Welcome Chantal Boeckman, my best friend since I was 15. She has been amazing me with her compassion and wisdom for almost three decades; I think you’ll see why as you read her story today.

The first time I had true, memorable awareness of my body was when I was pregnant with my now 10 year-old son and realized my body was not in service of only me.

That realization intensified when I had a difficult time breastfeeding, and I was so frustrated with what my body couldn’t do.

I felt relief when I stopped breastfeeding and my body began to be fully mine again. Or so I thought.

Little did I know that the way I felt about my body and the way that I give of myself would change forever — both effects of becoming a parent, getting a little older, and accepting the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom & understanding.

In the last decade, my journey of coming to know my body and gaining greater awareness of it has included yoga (thank you @adrienelouise for making yoga so approachable), a boot camp community (wut wut @campgladiator), a significant weight gain that put me on a path of feeling out of control and unhealthy that led to my most recent bit of weight goal bliss accomplished through learning self-discipline and exploring my relationship with food with the help of @profileplano and my health coach Devyn.

All benefits and consequences of learning how to carve out time and seek wellness for myself and at times neglecting myself too. For so many years I was mentally preoccupied with how I physically looked and felt that I was paralyzed. I was stuck in a cycle of feeling like a failure because I couldn’t “fix” myself.

So what have I done to reach the point I’m at now where I’m at peace in body, mind & spirit? I stayed in relationship with Father, Son & Holy Spirit seeking guidance about what God needs me to do with my time on Earth. 

I believe that He’s been helping me clear my path, removing obstacles that distract me and helping me become stronger, more resilient and as a result healthier.

All this to say that I believe that we are at our best to serve God and each other when we feel our best. This is what I want my nieces to know. It’s also what I want my son to know. At the core of life, which is Love, is loving God, loving neighbor and loving ourselves. And giving love requires us to accept love too — we need to be filled with love in order to genuinely give it.

Our bodies are a gift from God and how we use them and treat them and feel in them is an embodiment of God’s love that we’re in turn able to share with our neighbors. It’s a beautiful life cycle that requires us to care for ourselves so we can care for others, ultimately expressing to God how grateful we are for the gift of our lives.