A baker’s dozen

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My oldest just turned 13.  I can hardly STAND it! A teenager *gasp*!!

I remember turning 13 like it was yesterday.

I was painfully shy and tall.  I wanted more than anything to hide from everyone and fade into the background.  But as I navigated those awkward years, I learned to stand tall.

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My oldest- hiding from me a she tries out her new bike. 

I see so much of myself in my oldest daughter. As soon as she sees a camera- she runs, turns her head, and does anything she can to hide her lovely face.

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Like her last band concert…I chuckled as I watched her slowly move the music stand with her foot until it blocked me from seeing her face as I sat in the audience.

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I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I eventually found my “voice” and I stopped hiding. Singing in chorus was the one thing that gave me the confidence to be myself.  It was a place where I found community, friendship, and a group of peers that finally accepted me.  It was the first place where I wasn’t afraid to shine.

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
  Matthew 5:15

As a mom, it’s my job to stand tall and to help my girls find the things that they are good at!  It’s my job to encourage them and to help them be more self-confident- so they can find their unique “voice” and shine bright in this world.

And on those days when I am feeling less than confident, I know I can run straight into the arms of my Heavenly Father, for in my weakness He is strong!

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My oldest… resting on her Daddy’s shoulders 🙂 

And when my girls need a little pep-talk,  I pray that God will equip me and give me the right words to point them to the Son-the ultimate source of my strength and light!

Keep me as the apple of the eye;

Hide me in the shadow of Your wings – Psalm 17:8

loved

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While I love taking photos, I have never liked having my own picture taken.  My hair is never right, my smile looks fake, and the angle is never flattering.  But I experienced something this past weekend that had a profound impact on the way I saw a picture of myself.

The Sunday service had just finished, and I began tidying up the stage. A couple of ladies- whom I love dearly- came to the edge of the stage to chat with me. Trying to be lady-like, I knelt down to talk with them and sat with my legs tucked behind me.

We chatted about life and how our weeks had been, and then out of the blue, one of them said to the other-

“Quick!  Get your phone out and take a picture!”

“A picture of what?” I asked, confused.

“A picture of YOU!”

I thought it was a weird request.  Why in the world would she- out of the clear blue-want to take my picture?

And in that moment, I felt the Lord answer me-

because she loves you

“Don’t change a thing!  Just keep sitting like you are.”

So I continued to sit just as I had been, while they took my picture. I noticed my husband walking back into the sanctuary, and he began walking up towards us.  I started to laugh thinking about how odd this impromptu photo session must have seemed.

“Don’t move!”

And I sat as still as I could while they moved around to find the best lighting.

“Aww… see?  I knew it was going to be a good one!” They showed me the photo on their phone, and for one of the first times, I didn’t notice all those little flaws about myself that I usually do.

 I saw something very different-

I saw someone who felt loved.

Someone who felt worthy of having their picture taken.

It was such a sweet, sincere moment-  a simple, loving gesture that I will not forget.

I am so thankful to have this photo to always remind me that

I am

loved.

Let love be genuine.  

Romans 12:9

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I am loved.  And so are YOU!!! 

Self-Acceptance…and a song I wrote about it

“Playing Dress-Up”

She’s watching everything I do 

“Mom I want to be like you”

she wants to paint her face like me 

I swore I’d put aside

the things I see in the mirror that I despise

I’d look at myself through my Father’s eyes

but who am I kidding? 

I catch my own self 

trying to fit a mold never made for me

trying to change the things I see

with my eyes

such a hypocrite, I talk a good talk

but when push comes to shove

can I walk the walk? 

cause deep down I’m still a little girl

playing dress-up 

with those lines on my face 

I drew lines in the sand 

cause I don’t want my girls

giving into the world’s demands

trying to be a size 

He never made her to be

trying to look like a Barbie Doll fantasy

instead of the masterpiece

He made her to be 

Recently, I told my husband that I hated the lines on my face.  I didn’t even notice what I was doing as I said it.

“Stop criticizing God’s masterpiece!”  my husband said to me.

Instead of accepting myself, I have tried to hide, cover-up, and change the way I look for years. My flaws have screamed at me when I look in the mirror.

Even though I have struggled with this, I’ve always thought that I’ve done a good job hiding this from my daughters.  I tell them to be themselves, to not worry about what other people think about what they wear and how their hair looks.  They are beautiful, and they don’t need to change a thing.

But the other day, as I was getting ready, I was putting on my make-up and my (almost) 10 year old was standing with me, watching my every move.

“Momma- can you curl my lashes?  I want you to put some make-up on my face!”

“Baby, you are gorgeous without any of that.”

“But why do you do it then?”

Good question… one I didn’t have an easy answer for.  To feel better about myself… To hide the dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep…to look pretty.

vanity, vanity… all is vanity

And then I thought about all those mornings I try on garment after garment, and while I don’t usually give a voice to my thoughts- those negative, self-deprecating thoughts are still there… and my girls are watching me.

I need to practice what I preach. Because deep down, I am still a little girl wanting to live up to something I am not… and it is time to embrace who I am.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4