How to Heal a Broken Body Image

You are loved I’ve struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember. I fully believe that God loves me and that my husband loves me, but most days that is not enough. Today my friend Shannon Baker shares how she found healing from a broken body image. I pray you enjoy her beautiful words of authenticity and wisdom.

Love, Joy


My friend kept pulling books out of her locker as if she hadn’t just crumpled up my body image. She had told me about her English essay. The assignment was to pick a friend and write about one of their prominent characteristics. She picked me, but she didn’t write about my blond hair, sharp mind, or trustworthiness as a friend. She wrote about my nose.

She kept talking, but I couldn’t breath. I knew my nose was large, but now realized that in my friend’s eyes it must be gargantuan. Why else would she write an essay about it? I shifted my backpack to the other shoulder and tried to look normal. I was too absorbed with the crashing realization about my nose to question whether a real friend would write such an essay and then tell me about it. Or, to question whether our shared crush on the same tall, track athlete had anything to do with it. (more…)

Does Sexual Shame Sometimes Make You Feel Stupid?

Does Sexual Shame Sometimes Make You Feel Stupid?

You’re not alone.

As my now husband and I were dating, we felt shame for our sexual desires. We chose to avoid sex before marriage, but longed for “oneness.” No one told us this was normal, healthy even, and that God created us as sexual beings. The fact that we desired sex revealed that we were two healthy humans. Instead of praising God for our heathy bodies, we felt embarrassed for desiring something off limits. 

Enter sexual shame into our relationship.

This was not the first time I experienced shame. I felt the need to hide my sexual desires as a young single woman. I felt shame after going too far with my high school boyfriend, and after my dad found a hickey on my neck, and after experiencing sexual abuse.

Many things can make us experience sexual shame. We feel sexual shame when… (more…)

Galatians Bible Study Giveaway!

Dr. Sue Edwards Galatians Bible Study Giveaway Looking for a new Bible study for yourself or your small group? Enter to win a free copy of Galatians: Discovering Freedom in Christ through Daily Practice and get to know one of the authors, Dr. Sue Edwards.

About the Author

“I live to raise up women like you all,” explains Dr. Sue Edwards as she sits across from seminary students and shares her passion. She shares that God created her to invest in the lives of women and watch them blossom and thrive. Dr. Edwards accomplishes her mission through writing inductive Bible studies as part of a series, The Discover Together Bible Study (Kregel). Dr. Edwards created these studies to help women dig deep into the Word and discover God’s grace. (more…)

7 Ways to Empower Women During the #MeToo Movement

#MeToo Movement - Joy Pedrow Skarka Every 98 seconds, an American experiences sexual assault. Raped my freshman year of college, I joined the 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) who experience rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. As a victim of sexual abuse, I joined the many women who spoke out in the #MeToo movement.

After last October, when the #MeToo movement went viral, I posted on Facebook and Twitter. It felt empowering to think—others struggle too. This wasn’t the first time I posted online for the whole world to see about my abuse. I’m a blogger who often writes about my abuse. But for the first time, others joined me in speaking out. Friends I had known for years, speaking out for the first time. Friends I could connect with and share how Jesus had healed me from the emotional destruction of sexual abuse. However, #MeToo has created more than cathartic relief. (more…)

Marriage: Surrendering our fears and entering into a partnership | Guest Post on FATHOM Mag

Thousands of online forums overflow with people asking if they should date and marry cancer survivors. Misconceptions and social stigma force people to reject cancer survivors as possible spouses. My husband Zack shared with me that during his junior year of college, girls would express interest in dating him, but when they found out he previously had cancer, that interest evaporated. Imagine living through a life-threatening illness to then have your heart broken because of the memory of it. But I’m glad. My gain.

These kinds of studies point out an interesting fact about how our culture defines marriage. We place marriage in the category labeled “self-fulfillment.” The question we should ask ourselves is do we believe that God created marriage for our personal gain? If so, then yes, you should bolt from any cancer survivors.

Keep reading at Fathom Mag.

How to Stay Married for 50 Years

How to Stay Married for 50 Years

 Unsurprisingly, many marriages end in divorce. When we hear about a couple that has been married for fifty years, we are shocked. What if this changed? What if divorce surprised us? What if being married fifty years was the norm?

Meet Dale and Carol. Dale and Carol recently celebrated fifty years of marriage. Send them some congratulations in the comments below! (more…)

I married a Cancer Survivor | Guest Post on Boundless.org

On May 27, 2017, I married my husband, Zack Skarka. I knew he had survived cancer, but I had no doubts in my decision to marry him. Check out my story on the Boundless Blog about trusting God with our fears. Love, Joy


“Run. Bolt before he dies and leaves you heartbroken.” That’s what a friend said when I told her about the cancer-surviving man I had met in the elevator.

Just days before this conversation, this man and I had become Facebook friends. While scrolling through his profile pictures, I paused — I saw a white sash draped over his shoulder. Not any white sash, but one that read “survivor.” That cute boy I met in the elevator had survived cancer.

Maybe I should run now while I have the chance. (more…)

Married and Experiencing Pain During Sexual Intercourse?

Having Painful Sex Emotional healing from naïve expectations

Experiencing sexual pain during intercourse? You are not alone.  Nearly three out of four women have pain during intercourse at some time during their lives. For some women, the pain lasts only for a time; for twenty to fifty percent of these women, the pain remains over time.

My story includes sexual pain. I share my story FIRST to give women the gift of going SECOND. I share my story to bring women FREEDOM.

Check out my new article on Fathom Mag, “Having Painful Sex: Emotional healing from naïve expectations.”

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