Why I couldn’t get undressed on my wedding night (and Mom in the Mirror giveaway!)

We borrowed my aunt’s cabin, by the water.

We arrived late with a bottle of wine and I stepped on the back of my wedding dress as we crossed the threshold.

I didn’t see anything but the bed, with its nicely folded corners and my new husband already in his boxers and grabbing us glasses from the kitchen cupboard.

I leaned against the wall, drinking the white, in white, and we were 23-year-old virgins who’d never seen each other naked, had only felt each other’s skin and I couldn’t unzip my dress.

I stalled, pulling out my bobby pins and he helped me, and we made a nice little pile of pins and then he asked if he could help me with my zipper.

And I asked him if he wanted another glass of wine.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to make love with him.

It’s that I didn’t want him to see me. All of me.

(For the rest of this post, and for the LAUNCH of Mom in the Mirror, which we’re giving away, join me over HERE at Prodigal, friends? Thank you!!)

Today’s giveaway:


(this will be the last post that will run on this blog; you can keep up with me at my personal blog HERE. thank you)

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A promise to myself as a woman

As a woman living in the 21st century I will live as though I have a thousand daughters, even though I have none, because every girl is my daughter and when she sees me, or engages with me, she’s looking to me for how to live. So I will live, I will smile, I will laugh, I will speak, and I will pray as though their hearts and souls depend on it.

As a woman living in the 21st century I will not judge myself based on numbers. My worth will not be determined by my weight, by my height, by my social security number, by my Blogger followers or Google followers or by Facebook and Twitter. Only one number will ever matter to me, that is, the number One, who is God, who is my biggest fan, and all I will care about is whether or not I bring him glory.

As a woman living in the 21st century I will not depend on makeup or clothes to improve my self-esteem. If I am looking tired, I will take a nap, not put on foundation. If I am feeling sad, I won’t buy a new outfit, but I will bow down and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to mend these broken ways in me and comfort me and be my closest confident. I do not need to purchase or accessorize; I need to recognize my emotional and spiritual needs, and allow my creator to recreate me, daily.

(for the rest of this post, won’t you visit me HERE over at my personal blog today?)

on the scale (guest post by kendall privette)

on the scale (full well)

me on the left, friend in the center and my twin on the right
c. 1978 (an era of confidence)

i liked myself as a child
you know,
before adolescence and an awareness
of
others
it was maybe fourth grade when
i began building this
ramshackle self-image
on the shoddy foundation
of the world’s eye
that saw
stringy hair, ruddy complexion,
spectacles and old clothes
in my thirties
i befriended
the scale, the world’s voice
fluent in lies as well as numbers
she interprets weights and assigns blame
she dictates our days and strips us of self-worth
she is power
(if we allow it)
and i fell for it
the husband, moms, sisters, doctors wanted me to know
what david-god’s-beloved knew….
he had a heart tuned to
god’s eye
god’s voice
and he sang
i praise you because i am 
fearfully and wonderfully 
made;
your works are wonderful, 
i know that full well
this breath-taking verse revisited yesterday

and i retucked it into memory
for when the world tries to speak
and i need her to
hush

so, what is your relationship to the scale?

(guest post by Kendall Privette at A Spacious Place)

i love my hips (and other ways women are beautiful)

i’m used to apologizing for them.

“i’m sorry about my wide Dow hips,” i said as my friend slid into the sled beside me, both of us with babies on our knees and toddlers between our legs, children left and right and me voicing contempt for the body that bore them.

and then i corrected myself even as the snowmobile started and we moved down the track of snow. “i mean, i’m sorry about my beautiful birthing hips,” i said, and my friend laughed.

and it’s a start. i’m beginning to speak in love about myself. it’s not perfect, but i’m not either, and God is and he is making new everything about me, spirit and body, even as i get older. because i’ve invited him in. i’ve invited him into my heart, and into my eyes. i’ve invited him into my soul and into my mouth.

