Sunday, February 19, 2017

Getting My Body Back




A very vivid memory from my childhood often comes back to me . . .  my Mom in the kitchen, busy with something, and me wrapping my little girl arms around her soft waist--the love that I felt for my Mom and the certain knowing that she was there for me, that she loved me and constantly gave all of herself to raise me and my sisters. 

Wrapping my arms around that waist that had given--had been stretched and used and worn from giving life to us, to me--her beautiful motherly body that was not tight and firm and toned. 

Something that has had a great effect upon me in my own life has been the way in which my Mom gave everything towards raising her children and walking transparently before the Lord. 

Her devotion to Him came first--I remember her always with her Bible in the morning having her quiet time and seeking the Lord throughout her day, even though it was busy with children. 



And something that had a profound effect upon me was that my Mom's focus was not on her outward appearance, but on her inward relationship to the Lord. This didn't mean that she didn't dress attractively or wear makeup or exercise--my Mom maintained a neat and feminine appearance and exercised when she could. But her focus day in and day out was in giving herself in raising my sisters and I to know and to love the Lord. The other things were secondary and she would quickly forfeit them if it was a choice between her children or her appearance, even to the point of not buying herself new clothing for lengths of time so that she could afford to send us to a Christian school. 

My Mom's focus was on the spiritual and this played into every area of her life. I watched that kind of example growing up. 

I have a personality that craves order and discipline. It's the way that the Lord made me and He has used that for good in my life. But at times, if I am not watchful, it can become a distraction from that deeper more intimate walk with the Lord that my heart truly craves. 

For this reason, I have been very careful in the past with what I ate and making sure that I exercised regularly. I love to walk and so this was an almost daily part of my life, especially before I had children. I consumed broccoli religiously and ate in an otherwise extremely healthy way. 

And then I had children . . . and as anyone who has had children knows, the body goes through extreme changes, both physically and emotionally. 



Both of my births were difficult. I experienced extreme tearing during my first birth and faced a long healing process. My second birth which I chose to do naturally without pain medication took a toll on my body (looking back on that experience I would have chosen to do things differently now, but that is another blog post!) My son was born face down--in posterior position (in the Lord's mercy I delivered him without having a C-section) but my body was physically "broken." Again, I faced a long healing process and couldn't get my body back to normal.

And so, with a "broken" body, I faced caring for two little ones, 18 months apart. 

I struggled. And I just couldn't seem to get my body back into that same pattern of order and discipline that I had maintained before having babies. 

I was nursing, I was weak to the point where I struggled to pick myself up from the floor when I was sitting down with my children. 

And I felt frustrated at times--honestly--frustrated that I just couldn't get my body back--just couldn't fit into my jeans that I wore before I had children. Frustrated that I just couldn't seem to get it under control.

I, me, my body. 

Until the Lord spoke to me, quietly at first, and then with increasing strength--

My work was to focus on the two tiny souls He had given me--to raise to nurture, to love, to enjoy--to train up in His ways.

My work, as He spoke to me strongly one night, was to feed His sheep, and for me, this is to teach my two precious little ones, Deborah and Elisha, to know and to love Him. 

My focus in some ways needed to shift. 

And what I am not saying is that one shouldn't live a disciplined life, exercise, eat healthily, and take care of one's physical body. Our Pastor illustrated this beautifully in a recent sermon--he said that when we place the Lord first, when He is all in all to us, everything else falls into its proper order and place--in other words, through seeking His kingdom first, everything else will be added . . . when we place Him first, everything else falls into place. 

This way of living brings freedom . . . 

The Lord, and it is difficult to describe this completely, but a transformation took place in my heart at one point, replaced my natural motherly care and general love for my children (which I believe that every mother has) with a deep, strong, spiritual love for them. I cannot describe this, but He did. And it has been like a beautiful flower growing in my heart--I love them spiritually and I want them to know Him. 

