A Letter To My Daughter: Beauty From Ashes

I’m approaching the two year mark of a very conscious decision to properly steward my body that I’ve been doing my best to live out on the daily.  Before P was born, I knew things had to change.   I did not love myself, I did not fully care for myself, I wasn’t happy with myself at all.  In fact, I wasn’t even in the picture.  My life was consumed and full with ministry, work and relationships–I didn’t have time to focus on myself, and if the very thought of doing so crossed my mind, I felt guilty.  How could I bring you, a precious little lady into the world, and hope and pray for you to become a strong woman of God, when my very faith was faltering?

How could our good and faithful Father, absolutely love me just as I am?  How could my attractive husband, not find me as repulsive as I found myself?  How, how, how in the world, was I going to learn to see myself through the eyes of Christ, or even my handsome and caring young son?

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Well, what I know now–is that He makes beauty from ashes.  The morning I sat in my bed, weeping in my quiet time–still brings tears to my eyes.  I knew I had to resign from my career, make time to get healthy, to learn to care for myself, to love myself, but most importantly to believe that our Creator knew what He was doing when He created me.  That I was intentionally made for a purpose that no one else could fill, and that caring for myself, proper stewardship over my body, was expected–not something to feel shameful over.  If there’s one thing I was confident in, it was my ability to get things done.  My friends have always said that once I set my mind to something, I make it happen.  And while it has taken me awhile to actually see that, I am thankful that its a character trait that seems to be true.  Because this very thought, nearly took my breath away:

I did not want you, my daughter, to be captivated by the strongholds of imperfection.  

After over a decade in the fashion industry, I can safely say that even the ‘pretty people’ struggle with imperfection.  So let me tell you something that you need to take a moment, breathe in, and believe:  Perfection does not exist.  There, I said it.  Let it sink it.  It doesn’t, at least not in this world anyway.  As I began the journey of personal stewardship of healthy living, I realized I was met with a feeling I hadn’t felt in a very long time.  It was freedom.   No longer was I held captive by the negative arguments in my head saying “I wasn’t enough”, “I wasn’t made right”, “I’ll never be like that.”  No, I won’t be “like that” because I’m like me, and sweet one, I pray that you are fully, wholly, and lively the you He made youto be.  It took mama too long to realize it wasn’t wrong to want to have healthy, glowing skin.  It wasn’t wrong to want to be physically fit and make fitness a priority.  Heck, it even wasn’t wrong to sharpen my mind reading books other than the Bible.  I finally remembered how to say “I need…”  without feeling condemnation for being selfish.  Living in humility does not mean your needs are not a priority.  Holy crap, was I way off base before.  Aren’t we created to be desired?  Beautiful in His perfect image?  Not only was I holding myself captive to strongholds of imperfection, but I had compounded the situation by believing in the the stronghold of legalism.  My dear daughter, I pray against these for you, and I am doing my best to break this generational bond.

Thank God for a living, breathing, Holy Spirit that moves, guides, pushes, and encourages us to grow deep.  Is there an endpoint to this journey outside of Heaven?  I don’t know, like all areas that we struggle with, I am confident it will get easier, that my mindset will fully shift, and that overall healthy habits become a lifestyle.  What I do know, is that I can no longer live in that darkness, and while you, my lovely and perfect daughter, were the catalyst that helped get me here, I’m not going back to the way I was.  We have to strive to move forward, grow a little every day, and reach for the stars.  I have a purpose to fill, as do you, and its not doing anyone any good, if I don’t believe I can fill it.

If you are what you should be you will set the world on fire. – St. Catherine of Siena

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[outfit details]

hat//bailey hats, sunglasses//prada, jacket//helmut lang, dress//jcrew, sandals//birkenstock

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