09 October 2013

Why Do I Always Feel So Stretched?

Wednesday Book Club

"I think women see me on the cover of magazines and think I never have a pimple or bags under my eyes.  You have to realize that that's after two hours of hair and makeup, plus retouching.  Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford."  --Cindy Crawford
Lysa Terkeurst shares a fact about herself that not many women would ever share out loud.  Only the people closest to us know the REAL us.  Lysa shares how her daughter commented about her stretch marks.  Lysa has birthed 3 girls and adopted 2 boys. And trust me when I tell you, that every woman's body changes somehow after multiple births.

I will never forget the moment when Mark and Julia saw me after having Micah.  They tiptoed inside the room anxious to meet their new brother.  The very first words Mark said to me were something to the affect of, "Mom, I thought you had the baby, why is your belly still squishy?" LOL (motivation for mommy to get her butt in the gym after having this third 9lb baby!!! let me tell you!)

Lysa's daughter asked, "Mommy what are those silvery lines on your hips?" Her daughter Brooke was studying her hips with great curiosity and intensity...Lysa goes on to say, "As I informed her about the beauty of what the stretch marks represented to me, she couldn't get past how unsightly the marks were to her."
"Again , I stressed the fact that the stretch marks were a beautiful reminder that my body was used in a sacrificial way to make her birth and the birth of her two sisters possible."

"It's the mark of the ultimate servant who gives their life to make new life possible for others."
Even after all this explaining of the beauty of those marks her 6 year old daughter said, "You are beautiful mommy...but those marks are not so beautiful!" LOL you have to love the honesty of a 6 year old don't you?

"The marks themselves are not so beautiful.  They are jagged, uneven, and discolored signs that my skin was stretched almost beyond what it could bear.  It was stretched so thin that it will never quite be the same."
Oh, I just love love love this analogy.  Because whether or not we have stretch marks, every mother knows that we will be forever changed because of our children.  They have left a forever imprint on our very hearts and souls.

Lysa goes on to say that these scars "made me like Jesus in a way.  I gave of my life to make new life possible.  I carried this person and took on their weight.  I was stretched beyond what I could bear.  My experience left me scarred and forever marked.  But the product of these scars is JOY I could not have any other way.
Isn't that the same with all wonderful/yet hard things in our life?  Whether it be a great job, a marriage, children, a family, all of these things can be extremely hard, extremely taxing, extremely difficult, yet life would not be as joyful, life wouldn't be the same without the struggle.  And the struggle teaches us all along the way.  We have a chance to grow, and experience life holding onto God's hand tightly.  I feel that now so much.  With 3 kids I just need God so much more, and I realize how I've needed Him all along, but now I am just so much more aware of my need.  I am grateful to rely on such a faithful God.

Think about Jesus' scars.  I think of how much he loved us that he took on human flesh.  That God loved me so much he sent his only son to die in my place on the cross.

"While I have not been called to die for my children.  I have been called to die to the selfishness that characterized my life before kids."
As parents we can all relate to this, can't we?  Our schedules, needs, wants, time, money, desires, dreams, our plans....all these things dictated our life.

Then we start families and have kids and suddenly we realize...life is not all about US anymore! LOL as if it ever were?!  I thank God for my kids because they have truly grounded me.  God had a bigger plan for my life than my plans ever could have been when I was so selfish and wrapped up all in myself.  I think my kids have shown me (or having kids has shown me) that I was and still can be very very selfish!  I guess it's human nature.

Now I am learning to serve my kids, my husband with a happy heart.  I can drive my kids to gymnastics, homeschool, tie shoes, wipe noses, fix dinner, nurse my baby, pour some orange juice, make protein pancakes all of these are ways I can make life wonderful for someone else besides myself.  That is what a servant is...to put one's needs above our own.

And as parents we have the opportunity to model how to serve others graciously or not so gracious.  I am constantly reminded that the way I model taking care of my family is how Julia, Mark, and Micah will one day take care of their spouse and children.  Yikes!!!

"Let's face it.  Motherhood is a stretching experience whether we are talking about our physical bodies our mental capacity, or our spiritual outlook.  But it brings me such joy to see the correlations between my service to my children and what Jesus has done for me that I thought it was worth pondering.  Whether you birthed your children through your body or through your heart through adoption, you have served...you have sacrificed...you have been stretched." 
To all the moms out there...you are so valuable, and you are so awesome.  Keep your chin up darlings.  You are not alone!  I love doing this book club with you.  And I have gotten so many private messages and comments that have encouraged me so much.  My love to you all.  I still have over 20 chapters to share with you!  Keep reading with me!


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