Every day, especially in the winter time, I enjoy my morning shower. I turn the hot water tap on as far as I can, without burning myself, and feel my muscles relax. As my whole body warms up, I quietly listen for any words that the Holy Spirit might want to say to me.
This morning the following phrase popped into my mind—“you have given me a body”. I knew immediately where the phrase came from and what it meant for me. Those were the words that Jesus spoke when talking about the body that Abba Father gave to him. (Hebrews 10:5 NLT) He recognized that his flesh and blood body was a gift.
I’m blown away by the following statement—“because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood” (Hebrews 2:14 NLT).
Does Jesus understand and care about our physical needs? Yes! Yes! And Yes! He experienced thirst, hunger, fatigue, and pain in a body that was just like ours.
The questions for each one of us to ask ourselves are: How much do I value my flesh and blood body? How am I treating it? Is there any need that I’m ignoring?
I had to confess this morning that, lately, I’d not been appreciating my body very much. I’d been complaining about the time that it takes to exercise and the time that it takes to prepare the nourishing food that it needs. I’d been grumbling about the wrinkles in my face and the gray in my hair. Instead of treating it as a gift that I valued, I been treating it as necessary inconvenience.
What a contrast between my attitude and that and the words of the Psalmist, David, who declared to God—
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT).
I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s gentle correction, this morning. He also brought to my mind the words of a poem that I wrote a few years ago. In a humorous way, it expresses the truth of the above psalm.
TODAY, I’M TURNING FIFTY
Today, I’m turning fifty
And my hair– it has some gray;
My body’s looking older
But I love it anyway.
It’s been with me half a century;
It’s been through a lot of things—
Some winters of depression,
A few outbursts every spring.
My body is still with me;
It has never gone on strike.
Though it does feel unhappy—
When I do not treat it right.
It’s a gift from my Creator,
Who designed my inward parts.
“God, I thank you for my body;
I thank you from my heart.”
Now, this body has some stitches;
And this body has some pain.
This body has some wrinkles;
This body’s not the same
As it was when I was twenty,
As it was when I was ten,
As it was when I was two.
You should have seen it back then.
It was soft and it was smooth;
It was fast; oh, it could run.
It was full of laughs and giggles,
Though it was a tiny one.
It could climb a giant staircase;
It could jump and throw a ball;
And that was really special
For a body still quite small.
Yes, God was my Creator,
But the world that I lived in
Even as a toddler
Brought some suffering due to sin.
The years ahead were frightful.
I had mumps and chicken pox,
And the doctor took my tonsils;
He was sly just like a fox.
I survived those childhood traumas
And arrived at puberty;
Oh, my body was terrific,
But it sure did not please me.
Yes, my body was terrific;
God designed my inward parts.
But at ten I did not like it;
And I said so in my heart.
It seemed a bit too early,
When my hormones went askew;
I wanted to grow taller,
But my body had no clue.
It went the wrong direction;
It grew out, instead of up.
I tried to steer that vessel,
But I wasn’t fast enough.
My feet kept getting longer
On the ground, I often fell.
I was not in gear for changing
When my glands began to swell.
I felt awkward; I felt clumsy,
Should I laugh or should I cry?
My dear body was confused—
I remember with a sigh.
The teen-age years were something
I was glad to leave behind.
My body was in turmoil;
It could not make up its mind.
But I did arrive at twenty,
And my body made it too.
In the years that were to follow
It had quite a bit to do.
It went with me to college
And carried all my books.
It climbed the hills and stairways;
Then, helped me learn to cook.
It grew strong and it grew healthy
‘Cause I learned to feed it right.
And I found it worked much better
If I let it sleep at night.
It was present at my wedding;
It took me down the aisle
And received the man I married;
Responding with a smile.
In due time I was pregnant
And my stomach did a flop.
It said, “I want to leave you.”
I said, “You better not!”
For this child is important;
This baby needs some food.
Well, my body stayed right with me
And did the things it should.
Then, it cuddled my two daughters
In a creaky rocking chair;
My back still has the imprint
To prove that it was there.
I think I passed up mid-life
But my body isn’t sure.
Sometimes I do things backwards—
I go in the exit door.
I returned again to college
When I was forty-eight;
I could have been a grandma
But I married rather late.
That second time around
I had more fun attending class.
I took my right brain with me
To draft poems: they were a “Smash!”
My body has good memories;
And my body has some aches.
I could share with you more details—
But my friend, it’s getting late.
My body has been faithful;
Yes, my body has been there.
God is its designer
But it needs my tender care.
Too often, I deprive it
Or I call it horrible names.
I get mad ‘cause it’s not perfect.
That is wrong; I must refrain.
My Creator had a body;
In a manger he was born.
He does not despise this vessel
Just the sin by which it’s torn.
Yes, today, I’m turning fifty
And my hair–it has some gray.
My body’s looking older
But I love it anyway.
Very cute and very interesting. It reminded me about how wondrous and creative God is in all He does and how easy it is to take for granted all He provides for us. You remind us to think and praise Him. How timely!
Thank you for your comment, Debbie. Yes, it’s important to slow down, look at the wonders of creation, and praise God for his magnificence.
Another excellent poem Jane! I remember the “right brain, left brain” poem you wrote while we were at St Lawrence. 🙂
Thanks Donna! I remember that poem too; in the years since then, the Lord has done a lot of healing in my life.
Very BEAUTIFUL. What a great perspective you’ve given us.
Thank you, Rosemary.
How transparently true, Jane! I can definitely relate to this – as I have been guilty too of not appreciating my body –
Thank you for the reminder and the scripture that comes to mind for me is “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” I have always thought of the unborn when it came to this scripture – as if God’s wonder began and ended there – but NO it is true 20, 30, 40, 50, 60+ years later too!
Thank you Terry, for your great insight! I think I’ve had the same viewpoint as you; God does not change his mind about our bodies when we grow older. They are still his beautiful and gracious gift!
I love these thoughts, Jane. Too many times we don’t appreciate the gift we’ve been given in our bodies. Thanks for some good thoughts to meditate on!
You are welcome, Sandy! It’s challenging for me to think of my body as his gift and not push it too hard.
Thank you for sharing Jane! If you don’t mind, I would love to share this post with our Sunday school class as we begin a series on “Wellness” next month. You bring hope and perspective to much of life’s struggles. Keep shining in your lovely body, it is an amazing gift!
Thank you for your encouraging affirmation, Donna! I appreciate you! Yes, you may share my blog post; I feel honored and thankful for what God gives me.
Jane, this is so extremely beautiful. Wow! Thank you.
Mary Lou, I’m so thankful for your comment. I’m so glad that God gave me the courage to post this, even though it was hard to do.