because becoming a new creation is actually pretty literal. it doesn’t mean feeling new. no, it means becoming new. it means God taking our old natural instincts and replacing them. it means him breathing spirit and life into our vision and our speaking and our thinking.

oswald chambers puts it this way:

“Our Lord never patches up our natural virtues, He remakes the whole man on the inside. The life God plants in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ. Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power you have, until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus.”

i have a lot of days where i barely look into the mirror because i’m so busy looking into the faces of my children. i don’t have time to look at my reflection, and yet my children always think i’m beautiful. “do you see the way kasher looks at you?” trent says. “with the utmost adoration.”

and my boys see me at my physical worst: at my sweats and bathrobe, messy hair and sleep-worn eyes worst. they smell my coffee breath and my unwashed body and they snuggle closer. they keep their hands on my shoulder even as they play because they don’t want to lose contact with me.

our depth of relationships, with ourselves, with our children, and with our creator, define our beauty, because relationships are eternal. they give us meaning and value and worth. the world wants us to think that appearance defines beauty because it can profit from that philosophy. it can’t profit from something intangible, like love. only we can.

so i’m trying to speak kindly about my beautiful Dow hips, to stop apologizing for my existence. because this body gave birth to two boys, and it gives birth to marriage every day, and it bears spiritual life too.

i love my hips. i love my lips. i love my life. not because of who i am but because of who lives in me. and he is beautiful. 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/canvaschild

the weight of the scale (by Barbara @ My Life as an Adventure)

(Guest post by Barbara Isaac Croce at www.mylifeasanadventure.com)

This is a very hard post to write. Because I have to be real down to my toes, and then some. But here is goes.

I lost 20 pounds and kept most of them off. I dared to face the lady in the mirror. I even smiled at her without cringing. I took hundreds of women with me on this journey, and we worked with each other, speaking truth to our spirits, minds and bodies, attending to this shell we live in, and now we all stand up a bit taller, more accepting of who we are, less degraded by the media. I ought to be pleased with myself. I know my stuff. I’m successful at it.

I said it at least a thousand times: “Don’t let the scale talk to you; it plays mind games with you, it seeks to poison the very core of you. It tells you lies about who you are, what matters, what your future is, where your beauty stands.” And we all agree.

And then, I step on the scale.

And it feels like my world is coming to an end. I forget who I am. I forget what truly matters. I forget that I am uncommonly beautiful. Wonderfully becoming.

How can these three little numbers on the scale have such power on me? My feelings take a ride on a wicked roller coaster and I wind up sick to my stomach, and I throw up from the ride. I lose all common sense, and the numbers convince me that I have no hope and I might as well dive into those cookies I have not touched in two months and I don’t really like anyway. And while I eat those cookies that I don’t like and I am not even hungry, I decide that I am going to lose these last few pounds once and for all, even if it kills me.
I have lost my mind.

And no matter how hard I try doing all the things that always worked before, the scale won’t budge for me. And I drive myself insane; I am the lady who teaches by example, you know. I not only talk the talk but I walk the walk. How am I supposed to continue if I myself can’t lose the weight?

And when the tears are gone and I lost all my anger, the answer comes in the quietness of my soul. I hear my very heart repeat it time and time again:

I teach by example; I walk the walk. That’s what works.

Real when things go well, real when things don’t go as I want. Real life with its pretenses peeled away.

Humbling, nitty-gritty life. The kind of life where it might be necessary to put the scale in solitary confinement for a while so that I can work against the power of its numbers. The kind of life where I own to and accept gracefully the lady in the mirror, even when she doesn’t match up with the one in my head. The kind of life where I don’t give myself excuses, but I don’t lie to myself either, pretending that size is where my worth comes. The kind of life that fights against the incessant need to be admired. The kind of life that is fulfilled because of the here and now, and the God who sustains.

