What is in an image? Do you know what your image is? Who is looking? Does anyone really care? I struggle in many areas with my image; in my teens, I went to Chicago to be a famous model. I was 5’11”, 100 pounds and with no effort, I received attention everywhere I went. I had curly red hair, big blue eyes, and no common sense on how to handle the evils of this world. In the fast pace world of modeling, I quickly found out not all things are what they seem. I learned how to walk, how to sway, how to bounce as I walked, I learned never to leave my home without being put together. At that time in the modeling world, you were not supposed to eat, and drugs were commonplace, offered to help you get in the right mood to get the right picture. I shut down a modeling school, for having cameras behind the mirrors in the dressing rooms. The girls were not supposed to know about them, their partially clothed body pictures were being sold without their knowledge. That was it for me, I quit modeling and I returned to NC.
I met and fell in love with a man who became my husband, who I loved unconditionally; I would have forgiven him anything. He later told me that he fell in love with my outer image, he never really knew me as a person. After gaining weight with the birth of our child, my body changed, I had a C-Section scar and came close to death giving birth. My husband did not like my changes in my image. What I could not digest was that he no longer wanted me was that he had wanted the image. I felt heartache that was so unbearable at times I felt like I could not breathe, I could not envision my world without him, I grieved, and suffered in mourning, I begged him to reconsider, I was told I was everything he did not want, and he made a point to tell me that every chance he got, then told me no other man would ever want me.
I was shattered…………..I lifted up my head, tears running ramped down my face, and I spoke the following words ” I hope I get so FAT, that no other man will ever look at me or want me, I hate you” then I turned and walked away not realizing that I had cursed myself or for that matter no one had ever told me there are life and death in the tongue.
Over the next several years I suffered from an identity crisis, as I tried to fit in and be a part of different groups. For a while I was the preppy rich man’s ex-wife, then I went back to my country roots, and changed my image to a country girl, I went boot scoot in, wore a cowgirl hat, talked with a swag, and still had the sashay going on in my walk. I was every man’s dream in tight-fitting jeans.
At that time a seed of evil was planted in me and I began to hate men, and I also began to use food to cure my pains in life. I was very unhappy with myself.
Image…Just who’s image was I trying to be? I never had my own self-identity, my family moved a lot when I was a child, I went to a lot of schools, and you learn your survival skills to be accepted and to fit in, seriously no one wants to be on the outside looking inside. When I was in High School, my family moved to the beach, and on my first day, I was told I could not eat lunch with the girls who showed me around from the counselor office because I was wearing jeans that came from Roses. In order to sit at her table your clothes had to come from the local Boutique in Morehead city, I worked hard at a minimum wage job, and bought four pairs of jeans from that boutique, and quickly found out, the jeans did not get me accepted either. After modeling, I had confidence; I changed my look like some people change their clothes. As years passed, I felt emptier, the food became more comforting, and the more stressed I became, the more food called my name. By my early forties, being plus size, kept me safe, it kept me from being hurt, it kept me away from people, dating was non existent, it was my thyroid’s fault, my ex-husbands fault, my careers fault, every time someone hurt me, I got to reward myself with dinner out. I have been called many names, worthless, disgusting, morbid, fat pig, words play around in my head. I have heard comments like, “Why is she wearing that, Oh my did she look in the mirror? When shopping you have to pay more for plus size when the same style is in size 1-18 at exactly the same price. I have research diets, tried numerous diets, I have starved myself, I have abused my body.
I am an emotional eater. Since being saved, and becoming a child of God, I have struggled with deliverance in these areas. In 2009, I prayed through, on my hatred for men, I am delivered and set free by Christ. The other area I struggle with is the emotional eating. On top of the emotional eating, I am still dealing daily with Hypothyroidism.
In March I decided, it was time for a change. I joined a local family gym. It was painful, it was embarrassing, I was scared, I do not have nice or what I consider appropriate clothes to work out in, some machines I do not fit on or I pass the weight limit.
The devil came at me hard. He brought all the words from my past that others and I have used in negative descriptions of myself. Just imagine the worst, I will not repeat them. I hurt so badly, and I kept at it. Then I passed out on a Wednesday Night, ended up admitted to the hospital with possible heart problems and swelling of the feet and ankles. I went through a rigorous set of test, and all tests came back negative, no heart, kidney, liver, lung or tumors.
