I have stretch marks. I have rolls. My body has been stretched from giving birth to 5 children in 6 years. It has carried and sustained me in the tragic loss of my sister and nephew. Has born the grief, stress and challenges of having a child with a feeding tube for 5 years and a child who has walked through cancer treatment. Cerebral palsy. Cleft Palate. Orthotics. Audiologist. Cardiologist. Oncologist. ENT. Cranial-facial. Radiologist. Pulmonology. Developmental Peds. NICU. PICU. blah,blah,blah the list never seems to ends...
The list goes on. But that's not the point.
The point is my body is damaged and broken. And I hated it. I hated my imperfections. My inabilities.
My self-worth was never great. I never looked at myself as a teenager and thought I was beautiful. The scars of sexual abuse made me see, "ugly" "worthless" "fat" even when I was outwardly gorgeous. I never saw it.
And now when I look at myself something wonderful has changed. I look at myself with compassion. I look at myself not merely as a survivor but someone who is overcoming. I'm beautiful. Flawed- absolutely, but beautiful. I'm strong. I have suffered severe depression, anxiety and at times have been very suicidal and I didn't give up. I didn't pull the trigger. I didn't die. I see arms that have comforted my son as he threw up for the 30th time that day. I see legs that kept moving forward in the face of uncertainty and darkness. I see lips that keep smiling even through the tears. I see the eyes that are searching for others... who I can love and encourage and wrap my arms around.
The truth is I have yet to arrive. I'm still in transformation but I refuse to wait to love myself until then...
I'm going to love me now.
Now, when I'm broken, scarred, overweight, vulnerable. When I'm the last one to finish the workout at Crossfit and the one huffing and puffing. I love me when I'm not fitting into the size I want. I will buy those fun leggings from Lula Roe because they make me happy and dance on the inside as well as letting me feel the buttercream softness. I will put on make-up when I want to because I want to not because I have to but I enjoy it. I will use lotion and perfume and feel alive and free and myself.
I shed the hatred. I have outgrown it. I will not look at myself in disgust but smile instead and say, "Baby, you've been through it.... but you're story isn't done."
And when I see you... walking down the street, in the check out line of the grocery store, in the aisle in front of me and behind me at church, in Starbucks waiting for your coffee... I love you too. I wonder what you've been through. I wonder if you know that you are beautiful and amazing and strong.
I want you to know that you are made in the image of God. You are wholly and dearly loved. You are unique and precious and there is no other YOU in this world.
I know it might be hard to believe. Or maybe you've known this all along... but in case you haven't I want to tell you... LOVE YOURSELF NOW.
Don't wait til you lose that last 10 or 100+ pounds.
Don't wait til you feel worthy.
Don't wait until you get that new promotion, or get married, or get divorced, or have a baby, or the children are grown or you finally get the house of your dreams or your body is finally the way you want it.
Love yourself now.
When you love yourself then you are free to love others. You can look at them without judgement and shame and disregard. You don't compare yourself. You don't put them down. You're not jealous and envious and discontent.... because you are satisfied with yourself.
So beautiful, what are you going to do today? How are you going to change this world? How are you going to impact those around you?
You are loved... so go live it!