It's that time of year. Lights, trees, presents, Christmas music, holiday church services, parties and a month of general Scheduling Chaos. One of my favorite things about the holiday season is Christmas cards. Anyone that knows me well at all knows that I have a general obsession with the mail. I love it, I love getting it because you never know what could be inside! So Christmas is especially fun as I love opening the mailbox and seeing all the ADORABLE cards and the faces of the people in my life that I love so much. We hang all of our cards on the fridge and I actually started a binder type thing several years ago and we keep every card we get. I got made fun of the first couple years but I hated throwing them away. And now, I LOVE having them and so do my kids. It is so awesome to see families grow and change over the years, I think my heart might actually be smiling right now.
But I am not writing to convince you to love cards like me, to make your own binder, to send me cards or to guilt you for not sending cards. I am writing because I have noticed lately that many of my cards are missing a very important person, Where's Mom?!? Now if your family is like mine, you might be the family photographer, which means there aren't as many pictures of you. Or family photos are expensive so you don't get them. I get it. But my concern is that Mom is missing for another reason - insecurity. And this grieves my heart.
I know these women, I AM this woman, the woman that says something like this:
"What is my hair doing in that one?"
"Why is my head tilted all funny?" (Just me? I am notorius for this!!!)
"I don't like that outfit I had on."
"Too many wrinkles"
"How many chins can a person have?"
"I look fat!"
And so, we think it's better to just leave us out. And THAT'S NOT TRUE!
Dear friends, I love your kids. I love your husbands. I love your dogs. I tolerate your cats. And I love you!!! As I get older many of the people I love I don't get to see much anymore. So seeing them in a Christmas card (or even just seeing your pictures on social media!) brings joy to me and those around you.
I know it can be hard. I struggle with it too. I just recently posted some family photos on facebook and got so many wonderful comments about how great they are and how beautiful me and my family are. You know what I saw when I first looked at them? This is the honest truth people, here were my thoughts -
"That's cute...too bad you can see all those belly rolls."
"That's cute...why are my thighs so massive!"
"That's cute...wish my gut wasn't sticking out so much."
And then I caught myself. I was focusing on all the flaws and ignoring the beauty that God has given me and sees in me. So Women (this isn't just for moms!), stop focusing on the flaws and embrace your inner AND OUTER beauty!!! Don't hide or run when the camera comes out. Don't post all of the adorable photos of your family without posting pictures of you too. Don't always run to the back as to not be seen in the picture. Have confidence in God's beautiful and wonderful creation - YOU!
After my son was born I was at my heaviest weight ever. We were taking family pictures and I told our photographer (who is also a great friend) try to only get pictures from the waist up. She said something along the lines of "We will get some close ups but I am going to take some full body shots too. You will want them and your kids will want them. They will want to see pictures of their parents when they grow older." This hit home and she was right. I still struggle seeing pictures, new and old. I struggle to not immediately start pointing out every physical flaw I can find. But then I remember, God doesn't see the flaws, God rejoices in the beauty he has created and I need to do the same. And as mothers, our daughter's confidence in herself will reflect our confidence in us. This one hits home hard for me. If my daughter see's me avoiding pictures or hears me pointing out all of my flaws, she will pick up those same habits. Another wise friend once told me that even though she doesn't like wearing swim suits out in public she does and she does it with a positive attitude so that her girls can see that confidence.
So take a moment and find at least 3 physical things you can have confidence in. If we want our daughter's to have a healthy body image it has to start with us!