Thursday, February 27, 2014

TAKE.IT.BACK

     I suppose it started in 5th grade when two immature boys started calling me "ghetto butt" and saying I would cause an earthquake when I walked.  At least that's the first time I remember feeling self-conscious about my body.  I should note that I was not at all overweight, but sometimes there is just nothing more harsh than an 11 year old boy.  Fast forward 5 years......I'm 14 years old and making myself throw up in the bathroom at a Pizza Hut because I feel so guilty for allowing myself to indulge in pizza with my friends when I am clearly so fat.  It's lunchtime at school and once again I am eating nothing.  If people see me eating they might judge me because I need to lose weight.  Maybe skipping lunch will help me with that need to be thinner.  Maybe if I just deny myself enough times I'll finally be thin and attractive enough.  Maybe I can fit into that alluring size zero.  And here's the kicker......I weighed 115 pounds soaking wet.  Thankfully I grew up and moved on and got past those eating issues by the grace of God and with the help of people who loved me.  However, there was something deep inside that would surface time and again throughout young adulthood. 
   Fast forward 18 years......I just gave birth to my FOURTH child.  Despite my determination at the outset to "not gain much weight this time", the nausea and cravings and just straight hunger have left me with a 45-50 pound weight gain by the time I birth this child.  And I hate it.  Four weeks out from giving birth I start dieting.  Three (exhausting) months after giving birth I am still up about 25 pounds from my "pre-pregnancy weight" and I can't stand it.  I despise looking in the mirror.  I despise getting dressed to leave the house.  I feel like a failure for allowing myself to gain so much weight in the first place.  I am sooooo discouraged that the weight won't come off.  Am I doomed to this weight forever?  After a couple of weeks more of dieting and not losing any weight I step on my scale for my weekly "weigh-in" and there is no change.  My heart sinks and that depressed feeling sets in, but this time something different happens.  The Holy Spirit speaks to me and I hear within myself two simple words "STOP IT."  Stop torturing yourself.  Stop eating so little that you are shaky in an attempt to lose weight while you are also feeding another human.  Stop hating yourself because you don't look like you did when you were 20 years old.  Stop comparing yourself to every single woman you know.  Stop obsessing over a number.  Over the past couple of weeks since that moment I have wrestled with many thoughts and had an awakening that I've been waiting for since I was that insecure 10 year old girl on the playground. 
     Sisters, it is time.  It is time to TAKE IT BACK.  It is time to TAKE BACK the definition of beauty from our upside-down, sex-crazed, appearance-obsessed culture.  It is time to TAKE BACK our thoughts about ourselves from the grasp of Satan and call this what it is.  It. Is. Sin.  It's ugly and it is destroying us.  And for me (and probably many of you) it is time to TAKE BACK every vile, negative word I have ever uttered about my body in the presence of my Lord God who gave me this body.  Father, please forgive me for being so unabashedly ungrateful that I would curse the healthy, capable body that You have blessed me with.
     When I look in the mirror and see my flabby belly, I will refuse to hate it.  I will instead give thanks to my God for the four beautiful children He created within my womb.  When I see thighs that are bigger than they once were, I will praise Him that I can walk.  When I hold my baby and nurse her, I will thank God that He made my body so amazingly that I can sustain not only myself but also this beautiful child.  I won't waste another minute being worried that people can tell that my pants are being held together by a hair tie or that my coat is way too tight when I zip it.  Because contrary to what the world says, IT DOESN'T MATTER
     Let me just interject here that I am in no way advocating an unhealthy lifestyle.  I wholeheartedly believe in caring for the bodies God has blessed us with by eating healthy foods and exercising.  But that should be done so that we feel great and are healthy, not so that we fit an image in our minds that is a combination of our past selves and every unrealistic image we have ever seen.
     I fear that I am rambling here, but this is where it gets very real for me:  I WILL NOT pass this obsession on to my two daughters.  I cannot do it.  They will have a whole world to fight that tells them they are nothing more than a body shape and a pretty face, and I will not contribute to that fight!  I wish I could TAKE BACK every word I have uttered about my body in front of my six year old, but going forward she will not hear negative body talk from her mother.  And if you hear me say a negative word about my body I give you permission to call me out.  Do I still hope to lose weight?  Sure, because my weight before was more healthy for my height, but I will not hate myself until I reach a certain number.  I will not weigh in every week and ride the emotional roller coaster of disappointment or excitement based on that little number.  I will enjoy my baby and my other three amazing children and my wonderful husband who has never ever said one negative word about my appearance.  I will enjoy my friends and family without being uncomfortable in my own skin.  I will worship God with my church family without worrying that someone might look at me and think I've "let myself go".  I will run into someone I haven't seen in a few years and not try to hide so that they won't see my "postpartum body".  I will live life fully!
     Sisters, can we please stop this?  Can we stop doing this to ourselves and to each other?  Can we stop raving over each other's weight loss or cute outfits and instead praise each other for our kindness, creativity, intelligence, servant hearts, commitment to family, and the like?  Can we TAKE BACK beauty?  Please?  I am finding out that great joy can come from refusing to be ungrateful. Great freedom comes from really not caring what anyone else thinks about your skin without make up or your hair without washing.  Great peace comes in thanking God for every little bit of what He has blessed YOU with.  So please, please join me in this journey.  Please love yourself right where you are.  Because, for the record, I think you're beautiful!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Both.................

