Easter weekend is about endings and beginnings. It’s about new life, living in resurrection power, leaving death behind and walking in the fullness of God’s grace.
Every Easter we talk about the empty tomb. The challenge comes in living in the “in between.” I mean, what does it mean to live a resurrected life – really?
This Easter weekend I made a significant personal step by trusting the power and grace of Jesus in my life. Before you judge me for being vain or materialistic, just listen to my story.
There comes a time when you have to let go of the past and consciously walk into your future by making for provisions today. For me, that conscious decision pertained to body image, security, self-acceptance, and facing the future with grace instead of fear or hatred.
As a woman in her mid-forties, I stand at a cross-road in life looking ahead with a fleeting sense of time and life. It’s easy to look back and cling to what was, or to get stuck in the present resisting what’s ahead. It’s hard to look forward, embracing the changes coming to your life, family and body. This weekend, I made the decision to grow older gracefully.
It started with a Facebook post on a day I needed to get out of the house:
“So I really need to go shopping for some not-skinny-anymore-need-elastic-three-weeks-of-out-of-the-month-but-not-ready-for-AARP-clothing on a teacher’s salary who has three teen boys to feed. The maternity section at Walmart just isn’t my idea of a fun place to shop. Suggestions?”
Most days, thoughts in my head that go between condemning or accepting myself and the battle between the two. For thirty years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body. For ten of those years, I battled an eating
disorder. For the next ten, I wavered between sizes while I gave birth to four children, and for the next ten, I actively ran to balance my metabolism and stay fit so food wouldn’t be in issue for me. Last year, I tore my ACL which limits running. I have to be more graceful on my body so I can stay active for the next thirty years.
In trying to balance it all as a mid-life mom who works, writes, speaks, and makes time for God, family and relationships, exercise doesn’t happen much. My premenopausal body takes control of my life more days than not. This week, I had it with despising my body and longing to actually wear what’s in my closet.
Thanks to tips from Facebook friends, I went resale shopping and found clothes and styles that fit my body and my pocket book. Instead of despising myself for not being skinnier, I found clothes I feel comfortable and confident in. For a woman with a history with eating disorders, this was a monumental moment for me.
A moment filled with grace.
As I coached myself into clothes of bigger sizes, I made a big step of accepting the resurrection power in my life and applying the power that says
- No one will love me less if I wear a bigger dress size.
- I don’t have to be perfect to love myself or receive love from other others.
- I don’t have to strive for what I used to be, what I could be, or what I long to be. I’m okay with how I am.
- I only have so much time to live on this earth. I want to spend my time and energy not longing for “if only’s.”
- My worth isn’t defined by my body, it’s defined by the value of who I am to God and how I represent Him to others
Do you struggle with these things? As I’ve dealt with a love/hate relationship with myself, my body and food over thirty years, I’ve found victory in making decisions like the ones I made this weekend. I’ve learned to face my fears that are magnified in the corners of my soul, releasing the lies of
- “You’ll only be acceptable when”
- “There’s nothing good in growing older”
- “You’re ugly”
- “You’re only beautiful if”
- “You’re unlovable.”
I’m learning the power of the resurrection lies in undeserved kindness. Applying the power of God’s grace means extending it to yourself. Growing older gracefully rests in giving yourself kindness despite the laws of nature that change everything about you, your body, and your circumstances.
The Good Friday shopping trip left self-condemnation and grief of changing seasons at the cross. There’s nothing I can control about life other than how I get to live each day given to me. I don’t want to spend time longing for the past or despising the body that greets me every day. I want to live in grace through the power of Christ in my life.
So I cleaned out my closet of clothes I can’t comfortably wear. I replaced them with clothes I feel good in and reflect the grace I receive from my Lord and Savior.
Christ is risen – His power transforms us into who He has created us to be, small, medium or large, past, present and future. Won’t you join me in giving yourself the grace He freely give to us? What are your insecurities He’s asking you to release to Him? How can I pray for you in your grace journey? Please share with us. Let’s encourage each other with His grace as we grow in grace.
I’m excited to share a similar message with women at two upcoming retreats on Identity in Christ and “Come and Be.” If you have an upcoming women’s event, I’d love to share a message with your ladies. Contact me or see the speaking tab for more information.
Now, where do you need to give yourself grace?
(featured photo Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)