I stood in front of the mirror, scanned my reflection, and sighed deeply as my shoulders dropped. My flesh tells a story of chapters I find myself longing to rewrite. It is not the signs of age, child bearing, or gravity that heralds in my yoking of shame, it is the battle with my flesh and food that firmly takes me down, over and over again. My eyes stare down my wobbly bits, my wrinkles, my scars, and I make an agreement with the shame that engulfs me. The message I accept is simple but powerful: “I am not worthy.”
The one word that God keeps echoing through this season beats in my mind again: surrender.
God, I am sorry. It has all been so very much. The pain, learning to walk again, doing everything to help me, learning to move and then having it all taken away and now starting over for what feels like the millionth time… I keep failing at navigating all of this and…
Surrender. Give it all to Me, including your fear.
Breathe in, breathe out. I remember, just breathe.
I choose to surrender it all, God. Help me to see clearly because it seems so dark right now.
Get your green shirt.
Immediately I knew which shirt, the shirt I had quickly bought from Target when we visited Florida 16 months ago when it was skin tight. I dug it out and thought back on how hard that trip was and how I battled fear every step of that vacation, afraid of another setback and more pain and all the alcohol I used as a muscle relaxer when desperate. Tears started filling my eyes as I realized how now I can walk for miles, can almost swim one, not truly realizing how far I had actually come.
Thank you Lord.
Put it on. (I have grown to love the sweetness of His still and gentle whispers.)
Slipping my arms into the blouse I flashed back to the day of purchase and how I struggled to get it on but bought it anyway because I was short on time. And while I know that was 54 pounds ago my eyes still can’t quite compute it yet. There was extra room everywhere, inches and inches of it. Muscle replacing fat.
I want you to see what I see.
I see a warrior who chose not to give up and has found me in the depths of this season of pain.
I see one who is learning that while she may find herself in the furnace, she is never alone there. In fact, I am using the heat to burn off all that binds her.
I see one whom I love, and I am asking her to agree with me and to choose to love herself too.
You understand that I want you to love like I love, and it starts with you.
How can you love your neighbor as yourself if you don’t love yourself?
How can you be kind to others if you are brutal toward you?
Surrender and see.
Be kind. It is a lesson taught in preschool, but I don’t remember ever being told to be kind to myself until I started therapy many years ago. I am so thankful that God is patient because I am clearly still learning, one baby step at a time. He is always inviting, and I am always choosing my hard; the hard that leads to life and freedom despite our circumstances or the hard that comes from self-soothing in ways this world heralds which lands you into a pit.
Lord, help me to keep surrendering, help me to truly see. Thank you for every step on the path of victory. On second glance I can see some abs starting to peek through their winter coat and that I have breasts that double as floatation devices, and then I hear myself say, “it is good,” like it is listed in Genesis under the days of creation…
Ok, well, it is a start.