Monday, September 29, 2014

Why It's Really Not About Losing Ten Pounds

I lose to find. On forehead wide
The jewels tenfold light afford:
So, gathered round Thy glory, Lord,
All beauty else is glorified.

- George MacDonald

They were the last pair in a pile of about 20 and I pulled them on. 

The last pair in a pile of about 20 in a stuffy Saver's dressing stall -- and I was starting to sweat and starting to lament that only 2 had fit so far and starting to wonder who in the world decided that the limit of clothes that you could bring in should only be six and why in the world was this dressing room so small---

They slid on, like a glove. 

Finally, something that fits, I consoled myself. 

And then I looked down and noticed that I was wearing a pair of pants with a heart-sequin-design on the pocket (and that one of the sequins was missing) and that the button was a kind of fake diamond. 


I guess I'll just take the first two, I thought with fatalistic dismay. 

And if I was the type that cries in fitting rooms, I would have cried -- but I'm not, so I just scooped up my meager findings and tried to think of what winter would be like if I could only fit in my leftover capris from summer. 

Because three months later, I'm still struggling to get this last bit of pregnancy weight under control... and sometimes it seems like a losing battle. 

And it's been frustrating to me -- I am someone who craves order and discipline and if something in my life feels like it's not under control, I am prone to fret about it and try to correct it as quickly as possible. 

Fret about it -- because I can't fit into my pre-pregnancy pants--

And we live in a society where body image has become all-important -- and these pesky ten pounds have made me take a step back to consider -- what is really important? 

And I look into my babies' faces -- all beautiful, made in the image of God -- and then I look down at the stretch marks adorning my belly and I accept them as a thing of beauty, a thing of sacrifice, the surrender of using my own body to give life to another. 

And I look at myself in the mirror, the few extra pounds hanging on, and my body doesn't look the same, doesn't feel the same as before I carried babies -- it's been stretched and worn and changed. 

I struggle with nursing -- I feel weak every day and I get the "shakes" and don't have the energy sometimes that I need -- maybe my body needs the extra calories right now, and I don't really need to worry about it so much... maybe. 

Because it's not really about weight -- It's a heart issue. 

And it's an issue of what real beauty is all about. 

Is real beauty about being a size 4 and about having toned arms and about trying to flatten my stomach and diminish my hip size as quickly as I can after giving birth? 

Is real beauty about having perfectly highlighted hair and perfectly manicured nails and perfect clothing and brilliantly white teeth?

And none of these things are "wrong" in and of themselves, but sometimes we can make them into idols when they become a necessity to us -- when we don't think that we can live without them, like we can't go on living without them. 

If we can't maintain them, then we feel like we have failed in some way, like we are not good enough. 

And I see women in their 50's and 60's trying to look like teenagers--

Wearing "skinny" jeans and starving themselves and working out at gyms, trying, desperately trying to hold on to the youth that is slipping through their fingers--

As my Mama says, "Whatever happened to growing old gracefully?"

And there is nothing wrong with dressing beautifully, or staying trim, or wearing perfume, or exercising. 

Discipline is a good thing, and our Heavenly Father desires that we live orderly, disciplined lives. 

But take it from someone who knows; even discipline can become an idol, when it's not hidden within the umbrella of love for our precious Heavenly Father, when we just do it for ourselves. 

I saw a woman the other day. Coming out of Target, and she was lovely. 

And she was not a size 4. 

Her appearance was not sloppy -- it spoke order and neatness and beauty; her hair was attractively pulled back in a ponytail; she wore a calf-length skirt with sandals. 

And her clothing wasn't chosen in order to draw attention to her body and she looked like she might have had a couple of kids or so -- and she certainly wasn't a size 4. 

Sometimes we can have a false idea of beauty. 

The world tells us that we need to be a certain size, that we need to flaunt our bodies in a certain way, that we need to do our hair in a specific style in order to be attractive, in order to attract. 

But how does Jesus speak to us about beauty?

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 

I Peter 3:3-4

So I take my stretch marks and my callouses and my changed body and I lay them there at His feet, at His nail-pierced feet--

Jesus' body was broken, too -- unimaginably broken.

And His beauty shines through His scars--

My scars can also speak beauty, can also pour forth beauty--

Just as His wounds have poured forth beauty onto me.

