Identity


There I was, minding my own business, going about my day when I got some really awful horrible no good very bad news.

Brace yourselves.

My friend {now enemy} Shaunna sent me a message that South Park magazine (who is writing a little story about Nourish) wanted to do a PHOTO SHOOT for their magazine. A photo shoot which would include…photos. Of us. In a magazine.

So I did what any woman and hopeful co-founder of a new but growing little organization does in such a situation.

I cried.

And not the happy kind of tears.

The ‘ohmygosh I am 7 weeks post partum and now I have to have my picture taken for a magazine’ kind of tears.

I’m not a Kardashian, ok? I don’t have a team of stylists, personal cooks and trainers waiting in the wings to whip me back into my pre-pregnancy state.

And this pregnancy was hard on me emotionally. Most of you know what’s taken place in my life this past year, and the best way I can describe it is that it was survival.

I survived this year, and I survived this pregnancy. I was mentally, physically and emotionally overwhelmed and distraught. I went from dropping 20 lbs in a month from anxiety and sadness to gaining 65 pounds in a pregnancy where my exhaustion prompted very regular visits to the Chick Fil A drive thru.

I’m not proud of this. In fact, I’m kind of ashamed. After all, I was also receiving my health coaching certification at the beginning of this pregnancy. I KNOW better.

But life got to be too much and I just couldn’t rally to cook meals. Like, basically ever. So I didn’t.

And it catches up to you. Ok, not to all of you. You who are blessed with amazing metabolisms, and know nothing of which I speak. Ah, I wish.

But I’m seven weeks post partum and working hard at losing the rest of my baby weight. We aren’t talking ten pounds, more like thirty. Ok thirty five. And thirty five extra pounds on my 5 foot 5 inch frame shows. My closet mocks me from the corner of my room, full of clothing I can’t even begin to entertain wearing.

And if there is one part of my life that whispers lies straight from Satan into my ear, it’s my appearance and my weight. Telling me I’m ugly, worthless, gross, less than…

So there I was, feeling sorry for myself in my kitchen. Feeling sorry for myself because I need to have my picture taken and I feel hideous. And then I started thinking about all the other things that have happened to me this year, and I started feeling even sorrier still. It sort of became this all consuming thing for a few moments and I found myself falling into that dark hole of ‘why has all this terrible, awful, hard stuff happened to me?’

And I hear Satan whisper again: Worthless. Ugly. Fat. Less Than.

Who cares what’s happened to you this past year. Who cares that you were struggling to get out of bed most days. Who cares that you just had a baby. Who cares that you moved to a new town where you know basically no one. Who cares that your children have been sick for 2 straight weeks. Why haven’t you lost your baby weight yet? Scratch that, why did you let yourself gain so much to begin with? If only you had maintained better control. If only you hadn’t eaten your feelings with peach milkshakes and waffle fries. 

It’s a dangerous hole to fall into, and it can be really hard to climb out of.

So I thought about saying no to Shaunna. To the magazine. Truthfully, I kind of did say no at first. And Shaunna said, ‘it’s ok. Whatever you’re comfortable with. I’ll make it work if you can’t make it”

So there it was, my out. I’m 2 hours away now and I have a 7 week old who, incidentally, HATES the car. I have some good excuses. But I knew that if I were at my pre pregnancy weight, I’d be trucking up to Charlotte for the photo shoot and to see my friends and to let them meet my precious baby girl. I’d be all over that so fast it would make your head spin.

I knew that what was REALLY holding me back was that 30 (ahem 35) extra pounds I haven’t lost yet. And those lies that were running through my head about my value.

I’m caught in this dilemma you see, because I helped to build a community of women who feel just as passionately as I do about offering a judgment free zone. We wanted Nourish to be a place where women of all shapes, sizes, and colors would feel welcome. Our Nourish tables are a place where a mom with a new baby could come to dinner in her yoga pants, stained shirt, ratty hair and 35 extra pounds and feel loved and welcomed. But I am having a hard time extending that grace to myself.

I’d rather hide away for the next 5 months or however long it takes me before I find my normal self again.

But I don’t want to be that person.

I don’t have it all together. I’m 35 lbs more than I’d like to be. I don’t fit into many of the clothes in my closet right now. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed as I learn to juggle 4 children. These things feel more intense because I’m struggling in my attempts to mend a truly broken marriage but you know what?

I’m trying.

I’m trying to eat well and exercise when I can as I juggle these 4 awesome children. (I’m losing this weight, it’s just so darn slow!) I’m trying to do my best to mend a truly broken marriage and some days are good, but some are really really hard. I have a lot on my plate and most days, I’m pretty sure it shows.

Here is what I’m learning through it all though. My identity is not found in the size of my jeans or a number on the scale. It’s not found in a closet full of clothes that fit. It’s not found in my children or even in my marriage.

If I let myself focus on Him, on the God who calls me beloved – if my face is turned towards Him and Him alone – I would not worry about my weight or what my picture will look like in a magazine. I will not worry about my life or my marriage. My hope is not found in a great pair of well fitting and small jeans. It’s not found in my children or my home or my husband. Those things do not – and CANNOT – define me.

I am defined by Him. I am defined by the One who found me valuable enough to lay down his life and hang on a cross for me. He did that for ME. And for you. And our hope has to be in that and in Him. I am worthy. I am valuable. I am a daughter of the King.

So I am going to do my very best to make it to Charlotte next week so I can hug my friends who I haven’t seen since August. So they can meet my beautiful daughter who is more than worth the extra weight I’m carrying around. And so I can sit at a table with my amazing, thoughtful, hard working and treasured friend Shaunna as a photographer takes our picture for a magazine who wants to tell Charlotte all about what Nourish is doing in the community.

God uses all things for good. I can’t wait to see how He continues to use Nourish, even if I have to show my chubby face for Him to do it.

I’ll make sure to take that up with Him someday…

😉

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