To anyone who’s really known me, they’ve known that weight and self-image has always been a struggle for me. As a teen I saw parts of myself as imperfect and accidental. As a young woman, I believed that my body was for the pleasure of others, and looking good was a means of finding happiness in the physical pleasures. In this new phase of life (parent of a teenager, an almost-kindergartener, a new grandmother) I’ve found myself in this place where God is being very deliberate in showing me who I really am.
In the past 3 years I’ve gone from losing 50 pounds, to gaining 20 pounds, to losing almost 20 pounds. I’ve spent more time praying about it than I’d care to admit, but I’ll just leave it with there being a ton of scars on my knees. I think that I’ve felt every painful emotion ranging from guilt to shame to regret, and sometimes they all hit at once. Sometimes they hit out of no where, and go flying like a boomerang at my sweet husband. There have been more apologies surrounding emotional, weight-related breakdowns than otherwise.
Last summer I purchased a bathing suit top that I thought would be large enough to be comfortable and flowing and still keep everything hidden. So when lake season reared its ugly head again like it always does, I wasn’t even thinking that I’d have any issues with my existing bath suit. Until I put it on. And it almost fell down. Amidst the excitement of the weight and inches lost, there was also that gnawing angst of knowing that I’d have to, soon, go swimsuit shopping.
I think most women probably feel me on this. There’s almost nothing worse in life than swim suit shopping. Us gals will always find something in the mirror that we don’t like, no matter how gorgeous everyone else thinks we look. So I make the trek to my favorite store with my lovely 5-year old in tow. I make my way through the bathing suit section and pick out about 10 different items that I thought might possibly work, and then make my way to my certain demise (queue the funeral procession music).
I know I’m exaggerating. But only a little bit.
Hayden spent the entire time yelling at me through closed eyes about how he doesn’t want to see my giant butt or my boobs, etc. so I made my way through trying on the instruments of torture (again, not totally exaggerating), as quickly as humanly possible, and left empty handed and miserable.
A few weeks later and I’m realizing that the day for the lake visits is approaching rapidly and I needed to figure something out. One more trip had to be made. I warned my husband to be on call for pictures for approvals, and started the death march back to the store.
Another walk through the department of pain and I went back in to the priso…errr..dressing rooms (working on the positivity here). The first one makes its way on, and I tuck in all of the undergarments as best as I can so I can really see what it looks like before turning myself around to the mirror. As I look down at my feet and my eyes make their way up to meet themselves in the mirror the tears began to fall.
And they weren’t tears of hurt or disappointment.
It was like in this moment that God knew that I had already set myself up for failure, He put a little piece of His heart for me in to mine, and this wave of warmth and approval fell over me. I saw, probably for the first time ever, a glimpse of how He sees me. It was like looking through God colored glasses, and I saw this gorgeous woman in front of me and she couldn’t stop smile-crying.
Can I tell you something? Can I share with you a little bit of what I believe that he put in me that day? Can I be vulnerable and real?
Each of us is perfection. We were created by the Master Craftsman, and woven together with intention and purpose. I’m in this beautiful ministry where I get to share the heart of the Father with His girls, and for so long I didn’t believe that those things that He said to them were for me, but I was so wrong. The sooner we, as women, believe this about who we are physically, the sooner we can walk together in to the place that He has planned with us.
Please hear me.
There is NOTHING wrong or imperfect about you, and until you believe that your beauty is so much more than your physical, and believe what God already knows about who you are, there is no amount of physical perfection that will make you happy. Happiness has to be found in Him first. Believing this will break the chains of bondage that keeps us bound to the constant search of something that will never fill us.
You are gorgeous, beautiful, favored, and loved. Be blessed.