Sunday, October 9, 2011

beautiful

tonight i gave my kids a bath.
after bath time, they love to run around naked.
(don't all kids?)

their bedroom has mirrored closet doors.
bella was dancing to the aladdin soundtrack in front of them.
while belting out 'a whole new world', she turned to me and said:

mommy, i'm beautiful.


all tangled, wet, and naked.... she looked proudly at herself in that mirror.

yes, i told her. you are beautiful.
and smart, and kind, and funny.

after i put the kids to bed,
i walked by my bathroom and glanced in the mirror.

what ran through my mind?
look at that gray hair.
ugh, my skin is awful.
really, another zit?  shouldn't those go away with gray hair and wrinkles?
i shouldn't wear this shirt. it shows all my rolls.
my thighs should have 'knudsen' stamped on them.
i have more gums than teeth when i smile.
my forehead is huge.  and greasy.


at what point did i stop looking in the mirror and saying,
'i'm beautiful?'

please know, this is in NO way me looking for compliments.
(please, no 'you're so pretty!' comments, kay?)
but the reality is... don't we, as women, all do this?
we pick ourselves apart.
judge every little 'imperfection'.
wish away who we are.

i am surrounded by beautiful people here.
skinny, well-manicured, put-together people.
my insecurity is at an all-time high.
(yes, yes... you already got a dose of it thursday... 
but this is kinda different.  and it's what i'm thinking about.  soooo.... read if you want :)

i'm sure i've gotten a lot of compliments in my life.
i can't really remember any of them.

but i do remember the negative comments:

*in 5th grade, one of the moms helping with the school play i was in wouldn't put makeup on me because my forehead was broken out.  i haven't left the house without makeup since that day.

*in 4th grade, one of the kids called me godzilla because i was so hairy.
(which totally makes no sense since godzilla was a reptile-ish creature?)
 i went home and shaved for the first time
(and told no one.  did it without any soap or water since i didn't know any better and had some nasty shaving rash) 
to this day, i am very sensitive about my 'furriness'.

*in high school i was told i better be careful with my legs, because as soon as i was done with cheerleading, they would turn straight to fat.  they told me i was 'solid'.

*a boy in junior high wouldn't date me because i was 'flat as a board'.

i could go on and on.

why do we allow these comments to stay with us?
why does the bad hold on so tightly and the good just disappears?

my sophomore year of college, i woke up one morning and my face was tingling.
i went to wash my face, and i got soap in my eyes.
i soon realized that the entire right side of my face was frozen, un-moveable.
i rushed to the on-campus doctor.
he told me i had bells palsy, a condition in which your face 'freezes' for a period of time, similar to a stroke victim.  he had no idea how long it would last.
(sometimes it lasted for days, other people had it for years.)
i had always suffered with self-esteem issues.
(like pretty much every other 20-year-old in america)
but now i had to give speeches with half my face not working.
i had to blink my eye with my finger and sleep with an eye-patch 
so it wouldn't dry out.
when i ate, i couldn't open my mouth the entire way, 
so food would always fall all over, necessitating a bib.
eventually, the muscles in my face began to droop from lack of use.
i told myself that when i eventually got my 'face back' i would appreciate it.
i would never again be ungrateful for this face God gave me.
i was lucky- my bells palsy only lasted a few months, 
and i quickly began to regain use of my entire face.

yet here i am, 14 years later.
sighing in frustration at my reflection.

i can't tell you how many times i have spoken to high school girls about psalm 139, and how God created each and every one of them uniquely.
perfectly.

and then i go home and forget that He created me uniquely as well.

i think about the day when my daughters are going to look in the mirror and begin to see flaws rather than beauty.
i think about how that will break my heart.
after all... they are the most beautiful things i have ever seen.

but they are learning from their mother, right now, that they are not enough.
when i put myself down, they are listening.
when i deflect a compliment, they are learning to do the same.
when i groan at the mirror, they will one day imitate me;
rolling their eyes at God's creating staring back at them.

i can only imagine how it hurts Jesus to hear me speak poorly of myself.
am in not His creation, His workmanship?
did He not make every (gray) hair on my head?

we are told every day that we are not pretty enough.
that we need different hair, skin, legs, makeup to be acceptable.

what will it take for us, for me, to stop?
to look in the mirror and say 'thank you, jesus, for creating me to be this'.
to look at my no-longer-flat belly as a reminder of the 3 amazing children i have,
rather than something to be ashamed of.

it is no longer just about me rolling my eyes at God's creation.
it is now about my 2 little girls, and how they are going to view themselves.

i want them to always look in the mirror and say
'i'm beautiful.'
not out of pride or arrogance
but because they are beautifully created by the god of the universe.

and so am i.
and so are you.
now we just need to start believing it.


7 comments:

  1. Amazing Shara. Definitely needed to read/hear this tonight. Love you friend.

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  2. Shara, Thank you for being so transparent! Thank you for this beautiful reminder! So powerful! xoxo

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  3. I needed to hear this today! Thank you for the reminder that we are all beautiful. Miss you!
    Lauri Martin

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  4. Really needed to hear this today. I am just now learning that there isn't really anyone that doesn't have at least ONE thing about themselves they would like to change, as I look at them and say, 'Oh if I could only look like her, I would be happy and feel beautiful and be popular and people would flock to me and ask how I got to be so flawless.' :) Thanks for writing this! As always, I love reading your blog!

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