The Hogwash Of Beautifully and Wonderfully Made

Christianity, Self-Image, Marriage and Sex
by Nashville Boudoir Photographer Caley Newberry

"For it was You who created my inward parts;
You know me together in my mother's womb.
I will praise You
Because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-14

Oh, how many times I've heard that verse. How I, as an insecure teenager with curling iron bangs and a little pot belly, had it written on a note on her mirror. How I, now, as a 30-something wife, probably should still have it there. 

And how its words still sometimes cross me as hollow. 

Yeah, yeah, God thinks I'm beautiful. Of course He does. That's also what my parents said of the "art" I made them as a kid, but it was totally underwhelming. Just like I feel a lot of days when I look in the mirror. 

Wives, have you withheld yourself, physically or emotionally, because you don't feel, deep down, that you're "remarkably and wonderfully made"? Because you feel underwhelming? I did. Last week. Three days in a row, when the scale was the highest it's been in my life. 

And, sometimes, like that falling sensation in a dream, God wakes me up to the Truth. 

Believe it, Wife. Believe it, Mom, Believe it, Fiance. Believe it, wonderfully single, still-searching, beautifully-and-wonderfully-made woman. 

Let the world's unrealistic expectations and distorted ideals fall by the wayside. Shove aside the misgivings you have about your appearance. Believe what your husband and your Creator say about you: You are beautiful. Remarkably and wonderfully made by a Master Craftsman. 

With the New Year, I began a plan to read the Bible in a year, and I realized while reading the early chapters of Genesis how much God cares about your sex life. 

"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman,"
for she was taken out of man."
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they becone one flesh.
Adam and his wife were both naked, and
they felt no shame.
Genesis 2:21-25

Somehow, I think Christians have gotten the notion into our heads that physical desire and sexual acts came about as part of the sin that entered the world through Adam and Eve. Yet, this picture of marriage is told in Genesis 2, before the fall of man. God's design for sex in marriage is shown even from the first chapter of the Bible. Before he tells us about envy, before he tells us about guilt. Before he tells us about jobs or grace or fear. Before he tells us about children and race and loving the poor and protecting the persecuted. From the beginning, we were designed to become one flesh. We were designed for sex. And God thought it was important enough to include an entire book of His word around that one idea.

I'm not sure how I feel that Eve was able to prance around a garden naked 24/7 because grass itches and sticks and bugs and confidence issues. I'm a huge proponent of encouraging marriages, but I'm not there. :) But she was solely his, intended for companionship and partnership, and he hers. 

I think we forget that sex in marriage isn't just uniting in one flesh, but also reuniting — returning to the intimacy God intended for husband and wife from the very beginning. 

I pray today that you will fully believe that you are beautifully made. That you will pursue the health of your body. And that you'll let go of unrealistic body ideals pushed by a secular world that doesn't understand the deeper meaning of sexual intimacy in marriage. That He, the Master of the universe, will give you the confidence to offer your body to your husband so he can delight in your feminine beauty. That you'll see sex and intimacy as a gift from God. 

Please also know that this is advice intended for those in loving, healthy marriages and not pressure to push through issues in an unhealthy or unhappy one without addressing those root issues first. I'm not a therapist, and I'd encourage you to reach out to one if that is you. I'm also here and happy to pray for you, if that is you.