul. For how could they not? Wouldn’t you?

St. Gertrude the Great, pray for us!

Pornography Awareness

This week October 30, 2011 thru November 6, is White Ribbon Against Pornography Week (WRAP). Pornography harms. Pornography isolates. Pornography degrades. Pornography destroys.

Don’t be indifferent, fight courageous against this evil, protect the sacredness of the human body, be virtuous.

For more information visit The King’s Men website.

Also, check out this video clip for the movie Out of the Darkness.