Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Truth about Stretch Marks.

As the middle of the second trimester approaches, some things have been weighing heavy on my heart. Believe it or not, my sick days are becoming fewer and farther between. I'm feeling this little man kick and squirm all the time, and I just smile from time to time because I know I'm the only one in the world who knows he's awake. I've also actually had fun picking out new clothes, as well as finding new ways to wear old things. All in all, despite the sick days, it's been delightful.

However, I've come to believe that for every 10 great things in life, there's one not-so-great thing that tags along. For me in this season, that ugly tag-along is a little thing called stretch marks. They haven't come out in full force yet, but I see evidence that it's beginning and it's a little depressing.

Now, hear me out. I'm not one to dwell on my appearance. I've never been the kind of girl who focuses much attention on what I wear or how great of shape I'm in. Sure, I like to look nice and I enjoy feeling good about myself. I've just never taken the time to strive for perfection in this area of my life. There are plenty of days where my hair could look better, my skin breaks out now and then, and when that dreaded muffin top starts to appear, I don't head for the gym...I just go to the store and buy a bigger pair of jeans. Simple solution, right?

All that being said, I can't lie about the fact that these stretch marks have started to bother me. And I'm not entirely sure why. I've always been pretty modest. I don't walk around in tight  belly shirts or scantily clad swim suits. The only person who ever sees my stomach is my husband and, because God gave him these special eyes only for me, he happens to think I'm a babe on the worst of days! Bless his heart. Maybe it's just hard for me to face the fact that I won't look the same. I would never walk around the yard in a bikini top and cut off shorts, but maybe it bothers me to know that I couldn't even pull that off? Or maybe it's just my hormones talking. Regardless, I've prayed about this a lot and just asked God to give me peace and reassurance and for Him to help me only find my worth and beauty in Him.

But last night's when it hit me. I woke up in the middle of the night for my usual go-to-the-bathroom-then-put-lotion-on-my-itching-belly routine. As I laid back down, I thought to myself, "Ugh, these scars are not going to be pretty. It doesn't matter how much I love this baby, I will never look the same." Shortly after, I seriously felt like I heard Jesus whisper, "How do you think I feel? What about MY scars?"

Convicted. Who am I to complain or act like a martyr about the sacrifice my body is making for someone I love? Jesus Christ took on scars of greatest significance. He was whipped and beaten and spit on and nailed to a tree by the same people He was dying for. And why? Because He loved us. And because we needed Him to do it. He was our only fighting chance.

In no way am I saying my scars left on my body from having a baby are in any way, shape, or form the same as the scars on Jesus' hands. What I am saying, though, is that because of all of this, on the day God calls me Home, and I stand there on judgement day, God will give a report on how I lived my life. Sometime in between, Jesus Christ will interrupt and say, "Father, I know her! There's a place for her here." And as I run and weep and laugh and skip all the way towards my Savior, and I'm able to see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands those scars that gave me life, I will be able to, in the most minuscule way, understand His love for me a little more. My only response will be worship and praise. I'm getting it, Lord!

Am I still going to be a little self-conscious? Probably. Am I still going to invest in stretch mark "prevention" creams and oils and use them religiously? Yep. But, I promise my heart has changed. I promise my perspective has become a little more eternal. And every time I look at my belly and think about the sacrifice I'm making for this unborn child, I'm going to look up to my Savior and praise Him for the ultimate sacrifice He made for me. Thank You, Jesus.

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