This has cost me my body. 

The natural part of mothering in childbirth has cost me my body--my body will never look the same again--and it doesn't have to--who are we to hold on to this physical body in a way that rebels against any change to it? 

Are stretch marks and scars really the enemy? Do we need to stress and fuss and fume and desperately grasp at trying everything possible--every trick, gimmick, and exercise technique to get our body back? Again, I am not at all saying that it is wrong to exercise after we have children (I still enjoy walking, only now I do it with my children!)--what I am trying to say is that when getting our body back becomes the focus, we have lost something of spiritual significance--the willingness to give even if it means that we can't maintain the "perfect" body. The focus is "off" when we cling to the notion that we need to be a certain weight or a certain size in order to be content instead of resting in the Lord and concentrating on His present will for our lives. Perhaps the real enemy is holding onto something that we need to be willing to let go of. 



Our body is given in order to give it back--because it always comes down to surrender--whether or not we are willing to give something lesser for the greater--just as Jesus did. 

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. II Corinthians 8:9 NKJV

To give back spiritually --we give our body spiritually when we sacrifice what we could have had in order to give to another--a "perfect" body for the stretches and scars of motherhood, our time, our passions, our lives--for the life of another--for the lives of little ones, for the Lord's sake. 

There is a character  in one of my sister's novels, The House of Mercy who would have been physically handsome except for the fact that his face bears a garish scar. He is one of my favorite characters, even more than the hero in that novel. A deeply sensitive man, he marries a woman who became pregnant out of wedlock and takes her child as his own. He is a beautiful example of Christ-like love and his face and very life bear deep sorrows, wounds and scars. 

Sometimes scars, imperfections, can be things of great beauty--can actually draw rather than repel. 

Jesus was scarred--He bore the scars of the nail prints in His hands--nail prints of love and evidence of a body broken. Broken for us. His body was used for our benefit. We follow His example when we give our bodies for the sake of our children, or even for the sake of spiritual children, such as missionaries whose bodies have been broken down by years of fasting and toil and ministry. It is worth it



I remember hugging my Mom's waist, her selfless, Christ-like giving and I remember that ancient truth that burns in the heart when we embrace it--we receive when we give. We possess when we let go. He who seeks to save his life will lose it but he who loses his life for My sake will truly possess it. 

And this is how I have gotten my body back. 



You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog Party

31 comments:

  1. What a great post. So true. I would love for you to come over and share
    at this weeks Fabulous Warm Heart Party. This post surely would 'Warm Hearts'.
    The party is over here:
    http://ourholidayjourney.blogspot.com/2017/02/fabulous-warm-heart-week.html
    Enjoy your week.

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    1. Thank you, Grantham! I went over and linked it up there; I'm glad that it was encouraging!

      The Lord bless you :-).

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    1. I'm glad that it was encouraging! The Lord bless you, Rhiana! :-)

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  3. Beautiful message. Thank you for sharing your story!

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    1. You're welcome, Nicole; have a blessed week! :-)

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  4. Hello, a friend of mine shared this on her Facebook page. What beautiful words! It reminded me of something I shared on my blog I thought you might be interested in reading: http://www.roseandherlily.com/2015/06/a-mark-of-life-honor-beauty-and.html?m=0

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    1. Oh, thank you for sharing that with me! The Lord bless you!

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    1. Thank you, Joanne; have a blessed week! :-)

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  6. I have been struggling with my weight and God has impressed upon my heart that once I put Him first EVERYTHING else will fall into place. The exact thing you spoke of today! I know this to be true. A few years back my marriage was in great turmoil and I sought God at every corner and everything was put right. Every time I think about my weight or my chaotic life, God impresses upon my heart this same message. Thank you so much for the message today and the reminder God used you for.
    Mrs. Robichaux

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    1. Oh, I'm glad that it was encouraging! Yes; that is it--when He is our all in all everything falls into place--I have to keep being reminded of this over and over! The Lord bless you richly.

