Monday, June 20, 2011

A Mother's Beautiful Body

Love is...

... sacrificing your body for the blessing of children.

I'm reading this great little book called, "Loving the Little Years:  Motherhood in the Trenches" by Rachel Jankovic.  She is currently raising five small children, two of whom are twins.  She really knows how to articulate how hard life is... and yet, she is so full of joy.

When I came across this section in the chapter entitled, "Me Time", it was so encouraging to me that I have decided to share it with you.

Motherhood is a demanding job.  It is so demanding and intrusive, in fact, that it takes over your body.  It uses your body, oftentimes rather roughly.  This can start to bother us.  You may have some weight to lose, and you might start to resent that.  You might have permanently damaged something during a pregnancy.  You may have big scars, stretch marks, and loose skin that bothers you.  You might not have time to exercise the way you used to.  All of these things can be seen as an offense against us - against our bodies.     
There are really two separate points I would like to make here.  First of all, our bodies are tools, not treasures.  You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form.  Let it be used.  By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dinted body.  Motherhood uses your body in the way that God designed it to be used.  Those are the right kind of damages.         
There are of course ways to hurt your body that are outside of God's design for it and disobedient.  But 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.  We are not to treat our bodies like museum pieces.  They were not given to us to preserve, they were given to us to use.  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 your body up in order to be able to use it some more.  It might be used for more children, or it might be used to take care of the children you have.  We should not be trying to fix it up to put it back on the shelf out of harm's way or to try to make ourselves look like nothing ever happened.  Your body is a tool.  Use it.    
Also, your body is a tool - maintain it.  Having sacrificed your body for your children is no excuse for schlepping around in sweatpants for the rest of their childhood.  When you were eighteen, you might have been skinny without trying.  In your thirties, after having had a pile of kids, the chances are good that you will need to try.  And in case you care, this word is not coming from one of those miracle mothers who comes out of the hospital more svelte than she went in!  My children, bless them, have left their mark!    
Scars and 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.  While so many women choose to not have children or abort the children that they were given, the testimony of women who know the cost and joyfully pay it is profound.  So make sure that you aren't buying into the world's propaganda.  While there are a great many rewards, the sacrifice is very real.  The reason so many women don't want to do it is because it is very hard and has very real costs.  But the answer to these obstacles is not to run away in fear as the world does, but to meet it with joy, and in faith.    
My very kind and wise husband once left a note for me on Easter morning, two weeks after Daphne was born.  He wrote,  "To my wife, before she even goes near the closet on Easter morning," or something romantic like that.  In it, he encouraged me to realize that there was no more fitting way to celebrate Easter (or any part of the Christian life) than in a body that has been undone on behalf of another.    
So realize that your body is a testimony to the world of God's 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.  So don't resent it, enjoy it (Pg. 58-60, emphasis mine).

No comments:

Post a Comment