     Both......A simple word that has rocked my world today.  You never know how God is going to speak or when or how simple it may be (in this case four little letters).  Today He spoke through my oldest child.  You should know that Ty Petty is a wonderful child.  He is kind and funny.  He never gets in trouble at school.  He makes straight A's.  He loves to read his bible.  He helps with his siblings.  But, there is one thing about this child of mine that disturbs me and worries me and makes me feel like we are failing him at times.  He is stingy.  He clings to what is "his" like nobody's business and always wants more.  I will certainly take some of the blame for this trait, but somehow it is also a personality trait.  His little sister 18 months younger is the exact opposite in that regard.  So it is a heart issue that I am determined to remold only with the help and provision of the Holy Spirit.  Today the battle was over some Pokemon cards that he saw at Walgreens yesterday and has become obsessed with.  All he has thought about since is how he could come up with the money ($5) or get myself or one of his grandmothers to buy them for him.  I was done in with the obsession and his self-pity by the afternoon so we sat down to watch a few videos on the World Vision website.  Afterall, HE needed reminding how good he has it.  HE needed to know how selfish he was being.  So we watched a video on this page about the food crisis:

http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/learn/ow-home?open&lpos=top_drp_OurWork

     And when it was over I couldn't help but cry as I talked to him about what it meant to be so poor that you didn't have food.  And then I painted a picture for him:  "You have $5.  Your dear friend needs food and has no where else to get it.  He is hungry.  He needs $5.  Do you give it to him for food or do you buy your Pokemon cards?"  And then he said it, "Both."  I explained a few times that he couldn't do both, but he refused logic and kept insisting, "Both."  And that is when God spoke to my spirit. "You are that child." I didn't even argue.  I sat there and cried.  Of course I want both.  I want Jesus, and I want new patio furniture.  I want to serve the poor, and I want to watch a movie and relax because I am so tired.  I want to be in God's will, and I want to plan out every week of my summer according to my plans.  I want "Both." 
     So then I sat there, and I held my son and just told him that I love him.  Because I do.  And the fact is that no matter what his attitude or heart look like, I love him.  And if he realizes that Pokemon cards won't make him happy, I will love him.  And if he wants more stuff until the day he dies, I will love him.  Because he is my child.  He is a part of me.  He has my heart.  But I want, I desire for him to know the joy that comes from a life of giving and self-sacrifice because I know that if he learns that lesson he will have a joy-filled, wonderful life.  And I know that if he spends his life chasing things and self-satisfaction, he will have a hard and often disappointing life.
     And I feel God whisper, "I know what will give you a joyful life, but you have to sacrifice." And I feel Him whisper, "You are mine, and I love you no matter what."  And I just want to know, "What do want from me, Lord?  What is your perfect will for my life?"  And I feel him whisper, "I will tell you when you let go of 'BOTH'."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pictures with Santa 2011

Not our best year for pics, but we had fun! Wyatt was not a fan of the Big Guy this year! When Ty screamed for Santa at that age I spent 15 minutes desperately trying to get him to smile. When Wyatt did it I found it hilarious, snapped a pic, and got him the heck away from the guy with the scary white beard. :) Ah, how things change by the third time around!

Christmas Card Outtakes 2011

Ansley Brooke Singing O'Come All Ye Faithful

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Jude Whitfield Comes Home!

There are moments in life that are so sweet you can hardly stand it. There are moments when you feel God's faithfulness in full force and KNOW that He hears the prayers of His children and lovingly answers. One of those moments was when my dear friend Sara and her husband David brought home their baby, Jude, from Ethiopia in November 2011. Their journey was filled with lots of ups and downs and days and weeks when they weren't sure they would ever be cleared to bring him home. But, on the weekend before Thanksgiving they brought this sweet boy home to their family. I'm so grateful that God allowed us to walk this road with them. The prayers sent up on behalf of this family were innumerable. The support was astounding. There is something so wonderful and blessed about the way God allows us to walk with each other through this life. He uses each of our valleys to show His glory and shape, not only our lives, but those who surround us as well. Jude is no longer an orphan. He will not grow up in an orphanage without ever knowing the love of a family. He is a Whitfield. What a wonderful gift. Redemption. God's most beautiful invention.

More Wyatt Cuteness

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Ty's Kindergarten Thanksgiving Program

Ty had the cutest little Thanksgiving program at school. He did a great job. He was and Indian, and his chosen Indian name was "Fast Arrow". Nana, Micah, and Daddy got to come watch too!

Ty Turns 6!!!

Ty turned 6 on November 1st! He and I spent a special Mommy and Ty day together because he was out of school that day. We had so much fun! That weekend he had his first official sleepover! He, Malcolm, Campbell, and Miles camped out in a tent in the playroom! They had so much fun and very little sleep :) I can't believe this funny, silly, bright little boy is 6! I am so enjoying him at this age.

Wyatt Cuteness November 2011

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Trunk or Treat 2011

We had a blast at Trunk or Treat! Ty was Spiderman, Ansley was a bunny, and Wyatt was a cute little monkey!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ansley's First Fieldtrip!

Back in October I got the priviledge to go with Ansley on her first ever Field trip to Gentry's Farm with her preschool class. She loved it! She loves all things outdoors so this was right up her alley. We had a lot of fun together. It was sweet one on one time for me. That doesn't happen too often around here! Here are some pics of her big day!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honeysuckle Hill Farm!

In early October we went to Honeysuckle Hill Farm with our dear friends the Akins. This was their first year to get to take a little one to the farm. Hudson and Wyatt were so cute and pretty patient for the long day! Ty and Ansley had an absolute blast. There are so many fun things to do there. The pumpkin cannon was definitely a favorite for them. The hayride and cornmaze were a big hit. They also loved the slides as you can see. We spent several hours there, and you can see that they were worn out! The kicker was that we went straight to Ty's football game! Here are lots of pics from our fun day!