How Joel Osteen Changed My Life

How Joel Osteen Changed My Life

By a complete accident and perfect timing.
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When I first found out I was pregnant with our youngest, I cried. For weeks. I cried because I wasn't sure how we were going to do it. Just the week before I found out we had another one on the way, my husband and I had discussed only having our one child. He had already planned it out in his head to only have one, because having two daughters might just put us over the edge. But then to find out that I was pregnant again and our first wasn't even a year old yet? Whew. Let me tell you.

Having a child is hard! Being responsible for another person's life outside of your own is hard. It will drive you crazy, make you obsessive and keep you awake at night. I have nightmares, a few times a week, about protecting our oldest. I lie awake at night having what if moments.

What if I'm not that good at being a mom? What if she gets hurt? How do I know when to take her to the doctor? What happens when she starts kindergarten? How do you even start the process of getting enrolled?

She was the light of our lives. She was the first thing I thought of when I woke up, and was the last thing I prayed about before falling asleep. I would literally breathe her in every second I was around her. I was EXCITED to wake up at 6 a.m. and snuggle her. See, crazy! Kids make you crazy.

Then, when I found out about being pregnant again, a whole different set of crazy questions started flooding my mind. How could I ever love another child the way I did her? Were we robbing her of her childhood? What happens if they didn't like each other? What if she didn't like us? How were we going to make it? How were we going to survive on our incomes, we were barely surviving with one kid.

The day before my first OB appointment with our youngest, I was a mess. I felt guilty that I wasn't excited like I was with our first. I felt like there was something wrong because I just didn't feel the same. I couldn't fall asleep the night before. I just kept having awful thoughts.

Then. Ugh, then. Right before I started to drift off to sleep, that (stinking) Joel Osteen came on talking about how people say that their child was an accident. Not that their living, breathing child was an accident, but that their getting pregnant was unplanned...therefore accident. He said it always drove him crazy because no child was an accident. Every child had a purpose, every child was planned. Every child is fearfully and wonderfully made.

It was that moment I gave up all fear, anxiety, and sadness about having another child. It was then that I let go of all worry for her, and us. I gave it all, because God has a plan. Always has, always will.

These past few weeks have been a struggle for me. I have cried several times because being a parent is hard. I've had several friends say how lucky I am that I get to stay at home with our kids. How lucky it is that I don't miss any mile stones. And it's true. I am lucky. But weeks like these past few, I lose sight of that. When our oldest acts like a nut, the youngest doesn't sleep and all I want to do is eat chocolate and feel sorry for myself, I lose sight of that. Then I remember, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

What the girls are going through, the different stages of childhood are rough, and what I'm dealing with right now, is only a small piece of the puzzle that makes up our lives. I will be so thankful in a few years knowing that I got to spend most of their childhood at home with them. So here I am again, giving it all back. I'm giving all my grief, anxiety, and sadness back to Him. I refuse to be frustrated all the time. He has a plan and I'm just sticking to it. Every slap in the face, poop on the wall, sleepless night, every fight I have to break up, I am sticking to it.

I still don't have all the answers. I couldn't tell you if our girls are behind or ahead of the growth curve because they haven't stepped foot in a doctor's office in at least six months. I have no clue where to look for pre-k programs for our oldest. I have no idea if our kids are geuinely nice people, but I do know one thing. They were both fearfully and wonderfully made, and that has to account for something, right?

Cover Image Credit: Carly Marmen Photography

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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We Need To Stop Treating Arranged Marriages Like Business Deals

We need to stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

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When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was "What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful." My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages. It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations like stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations. From publishing ads like "In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew" in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

I

The glass bangles on her wrist jingled as she placed a plate of laddoos in front of the guests,

She wondered if this was the family that would finally pass her parents' tests.

"Oh! She is as fair as milk" the boy's mother exclaimed,

Her cheeks flushed to the color of scarlet under her dupatta as trained.

"He is too short" to her mother, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

II

When no suitable match was found, the search was still profound.

"Hush," the girl's mother whispered "Don't tell them about the burn on the leg of the bride"

"What man will marry her once he finds?"

Another man arrived, tall, fair, and handsome- he was perfect,

Except that huge mole on his cheek which left him imperfect.

"The mole doesn't complement his face" to her aunt, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

III

Still no luck in finding a groom,

Her father placed a matrimonial ad.

"Searching for a suitable groom, engineer or doctor, 25, fair, slim, vegetarian, no disabilities" the ad read,

The ad was published in multiple newspapers so that she could finally be wed.

Another boy arrived, but this time the tables turned,

"What? She can't cook?" the boy's mother was left concerned

"Oh, what a shame" to his parents' she didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

IV

When everything had been tried, a Jyotish was consulted,

Vastu remedies for delay in marriage he suggested.

"Fast for sixteen consecutive days, the kitchen shouldn't be in the southwest."

Yet another boy arrived, tall, fair, slim, no moles- he seemed the best,

With everything from their checklist of expectations checked, everyone seemed to be impressed.

"But his earnings are so less," her father was left depressed.

To nobody he appealed,

The deal still wasn't sealed.

V

The number of grooms decreased as her age increased,

The girl walked in with a plate of laddoos, but this time from the southeast.

"Oh my god, the bride can't cook," the boy's mother noticed,

Thankfully the burn on her leg went unnoticed.

Double the dowry was demanded,

Her father's savings made sure the groom's family didn't leave empty-handed,

The girl's mother approved the boy, so did her mother's mother,

And her uncle, his wife, and their daughter

Even to the distant relatives, he appealed,

The deal was finally sealed.

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