But I am now at my heaviest weight outside of pregnancy. Actually, I weigh more than I weighed when I was pregnant with my last child since I had gotten down pretty small right before that pregnancy.
And before any well-meaning friends tell me I look fine – I don’t like this. I don’t like the place my body is at. This is not a healthy place for me. I know I am not eating right or exercising enough. Being “fine” is not what is best for my overall health and well-being. I feel uncomfortable and unhappy in my own skin. There are changes that need to be made.
However, I have come to this realization – my daughters don’t NEED me to fit in a pair of skinny jeans.
This first hit me after I sat beside a hospital bed holding my oldest daughter’s hand last December. She had a seizure-like episode at a friend’s house. One that led to an ambulance ride, IV fluids, a heart monitor, and multiple tests. I could see her trying to keep a brave face, but she was terrified. Her hand felt so small and frail in mine as she reached through the bed rails, needing a reassuring touch, needing to hold on to something familiar.
After the doctors determined she had not had a seizure and it was safe for us to take her home and keep an eye on her, I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch with her. Stroking her hair. Praying for her. Trying to calm her heart that was still anxious and fearful. And that is when I felt the Lord remind me of what Megan needed.
She needed me. She needed my mother’s heart. She needed my love and reassurance. She needed to hold my hand, and it did not matter to her what size mother was sitting at the other end of that arm. She wasn’t wondering what pants size I was wearing. She wasn’t noting the bit of extra chin creeping up on my face. She just wanted me to comfort her – no skinny jeans required.
And I had to come face to face with this realization again as we prepared for vacation last week. I had promised myself I would lose some weight before vacation this year. Instead – I gained more. Ugh. So a week before we headed out of town I had to buy new shorts and a new bathing suit. And every woman just loves to buy things in bigger sizes.
I am so thankful God reminded me I had a choice. I could go on vacation, grumpy the whole time, despising my body. OR I could remember that my daughters don’t need me to be in skinny jeans (or skinny shorts or a skinny bathing suit). They need a mommy to go and make memories with them. A mommy who will comfort them when they get hurt. A mommy who will get on rides with them. A mommy who will get into the pool and swim with them and not worry about her tummy pooching or her thighs jiggling. A mommy who will smile and laugh and hug and make memories. A mommy present with them instead of off in some distant “why can’t I just be skinny again?” dreamland.
Kisses aren’t sweeter when they come from a perfectly slender face.
Words of encouragement don’t mean more from a swimsuit model.
Hugs aren’t more comforting from arms that are tanned and toned.
Now I am not saying I just don’t worry about taking care of myself. That would not be biblical. Not at all. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I am called to take care of it. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) But I have to remember my daughters need me to be healthy more than they need me to be a certain size. And most of all, they just need me – the woman the Lord chose to be their mother.
And this goes for friends and everyone else in our lives. Seriously. When your heart is hurting, do you stop and ask yourself which of your friends is skinniest before you call them for encouragement and prayer? When you need wisdom, do you stop and think, “Which woman of God in my life looks best in a swimsuit?” NO! That sounds ridiculous! It’s the heart, the love, the kindness. It’s the one overflowing with Jesus you call. The one who listens and laughs and cries and speaks truth with great love. And that is what people need from me and from you.
Maybe you know where I am coming from with this one – feeling disappointed in how far your body is from where you want it to be, feeling angry at yourself for not doing better, for not getting it together. Today, let’s take a deep breath and allow ourselves a bit of grace. Let’s make wise choices through out the day and ask the Lord for help when that seems impossible. And let’s remember that love isn’t better when it comes from someone in size (insert where you want to be) jeans.
Let’s not withhold love because we feel unlovable. We are loved. Just as we are. No matter how much or how little jiggle that might involve. (Remember Romans 8:38-39. I feel sure that cellulite is on that nothing can separate us from His love list.)
Today – just be you. Beautiful, loved, and able to love and hug and laugh and comfort at any size you. No skinny jeans required.
Oh, and maybe check out THIS article on not avoiding having your picture taken with your kids. I needed to read it.