Beautiful Generosity

by GfG on September 9, 2010 · 10 comments

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I’ve had an epiphany.

The funny things about epiphanies are that once they happen, you see the signs, clues, or evidence pointing to them everywhere.  It’s almost like they are sudden changes in lenses or something.

I’ve allowed what is actually an opinion to become truth to me.  For most of my life, actually.  Therefore it has affected my thinking and my behavior.  And now, when I simply can not achieve the goal of this truth, I am left feeling like a failure.

Like most epiphanies, a simple statement made the crack that left my old way of thinking in ruins.  And being true to the Grateful for Grace way, my epiphany happened in two parts with almost a year in between.  No one ever called me quick.

Here is what went down:

Me to friend, “I sure wish I had your abs.”

Friend to me, “I sure wish I had your reproductive system.”

Shock wave to my heart.  See, this friend has one child.  He is precious and cherished.  She can not have any more, physically.  She wanted more, but her body would not cooperate.

I have been given the gift of carrying six children.  I wanted a belly that was flat after them, but my body will not cooperate.

Almost one year after this exchange, I start Lou Priolo’s book, Approval Junkie. Near the last chapter, he asks readers to consider their ‘weaknesses as ways to glorify God’.  Not totally new teaching, but God spoke to my heart about a weakness I hadn’t considered a weakness: believing this opinion lie.

Did you know that no where in the Bible does it talk about a flat stomach being beautiful?

Did you know that not all cultures believe a thin, flat stomach should be the goal?

Did you know that not once does God say that he thinks  a  body should  have great abs?

Did you know that no where in God’s Word does He say that there are only two descriptions for a woman’s stomach that are beautiful, pregnant or flat?

For all of my conscious life I have believed that a woman’s belly should be flat unless she is pregnant or overweight.  If she is not one, then she is the other.  One is beautiful and one is not.  Then I had children.  My stomach muscles threw in the white towel almost immediately.

I bemoaned my state, believing that it was ugly to have a ‘belly’, a ‘pooch’, a gut unless  I was pregnant.  It was not beautiful.

Clearly this was truth.  I saw and heard it ev.ery.where.  Magazine covers.  Television shows.  Movie screens.

Not just from the media, but from people in my life.  It seems one of the most important behaviors for Americans, if they want to be considered pretty, is to tame the tummy.

We have swallowed this sole opinion of beauty hook, line and sinker.

This opinion taken for truth has been destroying my self image.  I have cried so many, many nights over my stomach that won’t go back to ‘where it belongs’.  I have sunk into some serious depression after people ask me if I’m pregnant though I weighed less than I did in high school.   I have considered saving up for an expensive and painful surgery even though we live pay check to pay check.  All because I never once stopped to think about this definition of beauty being an opinion and not a fact.   And not only that, but man’s opinion, not God’s.

Then I had my epiphany.

Seriously out of no where (and no where being my friend’s comment coupled with Lou Priolo’s book with direct aim made by God… not really so ‘out of no where’, really), I looked down at my poochy, squishy, flabby and crazy looking (diastasis coupled with crooked c-section issues) stomach muscles and see them for what I now believe God sees them as:

badges of honor for carrying a child despite how uncomfortable it gets

evidence of trust for being open to bearing a child despite what the world thinks

proof of God’s blessing to me in gifting me with a life within me

While Americans chase the “opinion lie” that they should view children as burdens or items on a check list, through God’s grace,  I haven’t.  He showed me that opinion to be a lie.  Now He’s showing me another American opinion for what it really is.

A big fat lie.

How sad that it’s taken me this long.  Now, I hear the obsessive chatter about flat stomachs for what it must sound like to God: selfish, vain speak that has little do to with glorifying Him.

My friend was right.

I would never, in a million years, trade any one of my children for a perfectly flat and toned stomach.  Not even one of them.  Even before they were conceived, if someone had said, “You can have six pack abs forever if you vow not to have any more children”, I would not have traded the possibility.  I still wouldn’t.

And I would never, in a million years, trade my body for hers because my body bears the mark of a God who has been truly, mind blowingly generous to me.

I just hadn’t realized that generosity is beautiful on me.

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