A few weeks ago Miles randomly said, “I love saying ‘the girls’” and I didn’t even let him finish his sentence before shouting, “ME TOO”! Throughout the day when we are making plans or just referencing our daily life we say “the girls” about a million times. It’s a special season we are in with our two baby girls and saying “the girls” just reminds me of our sweet blessings. So when I saw this sweatshirt I knew I had to snag it because this is me. RAISING GIRLS. This is my season! This is my role!
I’m only 28 months in, but let me tell you, raising these girls sure is fun. The bows. The dresses. The tea parties. Sure there is the drama and sass to go with it, but even that is cute sometimes (we just try to hide our smiles so Anniston doesn’t know it’s cute. Ha!). But I have never felt the weight of raising girls more until recently. Of course there is a heavy weight with any parenting, but when it comes to girls, I feel it so much when it comes to body image.
The other day I was nursing Elliott in the Target dressing room. (Side note: Does your Target having a nursing room? GAME CHANGER. I used it for the first time and couldn’t believe the comfy chair and stool waiting for me. Because ya know, I really needed one more reason to spend all my time at Target haha… but I digress!) Anyways, I was hanging out in there and I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation going on in the room next to me. A girl was trying on clothes (from the sound of her voice I’d say early teen, but not sure) and her mom was waiting on the other side of the door. Her mom was asking to come in and see what she had on and the girl kept denying her. The mom was getting impatient (totally get that), but finally the girl cried out, “It’s all too small! I’m too fat! I just want to go home!”
It absolutely broke my heart. I heard the uncontrollable tears and sadness in her voice. I knew that sadness. I wanted to run over and hug her and tell her, “It gets better! Those teen years are so tough, but you’ll make it!” But for starters, I know I would have mortified her and embarrassed her and the more I thought about it, the struggle with body image doesn’t exactly go away the minute you hit your twenties. I’m pretty sure I could poll women from all different ages and stages and they would say they all battle this from time to time. And if I’m honest with myself, I didn’t really even start dealing with this UNTIL I hit my twenties!
I’m not going to lie, I was pretty much a stick growing up. My favorite food was chicken fingers and french fries and I could live off them without it showing. It was a beautiful time haha. But fast forward to get married at 21 and being expected to feed myself and another human being at the exact same time my metabolism started to slow down. The only thing I knew how to cook was pasta and my Italian husband loved pasta so it seemed like a win win! Until a year and a half into marriage and I realized my 5’3” frame had gained 15 pounds. I couldn’t believe it. I had avoided the scale for so long because I truly didn’t want to know. I knew my clothes were tighter. Some pants I couldn’t even wear anymore. But I didn’t want the scale to tell me the truth.
I remember using the words like “chubby”, “thick”, and “spongey” to describe myself in my head. I had never struggled with body image like this until now. I wasn’t prepared for this. I thought I had such a healthy grasp on body image my whole life, but really that’s just because I was okay with what I saw in the mirror! During that time I used negative self talk to push me into extreme dieting and extreme fitness and was able to lose those 15 pounds in just three months. But even after losing the weight I did not feel “okay” with myself. I was proud of the way I looked, but my inside still felt shame.
This was six years ago and in the last six years I have had my ups and downs with this, but I always find that the mirror and number on the scale never tell me what I want to hear. There will always be imperfections by the world’s standards. BUT THANKFULLY, I have found that the Lord is AWLAYS there to tell me the truth. To tell me I was created in His image and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (See Genesis 1:26-27 and Psalm 139:14.)
I feel the importance of this even more now as I raise my girls. I don’t want “skinny” and “fat” to be words used in my house. I don’t want their self worth to come from the mirror. I don’t want the scale to determine how their day is going and how they are going to feel. And the more I pray that for them, the more I continue to find healing for myself.
So this one’s for the girls. (And yes, I’m TOTALLY humming along with Martina McBride as I type this haha). Yes, bathing suit season is coming (and if you live anywhere near Auburn then you know bathing suit season is HERE. Hello ninety degree heat in “spring”), but that does not mean it’s time for shame and fad diets. Yes, I’m all about being healthy and I definitely try and sneak in a few more runs before a beach trip, but as this saying becomes more and more popular I could not agree more, “every BODY has a swimsuit body”.
I want you to go into this season choosing TRUTH. Choosing LOVE. Choosing JOY. Don’t you dare let the enemy win by stirring negative thoughts in your head! Don’t you dare let yourself win by entertaining those thoughts! Let JESUS WIN. Let what He says about you be true and be what you speak over yourself. You’ll find that you will radiate from the inside out with a beauty that no mirror, or number could ever give you!
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.” -Song of Solomon 4:7
When Anniston was eight months old Christy Nockels released an album of lullabies and I quickly began playing it all the time so we could be listening to truth on our drives around town. One of my favorite songs on that album is “Always Remember to Never Forget” and I pray it is truth my girls receive as they grow. I pray it is truth I receive every time I want to believe lies. I pray it is truth YOU believe the next time you look in the mirror. I am in the fight with you, friends! Let’s support one another and change the story. Change the story from one where the world defines beauty and change it to a story about the one who GIVES beauty.
I hope these lyrics leave you encouraged and confident on this Monday! You are BEAUTIFUL, friends!
Always Remember to Never Forget by Christy Nockels
Hey there beautiful one, you there shining with glory
Would you let your heart hear, if I sang about you
Did you know that every fairy tale you love
They have borrowed your story
Of a maiden so lovely, and a hero so true
It's just that this world is hollow
And it wants to swallow
Any memory of who you really are
Always remember to never forget
When you look in the mirror, the answer is yes
Yes you are pure as gold, yes you are beautiful
So always remember to never forget
(Always remember to never forget)
Like a treasure in the deep, your heart is a diamond
And your hero will do what it takes to find it
So he can hold it tenderly, and become your defender
Even lay down his life, to make your heart heal
It's just that this world is broken
And it want to hold back
Any evidence of, that kind of love
My darling your light, his favourite parade
On a bright sunny day, in the middle of the mossy
Will you still dance, In your favourite dress
And oh he loves when you never forget
So always remember to never forget
So always remember to never, baby never forget