Procrastination had set in hard. Then I went back to work and could find no time for the gym. Within four weeks, with very little job training, I sat in front of an emotionless boss, who claimed without looking me in the eye that (I believe truth identifies with truth) that she had prayed long and hard but she just did not feel I fit the Image of her team. The word “Image” just boomerang around in my head, I saw me as a little girl, middle school, high school, the twenties, thirties…at each point in my life that word has come up.
I began to seek God, I asked him to show me how I got here, to the place of being 350 lbs. It was not my body that had betrayed me, for when God made me in my mother’s womb, all parts of my body worked according to how God had designed them to work. Then I went spiraling back in my memory to the day that my husband broke my heart, and I uttered those words, “I hope I get so FAT, that no other man will ever look at me or want me, I hate you”… Just simply my heart was breaking. Why did I say that? What was I thinking? and even though my heart was breaking, I knew I had to survive; I had a beautiful little girl who needed her momma. I moved forward, I began to live.
It took me twenty-two years to have those words brought back to my memory. Suddenly I began to realize how stress, affected my eating pattern, how being a Chameleon was self-defeating, I had no clue who I was, Will the real Debra Hearn Jones please stand up? I had no clue who I was, I had no real identity, I had tried fitting into everyone else group by being a chameleon, and rewarding myself with food.
I looked long and hard in the mirror, and I decided it was time to know myself and the woman God wanted me to be, slowly I had to let go of my denials, my pain, and this false protection I had put around myself. I began to pray, asking God to help me, asking God to forgive me, and I began to renounce the words I had spoken so long ago, daily I had to repent every time I said something negative about myself. I slowly changed my eating pattern, I changed my plate size, I cleaned out my cabinets, and I went back to the gym after being gone for two months. I take full responsibility for my wrong choices, for my negative thoughts, for the abuse I have put my body through, I take responsibility for the curse that came out of my mouth, I take full responsibility for making excuses and blaming my thyroid for all my problems, I take responsibility for how I treated men and hated them. Thank you, Jesus, for deliverance in this area. I take responsibility for the hurt and pain I have felt in the comments of others. I take responsibility for every failed attempt, every failed diet, every self-defeat. I also forgive myself, as I forgive others.
I am coming before you my God, to ask you to forgive me, I am repenting with all my heart mind body and soul, please forgive me for defiling the temple you gave me, my body. I know in the past I have failed, in the future I will be victorious, because, in my future, I am asking you to walk me through this, to guide me, lead me and show me how to heal my mind and body. I know as your child, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I lay my trust in you Oh Lord.
As I reflect over recent months events, since joining the gym, and trying to make a change for the better, I cannot help but smile, for if God brought me to it, he will bring me through it. And when you finally figure out what door the devil came through and you take responsibility for your actions, you renounce and you repent, then you go back and shut that doorway, the enemy has no choice but to return to you seven fold, what he stole from you. I am looking forward to my renewed health, a stronger body, appropriate weight loss, and a more positive mind.
I have a growing love for my body just as it is currently. You must love your foundation. Love covers a multitude of sins, and I am very blessed to be on this journey that I am embracing.
I am learning to enjoy food, to relish its taste, to take my time to enjoy. I will never starve myself again. Food is about quality, not quantity.
I am turning to God with things and events that stress me.
I look forward to loving again, a man, who will love me unconditionally, for who I am on the inside, my heart, and not the image the world sees. My revelation is that your true image comes from within your heart; your heart shows the true you. So please allow me to introduce the real me, not a chameleon, not a worldly image………..This is the real Debra Hearn Jones and I look forward to getting to know you.
Thank you, Jesus I could not do this without you! Love Debbie
I wrote this several years ago and it is just as true today! All people are created in the image of God, which gives each person great worth and value. My image is as a daughter of Jesus, I am worthy to be accepted and loved! Many women struggle with our worldly image, maybe we wouldn’t struggle so much if we were taught early in life to love ourselves , to have knowledge that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God’s word says “Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it well.”