Baring it all...

So I am here visiting my folks for a few weeks.  It has been SO nice.  Even though it requires more "mommy energy" as Hubby isn't joining me until half through the visit, it has been nice to think about something other than our ministry in Guatemala.  Don't get me wrong....I love what we do. But, lets face it.  I need to think about (and talk about) something else once in a while.  It has been nice to do that here.

Today, though, I was doing a little cleaning and rearranging.  I always have a ton of mail to go through and organize.  Plus as we buy stuff we need to take home, there ends up just being different piles everywhere. 

My type A personality could no longer handle the clutter this morning, so I had to start making some moves.  And while doing so I found this beauty...

My high school yearbook...senior year no less.  Let the fun times begin. 

I then proceeded to spend WAY too much time looking through the pictures, reading what my old high school friends wrote, and just overall reminiscing about the "good times."  Because really...I actually really enjoyed my high school experience. 

But, then I came across this one...

Yep that's me.  I was Prom Queen.  It was my "crowning" moment...pun intended. 

But, before you start making all kinds of assumptions about what kind of girl I was in high school, let me tell you something else about my senior prom.

I won prom queen, yes, but only weeks before said prom I was the only person in my circle of friends that didn't have a date.  Nope.  Not a single offer.  I was feeling humiliated and extremely sad to say the least.  It isn't like I had a whole bunch of other dates to any of the other dances either.  I usually went with good guy friends.  But, unlike those dances, prom you are expected to actually take someone you are interested in...a real date of sorts...someone you are romantically linked with. 

So there I was three weeks away from my senior prom, nominated for prom queen, but without a date in sight.  Thankfully, it didn't all end sad because one of my good guy friends from church took me.  I don't think he was even planning on going but when his parents found out from my parents that I didn't have a date, he stepped up to the plate.  He was a lovely date, and we had a lovely time, but I am not going to lie...that feeling, albeit 14 years ago, of not having anyone "want" to take you to your senior prom still stings.

Because here's the thing you may not know about me...

I have always been really insecure about not being "pretty."

There I said it.

I have never considered myself pretty.

Sure my yearbook is filled with beautiful messages about me being the "sweetest girl" or the "most positive person I have ever met."  One of my teachers told me if she could have chosen another daughter, she would have chosen me.  One boy called me "the closest thing to perfect I have ever met."  One of the administrators at the school said, "Sara, you are so influential.  You have had such an impact on everyone in this school."

14 years later, those comments can still bring tears to my eyes.  I am far from perfect...definitely not the sweetest girl...and for sure not the most positive person you have ever met.  Just ask my husband.  Nevertheless, their words touch me and remind me about how many wonderful people I got to do life with during those years.

But do you want to hear the ugly truth about those messages.  When I was 18 and reading them, the thing that struck me the most was that in the midst of all those lovely comments and letters from my dear friends and classmates, not a one called me "pretty" or "beautiful." 

And it was something I just couldn't get over.

Here's the worst part. I am 32 years old now...a far cry from 18, and I am still not over it.  

I still want to be beautiful. 

I still look at other girls walking down the street and wish I looked like them.

I still cry when I try on clothes in the dressing room (like two days ago when I finally had to break down and buy shorts because I had forgotten how stinkin hot it gets here).  

I cried this morning when I got on the scale. 

I cry when I am sweating on the treadmill, thinking about all my friends whose "baby weight" seemed to just melt away with nursing.  

I have even secretly cried in the restaurant of a bathroom because I couldn't order what I really wanted from the menu because I knew it would be too fattening.

Here is the big one...

I even cry sometimes because my husband is so small and often times I feel like a hippopotamus standing next to him.

Wow that hurt even typing it.

Why, might you ask, am I "baring it all" in the middle of cyberspace where words cut like a knife and can cause deeper wounds than any physical weapon ever could?

Because I am tired.

I am tired of spending 32 years fighting the same battle and crying the same tears.

I am tired of feeling like the ugly duckling in the middle of swans.

I am tired of feeling like my only "assets" are my brains and "personality."

I want to feel beautiful.  I want to really for once in my life BELIEVE that I am beautiful.

Because I have a daughter.  A smart, feisty, strong, independent, loving, funny, beautiful daughter who is watching me.  I am her compass.  If I don't think I am beautiful, how in the world am I ever going to convince her that she is. 

Insecure mothers grow insecure daughters.

I looked in the mirror this morning, and you want to know what I saw? I saw an overweight, acne prone, round faced lady.  I didn't see beauty. 

