About the Author

Alia Joy is an author who believes the darkness is illuminated when we grasp each other's hand and walk into the night together. She writes poignantly about her life with bipolar disorder as well as grief, faith, marriage, poverty, race, embodiment, and keeping fluent in the language of hope in...

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  1. Alia Joy,
    When I got married (the first time), I weighed 110 pounds. I have never weighed that again since. I, too, have to look for large swimsuits that attempt to hide my own built in “inner tube” otherwise known as my belly. Like you, I have a hormone imbalance and I take meds for OCD and anxiety that put on weight. I have cut out the “comfort eating” (carbs and sweets were my comfort foods of choice, unless I was stressed, for which I wanted to crunch something unhealthy). I exercise regularly….trying to take care of this temple of mine, but still I am always hunting in the larger sizes. For beauty though, God looks on the heart. Great people will look upon the heart and not the outer shell. When I got married to my, now wonderful husband, I weighed 70 lbs more than the first time I got married, but I have never felt so beautiful. He looks on my heart. The enemy always comes calling with the shame and comparison calling card. How good that you are kicking him to the curb and hold onto Truth, and how WONDERFUL the truth your daughter spoke over you. God’s words through this little vessel. May you carry those with you. Nodding my head all along because I am #metoo. Thanks for being real and transparent….you give others hope!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Thank you, Bev. Sorry I’m so late getting to these comments. It’s been a long week but it’s so good to read here and hear so many stories from others. There’s so much power in #metoo.

  2. You are an amazingly talented writer and a brave woman of God. You are not alone, millions of us feel like you do. We wrestle with self loathing body shaming guilt you name it. We are young, old, mothers, business women, stay at home mums, students but we are all human and we all battle with our own issues. Don’t forget your voice reaches thousands of women on here and will touch us all in the way God intends. Thank you for your honesty- much love Jas

  3. Wishing at this moment that I could hold your words at arm’s length and think,”Ah, so that’s what it’s like. How enlightening.”
    Thank you, Alia, for glorious words of truth, so hard to read.

  4. Hello Alia,

    ✝️❤️ Thank you so much for sharing your story. It gives me hope that I can find more healing in Jesus. This morning I am a mess, in a very messy season.

    I am also a #metoo. I am obese, once again, after having gastric bypass surgery to try to conquer my food addiction and my desire to drown my pain with food. I also have PCOS. I struggle with recurrent depression, anxiety, and hating myself. I know in my head that God loves me and sees my worth in Him, and that my husband and family and friends love me. But my heart often doubts all of those facts, while the enemy whispers his lies that tell me I’m unloved and need to perform to earn anyones love, and that I’ll never perform or look good enough to earn their love.

    Listening to the Bible this morning, Psalm 91, and Christian music like Tenth Avenue North “Fighting for you” and “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin, and “Power to Redeem” by Lauren Daigle. Praying with my wonderful, godly husband and telling God and him about my fears and pain and feelings of not being enough. Begging God to heal me so that I can be a better wife and person. Praying for my husband and our family and friends.

    Then I looked at emails. I usually go to Facebook first. But God drew my eyes to this in my inbox. I read it with tears for you, for my husband, for me, for my lost childhood. With tears of gratitude that God has already won so much ground for me too in healing, and tears of hope that God will indeed finish the good work He started in you and I and all of His children! God won, God is winning, God will win!!!

    God loves us with a love that is Faithful and True and Forever and without condition!!!

    Praying for all people, including you and I, to know how high and long and wide and deep is the love of Jesus Christ, and to receive God’s love and forgiveness and hope and salvation in Jesus.

    Thank you for pointing us to Jesus!

    In Christ,
    Tammie

    • Alia.. I’m amening all y’all! Kudos Tammie ! I’m 30 years older than you sweet mamas and I feel more blessed than ever knowing that the pure Hot love for God is truly a well spring of hope in Him!! Press on as He heals soul wounds you never thought you could get over!
      I’m proof it’s still working and one day.. He will say.. well done, good & faithful servant! Love y’all

      • Hi Sadie,

        Thank you for your sweet encouragement and for pointing to the hope and healing of Jesus Christ!!! Praying for you to have a beautiful day filled with God’s blessings and peace!

        Hugs and prayers!
        Tammie✝️❤️

      • Tammy,

        Praying for you to know God’s love for you!! Don’t forget that He looks at the heart not the outside. A person is beautiful if they are loving, & caring. Size doesn’t matter in the kingdom, hearts do. I’m glad you have a heart for God & can feel His arms around you. Don’t worry about what the world wants-only what God wants.

