Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ladies, lets get real, shall we?

When is the last time you went out to purchase a swimsuit? A new pair of jeans? That little black dress? I think shopping for that new swimwear might be the most devastating activity of all. When does one go from bikini to one piece? This is when those little wraps come in handy. I think sometimes we just want to hide in the beach towel all together.

We all face it, but yet we never speak of it. Why? Why don't we share these feelings? If I share my real feelings with friends, most of the time I hear, "Your nuts!" Not really what a girl wants to hear, ya know? Some how getting older has snuck up on me. I have never been afraid of getting older. Gosh, I am 44, and you know what? I love being 44. I really do. I just don't want to look like I am 44! Now see my problem? Do you have it also?

We say we are happy at our age, but yet there is something different. Something we cannot explain. We can be out and see a younger group of women and think, "Wow, they look so great", all the while looking at ourselves and wondering, "Um, what happened and when did it happen?" Was I not paying attention along the way?

I remember being young and being able to eat a whole pizza without a thought. Now, that thought will just add a pound or two. Somewhere along the way, we can no longer eat the way we once did. As we watch the morsels of those tiny chocolates go down we too can see where they are ending up. You got it, right on our end!

I must be honest and tell you, my husband makes me feel beautiful. He tells me how beautiful I am and I am so blessed by him. My problem is, somewhere along the way, I have stopped believing it. We begin looking at ourselves differently. We see younger versions of ourselves and yes, lets be honest. We compare ourselves to others all the time. We see a woman with a beautiful color of red hair and we get a niche to try it. We do and then, yes, those tears begin to fall. We see that adorable short haircut in a magazine and just know it is a must have. Sure, I must have been crazy to think it would look great on me!

Why do we torture ourselves? Really, ladies, we do this to ourselves. I know I am a child of God. I am created in His image. I am created in awe and wonder. I know all that, but yet, I don't see it. Are you with me? I find it so hard to look into the mirror and see beauty. I see age spots and wrinkles that were not there last year. So, why can't we just be happy with who we are? Why do we have to try to fit the idea of what society creates as beauty?

We see the glamor of Hollywood stars walking the red carpet in their glorious gowns and tiny bags. We see how they appear to all be a size two. Something unimaginable to us. Maybe that is my whole problem. I was that size two. Maybe I do have a problem with getting older and I have just been fooling myself. How about you? Do you easily see your beauty or is it a struggle? This world tells us how we should all be one way and somehow it really does get into our head. We begin believing this. We begin believing we are not good enough. When we feel not good enough we then begin to hide out. We stop going out. We stop doing the things that at one time brought such joy.

Well, most of us do not have our own personal trainer. Most of us do not have make up artists to air brush us for four hours before we begin our day. Did you know that many if not most women in Hollywood all wear extensions in their hair? Ever wonder how you see an actress one week with a short cut and a month later her hair has magically grown to her waist? Goodness, can we not see that this is not real? Why do we fall into this trap?

One of the worst places to go to is the mall. Well, lets exclude the purse section from that. LOL We see manikins wearing the latest styles and we think, "Wow, this is adorable", only to go try it on and it looks ridiculous! Why not have manikins that reflect real women? The women who have had five children and are moving crazily through the house daily, trying to create a science project, feed the baby and cook dinner all at the same time. The women who work so hard to make ends meet each week to put food on the table for their children. The women who want to be the best they can be, but put everyone ahead of themselves.

Take a look at the next commercial you see. Want to hide those fine lines? Want to take care of that extra skin along your chin? We all see the latest creams, but who do they show in these commercials? Women who are 18-20! They have no wrinkles and they do not have extra skin. Please! Why do we fall into these traps? Because we all want to be beautiful, but our image of beauty has been tainted.

