It was not too long ago and, yet, it seems like a lifetime ago that I took my children to a nearby field to do a photo shoot. The sun was setting with its bright colorful painted sky and the round circle of blinding light was just dipping into the horizon. The grass blades had slowly released chloroform into their veins wiping away the winter brown replacing it with spring green and the weather was just warm enough to beg one to wear short sleeves. We skipped ourselves out into the field bantering one another along the way with one child frustrated about her outfit while the others were satisfied. It was a great afternoon.
My plan was to take photos of each of my girls and all of them together; however, I also wanted to have a few photos taken of myself for Cobblestone Life. The afternoon was beautiful, and the circumstances and weather were cooperating wonderfully.
One by one the girls took a couple of photos, each turning out beautifully. It was my turn. My eldest daughter took the role of photographer and shot some great pictures of me in different poses and stances, putting her own unique spin on the shot.
The afternoon was a success! We made a quick tictoc video for a church competition, goofed our way back up to the car, and after a little mishap with the key getting stuck in the ignition and Daddy coming to rescue us, we were off towards home.
That evening had my phone in the hands of my daughters as they airdropped all the photos to their own devices before I had a chance to look at them. One thing I did not think about was that some of the photos would be posted. As my foreign exchange student excitedly shared photos with her family through an app, I was able to see the photos she shared. Some of them were not flattering shots of me. Angles were off, the lighting was off, and the viewer's perspective was not where I would prefer it to be for some of my shots. I was embarrassed. I asked her to remove a few of myself which she easily obliged and we moved through the rest of our evening.
The incident; however, kept me thinking. After having fought heavily through my young adult and teen years with an unhealthy self-image, I had allowed Christ to heal my views and embrace the body He gave me. It took me three pregnancies to get to this place; however, I am ever so thankful I have. Why then, was I suddenly so embarrassed?
The answer didn’t come to me right away. As I sat in prayer sometime later, the answer was clear: I am aging; therefore, I am changing. Beauty is fleeting. God did not call us to be content with our 15 year old, 20 year old, or 30 year old bodies. The contentment I found 10 years ago will need to continue through each of the changes my body makes because God never meant for me to be comfortable in my body. Our bodies are simply the vessel in which our soul inhabits at the moment. Our current body is not where we are to live forever. Instead, God calls for us to grow our minds through our relationship with Him.
True beauty is laid out in 1 Peter 3:3-4
“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.”
I embraced this verse as a headstrong driven teenage girl; however, it has become a stronger verse for me now. The passion I have for Christ, the love I have for His people, the drive I have to embrace others; this is what makes me beautiful to Him. He is all that matters, and I can only do these things through His strength. My discontentment should not lie in my body; rather, in my drive to know Him more. I should never find contentment in my relationship with God; moreover, I should strive all the more to know Him more fully, more completely, and to experience the fullness of His joy.
Sure, the perspective of some of those March photos is not spot-on; however, is this who I am? No. I look back at some of the photos from my younger years. These photos have been taken at some of the best angles with unique backgrounds; however, I don’t see this. I see a beautiful insecure girl who was clinging at her relationship with God as a lifeline. Today, with a bit more fluff and a few more wrinkles, I look at the photos of a woman seeking God’s will for her life, loving her husband and children, and embracing the present while anticipating the future. I see a woman who has grown in her relationship with Christ but will continue because it is not enough. I see a woman anticipating each day He brings with the knowledge that He will equip her for each new challenge. That woman I see is me.
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