        (((((Hugs)))))

        • Hi Beth,

          Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! You’re a blessing! Hugs! ✝️️

          In Christ,
          Tammie

    • Tammie, oh sweet sister. I know this pain so well. Thank you for your sharing some of your story with me. God’s love is unrelenting. His mercies never cease. He is so good to us. Thank you for your encouragement. Thinking of you tonight knowing God is in the mess, in the struggles, and in the hope. Blessings on you.

  5. Wow! How brave you are to be so open and share your story with us. I have had those feelings too lately because of sickness and meds and God is renewing my thoughts on this topic. Too many are still relying on their outer appearance to be beautiful. In the end nobody cares if you are “fat” or not. The beautiful heart will make the difference we desperately need.

  6. Good morning Alia –

    Your devotional spoke volumes to me!! Satan will remind us of our weaknesses whatever they may be and use them against us. Sweet friend you are loved and adored and I pray God will continue to bless you and remind you how truly amazing you are!!! I am so happy for you that your hubby loves you and your children admire you – precious gifts!!! I pray God will continue to help you when you need it and I will pray for you to continue to amazing and a blessing to others!!

  7. I love this! I truly can relate. Even though i have gone on to lose almost 100 pounds i still have the same insecurities, doubts, and intimidations as I had as my heavier self. It is Satan pure and simple. He puts the thoughts in our heads and uses others to further ingrain the insecurities we feel about ourselves. It is a journey but i am learning that no matter what the outer shell looks like, He, Jesus, loves me. He created me just as I am! He is the only one that can and will fill my aching, empty, self-doubting heart. You are loved and I thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us!

    • Thanks for sharing some of your story, Cheryl. Yes, it’s not the number on the scale or the face in the mirror, it’s where our identity truly comes from and this is always Christ. Thanks for your encouragement.

  8. I absolutely love your honesty and openness. It is so refreshing to see someone else sharing how real the battle is. We, as women, are our own worst enemies. I will never understand why we are so hard on ourselves. Of course, it does not help that society in general puts forth such high standards of physical beauty day in and day out. Thank you for reminding us that God loves us as we are and that it is okay to be ourselves. It is okay to not fit into the perfect mold. We are each unique and we each carry our own scars and baggage which make us who we are. Insecurity must be fought and is not overcome overnight. We are in this together as women and we need to continue to support, encourage and be humbly honest with one another. Thank you again for always being open and honest when you share with us.

  9. Every time I read one of your posts, it pulls me down under the waves and won’t let me go until I’ve read the very last word. Thank you for using your gift and your hurts to bring more openness and freedom to the world. You are chosen, loved, and beautiful.

  10. Dearest Alia,
    As someone else has stated, I always appreciate your very real and honest posts which you share your struggles and the provisions of the love and power of God in your life. I always am eager to see what you have to say. And I don’t know if I have missed it or if this is the first time you have ever shared so extensively about your past. What horrendous things you have gone through as an innocent, helpless, needy and precious child, I am so sorry. The sinful destructive things that happen to children are among the most painful to even hear about and never to be understood. It is impossible to understand this side of Heaven, why you had such awful things as part of your growing up. But so thankful that you have our Lord bringing you to and helping you with all His truths, love and power. And the love you have for your husband and children is proof that the Lord can change terrible pasts into triumph! Praise His Name and thankful for your sharing, Alia. May our Lord continue to help you and use you, and us all with our own pasts and present situations.

  11. Wow, what an inspirational post! Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings.

  12. Thank you for your words. They brought tears – the good kind of tears, restorative and cleansing tears.

  13. What a beautiful testimony from a beautiful heart. Thank you for speaking a truth that is very, very familiar to many of us. You are allowing many of us to feel God’s incredible love and healing through your words. May He continue to faithfully whisper love and reassurance to you!

  14. Alia, your lips and that voice God made to come out are powerful, beautiful, necessary. You tell your story with such truth and tenderness…gotta catch these falling tears. I’m so proud of you and grateful to be your friend.

  15. ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS. We can always find someone who is more confident, thinner and smarter than we are. Learning to live at peace with who we are in Christ is a constant battle. I just found out I’m having a daughter after two miscarriages and I feel the weight of passing this on to her. I want her to see a mama that is not perfect, but a mama that knows who she is in Jesus. Thank you for sharing your heart with us this morning.