The cycle stops with me.

I honestly don't even know where to start.  This battle is big.  You can't just expect to battle a monster that has been harassing you for 32 years with your same old bag of tricks. 

And I can't do it alone.

I need your help.  My daughter deserves better as do all the daughters and little girls everywhere that are growing up in homes everywhere...all over the world thinking they are ugly and have no hopes of ever feeling otherwise.

Because here is the thing folks.  We can talk till we have no breath telling these girls that it isn't what is on the outside that matters. We can tell them that God only cares about the heart. We can even tell them that beauty is subjective and what is beautiful for one isn't going to be for another.

But for the girl who has never felt that she was truly beautiful on the outside, it is going to be really hard for her to hear those words and believe you.  She knows better.  Deep down she wants to be beautiful on the inside and the OUTSIDE. She secretly watches the "pretty girls" and wishes she was one of them.  She analyzes and criticizes every part of her body until she has such a distorted picture of herself that she no longer can distinguish between the lie and the truth.

We can't keep shoving this topic under the rug. We can't keep offering a few scripture verses and hope it will go away.

I am a 32 year old woman who battles this monster EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I know the truth but somehow in this one area of my life, it hasn't penetrated to my heart.

I open myself up to you today reader because I need your help....and maybe you even need mine.  So let's do this together.

Our daughters deserve more.  We deserve more.  I refuse to stand by while society dictates to me how I should feel about myself.  I won't do it anymore.

Anonymous –   – (July 7, 2014 at 1:16 PM)  

Tuneres una de las mujeres MÁS bonitas que yo conozco, y no sólo por dentro, sino que también por fuera.
Eres el tipo de mujer a la que veo (como te arreglas, tu ropa, tu pelo, lo actual en moda, etc.) y digo: wow, un día quiero ser así de mamá sexy < incluso cuando has estado embarazada para mi has sido tan BONITA y SEXY> en fin, tu eres tan bonita. Y no permitas que los pensamientos contrarios continúen ganando espacio en tu mente.
La mente es seguramente el campo donde se libran las batallas más grandes, así que a ganar ésta batalla de hace 32 años dentro de tu mente porque delante del Altísimo eres una HERMOSA vencedora!!!!

Donna  – (July 7, 2014 at 1:34 PM)  

Sara - you are very beautiful! Never, ever doubt. I remember when we first met you in Guatemala thinking how pretty you are. More than that - the smile that comes so easily to your face reflects such love. You share the love that God has for you and that you have for your family by it's reflection on your face. Here is another blog post you might enjoy:

Ashley Glasgow  – (July 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM)  

I think it was our sophomore year. You, Tonia and Jen were all up for Homecoming Princess. I will never forget my grandpa's reaction when you and Tonia were escorted onto the field. He said "Ashley, out of all of your friends, those two are the most beautiful" while pointing at you and Tonia. You have always been beautiful. Your internal beauty may be so bright that it is what people comment on when thinking of you. However, that doesn't mean that your external beauty has gone unnoticed. I don't have children so I am ill equipped to give advice on encouraging a positive body image but I will throw in my two cents. As a teen, external beauty is EVERYTHING. As an adult, those friends that I respect and admire the most are those whose parents took the time to cultivate the internal beauty and allowed them to grow into their external beauty on their own. She will be incredible because of you and what you have experienced. I am not disregarding what you have experienced but I think that those experiences in addition to the values that you were blessed to be raised with pretty much ensure that she is going to be as amazing as her mom.

Becky  – (July 8, 2014 at 11:29 AM)  

Sara, I can't seem to get my post to go trough but if this works call me: 817-657-0364. I would love to talk and hopefully share my story with you and I do believe The Lord has MUCH hope to offer you. Joy for you today.
Much love, Becky Stamps.
I am in town and would love to get together to talk if you can!

Traci Rodulfo –   – (July 8, 2014 at 7:10 PM)  

The world view and society sends so many wrong messages. True beauty is in our uniqueness. But society says if you don't fit a certain mold then something is wrong and needs to be fixed. I pray that you hear the encouragement and truth of those who are telling you how beautiful you actually are on the outside. I agree with an earlier post that your inner beauty shines so brightly (because of the love of God flowing out) that it out shines your outer beauty. Say it out loud - Satan, I won't believe your lies! I agree it is a battle and something that will creep it's way back in if we don't keep watch. We as sisters in Christ need to do a much better job of uplifting and encouraging one another. Being honest and trustworthy.

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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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