***FOR WOMEN ONLY***
I’d just had my first baby only one month before. Between the post baby body and hormones, my insecurities were at an all time high. Mike suggested we go out and do something that sounded fun to me so we packed up the stroller and headed to the mall.
It was December of 1986. Baby Jessica decided in the middle of our mall trip that she was hungry and she could not wait.
Things were different. Moms didn’t just whip it out in public and start nursing, even with a blanket covering them. So, I went out to our small, cramped car and attempted to nurse fussy Jessica under my heavy sweater and winter coat.
Despite the freezing temperatures, the sweat began to roll and the hormones began to rage. The hormones were definitely winning the battle and I started to cry.
When I got back inside, the first thing I saw was a full wall advertisement for Victoria’s Secret. Not life size. Bigger. Gigantic, gorgeous, amazon women with perfect hair and bodies.
And I lost it.
That was the beginning of the end.
My insecurities got worse instead of better. I felt fat and ugly after each baby. Instead of doing something about it, I resorted to junk food and complaining.
“I’m so fat. I’m so ugly. My double chin, my small chest, my flabby stomach...”
and on and on and on.
I was defeated without a fight.
And my daughters watched it all.
Why do we let society dictate what qualifies as beautiful to us? Why do we allow it to dictate those qualities to our daughters?
Why is it so hard to believe that we are beautiful?
It starts so young and once it grabs hold, it’s hard to shake.
My innocent granddaughter Ellie with her naturally curly, brown hair came home from kindergarten and told me she was ugly because her hair wasn’t straight. Or blonde.
It broke my heart.
She is so beautiful to me.
She is so beautiful to God.
How can we change this mindset in our daughters?
YOU are beautiful to God.
Start believing it’s true in yourself.
And that’s where it gets so hard.
Many of us can’t. Including myself.
It’s a continual battle that I cannot seem to win. With every TV commercial and magazine cover hitting me where it hurts. Ephesians 6:12-18
So you buy books and read articles and decide you’re going to change. And the first week you get up and spend time with God and read and feel the confidence returning. You smile. You’re happy.
And then you walk into the mall with your husband.... And you are defeated and complaining all over again. Romans 7:22&23
Your husband sits in silence. He has told you time and time again how beautiful you are to him. He is at a loss for words.
But your daughter hears your EVERY word.
She thinks you’re beautiful.
She thinks you’re amazing.
Why is this a continual cycle in our lives?
Because society screams at us from every direction and we listen to them and NOT TO GOD.
We don’t believe GOD’S words.
I can hear some of your thoughts as you read this. “Oh brother. You’re tall and slim. Why are you complaining?” But we all have our trouble spots. We all have our insecurities.
Your daughter looks at you and thinks~ “mom you are amazing and beautiful and I want to be JUST LIKE YOU. Why do you complain?”
And even sadder, God looks at us and says-“I made you in MY IMAGE. You are wonderfully made. You are beautiful in MY EYES. Why do you complain?” Genesis 1:27
In a way, we are telling God~”you created the world and you saved my soul from eternal damnation, but man~You really missed the mark with this body of mine.”
Romans 9:20, Psalm 8:3-4
Shame on us.
Shame on me.
I’m not condoning being lazy and not taking care of ourselves. It’s not ok to go buy a bag of Lays and a half gallon of ice cream and have at it every time we feel ugly~ because pretty soon, for some of us, that could be our daily diet.
It’s actually harmful to our bodies in so many ways and it’s teaching our children that food is the answer. Food is our comfort. Food is our happiness.
And God isn’t in the equation.
I Corinthians 10:31
I wish I had started my healthy journey earlier but after my daughter Jessica went to college I decided it was time for change.
I started working out. I ate right. I lifted. I lost weight and gained muscle. But when I looked in the mirror I was still discouraged.
All that work would not take away the hidden wrinkling, sagging skin that age allows to creep up on us.
It didn’t take away my hidden flabby tummy after having four children and a hysterectomy.
It didn’t take away the hidden dimples (aka cellulite) I had in all the wrong places or the varicose veins that looked like a road map on my thighs.
I just learned how to hide it all.
But my heart was hidden too. Hidden behind push up bras, loose shirts and control top panty hose.
Why was I hiding behind these things in self loathing doubt and why do I still try to hide?
Because I’m not hiding God’s words in my heart.
That’s where it has to start and that’s what we have to keep going back to. Over and over and over.
That thought process is very, very foreign to so many of us.
We can’t win this battle on our own ladies. We can only win with Christ in our hearts and His power on our lives. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
So this is my journey.
✔️To take care of this body He has given me. To work hard on the things I CAN change but accept the things I PHYSICALLY can not. Matthew 6:27
✔️To continue to stay healthy, eat healthy and work out.
✔️To tirelessly play with my grandchildren and someday see them graduate and get married. (And maybe my great grandchildren one day too.)
✔️To understand that outward beauty is vanity but inward beauty is EVERYTHING. Proverbs 31:30
✔️To focus on the beauty of my Lord and continually remind myself that when He looks at me, He sees beautiful. Song of Solomon 4:7, Isaiah 62:3, Psalm 90:17
✔️To understand that He has made me in HIS image. Genesis 1:26-26,31
HIS IMAGE!! That’s HUGE!
✔️To look in the mirror and choose to be like Christ and not like the world’s standard of beauty.
✔️To trust that God knew about each part of my body before I was even born. He knew about every future wrinkle, every dimple, every sag and every measurement and when He celebrated my very first birth day~ He said “perfect”.
Psalms 139:13-17, Luke 12:7,
✔️To teach my granddaughters what beauty really means in God’s eyes. Romans 10:15
✔️To show them they are strong and can accomplish anything with Christ in their heart and God by their side. Ephesians 2:10, I Peter 2:9, Philippians 4:13
✔️To know that it’s not about me but it’s all about God. And God’s beauty shines brighter and longer and more magnificent than any wall mural this world has to offer.
And that’s all I need to know.
Because I am made in His image.