  16. Alia,
    Thank you so much for sharing all this heavy stuff and I too had tears as I read. Yesterday I had an attack on myself which got started with a life situation of a terribly tangled up mess of some things with straps from my washing machine! I am always seeing ordinary life situations with spiritual applications. It took me a very long time to get the mess untangled. Well my spiritual application was an attack on myself of my tangled up mess of my life. And my body was a huge part of it. I determined I was ill-fitted for all of my life and that I had completely missed the Lord’s will for my life… thus all of my horrible tangled up mess of my life up to and including the present. And I am not physically fit, but not overweight, and yet quite lacking in some physical attributes that I never can consider myself as measuring up or adequate for my husband or my role in life! It was a horrible experience, with much anger at myself and wondering how in the world the Lord could ever love me or use me again. All day I was in a state of fitful and depressing, sad weakness; continuing to wonder how the Lord would handle me after all this.
    Later in the afternoon, His mercies poured down, of course totally undeserved by me. I was in shock as some very long-term issues that had suddenly been addressed with some new direction and encouragements, (nothing from me), only possible because of the Lord’s working and love. I was so overwhelmed, and amazed at His unmerited favor to me, especially after my horrible time beginning early in the day. What a sovereign, merciful, caring, forgiving, loving…Wonderful Savior, Everlasting Father…we belong too. Praise His Name!!!

  17. Alia, Your words always speak so deeply to me. I can relate and know the ongoing struggle of accepting my body in all of it’s imperfections. Shame still lingers for me all these years later and I’m disappointed when I continue to struggle with something I thought I’d surrendered to God years ago. I do my best to trust the process and it’s heartfelt posts like this that empower me to keep on keeping on and see myself the way God sees me. You have such a beautiful way of putting it all into words and being real at the same time. Thank you!

  18. Your courageous testimony is a blessing to all!
    Thank you for the honesty & encouragement to follow your example…no matter the burdens we each carry…it’s the same struggle with loving ourselves as God does!

  19. Sweet Alia,

    Your struggles are so real and honest and what so many of us women face every day of our lives!! It’s really hard NOT to compare ourselves to those seemingly perfect bodies out there! I think I was born with an inferiority complex and have battled it my entire life! I suffer from depression and anxiety and my self esteem can get so low that I don’t want to leave the house or socialize. You are certainly not alone in this battle! But I will say that in those times when we hear the precious and much needed words that we ARE beautiful (like what your sweet little girl said to you!), we need to hold on to that and BELIEVE that we really are!! The ones who matter most (God, our husbands, children and amazing friends) will love us no matter what we look like! Each day I tear myself apart while looking in the mirror. I have even told my husband I hate myself and my body! But ya know, God has been working on me so much lately! When I see those beautiful women out there and start to compare myself to them, God will remind me it’s my heart that matters most but also that this earthly body is just a temporary shell. You and me and all the believers in Christ will get brand new, perfect bodies in heaven!! These inferior tents we live in will pass away. It gives me hope and peace when I think about that! In the meantime, yes, we need to care for these earthly bodies but not be overly concerned. We ARE loved and we ARE beautiful because we have Christ living in us! I’m trying to embrace that but I admit it’s not easy when I hear the enemy’s lies! Have a beautiful day, Alia and God bless you and your precious family!

  20. What a powerful story. Your words, your heart…truly inspiring. I found myself in tears and nodding. Alia, thank you for sharing your story, thank you for sharing YOU with all of us. You are truly lovely.

  21. Alia, I could have cried at your post but I didn’t. I realized a while back, my own problem of being a glutton for punishment, rehashing all those hurts, the plus size clothes when everyone else is a 5. Not eating in front of people, relatives offering to pay you for every pound you’ll lose. The ladies who are 10 lbs overweight complaining and you are like, ” Do they see me? ” I used to pray, ” Lord, can I please have this candy bar? ” I can promise you Proverbs 21:2 is true, He weighs your heart. When you see what He sees, it makes a difference. I believe that obesity and all the shame and torment with it is one of the things He bore on that cross, we want healthy and joyful. He is our everything. I’m glad you are not hiding the beauty God gave you.

  22. Alia Joy (oh, how I love your name), I need to take a moment and pause here after reading your words. Swallowing them and wearing them like a badge of courage. You are so wise and giving in your vulnerability. Thank you…just truly, thank you…for opening yourself up like this. For those of us who struggle on that same path, whether the steps we took to get there were the same or not, you are appreciated. For your wisdom and your struggle. For giving us permission to birth and rebirth our own flawed self-identity. I will take these words through my days to come and kindly give myself permission to be okay with where I am. Much love and thanks from this reader!

