Tuesday, March 6, 2012


At 6 am I scoop coffee into the coffee maker, prepping it for a later time.  At 6 am, I tie on my tennis shoes and glance out my window at my parents house.  Lights on, I know my Mom is coming for me.  Lights off, I'll drive myself.

Its a new rhythm I've adopted, this getting up before the kids and getting in some time to exercise.   I have to say, it's one that I love.  I am better prepared to face the day.  I have more energy.  I feel more centered.

Something is missing this time around and it's during this, the second week of Lent, that I finally put my finger on it.

For I've gone round and round on this carousel of self-esteem,  the weight gain and weight loss of 5 pregnancies bringing my attention back again and again to this topic.  It has not been easy, to separate what is true and good from what is not beneficial, that which tears down.  Starting motherhood right on the cusp of womanhood, I've dealt with this struggle from day one.

What does one do when the world pushes an ideal that is not based in truth?  When every media outlet features an ideal not based in reality for most women?  I've struggled for years, fighting my own private war.  It has left me dissatisfied.  Discontent.  It plays out in my most secret moments, in my marriage, in my parenting.  It stares at me in the mirror every morning and says, "Really?  That's the best you've got?"

I pray for peace.  I fight for truth.  And somehow, along the way, I find a foothold.

I'm moving on.

I'm rejecting the assumption that all women must perennially appear 18 years old.  I will wear (almost) 28, proudly.  I reject the notion that a body that carries and births babies can ever be anything but beautiful, powerful, and strong.  I recognize a lie when I hear one, and that one that's often whispered, promising happiness, success, fulfillment in a size 2?  Yes, it's a lie and it will tear me down if I let it.

I can chase that one down for a lifetime and come up empty.

I'm embracing health and happiness.  Exercise and whole foods, yes.  A piece of cake after Sunday dinner.  A glass of wine with my husband.  Butter.  I'm embracing this miraculous body that has delivered 5 lives safely to this earth, by the unending grace of the Father.  I'm refusing to be caught up in numbers, either on the scale or the tag.  I'm basking in my husband's love and not sweating my imperfections.  There is a balance.  I think I've found it.

The sum and measure of my life is not found in the fast fleeting face reflected in the mirror.  It cannot be found in the size tags on my clothing, nor in a million pots of anti-wrinkle cream.

My worth is so much more than the promises of any beauty magazine.

I whisper these truths to myself and an amazing thing is happening.  I'm free.

Its in this freedom that I can feel, that I can see, that I can know - that I'm beautiful.  Just as I am.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised
Prov. 31:30


  1. Beautiful picture of a fresh new baby and a mom who is so proud. You look awesome, don't let the world tell you anything else.

  2. As a mama to seven sweet kids, I can totally relate to your post today. It is a battle... one worth fighting and winning. There is so much fullness of life that is missed when a woman spends her time worried over-much with how her body has changed and how to get the younger girl back again. I wish I had known at 28 what you do. Hold onto to this bit of truth! Your kids and hubby will be so blessed by it.

  3. Luckily for you Lydia, you appear to be perennially sixteen years old, not eighteen- and I bet you will stay that way for a long, long time. -kate

  4. Love it, love it, love it! I have been dealing with this same issue (as all women have to at some point) and am looking at the fine lines in the corner of my eyes and am accepting them and trying to embrace it as beautiful because I know it is beauty.

  5. The commen thread that runs through all our minds...I too struggle with this, I think mostly due to my years as a dancer. My body was my instrument and it needed to look a cerain way in order to perform at its best. It was struggle then and it is a struggle now. But, I like you, fight back. We are all different shapes and sizes, and whatever our shape or size we need to embrace all that we are and all that we can be.

    You should know your profile pic and your beautiful smile drew me to your blog the first time I visited. You are beautiful as you are :)

  6. Kim - I, too, was a dancer. Sometimes I think all of those years standing in front of a mirror during class may have caused some of my unnecessary self-criticism. It has been a struggle for me each time I aim to lose weight after a baby to keep a good healthy perspective on these matters. Praying to see myself as God sees me definitely helps!

  7. Have you found Health at Any Size, look for it on Google. It's the concept that health is important regardless of your size and is very positive and self loving. It's helped me appreciate what my body has done and will do in the future, instead of focusing on what it will not do.

  8. Your words resonate with me, as they always seem to do, Lydia. And I am amazed, and a tad envious, at the wisdom you possess at your tender age of (not quite) 28. :o) With 10+ years on you, I can tell you that this is a battle that continues to be fought on my end. You are right: "The sum and measure of my life is not found in the fast fleeting face reflected in the mirror.", but in the reflection of my Lord through my character, grace and praise. "You only need me to be beautiful." He once whispered to me... A message I have taped to my mirror to see each morning as I choose to believe. Blessings to you, my beautiful friend! :o)

  9. Melissa - that sounds wonderful! We definitely need more positive, health focused programs in this world.

  10. Carol - such wise words. "You only need Me to be beautiful." I think I need to tape those up as well!

  11. Lydia, you are just as beautiful as the day I met you, both inside and out. Hugs to you. What a wonderful woman, mother and wife you are.

  12. I love this post! The other day, while cringing at the extra skin left, (that is here to stay) Corey saw me and said "don't worry about that, you'll need it for the next baby". It's like a light went off! How blessed I am to have a healthy baby and a body that is prepared for more! ;-) Beautiful post.


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