“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1
“You can’t give God your heart and keep your body for yourself” Elisabeth Elliott
A friend recently asked me, “If your children were taking care of themselves the way you do, would you be happy?” Mic drop. How would you answer that, mama? Ten years ago, my answer would have been very different than it is today!
I was overweight and plagued with blood sugar problems as a young child. I suffered mortifying body issues as a teenager. Eventually, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Countless doctors said I would never be able to lose weight or get pregnant, and I was a high risk for diabetes. The experts had spoken, so I accepted my fate, leaned into food as my comfort, and decided I’d just buy bigger pants. I didn’t have the will or time to exercise, and it didn’t seem like it would make a difference anyway.
When I moved to South Africa as a missionary and started raising a baby on my own, I hit rock bottom. I was a lonely, new mom in a foreign country. How could I be responsible for the precious little life I had been entrusted with when I couldn’t even take care of myself? I didn’t know where to start or how to find God.
I remembered Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
I had exchanged the worship Paul wrote about in Romans 12:1 (read the key verse) for comfort. I hadn’t even thought to seek God’s truth for my body after leaving doctors offices. Finally, I hit my knees and confessed to God that I felt out of control and like I had no options. In His kindness, the Lord opened my eyes to see that one thing I could control was what I put in my body and how I used it. There was no condemnation from Him, just an invitation to take a small step toward Him.
The same is true for you, Mama. There is no condemnation for you in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), no matter how you have treated your temple. Pray and ask God to help you be a good steward of the body He has given you and to know where to start.
This world has sickness, disease and brokenness that are often unavoidable. You can still bring your sacrifice to God by taking care of your body in whatever way He leads you to.
I imagined 5, 10 and 25 years ahead and knew I wouldn’t be able to stay on the mission field or have the energy to be the kind of mom I wanted to be. I decided to start with one small change. Every morning, I spent the 4 – 5 minutes it took my coffee to brew doing jumping jacks, squats and push-ups. My push-ups were terrible, but I was claiming back what was God’s, and He was restoring me. That was the beginning of a complete lifestyle change for me that started one small decision at a time. Today I am healthier than ever and have surprised every doctor by overcoming the odds.
Do you feel God’s sweet spirit nudging you to nurture your temple? Pray and ask Him to help you make one small decision today. A loved body will help you enjoy motherhood and is one of the best ways to teach your children that God lives in them!