25 August 2013

Interview With Michelle Griep—Body Image and Faith

Michelle Griep, Author

Michelle Griep is the author of A HEART DECEIVED and of UNDERCURRENT and GALLIMORE.

Michelle, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?

I have a sweet tooth the size of New York City. Can anyone relate? Cookies. Cake. CHOCOLATE! Yeah, I love me a large dessert, before and after the meal please. I’ve learned to not elbow people out of the way or mow down little old ladies with walkers when there’s a pastry to be had, and I’ve since curbed my urges to stuff my face with treats, but it wasn’t always that way.

Rewind the clock back to junior high. Afternoon. Math class. Boring…until the teacher announced that one student had brought cupcakes to share in honor of her birthday. Cupcakes?! You bet I was out of my seat before the teacher finished his sentence. That’s when I heard one of the boys call out, “Look at that. The fattest girl in the class is the first one up there.”

I was devastated. I honestly didn’t know I was fat, until then. The thing is…I wasn’t. Yeah, I admit I wasn’t Barbie thin. I had a little muffin top going on and the scale was 10 pounds more than it should’ve been. But that’s it. Ten pounds overweight, and I’ve struggled with my self-image ever since. For a while, I quit eating. Starvation works for only so long, though. So I lived on tuna sandwiches. I lost those pounds and then some, but when I looked into the mirror, I saw a fat girl.

Enter God. I discovered that God doesn’t even look at any fat jiggles or tight pants. He goes straight to the heart, and He was wondering why I cared what others thought about me more than what He did. That was a revolutionary thought. By digging into the Bible, I learned that God is more interested in how I look on the inside than the out.

There are days I still struggle with self-image. Who doesn’t? But God is faithful to remind me that this old body of mine will pass away. It’s okay if I eat a dessert now and then. He’ll love me just the same—and always will.

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
For now, A HEART DECEIVED is available in eBook or paperback, as is UNDERCURRENT. GALLIMORE, however, is available in large print as well.

In A HEART DECEIVED, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
There are three issues dealt with in the lives of the three main characters in A HEART DECEIVED…

Hero Ethan Goodwin is an opium addict. In the opening scene, he encounters God via a chance meeting with the Reverend John Newton. Throughout the story, Ethan deals with withdrawal from the drug while learning to depend upon God for his needs instead.

Heroine Miri Brayden has lived her entire life under the dark shadow of verbal abuse. As a result, her self image is nonexistent—until she discovers the love of God as shown through Ethan, and finds out she is a valuable creation.

Roland Brayden is Miri’s brother and is suffering from a debilitating virus causing the deterioration of his mental health. It’s a slow descent into lunacy, one which he occasionally surfaces from, and it frightens him to no end.

Throughout all these difficulties, God is there. It doesn’t mean He waves a magic wand and makes everything better, but it does mean that He changes hearts.

Thank you Michele for agreeing to answer these questions. 
I think many people struggle with these issues and we don't talk about it enough.

Bio: Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas…professionally, however, for the past 10 years. Her latest release, A HEART DECEIVED, is available by David C. Cook. You can find her at: www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.comwww.michellegriep.com or on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

Giveaway: A copy of any of Michelle's books, your choice of format (international winners ebook only.)  Have you ever struggled with body image?  A sweet tooth?  Leave your comment and your email address to enter.


  1. When I saw that you were interviewing Michelle, I HAD to stop by. She is such a great lady. I've read both Undercurrent and A Heart Deceived and I loved them both.
    Michelle, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It breaks my heart when I hear of such stories, but it also opens my eyes to the truth that this world is full of hateful people who desperately need the Lord. I am so glad that God spoke to your heart and helped you to overcome this issue. We are truly blessed by your great personality and honesty. I would love to win a copy of Gallimore, so please enter me! Hugs and God bless.

    1. You, little missy, are a huge blessing to me!

    2. See you over on your blog! Oh, and I forgot to put my email address.


  2. I used to struggle with body image. I also struggled, and still do, with a sweet tooth.
    Sometimes I forget that God can help me with problems like this. Thanks for the reminder.


    1. We all need to be reminded...me included!

  3. MICHELLE, welcome to OWG! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I recognize myself in your story. I was on a school trip and eating a candy. When I took a second one the teacher and his wife started to laugh and said to each other something that I was fat and eating a lot of candies. I was about 10 years old, I think. They really hurt me and I didn't dare to eat again in public for a very long time.
    I have long struggled with my body image until - like you - I learned that God doesn't care how I look like on the outside.

