Sweet Seraphina…how I desperately prayed that God would show me your face somehow. “Please,” I asked…give me a dream, a vision, a picture!”
And then I moved on.
I’m pretty good at moving on. Mostly because there is a deeply rooted hope that drives me ahead. But still, there are days like today….
Days where the memory of what could have been teases.
I am ok with that.
But years and years later, as a woman, I cannot help but feel less than.
Less than, that my body couldn’t sustain a pregnancy (and pregnancies thereafter).
Less than, that my body’s cycles have betrayed me on a consistent basis.
Less than, that I simply cannot do part of what defines my womanhood.
Less than, that most days, I do not even want what I cannot have.
Less than, that the grief of others is greater than mine.
Deep inside, I know I am not less than. I know that my femininity is not defined by what my body cannot do or by my body, for that matter. I know this; I believe this, and I live with joy and hope and peace and blessings and wonder and pain and loss like every single person in this first world country- privileged I am.
I think I’ve lived most of my life feeling unworthy in some way.
Unworthy of belonging.
Unworthy of being loved.
Sure, I could probably list a lot more there, but they all boil down to those two:
Love and belonging.
How did I become a 35 year old woman, who is certainly loved by her family and friends, yet often feels so disconnected and alone?
How did I become a 35 year old woman who struggles with depression and discouragement, rather than a woman who has gratitude and joy for the victories in her life?
I don’t know….but I do know this.
All my life, this woman has longed to be seen.
NO, she has not longed to be seen as the visible “center of attention” seen; She has never desired to stand out in any crowd.
NO, she has longed to be deeply seen. Deeply seen in the way that her passions, her fierceness, her loyalties, her needs, her worth, her imperfections, her fears, and EVERYTHING that makes up her spirit is somehow as visible as the clothes she wears, BUT…
Somehow, even at the age of 35, this woman is still very much like a child inside. She needs to be healed of the injustices she has experienced, reassured of her worth and held in arms of strength and tenderness that cultivate trust, confidence, and authenticity.
Perhaps, healing is as easy as getting dressed in the morning. First, she would take off the veils of mystery. Than, one at a time, she would add elements of self-expression. Some are more necessary that the other, but all are intentionally chosen.
Would it be so easy?
What if she could get up and wear courage as easily as she wears her favorite skirt? What if confidence was her most flattering color? What if belief in her worth was as striking as the width of her smile?
What if releasing who she thinks she should be was a real thing? Then, she could reach inside, grab those pointed, jabbing, fingers, and throw them in the garbage!
Would it be so easy?
You see, then she could be who she is meant to be, without shame or question, without fear of not belonging, and without the scent of anxiety lurking.
And finally…I think she would know.
She would know.
She would know that THIS is the necessary part of life. Not clothes or sparkly things, or hardwood floors, or all white-kitchens, or open floor plans or brand new cars or cherished guitars or songs we sing or labels we’ve made…Not worrying or obsessing or restricting or dieting or hiding or panicking or analyzing…..
She would know life beyond the shadows and peace amidst the noise.
She would know.
She would know that THIS sense of worth, made possible by courage and worn with risk, is necessary and more beautiful than anything else; because unlike the perfect face or body, this sense of worth doesn’t fade over time and isn’t weakened by age’s hand.
She would know.
I want to know.
I want to try and wear this.
I want this for myself…
This sense of worth, this courage, this vulnerability that would allow me to be deeply SEEN.
I want to know;
I’m willing to know.
And, maybe….just maybe…that’s enough.
Today, I was getting ready to bring my daughter to the water park. I was wearing a bathing suit I normally only wear around my family because it is red, bright, and noticeable; and, I was also inwardly annoyed at myself for buying such a color. Then, all of a sudden, my daughter excitedly barged in and shrieked,
“Ooooh mommy, you look so beautiful!”
“Thank you, Bels!” I said, when all of a sudden, it struck me…
True self-worth cannot be captured by unveiling the perfect body, belonging with the right crowd, having the perfect job, making lots of money, possessing what many covet or looking/eating/appearing a certain way.
True self-worth cannot be captured by chasing after the superficial.
It can, however, be captured in our willingness to accept our our beauty as others do; to celebrate our beauty as others do.
And, to believe it, too.
May all of us women, who constantly jump over the battle lines of superficiality and authenticity, know that we are worthy and deserving of love. – A. Stephens