Dear Women,

Dear Women,
Does this make me look fat?’  This question sneaks in and it steals our minutes and our days and our years.  We ask our spouses and our roommates, our mothers and our sisters, our boyfriends and our girlfriends, and even our mirrors.  Whether we speak it out loud or hide it in our hearts, we, women, define the up-or-down status of our bodies by how appealing they look.  It’s even worse for us, when we have the terrible thoughts that our total worth is defined by our body’s appearance.  We exist on an emotional roller coaster every time we let that idea creep in.
We can do better!  We must do better…  for our nieces and our daughters, for our little sisters and our granddaughters.  We must ask better questions; we must have better standards to measure us by.
Instead of asking if our outfit makes us look good, let’s ask ‘Am I taking care of my body, so it can take care of me, and others?’
Rather than judging our bodies by their appearances, let’s celebrate what our bodies can and have accomplished.
I do not have extra mental energy to fret about the size 8’s that I cannot wear in my closet.  We cannot measure the moments by our sex appeal, or lack of.  And we should never hide from life’s experiences because we do not have the right outfit.
Who wore it best?’ is perhaps the worst of all the games we have ever played!
Perhaps ‘who was the creative genius that designed it?’  Or maybe ‘who shared it with a friend or donated it to woman in need?’  Or ‘what major life milestone did she celebrate (while wear it)?’  Or I’m particularly fond of, ‘who had the most fun in it?’  But never again… ‘who wore it best?’  We are better than criticizing someone else’s daughter by the way she looks.  And we are all someone else’s daughter!
So three cheers for my body!  It could once do back flips and it can still do the splits.  When my family is in need, whether it’s a 24 hour race, or an all-night-labor for a first born baby, my body can keep going.  My body grew two babies and nourished them each for a year, and I know that is not a gift every woman receives, so I will be grateful for each and not linger in regret over the sagging, stretched out skin that made those things happen.
‘Three cheers!’ for my mother’s hands that can paint the tiny detail of light bouncing on the water.
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‘Bravo!’ for my mother-in-law’s fingers that can knit cheerful animals into hats.
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Well done!’ for my daughter’s hands that hold her on as she rides her horse, faster than her mother would like.

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Thank you Jesus for hands!  And thank you, Jesus, that my back keeps working so I can do the chores that keep our house going with food and laundry, because we have work to do to make our world better and that is what we need to be about.
We may not love the way we look in a swim suit, but we will love the feel of flying with a tiny hand holding on and a giant smile as our reward when we land!  Don’t miss out!

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Sending you (and your body) love,
Jeanine
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