I want to show you something. It's something that may be uncomfortable for you because it definitely is uncomfortable for me.
This is me. 37-year-old, 5 foot 3 inches, 160 pound me. At one time I had a lithe young body. I never felt comfortable touting it, but I loved being able to fit well into clothes. As I aged, as I took on more responsibilities, as I experienced life, and as I gave birth to children, the harder it has become to keep the pounds at bay.
Today, I look at my body in the mirror and feel disgusted. The rolls and the excess of flab hanging over my ill-fitting jeans are unpleasant to look at. I can't stand wearing a swimsuit. I feel uncomfortable getting naked in front of my husband, and I even have a difficult time bending over without my belly getting in the way. I eat healthily, I get small walks every day, and I'm constantly on the go taking care of my family and taking care of others. I imagine what life would be like if I just "looked" better.
BUT, here's the truth- What you don't see in this picture is how much MY FAMILY DOES NOT CARE that I have rolls. I made the mistake of mentioning something about my belly in front of my 12-year-old son; he was very confused as to what I was complaining about. My husband thinks I'm incredibly sexy, and my daughter sees nothing but love for her in my eyes. My family sees me completely different than what I see. They see a compassionate, beautiful spirit. They see a woman who has endured much and loves much. They see a woman who holds our family together when we all feel like we're falling apart. They see a wife and mother who loves them unconditionally.
I am not posting this to make you feel sorry for me nor am I looking for you to tell me I'm beautiful.
I KNOW I am beautiful. I know because my loved ones tell me so, and I believe them. I know, because I am created in the image of a God who has given me strength even when I feel weak, who has given me a body that has endured and embraced surgeries, miscarriages, births, heavy lifting, trauma, and love.
So, why then am I showing you this picture? Because I want you to know how much, My Darling, how incredibly beautiful you are. You may not exercise daily, you may eat the junk food every so often, you may not wear makeup or have combed your hair today. That is OKAY. Because you are taking on the world, and you are conquering it. Little by little, you are grabbing hold of the running little ones, you are wiping up the messes, you are caring for others beyond your emotional and/or physical capacity, you are paying bills, you are working to pay those bills; you are driving, cooking, cleaning, typing, hugging, crying, enjoying, encouraging, and building a future for yourself and your family. Little by little, struggle by struggle, you are conquering the world.
You feel like you are doing it all. And, you are. You are doing it all and because of that, you are BEAUTIFUL. The shape of your body does not define who you are. Your compassion, your love, and your strength is what defines you. Hold your head up high my lovely, and keep trekking. Love yourself and show your confidence in WHO you are. Because you are BEAUTIFUL.