Those 3 words so accurately describe the majority of our post baby bodies. I have struggled with each of my children accepting the wear and tear on my body that naturally comes with pregnancy, nursing and motherhood. While my closet may appear otherwise, if I were to bump into you at target there is about a 99% chance that I will be wearing yoga pants and a tshirt. No, I have never done yoga, but I can't leave the house in pajamas and skinny jeans and a cute top are not practical for wrangling 3 small children in and out of the van, shopping cart and attempting to get my to do list accomplished before the melt downs begin.
A dear friend gave me the book Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic after having my second child and it powerfully transformed my thinking. I have to go back and re-read one specific chapter often when I find myself focused on the things I hate about my body. Hopefully this will encourage you as it has refreshed my perspective this week.
"Motherhood uses your body in a way that God designed it to be used...motherhood is what your stomach was made for- and any wear and tear that it shows is simply the sign of a well used tool...So use it cheerfully and maintain it cheerfully. When you are working hard to lose the baby weight (as you may need to), think of it as tool maintenance. You want to fix up your body in order to be able to use it more. It might be used for more children, or it might be used to take care of the children you have. ...Scars, stretch marks and muffin tops are all part of your kingdom work. One of the greatest testimonies Christian women can have in our world today, is the testimony of joyfully giving your body to another....So realize that your body is a testimony to the world of Gods design. Carry the extra weight joyfully until you can lose it joyfully. Carry the scars joyfully as you carry the fruit of them. Do not resent the damages that your children left on your body, just like a guitar mellows and sounds better with age and scratches, so your body can more fully praise God having been used for his purposes." Rachel Jankovic in "Loving The Little Years"
This seriously rocks my world every time I read it. Carry the extra weight joyfully, until you can lose it joyfully. That sentence I have repeated in my head several hundred times in the last few months.
As I begin the journey of tool maintenance and joyfully lose the extra weight, I am thankful for the constant reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am also thankful that for me losing weight is not super easy. Discipline is so important, and to be honest if it were easy, I would not have to be disciplined. I also would not have discovered how important healthy foods and proper nutrition really are. Before having babies I could eat whatever I wanted and pretty much maintain my weight. The older I get and the more children I have, my body and metabolism require healthy foods to achieve and maintain a healthy body. I love that I can trust AdvoCare products to be safe and also be a catalyst to achieving my goals. It is so hard to get to the gym, and start making lifestyle changes and so often we give it 30 days but see no results and quickly give up or give in. I love knowing that I WILL get results. The 24 day challenge for me is more than just a few health products I take, its a lifestyle. Its a decision to commit to the process of getting healthy. Its a decision to make healthy food a priority in our home. I struggle with consistency, so anything that helps be focus and be disciplined is a win win!
My deepest desire is that as mothers we can lessen the expectations we have for ourselves to be so perfect not only physically, but emotionally as well. Motherhood demands everything from us. Loving our children well. Learning how to discipline and shape their sensitive yet strong wills. It is a challenge, but I pray that we will receive the calling with Joy.