  23. Alia, you are one of the most courageous women I’ve ever met, and your words are so inspiring. I felt so privileged to get together with you last year and to see your beauty, compassion, and courage in person. So often I’ve felt so alone with similar feelings, and your post has shed new light on the fact that I’m not alone with them. Thank you for the reminder that Jesus meets us wherever we are, no matter what we look like or how we feel about ourselves.

    I saw truth and courage in your eyes last year; and you continue to bless me over and over with your words.

  24. Your words ring true for more women that you know. I too struggle with my weight. I was a normal weight, until I had my son. Right after having him, we moved to the sunny Northwest from Florida. Pun intended. This dark environment, just made my depression grow even worse. I think it’s also harder on those of us who have to take medication. I was also diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Not being able to exercise and still having the desire to eat junk, when under lots of stress, makes the situation harder. It’s a continual struggle to see myself as Christ does. But there is hope, knowing that He is in control, His grace is sufficient, and one day we will be free from this world.

  25. Alia,

    God bless you for telling your story. Your openness is both powerful & necessary. This world screams small size & a perfectly manicured body. You speak truth. Young women need to hear your story. They get sucked into this must look perfect image shown in magazines. God made us all differently.

    When I married I weighed only 108 lbs. 14 years later, a whole lot of trials & life happening & I’ve bumped the scale up a bit. As Chonda Pierce says I have a “mushroom top”. I’m working on losing it , eating better & getting into shape again. You all are not alone.

    Blessings 🙂

  26. Your voice and words are such a beautiful beacon for all women. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read these words. My size, your size and everyone else’s size does not define us but boy do I know shame, trying to hide who I really am and the defeat of comparison.

    There are so many things I want to say in response to your vulnerability. I hear you, I speak similar language and I love you. Thank you so much for all of this today!

  27. (((Alia))) Your writing has a genuine way about it that always touches me. You wear vulnerability and authenticity well. Thank you. —- And, don’t you just love how God does that? How He speaks to us through our own written words? That’s happened to me before too, and I’m so thankful for the fact that they were His words first. That He offered them as balms for our hearts, and then, allowed ministry to flow through them for others. Oh, what a gracious God He is. — Beautiful testimony, Alia. Bless you. ♥

  28. Alia, your words remind me to make peace with myself as I struggle toward the other side of glory. Every time I read them. Thank you.

  29. My gosh, woman, you may be carrying some extra pounds but you sure can write! WOW! Awesome writing right there. Thanks for letting us in on your heart. You are amazing… I wish I knew you.

  30. Dear Alia,
    I must confess I look at the size of a post and decide whether I will read it. I READ EVERYTHING because it was so beautifully written. I wanted to find out when and where God would show up for you but He was there all the time. #metoo

  31. Wow! It’s as if you have been walking with me, in my own journey, since childhood. You have spoken it so well in this post – most particularly the gawking eyes of men who, when I did win the weight battle albeit temporarily, made me glimpse a disturbing world and future for the imperfect female. How we live when we’ve been someone’s prey is only through the strength and power of Jesus. I put down the alcohol that numbed my brokeness and disappointments for a few years, but the alfredo sauce still beckons! I never got married because I didn’t want to be in a position like my mother. She lived under constant threat of her husband’s words: “if you get fat like your sister I’ll leave you.” Or his words to me as he weighed me and wrote my progress on a chart inside the hall closet: “no man will look at you or want you if you’re fat.” There’s a huge cringe factor even today as I watch the men and women on Mad Men and realize this was the world of my youth. Only Jesus can restore our self worth. Only He sees us as we truly are. Thanks for sharing what is hard and true and good!

  32. What a beautiful post. Thank you for being so honest and transparent! Shame has been a constant companion of mine – chronic illness has made my body and spirit feel broken in so many ways. Thank you for the reminder that Jesus meets me in every broken moment and that my continued struggle doesn’t mean I’ve lost – but that I’m winning a battle and gaining new ground each time!

  33. Hello Alia,
    First time here. I appreciate your words that are honest. I look back on the ” thin days” reminding myself of a bygone size. When I was slender and wore a two piece bathing suit, I had a negative view about myself. Now a mom with weight gain, older maybe wiser I find myself with a different outlook. When my son wanted to learn how to swim I told myself to ” suck it up”. This was for him and although I still felt like eyes were judging me….. I kept at it.
    I so appreciate what you are saying. For myself I have had to tackle the negatives swirling in my head….a lonely if not busy place at times.
    I’m glad I’m finally here to read and grow.