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Tiger Stripes & Lace

nell-mantel:  Afbeelding via We Heart It #lace #vintage - https://weheartit.com/entry/145638833:
At first glance I thought there was something on my shirt as I looked over my outfit before going to work… Then, I realized 'no, there’s something on the inside underneath my shirt not on it'…
When I raised the thin, soft, cotton fabric, I literally gasped as my heart skipped a beat, my stomach hit the floor, and bile rose in my throat. I stood looking in the mirror in shock as tears threatened to spill from my eyes. Suddenly there was a heavy weight which dropped on my chest, and I couldn't breathe. I felt like I was sinking as pure anguish followed by disgust washed over me…
Then, ever the realist with undertones of optimism, I thought are my eyes playing tricks on me? I dropped the bottom of my shirt and readjusted my clothing to be sure all was in place and looked at the mirror again. Then reality sank in…
a lump formed in my throat…
The stretch marks on my stomach were showing through the fabric of my shirt. I started to think: 'I can’t believe it', but before I could complete that thought I began a new one ‘This is what I get.’
Again, the optimistic undertones which used to be second nature to me (before life had beaten down my positivity so severely) whispered to me, “It almost looks like lace…”
As I rubbed the stretch marks – a new thing and a huge step of progression for me because less than 2 months ago I couldn’t even look at them – I thought it has texture to it too… kind of like lace.
As my realistic mind tried to over-power my hopeful thoughts I closed my eyes and reminded myself of all those beautiful sayings and images that encourage me…
Being okay with your post-partum body...I wish. I remember crying for weeks after seeing myself after having Elias lol.Maybe it will be easier the second time around?:
“I’m a tiger. I earned my stripes.” I say it out loud to make it more believable.
“Scars are proof I survived.” I tell myself out loud as the tears fall out of my eyes.
Then I opened my eyes and said to the mirror specifically those stretch marks who had announced their presence and the Devil attempted to allow these marks to have authority over me, “Feeling pain means I am alive.”
I can't hide my scars. I wear my scars as proof that God loves me. My scars are my badge of honor. Amen!:
Some days are much harder than others, but I know I am not alone in this battle of recognizing the beauty that others won't see... in striving even when it appears I'm failing...
I am reminded of Paul’s words to fight the good fight and then I cling to my power verse:
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith. Don’t fight against flesh and bones. Take hold of the eternal life to which God called me. Allow Him to fight this spiritual battle. Ask for His help in my weakness of flesh.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13

Let's remember our body isn't ruined by scars.
 We are each unique and intricate like lace.
We are tigers who earned our stripes. 
Our scars are not blemishes.
They do not define us in a negative way.
Scars tell the stories of what we have survived.
Let's pray for each other as we recognize God can handle all our cares and struggles - even the ones that are long gone but left a mark.

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