Beauty isn't that brush stroked girl on the glamor magazine. She is that woman serving in the soup kitchen. She is the women sitting next to her dying mother. She is that woman praying over her husband. She is that woman that gave a kidney to her grandchild. She is that woman who struggles daily in the mess around her. She is the woman facing tests and trails before her reaching for God. She is the woman who sings her child to sleep and wraps her arms around her husband. We are looking in the wrong places for beauty. Beauty is beneath the skin. Beauty begins in the heart. We could be all painted up for the ball and have ugly in our heart. What is more important?

I recently watched the Miss USA pageant. I really wanted to vomit. If you love and enjoy these programs, I am sorry, but I think they send the wrong message to young girls. I remember watching these shows when I was a little girl. I remember gliding back to my room in my long summer night gown with my robe wrapped around me, pretending it was a long flowing gown. I looked at these women in awe. Somehow these shows rob us of what real beauty is as they parade down the run way in a slinky bikini, all wanting world peace. I just think we portray beauty in the wrong way and it distorts our image of what real is. Who are these people to sit in the front row and judge who is the winner, runner up and third place? Is the woman in third place really less of a woman that the woman wearing the crown?

We allow our daughters to hear us say, "Gosh, I am so fat", "I feel so ugly today", "This dress makes my hips look too big". What we are doing is causing our very daughters, those daughters we know to be filled with beauty, to begin judging themselves in the same manner that we are.

Instead of dieting, why not eat healthy? Instead of trying to lose ten pounds, why not begin an exercise journey into healthy living? We complain and complain about how we look or feel, but yet we fall into the same old traps over and over again. We don't have to be a size two. We should be striving to be the best we can be. Our body is the temple for the Holy Spirit. We are to care for ourselves. We are to treat our body with care and love. After all, it's the only one we will ever have.

We need to be motivated to cheer one another on. As women we all have the same fears. We just might experience them at different times. We are all on a different journey and path in life. I want to get to that point where I can see the beauty God created in me. I want to strive to be healthy. Not to be a size two, but so that I feel the best I can and am filled with energy because I have been eating healthy.

Each wrinkle brings with it a little more wisdom. Each laugh line means you have learned to smile a little brighter. Each gray hair means you have passed another trial with grace. Every little sun spot shows you enjoyed the outdoors. Each and every scar your body carries tells a story worth hearing. May we learn to love each and every change that comes.

It's so easy to look at other women and see beauty. Why not begin to see it within ourselves? Each moment we spend devaluing ourselves is a moment we have wasted in vain. We are women who carry value. Our presence on this earth has purpose and meaning. Spending too much time worrying if we look good enough is only keeping us from receiving the real treasure of living life to the fullest.

"The beauty of a woman
isn't in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries,
or the way she combs her hair.


The beauty of a woman
must be seen from in her eyes;
Because that's the doorway to her heart,
the place where love resides.


The beauty of a woman
isn't in a facial mole;
But true beauty in a woman,
is reflected by her soul.


It's the caring that she cares to give,
the passion that she shows;
And the beauty of a woman
with passing years only grows."  Audrey Hepburn


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched--they must be felt with the heart" Helen Keller

Ladies, may we learn to pass by the mirror in awe of God's creation in us. May we choose to see His glory and not our own false image of what we have been tricked to believe beauty to be. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and ladies, what a Beholder we have, who created us to shine before all creation for Him. May we stand a little taller and walk in grace, holding not to the past, but embracing today. If we embrace who we are our daughters will grow to know the real beauty of a woman and not a fake image this world has created. If we learn to truly love ourselves we will stop looking for acceptance in others. Lets stop comparing our self image to others. Lets cheer one another on as we all journey to growing older in grace.

Instead of looking at the younger crowd and missing those days, might we be the women cheering them on and being examples of how to grow in beauty and grace. We can look back to our twenties and think, "Yes, that was me then", and look to ourselves in our forties and say, "This is me now." Might each year we become a little closer to that woman God created us to be. If we can grow in Christ as each year passes our real beauty will only shine even more brilliant than before!
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