I wrote this as a contributor for Veva Health.
I didn’t want to share this picture. In fact, I promised myself I would never share progress pictures or photos of me in a bathing suit. Never ever.
Even as God was tugging on my heart to share it, I couldn’t bring myself to post it on Instagram. I was relieved in an odd sort of way when I realized God meant for me to share it here, with the Veva community. Although I’m new to Veva as a contributor, I have been reading the content for some time, and it feels like a safe place to share scary stuff. You know, the kind of stuff that we surrender to God, only to pick it up again and again. The kind of stuff that we’re hesitant to share with others, but so relieved when we finally do, and they say, “Me too!”
As a middle school teacher I do not get to participate in many play-dates during the year—they are usually scheduled for weekdays. So, this summer I jumped at the opportunity to go meet up with some ladies from my Moms of Multiples group at a local Splash Pad. I didn’t give much thought to what I was going to wear until people started posting questions and comments online. Even after I planned to wear my tankini with khaki shorts, I overlooked the fact that I had to get into the water with the twins. Bottom line, at some point either the shorts were getting wet or coming off. Wearing a wet bathing suit home is one thing, but wet clothes is just uncomfortable. My third option was to keep my shorts on while the twins and I chilled on the grass and watched everyone else splash in the water. My play-date at the Splash Pad taught three very important lessons.
Lesson 1: I will not sit on the sidelines of my own life
I wasn’t about to not take the boys onto the splash pad. Instead, I opted to bare my legs for all to see. For a moment, I wondered if the other moms thought that as a fitness instructor with sixteen month olds that I should be more fit or toned by now. But, God lovingly revealed those thoughts to be lies from the enemy, so I sent them back to where they came from, Hell. Being present and active in my own life, and experiencing a first with the boys didn’t give me time to be consumed by body image issues. Their joy (Andrew) and trepidation (Michael) forced me to get out of my head and live in the moment, and what an enjoyable moment it was. Well, except for the time when some kids accidentally sprayed water directly into our faces. But even that was kind of funny.
Lesson 2: I will capture the memories
I experienced horrible pregnancy acne with the boys. It was so bad I avoided having my picture taken and used as many filters as possible when it was unavoidable. I regret not taking more pictures to document my ever-expanding belly. God reminded me of that regret as the boys and I were getting ready to dry off. I asked my dad to take a picture of us and trusted that in the years to come I would focus on our faces more than my thighs.
Lesson 3: I will step out in faith
I was shocked and confused when God first prompted me to share this photo. He knew about my promise and He knew the reasons behind it. And yet, He nudged me to share it. He gently told me to get over myself. That sharing the picture really wasn’t about me, but about giving other women permission—permission to get off the sidelines of life, to create memories and capture them without worrying about thigh gaps or giggly squishy bits, and permission to fearlessly be the women He has called us to be. As uncomfortable as I was sharing this picture and the accompanying story, it was incredibly freeing to do so. I love how faithful God is to use all things for the good of those who love and obey Him. There is no greater reward than freedom through grace.
I pray that you will join me in doing and sharing some scary stuff to bless others with the relief of “Me too!” Use #lovebeyondlooks and #vevavida on social media to share your “Me too!” moments. If you want to win the bathing suit battle, check out our Bible study on body image: Love Beyond Looks.
What scary challenges have you faced lately?
How has God spoken to you?