Time goes by so quickly. It seems I start most of my posts by saying something similar, though. I have goals and dreams of writing all these fabulous things, and then life happens. Because so many other things take priority… and because so many other things weigh me down. This weekend I had a conversation with a friend who got me thinking – we as moms of young kids really crave connection. Even if you aren’t a super extroverted person, it’s just so vital to know that you aren’t alone. To see someone else’s kids act up in public, to hear someone else’s daughter talk back… it somehow doesn’t make my children’s behavior ok, but it makes me at least feel like I’m not alone. I’m not the only one fighting the battle day in and day out. Time is flying… and yet, the hours seem to go by so very slowly on this often very lonely island called Motherhood.
And then we also talked about the elephant in the room. Ya know, self image issues. We both feel fat. We’ve gained weight. And we weren’t making excuses, just commiserating, and expressing frustration that all these people on social media seem to have some “magic drink/pill/patch” that will “fix it” for us – something that makes their life perfect. Because her patch and my drink aren’t making it perfect for us. It helps occasionally, but it’s not perfect. And we’re frustrated with the image that everyone puts out there. It seems we both want to know that we’re not the only moms who are using products that aren’t perfect, but they help. I don’t want to hear why your product is so much better than mine. I want to know that you have something that works most of the time for you, but that you respect my right to try something different. She wants to hear that working out every single day doesn’t always make you lose weight. She wants to hear that energy isn’t always found in her little patch – because it’s not magic, and some days it’s just not gonna work. Other days, we’ll both conquer the world, thankyouverymuch, thanks to help from the products we choose to use. But interestingly enough, as we had this random conversation, I looked her over, and thought, “dang, really I think she looks good, what’s she talking about!?” And she looked me over and thought the very same thing! The best part was, though, I opened my mouth… and said it. And then she repeated my words back to me. And when she did, she spoke life into my heart.
Because friends, the mirror is our WORST enemy. It’s satan’s little tool to help us see all the flaws – all the curves, wrinkles, splotches, and bouncy parts. What we need to remember is something my pastor talked about this morning… and made me think of one of my favorite TobyMac songs – we NEED desperately to be Speaking LIFE into our fellow moms. We need to remember the power that our tongue wields over our body, and use it for the GOOD! We need to see a random woman on the sidewalk and tell her “that dress looks gorgeous on you!” We need to see that mom in the pediatricians office who has obviously been up all night getting thrown up on, and tell her, “I LOVE the color of your hair! It makes your eyes look so lovely.” And not made-up fake crap-words. But genuinely LOOK at the moms around you. LOOK at them. See them for the daughters of the King that they are, and tell them the beauty that you see. Because when we speak life into each other, we are better equipped to be moms. Satan knows how to use that mirror first thing in the morning to lie to us and set our day off on the wrong foot. And he will. He’ll use it against us day after day. He’ll use that button on the top of our jeans, and the zipper against us, too. And don’t even get me started on that little black square that sits on the bathroom floor and taunts us with bright red numbers.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m NOT suggesting that we shouldn’t each strive to be our best. I’m not saying that weight loss and health products aren’t good – they each serve a purpose. But I am fully realizing that every single one of our bodies is different. What helps one person really may do NOTHING for someone else. And we can strive for health all day long, day in and day out, and still feel horrible about the way we look. Because self image is probably the number one thing that women struggle with. We change the color and style of our hair, use tons of makeup, have a billion outfits, different purses, shoes, and mountains of jewelry. Why? All to attempt to sort of make ourselves feel better about the way we look. And nothing can change it. It’s built in. It’s going to happen. But when we start owning this, and realizing that we CAN affect how someone else lives their day just by speaking a word of life-changing encouragement to them in a brief moment, then that’s when we start to affect change in our own lives. Because when you speak life to others, God speaks it right back into your own heart.
We may look at a women who visually we think has it all together, but she needs encouragement just as much as we do! You truly can’t judge a book (or a woman) by its/her cover!!
And y’all, I’m writing this to myself, too – because so many times I go introverted and just walk right on by. But the times when I do speak up and say something to someone, the smile that they return to me is so amazing that it takes my breath away. I will never forget the woman’s face and her smile – she was totally rocking a bright yellow dress, and as I headed in to the doctors office one day, I just had to tell her, “that dress is stunning on you!” Her smile lit up her entire face. Y’all, I don’t know what her number on the scale was. I know that the size of her dress would have swallowed me whole. But y’all, she was ROCKING that dress. And she needed to know it. This is what I’m talking about. We need to look around. And look out. Because when all we do is look down, all we’re going to see is the bulge at our waistline and the chip on our toenail polish and the strips of cellulite peeking out from below the end of our shorts (if we dare to wear shorts – I know I don’t!). And y’all, we aren’t the only ones with those issues and those insecurities. We are not alone.
So let’s look out, ladies. And let’s speak up. And speak life. And change lives with our words.