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)

A Dare to Love Yourself: An 11-year-old talks about being made in God’s image

It’s The Love Dare, people. Welcome! The moment I read Lydia Lee’s blog, Out of the Ordinary, I was reminded of Katie Davis from Uganda. Lydia’s heart bleeds for the people of Haiti. She is one of the most gifted young writers I have ever met. I’m so honored to welcome her here to my site today to talk about how she’s daring to love herself as an 11-year-old girl.

Weeks ago, I saw Rend Collective in concert. I was standing in the front row, listening as one of the musicians spoke about God having a “huge, cosmic sewing machine” in the heavens. Those words soaked straight into my heart, because it reminded me that we are all handmade by God, just the way He wanted us to be.

Rend Collective was one of the opening acts for Tenth Avenue North’s “Struggle Tour.”

And I have had my own “struggle tour,” even though I am only an 11-year-old girl.

For the rest of this post, join Emily at her personal blog, HERE.

**to pre-order Emily’s new book at 45% off, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, go HERE.

A Dare to Love Yourself: In which I invite a man to share his story

 

 It’s A Love Dare, friends.A dare to love ourselves, and we’re meeting every Monday to discuss what this looks like.

Today I’ve invited my friend, Preston Yancey, to share his views on how we perceive our worth. In this post, Preston describes a relationship he had with an ex, and how they both struggled with image. (trigger warning: rape)

 

They sit on the bench outside of the brick building with the chipped cornerstone in the middle of May in the middle of the night in the middle of what would be one of their last lingering silences.

They feel a bit of the beat, even so far away, the baseline of an urban poet-prophet speaking of language and virginity as if the two were interchangeable.

She feels it against her skin like that time and the time after and that time her cries of No! were so loud she thought she could fracture heaven but they still weren’t enough. He feels it like aftershock, afterthought, the boy who never was quite enough, always a little bit too or a bit too little…

*for the rest of this post, follow me over to my personal blog HERE

**to pre-order my new book, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, go HERE

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?)

My mother’s mother


I blame it on the way my mum hid in the closet when my dad was in the room.

The way she turned the white of her back from his glance, the way she blushed when he touched her and said, “Not in front of the children,” and the way her mother never let her husband see her scars. The scars from the childhood disease, the scars from birthing children, the scars that made her woman and her husband said they made her beautiful.

(Friends, will you read the rest of this post over here today, at sweet Patty’s? Thank you…

The love a little girl wants to feel (Guest Post)

sun-exposed

She is 67 years old, and still casts her gaze downward as she smiles. It’s an awkward smile that stretches her lips from cheek to cheek. She was instructed as a child to always keep her lips closed when she smiled, with her lips pressed tightly to her teeth because they were too full to be considered attractive. This way, at least they looked less fat. At five, her parents divorced, and drug her to court so that the judge could ask her with whom she wanted to live. And at five, in the presence of her usually absent father, she, of course, chose him. And when they returned home, her mother cried and guilted and asked, How could you? How could you choose him over me? So she apologized and said she didn’t mean it, that really, she wanted to live with her.

And so she did.

Her mother remarried; he was an awful man. He drank heavily, and she feared him. She called him by his full name. At dinner one night, she used one too many napkins, and there was a huge fight and it ended with his hand wrapped around her mother’s throat, pinning her up against the wall. And once, she left the TV on when she went to the kitchen for a drink, planning to return to the TV. But he intercepted and she was thrown to the floor and her mother was slapped. She lived with yelling and hitting and drinking and silverware being thrown.

And it was always her fault. Everything.

Her father moved across the country and remarried and made another family. She visited him in the summers. I imagine her arriving to his home full of anxiety after a year of not seeing him, wanting so much for his love and attention, and finding him lavishing it on others. No matter how much he gave to her while she was there, they got to receive it year ’round. Why wouldn’t he try to keep her? How could he let her go every summer, back to a life of which he knew nothing? Didn’t he love her as much as them? So she would hide from him and wait. And he would notice her missing and frantically call out her name. Where are you?! What happened to her?! And she liked it. She knew from his panic that he loved her, that he worried about her. In those moments, she sensed that he ached for her. It was in these games {and maybe only during these games} of one-sided hide-and-seek that she felt the love a little girl wants to feel from her father.

If you knew this girl, would you love her? Would you hold her hand and tell her stories to make her smile wide, so that her lips would part and her teeth would sparkle and her eyes, dance? Would you tell her she is beautiful and wonderful and wanted and made in God’s love? Would you tell her that life is hard, but it is also wondrous beyond belief? Would you play two-sided games of hide-and-seek with her and dance with her and make art with her? Would you sing songs and take walks and share secrets? Would you tell her that she is unique in all the world and that she has gifts to share and that the world is better by her presence?

Summers would end and she would go back home. She went to school and she made friends, and she tried as hard as a little girl with no guidance knows how to try and she got average grades. She loved her grandmother, and spent hours with her on her porch, drinking lemonade or sweet summer tea from a hand-painted glass pitcher, that now sits on a shelf in her great-granddaughter’s home. I don’t know if this grandmother loved her, or if she just didn’t ignore her, and that made being on her porch respite. But it did. And the memory of her is that of love.

She knew God, this little girl of inconvenience, but she doesn’t know how she knew God, because her mother didn’t teach her about God or Jesus or religion or unconditional love. And when she ran away from home, over and over and over again {from the age of four}, they would find her in a charismatic baptist church in a neighboring community. Something drew her there, though she cannot say what. She thinks it was the warmth and the friendliness, the songs and the embracing, and she thinks surely, the ladies must have doted on her, this small child, all alone, who walked herself into their church. I think it was God, wrapping himself around her and ushering her there.

She grew up and got married and had little girls of her own. And I have no idea how she knew how to raise these little girls so well, having never been shown. She poured affection and protection and guidance and understanding and safe discipline when needed. Her girls felt love and safety and connectedness abundantly. They were raised in church, in a family that practiced togetherness, in a humble home that felt like a castle, with homemade meals and homemade desserts and homemade curtains and homemade dresses. They were taught manners and morals and to think of others before themselves. They were made to do chores and to contribute to the keeping of their home, because they lived there. They were taken blueberry picking and snowmobile riding and camping on a river. They watched fireworks on the Fourth of July, and picked princess pine to make wreaths and garland together at Christmas time.

How is it that she had so little, and I have so much?

I began my 31 Days series on Nurturing Her Self-Esteem for my daughter. I thought that by delving into this topic, studying it and researching it, I could be sure I was doing all the right things to nurture her self-esteem. I think success and happiness stems from confidence and healthy regard for one’s self. I think it’s important to know our own short-comings and weaknesses and to know that being imperfect also makes us unique. It’s also important to believe in yourself and your abilities and the idea of possibilities. But I think now, that I do this for my mother and any other little girls out there who don’t yet know that they are worthy and valuable and unique in all the world. I hope you’ll join me.

(oh Patty… thank you for this, for your heart, for the way God loves through you… friends, please stop by Patty’s place, here, and read the rest of her 31 Day Series on Nurturing Her Self-Esteem)