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  7. Bekki, The depth of this blog post was so insightful. I never thought about the comparison between Jesus' body broken for us and our own motherly bodies.

    "Jesus was scarred--He bore the scars of the nail prints in His hands--nail prints of love and evidence of a body broken. Broken for us. His body was used for our benefit. We follow His example when we give our bodies for the sake of our children, or even for the sake of spiritual children, such as missionaries whose bodies have been broken down by years of fasting and toil and ministry. It is worth it. " This was such a beautiful word picture to me.

    I love the legacy your mom has left and continues to leave for you girls. Her strong faith a testimony that when we continue to pour into our children a spiritual love, it cannot fail to reap much fruit.

    Bekki, your posts always bless me so much! I love you dearly my friend. :-)

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    1. Karen, I'm so glad that it blessed you! I love you dearly, too! Have a very blessed week! <3

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  8. Rebekah, I'm always blessed when I read your posts, but this one is especially powerful. I'll be sharing and pinning on my "Posts Worth Reading" board. So many women have the wrong priorities here and are hurting because of it. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Donna; that is such an encouragement to me! I'm glad that maybe others will be encouraged by it--

      The Lord bless you!

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  9. Thank you for sharing! We just had our second baby who is now 2 weeks old. I actually just shared our birth story on the Messy Marriage link up. I love the reminder here that trying to make our body as was before kids is not the important thing here. This was perfect timing. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome, Cassie! I'm glad that I could share it--the Lord bless you and your family. :-)

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  10. Beautiful post - I'm so glad you shared it! I've come to feel the same way about the season my body is in now.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa; I'm glad that it was encouraging! The Lord bless you; have a wonderful weekend. :-)

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  11. Thank you for this! I just had my first about 6 months ago and had a few months of just foggy feeling and have been working on keeping focused on scripture/prayer and always my little one. Just recently I am getting to the point where I know I need to do more for my body but am still working on the balance of everything.

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    1. Oh, yes! I understand exactly what you mean! It is such a challenge at first just trying to care for a little one and trying to focus one's heart on the Lord through it all and through all the changes. The Lord bless you and your family as you seek Him. <3

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  12. Rebekah,
    I so appreciate the way you ended this post, the return of your body was really the turning of your heart to what He had for you (has for us as mommas) all along. The transition in life is hard to always understand. When we move from young wives, into motherhood, into mid-life and beyond there is always a transition in our physical bodies. We move from strong physically to weak, hopefully from weak and immature spiritually to strong and mature. There is a sacred give and take and when we know who we are in Him,loved and precious and beautiful because HE is the defining characteristic of beauty, then it puts everything in perspective. I learned this both as I sought Titus 2 women when I was young and now as I have a chance to mentor young women with the life-knowing I have come to understand, even if marginally.
    May He continue to fill you with a passion to nurture not just your little ones but the hearts of many who need to know these truths.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Thank you, Dawn! Your words were such an encouragement to me! The Lord bless you as you honor and serve Him. <3

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  13. Wow! As a new mom this post was so inspiring. I pray daily that I would leave a memory of faith for my children as your mother did. Pregnancy, labor, and motherhood are difficult, but their surrender leads to such amazing eternal significance!

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    1. Yes, that is my prayer, too! The Lord bless you, Dani. :-)

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  14. It's so hard to watch our bodies change in a culture that worships body image. So true that true beauty comes from fearing the Lord and making our relationship with Him our first priority. I will be 41 in a couple of weeks, and I can't say that I'm totally okay with gray hairs and forehead wrinkles, though. ;)

    Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays!

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    1. Haha! Yes; I understand what you mean, Brandi! The Lord bless you, Brandi--I'm so thankful to be a part of the linkup at Literacy Musing Mondays. Have a wonderful weekend. :-)

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  15. Thanks for linking up on Mondays @ Soul Survival!

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