    1. Wow. Bad enough when it's a punk kid, but seriously...adults said this? I am so sorry that happened to you, Marian.

  4. Hello Michelle. I haven't met you until today. Glad Carrie, one of my favorite people, had you come over. I enjoyed the interview. Kids can be very unkind at times. But, even worse for adults to be so inconsiderate of someone's feeling. I also have a sweet tooth. Especially where Chocolate is involved. Tho for the past year I've been losing too much weight, and don't know why. My children have really worried about it. Finally me too, when I could no longer keep my pants up. Needed suspenders. Have been doing nothing to cause this. My doctor doesn't seem to be concerned, but I am. Starting to look boney across the shoulders and arms. Don't know who else might help me find out why.
    I also laughed and loved your answer to when you first started writing. Will make me laugh again each time I remember. There's been times when I wished I looked a little slimmer but never bothered me too much. I want to try for this book of yours. It would be a good start to having a book of yours. Carrie, please enter my name. Thanks to you both for the give-away. Love OWG Maxie

    1. Sometimes I wonder when weight even became an issue. Clearly it wasn't in the garden. May God bless you, Maxie, with the answer to your weight loss.

  5. Thank you for being our guest this week on OWG, MICHELLE! I think most of us women struggle or have struggled with that problem of body image. With media and a culture that is obsessed with pencil thin young women, it's hard to see ourselves as lovely when we don't look the way they do.

    I remember being 8 months pregnant and 112 pounds, and now that I'm older I weigh more than I did when I was pregnant. I know I would look ridiculous at that weight now at my age, but when I walk in somewhere I feel like that is the first thing people notice. I need to lose a little for health reasons, but asking God what He would have us weigh is important. For our health, but definitely not to earn His love or approval!

    1. Amen, Diana! God loves us exactly how He created us.

  6. Oh, Michelle - loved your interview, so relevant to my own situation. I, too, didn't think I was overweight, when in the 7th grade - a neighbor boy would "oink' when I would get on the school bus. I struggled greatly with self-esteem at that time, & these situations made me retreat even further into my shell.

    My relationship with God has relieved my low self-esteem. Unfortunately - I was approaching middle age when I surrendered to His plan for my life, & have not been able to break my sweet tooth habit. The older you are - the harder it is to break the hold habits have over your life. I have health issues, & am aware that sugar compounds the problems involved.

    Just yesterday - I made another commitment to God that I would, once again - with His help -make an effort to end my sugar addiction. I have read numerous times that sugar addiction is even stronger & harder to break than the addiction of a lot of the drugs & I certainly believe it. I have never dealt with drugs, but I know the struggle I have had with sugar. Perhaps, it is God's timing that I should read your post today - for added encouragement. Thank you!

    That being said - I love the storyline of A Heart Deceived, & would love to read it! I love lots of dysfunction in books. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!



    1. Sugar is certainly more insidious than opium because it's everywhere and in pretty much everything. May God hold your face in his hands to keep your eyes on Him and his beauty so that you won't even think about snarfing down any sugary treats.

  7. I'm having a frustrating time right now with a foot injury from running. It's been a long recovery, and I keep thinking the end is right around the corner. The Lord must be teaching me the virtue of patience :)

    Looking forward to reading your books!


    1. Ahh, yes, the ol' patience virtue. The good/bad news is that if you don't learn it this go around, He'll give you another chance!

  8. I admit to a sweet tooth as well, but I have come to the realisation that to carry a bit of extra weight is not the end of the world. I'm very strong & healthy and my Doctor is happy with my health so I don't worry too much.


    1. If your doctor is happy, is that extra weight really extra?

  9. I've always been self-conscious about my weight, because I have a sweet tooth. In the past two years, I have been able to control my sweet tooth better and have lost some weight. The worst part was approximately three years ago, I didn't think I would ever be smaller, so I gave majority of my smaller clothes to Goodwill. Now since I've lost weight, I don't have many clothes to wear anymore.


  10. MICHELLE thank you so much for sharing with us here on OWG. I too have always had a problem with my self image.
    As a kid I was a chunk, my mom was notorious for buying me those dreaded cheesebugers and fries from the Golden Arches place. :) Thank goodness I grew up instead of out. Then I was way taller than the other kids in my class and I felt like a giant! lol

    Maybe I'm in denial but I don't think there's anything wrong with eating a little piece of chocolate or a little Debbie cake or a piece of 12 layer chocolate cake or coconut cake or chocolate chip cookies. Ok maybe not eating all of that in one day!!! LOL!!! I know better than to overeat but some days are better than others!! I am working harder to lose some weight because I have had reflux for years. In the past couple months I have found out I can actually sleep in my bed and not the recliner if I don't eat a lot at night.

