[Guest Post by Sarah Miller] – I hate my body.
Or at least, that’s what I would have said if you had met me two years ago, before God decided to radically change my life AND my body.
I had always been overweight–and ridiculed for it.
From the age of 8, I started putting on weight and never bothered to take it back off again. By the time I was a senior in high school I was 250lbs–and at a place where I didn’t care what I looked like.
Every day I wore the same outfit: baggy jeans, baggy sweatshirt, hair in a ponytail.
No desire to make myself look good.
The only things I had going for me were my two favorite body parts: my eyes and my hands.
I love my hands.
To me they are my most beautiful asset, and my most useable. I have always loved working with my hands, whether it be small construction projects with my dad in the garage, handing out food bags to the homeless with my youth group, performing worship songs in American Sign Language, or taking photos of people.
My hands were always willing to help wherever was needed.
Two years ago, at the age of 23 and closer to 300lbs than I would really like to admit–I left my friends, family, church, and home in Salem, Oregon and ventured off into the great unknown to volunteer at Little Oak’s Children’s Home in Tzaneen, South Africa.
I volunteered full-time there for 6 months. 6 very radical months.
My whole life changed in that time.
The orphanage is situated on a Christian community-styled farm–and happens to be at the very top of a very very large hill. Because of this very very large hill, and a much more active lifestyle–and a healthier one–I began to lose weight.
A lot of weight.
In 6 months I lost over 50lbs and had truly never felt better about myself.
I went home to America feeling so much more confident in myself, and beautiful for the first time in a long time.
Shortly after returning home, I decided to go back to South Africa. I was homesick for the place there and the people. But I also felt that God had not finished in me what He was doing. Five months later I returned to South Africa with no immediate plans to return to the States.
I ended up staying a full year, and losing even more weight.
I returned to the States at the end of this past August, 185lbs–my smallest since I was probably 16–and amazed at where God has taken my life.
I never imagined, for one thing, that God would take me out of the country to work for Him and His glory–but He did. I learned so much about myself, and about how He works while I was in South Africa.
I didn’t go halfway across the world to change the world–I went halfway across the world to be changed.
I was changed, I was healed, I was set free.
I never realized how many limitations I put on myself by hating my body and keeping that negative spirit inside of me.
My beauty now is not because I weigh so much less. It is because I have come to realize that I am a beautiful creation of Christ, inside AND out–and nothing the World says can change that.
God is still not finished with me, but now He has shown me much more direction in my life.
He has given me the confidence to follow my dreams. He continues to heal me, and mold me more into the Woman of God that HE wants me to be–and stop hating my body.
That my friends is a beautiful thing.
My name is Sarah Miller, and I’m 25 years old and currently living in San Diego, California. I plan to move to Oregon to pursue a teaching degree, and my own photography business. I recently returned from South Africa where I have been volunteering with a mission organization for the better part of the last two years.