Tuesday, September 9, 2014

the beauty.

"Don't focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry 
or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what's inside - the real you, 
the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights."  -- 1 Peter 3:3-4

For a moment of being "the real me", I want to share some real me moments. Pregnancy is beautiful. The blessing that we prayed fervently for was given, and we have been so grateful. There have been sweet moments, weird moments, and awe-inspiring moments that have brought me (and Harris) to tears throughout this process. A moment that pops up more often than not has been that of body image. There is no doubt that pregnancy changes your body in a multitude of ways. It just happens to you. While the tiny person God is using your body to protect is forming in the womb, your body is at the mercy of any number of changes and developments that need to occur in order to bring the little one into the world. Each woman's journey through this delivery process is unique, and thankfully so. Just as our stories through life are different, this season is one of personal discovery and every woman has her story to live.

For me, one of the challenges of this special process has been the concept of body image. Don't get me wrong, I have full comprehension of the beauty it is to watch my body shape to hold a tiny boy who shares his daddy's name. It has just been a unique challenge to allow the numbers on the scale to increase, to watch as my body stretches and grows, and to see such drastic physical changes happen almost overnight. I have experienced every comment from, "He's going to be a BIG boy. Are they predicting his weight? I bet he's 9 pounds already!" all the way to, "There's no way you're already 32 weeks! You look great!" Unfortunately, I struggle at times and find myself at the mercy of these comments, which I hate. I find that one moment my heart wants to lean into the positive comments and at the next moment feels heavy at the awkwardly critical ones. Thankfully I can anchor myself to the truth that it's not about my outward appearance, but about the real me, the me on the inside.. and in this case, also the little me inside! (see what I did there?)

I have seen and heard so many pregnant women who love to make a big spectacle about their pregnant body and physical experience. All the world needs to know what a horrible time she is having, how her silly husband just has no idea what she goes through, and "oh", "umph", "ugh". Don't get me wrong. Pregnancy is funny at times. The process brings unusual changes, and it can be a point of relating with other women when you can share about those experiences, but while I am keenly aware of many of the ailments that this process can bring, I feel it is important that we all work to maintain the gracious and quiet spirit that Peter describes (especially in this season).

My goals through this time (as it comes to a close) are the following:

Grace for myself and all of the struggles and joys that this season brings.
A quiet spirit in the midst of physical and emotional changes and struggles.*
Grace for others and the comments that come my way.
A quiet spirit that delights in the Lord first and does not draw excess attention to myself.

*I feel I need to add additional comments here to say that I don't mean to imply martyrdom in this. By no means do I mean that I hope for myself or other women to struggle or suffer in silence, but that I hope to be fully present and participate in the beauty that this process is, physical discomfort and all, and draw on the strength of the Lord to get me through the difficult times. 

May we all encourage one another towards the lasting beauty that is inside each of us, no matter what age, season, or stage of life we're in.