Wonderfully becoming. That’s what I am. May I continue to teach by example, aging gracefully without hiding. Ever.

on how our mothers save us

we’re five on a couch, eating cookies. my husband will not be pleased. i will have to vacuum, yet again. (i vacuum constantly.) but food is one thing i try not to have many rules about. it makes me happy just to see my children eat.

because once upon a time, i didn’t. i stopped eating when i was nine years old, a shy home-schooled pastor’s daughter, and for four years i was given blood tests and cod liver oil and time-outs and counseling sessions, but all i wanted was love.

i think that’s all any child wants, and i’m learning to bend low and gaze into their old souls. my two biological sons, and two foster. to hold them close while the dust of heaven rubs onto mine because they’re fresh from the other side…

(over at incourage again today, friends… join me HERE for the rest of this post? thank you for love…)

**also delighted to be featured at Devotional Diva’s amazing site today; please pay her a visit HERE.

 **and don’t forget about the book club happening at She Loves this month, HERE.

The Quest to Find Beauty (Guest Post by Hope)

I am told that we all have our own definitions of beauty. As individuals, we all see things differently and judge beauty in our own way. If that’s the case, why do so many of us feel that we aren’t beautiful? Why are we still given a standard to measure ourselves in order to feel beautiful which translates into feeling valuable? Why do so many put value on looks to the point that we now have several generations of women who feel less than valuable? Even those who match society’s standard of beauty continue to hunt down perfection in the form of weight loss, plastic surgery and beauty treatments. I have decided, I’m not interested. That is not the kind of beauty I want to pursue.

When I was five years old I had “plastic surgery” (I still think that is a better name then its sanitized replacement “cosmetic”). My parents had been told that the birthmark on my face needed to be removed before I went to school. Their reasoning had to do with the emotional harm it would do to have this brown mark on my lip. So sometime mid-kindergarten, I had a skin graft from behind my ear and the birthmark was removed. They “fixed” my imperfection…or so they thought. The graft didn’t heal properly and I was left with a raised scar. Sometime when I was six they tried to fix it but the result was a larger, red and noticeable mark on my upper lip made even more obvious by the missing cupids bow. So, instead of a natural mark on my face, I had an unnatural looking scar.  This man-made attempt to make me more acceptable only served to make things worse. This caused countless questions along with ugly name calling  from peers and adults (who often scrunched up their face as they questioned “What happened to your lip?!”). The scars left on the inside went unnoticed for years and my attempts to prove my worth only brought more distance between myself and those around me.
As I grew older, my weight became a constant struggle. I could have become thankful that now my face was acceptable when I would hear, “You have such a pretty face, you would be beautiful if you lost weight!”. The media, daily life and unfortunately church held no safe haven for a girl who wasn’t the “right” size. What I find “beautiful” is that although I weigh substantially more than I did then, I now know where my true worth and beauty come from. The magic number of pounds shed that I believed were going to add to my worth was a tiny percentage of what it would take now to reach that goal weight (or pinnacle of perfection) that alluded me for so long.
There are a thousand stories within this story but lets flip the pages ahead to the present. Where I am now, what I am learning and the joy that is filling my soul. I am much more settled in who I am because I know much better now, whose I am.
God is my only judge. He created me, He loves me and He gets to tell me if I am beautiful or not. If we judge beauty by societal standards, nobody will ever match up and we miss the Creator’s intent. We miss seeing His heart and we miss seeing His true beauty in ourselves and in others. We end up pursuing the unattainable and in that pursuit we are never satisfied, never filled up and for many, never able to grasp the intimacy that the One who created us intended to have with Him.
As I learn to abide in Him, in my Savior, my eyes will be on Him. His love for me will become more evident and His grace will not only flow to me, it will flow through me. When I am walking in His Spirit and grace, my responses to pressure, to life, to things that truly may be ugly will create beauty in the hearts of those around me.
Dear Friends, pursue Him. Pursue the One who makes all things beautiful! Follow hard after the Creator of all beautiful things! Not only will you see beauty, you will experience peace.
Always,
Hope (find hope here, at her blog, Finding Hope)
(there is just one copy of Chasing Silhouettes left at Amazon, with more to come… get your copy here!)