You are beautiful, and there is grace in

A few weeks ago I got asked when I was due. I smiled and kindly said, I’m not. And you know, my feelings weren’t very hurt because frankly, I didn’t blame the person who asked because if I’m honest, my belly looks poochy enough to be holding a baby. My belly has expanded four times, held two 8lb babies, shrunk again, and been neglected by good food and exercise. My belly has not been treated, or thought of, with much grace lately.

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I want to offer you a word of grace. I want to encourage you to give yourself grace. I want us to roll around and toss grace and gratitude and joy around like snow or autumn leaves, to splash in it like a lake.

If your belly has expanded to hold glory babies now in heaven, to hold babies now in your arms, to hold babies now grown…

if there are deep grooves from laughing etched next to your smiling eyes…

if your legs that have carried you all your years zip together when you walk or stand…

if stretch marks from good growth crisscross your flesh like scars…

if lines mark your forehead from thinking the deep thoughts…

if no concealer can cover the dark circles ringing your eyes, signs of late night comforting…

… then grace.

To yourself. To the woman next to you. To each other. Let’s have our daughters, sisters, mothers see us loving the bodies we have, giving grace to the extra folds and soft bellies. Let’s let their idea of beauty be molded by ours, by His.

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The physical remnants of acts from the heart remain, and they scar us, and we are better for having them. If our bellies pooch, it’s time to give thanks and {try to} stop sucking in. Easier said than done, yes, but I want my worth – the deep, this is what I really believe, kind – to stop depending on how not-pregnant I look. Whether we pull ourselves together for the day everyday or wear old yoga pants. Whether we accessorize beautifully or never change our earrings. Whether shoes line our walk-in closet or the same pair of tennies take residence in our entryway.

Whether or not you even believe it.

You are beautiful, and there is grace in beauty. Enough for me, enough for you, enough to extend to our friends and each other.

What reminds you of your beauty? How do you remind others?

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When I need a reminder of grace about my beauty, I read:

this on (in)courage, by Alia Joy

February: Beauty, in A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

Psalm 139

Song of Songs

Dawn Camp’s Beauty of Grace

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