Models ‘R Us

I was 10-years-old, I hated my gangly legs,long arms, my slowly developing chest and most of all: my freckles.

Then my mom brought home a popular society magazine and on the front cover was close-up picture of Sarah, Duchess of York.

Mom held it in front of my eyes and asked a simple question: “Do you think she’s pretty?” Of course I answered yes…she was a princess for Pete’s sake!

“But she has freckles and red hair!” My mother sarcastically replied as she donned a smile from ear to ear.  I had to smile too – mom was right, I thought the girl on the magazine was beautiful and yet I thought the girl in my mirror was ugly…just because of some freckles.  My mother didn’t discount my feelings, but she knew that if I gained a little different perspective I might accept my freckles in a new way…it worked.

We all go through the awkward phases of life when it comes to our physical bodies.  Can anyone else shout out an “amen” when thinking about the “post-pregnancy-but-not-in-regular-clothes” stage we all suffer through!?!?  Some of us are STILL suffering! 😮

I can remember walking by myself through our church lobby – I had given birth to our 3rd son 3 weeks prior.  A woman came up to me and said, “You haven’t had that baby yet!?” In my mind I punched her, in reality I smiled and said: “Nope”.  From that moment on I insisted that I carry the baby with me whenever I was walking by myself just so everyone was clear that yes, I hold on my “baby weight” but I have the joy of actually holding the baby too!

When our children look at the world they see models on TV and in print that are skinny, wearing stylish clothes, flaunting perfect hair days and of course – enjoying the well-timed punch line.  So what do they see when they look at us?

What are we modeling?

It’s kind of a big question, but it’s one that I think deserves some serious thoughts.  When we face exhaustion, turmoil, physical limitations – what are we modeling?  We won’t handle every situation perfectly, but I think with a little preparation and planning we can train our hearts and minds to react in a way that models Christ and not the world.

So here are the basics to what I like to call Modeling school for Mothers:

1. Walk Tall…as mothers it’s easy to feel the pressure of having the latest and greatest physical things, to provide every item our children request and to even join in the blame-game when discussions arise about our husbands and extended family.  Refuse these temptations – walk tall – be proud of not only who you are as a mother and your unique style of mothering, but also the lifestyle that you have chosen for your family.  Maybe you can’t buy the name-brand clothes and yes, the children will whine, but explaining the choice you’ve made to deny debt in order to enjoy peace and stability will go much further than a pair of designer jeans or shoes. 

2.  Keep Your Appetite In Check…Whether it’s food, shopping, the phone, the computer, the television, volunteering…. whatever you might “hunger” after in order to feel comfort, validation or joy – keep it in check!  Don’t let outside activities (some of them are really great activities too!) become a distraction that ultimately move into first place in your life.  Satan is a tricky guy and he’s the first one to take something that started out as pure and lovely and turn it into something dark and burdensome.  Pray and ask that the Holy Spirit would bring you clarity, that you’d be able to hear the still small voice of the Lord and have the strength to always reevaluate what should and should NOT be in your life.

3. Don’t Look Directly Into The Lights…Just like the bright lights of a platform or stage, if we focus on our current situation too much we will develop black blind spots when we try to see a way out.  Whether it’s sleepless nights, a strong-willed toddler or a child that has decided to walk away from the Lord; we CAN NOT allow this situation to distract us from focusing on our Savior.  While the “runway” you are on might feel never-ending we have to remember that one day this season will be over and we don’t want to miss a moment of our time as we walk this path.

4.  When You Fall, Get Up Even Faster…No one wants to be embarrassed.  Falling on a walkway in front of photographers and a crowd can seem like nothing compared to the stares and jeers from a crowded store concerning your screaming, kicking, hysterical 2-year-old.  How we handle the situations that chip away at our ego says a lot about who we are.  It’s easy to feel like everyone is judging and watching, but our reputation isn’t as important as our children’s emotional and spiritual health.  I’m not suggesting we become a doormat for our kids’ emotional rollercoasters, but we need to make sure that our actions and reactions are driven by pure intentions and love.

As we model a life that is led by God and not by us we really do have to trust that God will provide what we need, when we need it and in the end we can stand at the end of our own personal “runway” and say, “Glory be to God alone! We made it!”  Our verse for this month comes from Romans 15:13…I hope this ends up on your bathroom mirror, car steering wheel or somewhere that it can bring encouragement and hope at just the right moment!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

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