    Can't wait to read your books, I have A Heart Deceived on my kindle ready and waiting for me!! Thanks again for being with us this week!!

  11. what courageous stories you have all shared here...I have always felt fat, even when I was 115 lbs and in high school...my friends told me I was fat and my mom said it so I figured I was. I ate the healthiest when pregnant with my 3 daughters and nursing as I was doing it for them. I still have problems with my body image. I care too much what others think. But yes, God does look on the heart. I also have a thought that God created some of us to have a tendency to gain weight, some to lose it and some to be able to eat everything in site and never gain an ounce. I would love to read your books, Rhonda Nash-Hall

  12. Thanks so much MICHELLE for being our guest and sharing your story on OWG! I've also had body issues since my teens - first it was being too underweight b/c our family was poor, and while some people don't understand how being skinny is a problem, it can be when you're too thin without the nice shape, plus skinny people still get teased!
    Then it was when the dreaded teenage acne kicked in... which lasted until my forties! But you know what, looking back on those years, I'm grateful NOW for those things (which helped keep me humble) because growing up in a non-Christian family, I can't imagine how different my life would have been like had I been gorgeous and perfect looking! :)
    BTW, my shape eventually filled out nicely... that is until I had 3 giant kids, lol! But no sweet tooth here, definitely keeps the weight under control! We all really DO need to focus on what we are like on the inside however - It's the unseen that's eternal... and what we see is only temporary!!

    I have A Heart Deceived on my Kindle and am very much looking forward to reading it!! God bless you!

  13. I think all women struggle with body image at some point... I have always been a bit on the heavy side, not obese but definitely overweight. I recently lost about 25 pounds, and am totally struggling with learning to maintain that loss. Exercise seems to be the key for me. And yes the SWEET TOOTH is a big part of the issue.


  14. I don't struggle with body image at all. What you see is what you get. I do have a sweet tooth but it doesn't control me, I control it.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    Janet E.

  15. OH YEAH!!! I've been "over weight" my whole life. And have been put down and teased because of it. I have a MAJOR sweet tooth! Actually I think I have sweet teeth! LOL! :D I can also be an emotional eater...:/ But I'm healthy overall and have always been on and follow a healthy diet. (a few sweets in moderation! :D Gotta have my s'mores! LOL!)

    Blessings, Amada


  16. I have struggled with self image for most of my life. A few years back I lost weight and actually got down to what the 'normal' range would be for my height and age. Recently some of it has crept back up and it has really bothered me. I am learning, like you, that I need to be more concerned about what God thinks instead of how I think people view me. I read the book 'So Long Insecurity' by Beth Moore and it is very good. Thanks for the encouraging words. And by the way, I absolutely loved "A Heart Deceived'. Very well written with characters that I could ache for! darrylnbarb@juno.com Barb : )

  17. Yay and a huge welcome to Michelle being on this wonderful blog!! Thanks sooooo much for sharing your testimony here, it's something so many of us can relate to. You always comment with such grace and humor, love that about you! Not cool what that kid said about you, but so glad it led to revelations from God because only His opinion matters. Even though I have not read Heart Deceived, I'm praying for continued favor and a larger readership as you keep writing these great stories.....you had me at Undercurrent :) Hugs and blessings Michelle and thanks for this great interview!
    *not an entry* *waving to my OWG sisters*

  18. Also congrats to Britney Adams for being the 3ooth follower, woo hoo!! High fives to my OWG sisters for reaching 3oo followers and still going strong, praise God :)

  19. Yes to both! I was about 40 lbs overweight due to my sweet tooth, but lost that in part to exercise and eating better, but also now on a gluten-free and mostly sugar-free diet, which has been incredibly hard. However, I'm trying to get some health problems under control and not doing this to be skinny. It's discouraging, though, to see so many too-thin women on TV and in magazines and that they're portrayed as the ideal. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

  20. UGH--yes, I struggle with my weight. Yes, I want to look good, but even more importantly, I need to lose to get my health where it needs to be--mostly my diabetes. Yet, it is so fun to try all the new things on my various travels. I have lot before, & I know I can do it again--it is a matter of giving in to God and allowing HIM to control my food intake, and then my booty up and do basic exercise on a daily basis. I keep working on it, and I know I will get there eventually.
    Your books sound good, & I would enjoy the opportunity to win one of them.


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