Mostly ready for church, I reached over to grab my little white sweater and place it over my sleeveless blue jumpsuit. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and stopped. I faced the mirror. I turned to the side. I was the same woman, but I was a different woman. I still had the same scar on my upper left arm and the same arms that I haven’t liked for years, but I was seeing the silhouette of a different woman. She was a woman, that God was making into something, that she could feel good about. Suddenly I was comfortable exposing my arms. I took that sweater and carried it to the car. I told myself, “better bring it, just in case I get cold”, but that wasn’t entirely the truth. I was bringing it, just in case I freaked out about going sleeveless.
There I was with my exposed arms in a room with over 300 souls, but there were only two that knew the victory that I was celebrating. Me and my daughter. She knows because, we have discussed our body image issues. She sat beside me and smiled a knowing smile. This past week, I thought about it a lot and I marveled. I sensed that my last Sunday moment, was a pivotal moment in my life?
Like most people, I’ve lived with body image issues during my life. There are occurrences that may have sent me in this direction. Some serious – the innocence of a young girl being taken by someone that she trusted. Some trivial – the hurtful snarky remarks by women that I didn’t even like. It doesn’t really matter how trivial, because all of these occurrences shape how we perceive ourselves. Thankfully, how I have perceived myself, is not where the story ends. God is taking a caterpillar and turning it into a colorful butterfly. Ironically, it was as though my perimenopause years were my cocoon and now that I’m at the doorway of menopause, the metamorphosis is bursting forth. He is replacing my insecurities, with an ever-growing understanding of who He says I am.
There sure is a lot of heartache in this life, but I’m choosing to trust God with it. Instead of getting bogged down, I’m learning to focus on my blessings and the work that God is doing in me. My God is good and faithful. He loves me and calls me His beloved. My husband and I celebrated 35 years of marriage this week. He loves me, likes me and still thinks that I’m the most incredible woman on planet Earth. I could just stop there, but let me go on. I have two amazing children, and although they are each going through their own “growing pains”, I can see and believe that God will bring beautiful fruit forward. I have kind and thoughtful friends that love and accept me, exactly the way that I am. God has provided me with everything that I need, plus a little bit more. And finally, you actually want to read my ramblings. By the way, I’m celebrating my 2nd writing birthday soon – I’m now in my terrible twos.
I’ve wished that I could have gotten to this place sooner, but then arriving wouldn’t have been so monumental. Everything that matters takes time and hard work. That scar, is evidence of a life lived, mistakes made and a reminder to me that we all have scars, and we still need to be loved and accepted. Those lines around my eyes, tell a story of a woman who even though life is never perfect, she can still smile from a genuine joy that exists deep inside.
I realize that this might be a silly story to many, but I’m glad that I get to share it with you. It’s about way more than going sleeveless. It’s about being at peace – with myself and with God. Is there anything that you’ve been trying to hide? I hope that my story inspires you to “go sleeveless”.