I take my stretch marks, my sagging skin, my dismay, and I lay them there at His feet.

And His beauty covers me.

Later, on the ocean shore, I ponder these things, one baby pressed to me in my carrier, the other delightedly throwing rocks into the cold water and my husband's voice cuts into my thoughts--

"You know, you're beautiful in the sunlight."

And the Son's light covers me and I am washed there, on the shore, in His beauty.


I share my posts with these blogs: Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, The Modest Mom, What Joy is Mine, Yes They Are All Ours, Missional Call, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, So Much at Home, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every Season, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, A Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Messy Marriage, My Teacher's Name is Mama, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Mittenstate Sheep and Wool, Imparting Grace, Homestead Lady, Deborah Jean's Dandelion House, Preparedness Mama, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Count My Blessings, Beauty Observed, Christian Mommy Blogger, Serenity You, Renewed Daily, Sunday Stillness, The Beauty in His Grip, Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom.


  1. 9 months on, 9 months off was a nice phrase I learned! Nursing slows your metabolism, and your baby needs those calories - Eat mama eat!

  2. I used to be a size 4... not anymore! I'm okay with that though. Of all the things I could choose to focus on, those last few pounds are not anywhere near the top of the list. Not that we shouldn't care about our appearance--we should--but focusing on the number is missing the point!

    1. Brittany, very, very true--the Lord always puts things into perspective and gently turns our focus on what is really important--and sees past the external to the heart . . .

      Thanks for visiting :-).

  3. I think that there is so much more emphasis on losing baby weight today than 30 years ago when I had my first baby. There is more pressure on young women/moms today. Sad. Glad you have the right perspective.

    1. Mary, I think so too! The way that the Lord would have us see things is so different from the way that the world dictates we should. Sometimes it really feels like we are swimming against the tide.

      Thanks for visiting and for your thoughts--

  4. All I can say is amen... So many Christian women are falling under the secular spell of beauty and it is so sad. I loved this article! Thank you for sharing it on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    1. Thank you, JES; I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! :-) And thank you for hosting the link-up.

  5. Such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it. I wish I could get back into a 14 just so I'd feel better.

    1. Thank you, Laura; I'm glad that it was an encouragement :-).

  6. True beauty is in the reflection of God's light in your life - and being ok with all the changes in your body which are there because you grew and supported life is part of your ministry. It's not about our size, but the size of our hearts, which determine our real beauty. Keep it up - and focus on what your body needs for your baby and the pounds will come off when it's time.

    1. Kathryn, I love the way that you expressed that--that "it's not about our size, but the size of our hearts." It made me think of the Psalmist imploring the Lord to enlarge his heart--more of the filling of His light and less of "me." Thank you so much for those encouraging thoughts and for visiting.

  7. I love this. I'm working on regaining my health and it's going slowly. I needed to read this today. Thank you!

    1. You're welcome, Holly--I'm so glad that it was encouraging :-).

  8. This was such a blessing for me to read as I have had now two children and face the same body changes that everyone who bears a child does! I was a disciplined, fit, slim, athlete and now seem to be a bit out of breath and saggy (LOL). I also strive for discipline as you described and I love how you pulled that good character trait back to a way that reflects an attitude that HONORS Christ! I also appreciate how you described our body changes as a blessing that reminds us of the life(s) God allowed us to carry in our womb. Just a wonderful writing of what we struggle with and also take joy in! God Bless you and your family! Thank you for sharing this post at Theology Thursdays FOR KIDS!!!! You will be featured next week. Please come share again!

    1. Thank you so much Jessica for that encouragement--I'm so glad that it was a blessing to you :-). So true that it's "what we struggle with and also take joy in"--I love the way that you expressed that. I am so honored to be featured; thank you, also for hosting the link-up.

  9. Good morning! Thank you for sharing with the Art of Home-Making Mondays! Your post has been featured this week! :) Please join us in our new link up which is up and running! Have a lovely week~~

  10. Beautiful post, Rebekah. It is so true that the focus has so become on what is seen and we often miss what is in the heart. May we remember our identity comes from Him & not from the label on the inside of our clothing. Glad to have stopped here from Sharing His Beauty this morning. Blessings!

    1. I'm glad that you enjoyed the post-- Thank you for stopping by. :-)