all photos by Kelly Martin Photography
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.””
-1 Samuel 16:7
I’ve always loved that verse of scripture. I love the image, the feeling, the knowledge, the reality of the fact that our God loves us for who we are. He sees our heart, He sees who we are as people, and He loves us. How we look, what we weigh, and how we dress have no effect on how much He loves us.
But yet, for some reason, over the years, I’ve continued to struggle with this. Because at the end of the day if I said that I don’t care how I look or what I weigh or how I dress, well, I’d be lying to you.
I totally care.
This is not a new issue. I’ve talked about my struggles with body image before. But I’ve come to a realization lately that I feel like I need to process.
I have a daughter now. And I don’t want her to grow up and think like I do.
I have spent the past 28 years hating my body and hating the way I look (well, I guess maybe 21 years… I don’t think I really had a concept of the way I looked before I was 7 or 8).
The times that I have looked in the mirror and thought, “Yeah, I look pretty” are completely destroyed by the number of times I’ve looked in the mirror and wished I saw something different.
This is not in search of a pity party or fishing for a compliment – this is my way of processing a real issue that so many women deal with.
It’s a constant struggle comparing myself to other women and how they look and how they dress. Comparison is toxic.
The fact is, this past weekend I went shopping for the first time in a LONG time because I needed jeans. None of my pre-pregnancy pants fit me and they aren’t even CLOSE to fitting and my maternity jeans are falling off. So, I bit the bullet, went to Old Navy, and went jeans shopping.
I went in knowing that I’d be buying a size larger than usual, but I still lived in some weird state of denial. As I tried on pair after pair in sizes I THOUGHT I could fit in, I got more and more frustrated. Finally, in a fit of borderline-rage, I grabbed a pair two sizes up from what I was trying on and put the jeans on.
They fit and they looked amazing on me.
I actually thought the jeans looked good. But, I couldn’t get over the fact that I was wearing a size 14.
But it’s not about the number. The fact is my body has changed dramatically since giving birth. My body did something miraculous – making a human baby and birthing it. And it’s not like I won’t ever wear a size 8 or a size 10 again.
I looked good and felt great in those size 14 jeans. So I bought them.
And as I drove home, I thought about what I’d been struggling with and that still small voice from the Lord spoke to me. I thought about Lilly.
To me, she is the most beautiful little girl in the whole world. And I tell her that every day. Even though I know she has absolutely no concept of what that means right now, I won’t stop telling her. Ever. I will be old and gray and Lilly will be married with kids and I’ll tell her she’s the most beautiful girl ever.
I want Lilly to grow up confident in who she is and who she is in Christ. I want her to see herself as the Lord sees her. I know I can’t protect her from the things of this world and I know I can’t totally guard her from the pressures she is sure to face one day, but I can set an example.
For the first few years of her life, Lilly is going to look at mommy as her example of what a lady should be. And if I’m constantly talking badly about myself or the way I look or saying negative things about my appearance, what is Lilly going to think?
Lilly is going to see mommy as the example and if mommy doesn’t see herself as worthy, why would Lilly?
And that breaks my heart.
So what do I want for Lilly? What do I want for my sweet, innocent daughter?
- I want to teach Lilly to love and fear the Lord.
- I want to be a positive example to Lilly.
- I want to show her that mommy is healthy, happy, and confident.
- I want to teach her to be healthy, happy, and confident in who she is.
- I want Lilly to love herself and reject those that try to bring her down.
I want the world for her.
I want her to see her as I see her. Which is beautiful.
But, I have to start by working on myself. I have to start at the source. It’s a matter of changing the way I think and changing my heart.