I am a simple person. Simple in that I don’t have a ton of clothes or shoes, my daily wardrobe consists of a good pair of jeans, sweater and black shoes or boots. My house is tastefully decorated with classic furniture with a few antiques here and there. I cut my hair every 4 months and wear minimal make-up. My favorite place to be is sitting by a lake. My favorite date with my husband would be dinner and a movie. I love books, hot tea and sitting at Barnes & Nobles café. But I do have a confession to make. I color my hair and just last week I went and got acrylic tips on my nails. I don’t do this because I am vain. I do it because for some unknown reason (possibly because I have children) mother nature has placed a few strands of an ugly gray color throughout my head of hair and I have become extremely lazy and irritated that my nails will only grow to a certain length before they break and nail color only lasts for a day before it chips. And I didn’t even get color on the nails just the French manicure look. You see, I like my hands. I have my grandmother’s hands and she always took the time to file them and to wear nail polish and I just feel that if I have her hands I should take care of them like she did. I don’t get all caught up with the latest fashions or trends. I try to buy clothes that will remain in style more than one season.
But what saddens me is other women who are constantly searching for that perfect body, perfect piece of clothing, perfect hair color and style when in reality they are perfect just the way they are. I’m not perfect, not even close. Even though I’ve lost over 35 pounds, my thighs have dimples, my stomach has stretch marks and my arms jiggle. But I feel good, I’m healthier and to me that is what matters most. God made me who I am, dimples, stretch marks, jiggles and all.
I haven’t always felt this way though. When I was a teenager and even into my adulthood, I thought that if I was prettier, skinnier and smarter people would like me even more. I even found myself using laxatives to lose weight after both of my daughters were born only to binge once again. I knew God loved me but I didn’t love myself. I was messing with who God intended me to be. The cycle that a I had created was taking a toll on my body and my relationship with God. Couldn’t God see how badly I wanted to lose the weight? Couldn’t he see how if I just lost the weight I wouldn’t have to spend my time worrying, I could be spending it doing something better. This went on and on for years, until one day I looked at myself in the mirror and decided that I am who I am. I still wasn’t happy with me but I couldn’t keep up with the roller coaster ride I put myself on. So I went through my days being unhappy with how I looked. I avoided mirrors, hated to get my picture taken and didn’t go shopping unless I really needed something (too many tears had been shed in dressing rooms that I tried to avoid them at all cost).
And then I started reading the Bible and searching out what God had to say about beauty. I read books from women who told their stories of feeling unworthy and not good enough until they realized that God loved them just who they were. And then I really looked in a full length mirror. I took a long hard look and I decided that I would find one thing I liked about myself. I stood there for a few minutes looking at all of me and decided that I liked my eyes and then I looked at my hands and I liked them too. I suddenly felt better. It wasn’t so awful. I smiled and decided that I would do it again the next day and I did. I found that I liked my hair and I liked my shoulders. I smiled again and I started to feel better. After a few weeks I had found more things I liked about myself and not just how I looked. I discovered many things that I did well and I suddenly started feeling good. This is what led me to join Weight Watchers last May. I wanted to feel even better. I wanted to do what God had called me to do. If I was going to be in ministry then I wanted to be able to do it with as much energy as I could give. Over these last few months it has been hard. I have had my good weeks and my bad weeks but this time I don’t beat myself up over it. I look in the mirror everyday and I see what God has given me and I say, “Thank you”. Thank you for creating me who I am for giving me the beauty and the flaws.
The Christian music group Mercy Me has a new song called “Beautiful” and it was written by the lead singer for his two small daughters. Here are the lyrics.
You are made for so much more than all of this
You are treasured, You are sacred, You are His
And praying that you have the heart to find
Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
And they are nothing in the shadow of the cross
Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You're the one He madly loves enough to die
In His eyes
We are beautiful just the way we are. We are beautiful in His eyes.