She asked a few friends who were none too excited to participate.
A last resort she phones her mother, who is in her mid 40s. (I have a college student and am in my mid 40s, thank you Jesus he is a BOY and I know for certain this conversation would never take place, so I am making this up as I go..... read on....)
She tells her mother the assignment and very relaxed says "Have dad take a few photos of you naked and send them to me. Mom gasps! and the daughter explains, it isn't "naughty" it's art. Mom ponders and then has the conversation with dad. Dad although not real excited himself was a sport.
Uncomfortable, the couple laughed and made rules which helped to relaxed the situation, no facial shots, make sure the angles are simple and for Pete's sake make sure you are not connected to any auto downloads which will become a screen saver! The dad was very reassuring of the mother as he took the photos of her body in a 360' angle. She kept saying "why my body" "what is she thinking" "maybe I shouldn't". Dad let the mom know, that body she was complaining about was the body that gave birth to his beautiful children and housed the heart of his amazing wife. He told her to stop talking so poorly about herself and to embrace the beauty. She eye rolled ...
After the photos were taken he asked if she'd like to sort through and pick the ones she didn't want to be sent. She said Nope, I don't even want to see them, just send them"
Mom later went into the bathroom and removed a robe. She stood in front of the mirror and moved her hands over her body. Touching her core, her breast, her arms, her neck. Touching her hair, looking at her back. She was disappointed. Her young body had morphed into an older woman. The firmness gone, there were stretchmarks, her once plumb breasts now needed to be picked up and put into her bra. Oh she had heard plenty of positive "love your body" kinda things. And she had heard the words stretchmarks are like war metals. Sure, some man made that up to make his wife feel better she thought.
She submerged herself into the bathtub and tears rolled down her cheeks as she remembered the body she once had as a young gal.
Weeks later she received a picture text. It was a photo from her daughter of the sculpture. It looked much like a lean two over a wooden sculpture. As she looked through the photos, she was in awe. What an amazing piece of work her daughter had done. Beautiful, she thought. Wonderfully done! She was welling with pride at how incredibly talented her daughter was! She was so excited she couldn't wait to call her and tell her how proud she was of her.
As the mother was gushing with pride to the daughter, almost words running into one another, the daughter paused her. Mom, Mom, MOM You realize that is YOU right? You realize this sculpture which you are referring to as beautiful, amazing, incredible is YOU. It isn't a photo which you can see bluntly as you, it is a sculpture for which your interpretation is what you see. Mom, you see how beautiful you are! How amazing! How incredible.... mom, you finally see you finally see you through my eyes!
WOW.... WOW! WOW! WOW!
How often is this story, my story? Your story? Man or woman... we have stories about our bodies. We have feelings and emotions and hiccups and hang ups. What if for a day we decided to see the beauty in us which others see. Which God designed, so perfectly and wonderfully made. No hair not counted, no wrinkle not earned. What if we stopped looking at what is wrong with us and began celebrating what is right. That cute little crease in your brown from squinting through many a baseball games. Those rough feet from miles of running. Those worn and dry hands from all the hours spent working in the yard. Those long amazing arms which hug just right. That lap which has just the perfect amount of padding for little buns to land on. That smile of not perfect teeth which radiates joy and becomes contagious! ohhhh if we only looked at our selves, our bodies as Jesus looks at us, as our children look up to us, as our spouses adore and love us. If we only loved US as much as we loved others.
As I was wrapped in a towel in the sauna a young gal came in shy ~ not wanting to make eye contact, she found a spot and sat down. A moment later a lady stepped in front the shower, body not perfect but wonderfully made. I glanced over at the girl as she made "THAT" face as she looked at this woman. I wanted to whisper "Isn't she beautiful" ... because I knew in her look she didn't see it. I wanted to say, "She was on the treadmill walking as though she was off to find a lost friend - determined! Isn't that amazing!" but I didn't . I sat there in awe of the not so perfect body and pained by the young gal who is far too young to understand, as we age. We change. As we change, we grown.
I am not one to flaunt myself about in a bikini or roam the locker room nude. But I am one who every once in a while will let down my robe and look at my body.
Sometimes I'm the mom from the story.
Most often I'm the daughter of the King and I know better than to pick and poke and talk meanly to myself. I look at my breasts and I think... yep, they used to be "perky" and I look at my tummy and I say thank you because it's flat. I have come to a place in my life where I appreciate simply having all of my parts! Having good health, having wrinkles which means I am aging! Thankful for the stretchmarks for which I wear as metals of honor (like a purple heart!) for having two amazing children. Thankful for my worn hands which work hard and my feet which well, they are not pretty but they are such a great foundation beneath me!
Let us be intentional with how we look at ourselves this week. Let us look lovingly at the beautiful imagine which Jesus created long before we were in our mother's womb. Let us embrace our fragile parts, let us give praise for parts that make us smile and may we remember always, we are many parts all of which have been stitched together by our Father who loves us, who doesn't make mistakes and has a perfect hand. We are stitched together with love!
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20