written below was my comment on Hollie's blog...and then I realized that I was writing way too much- not that there are any "comment length rules" but I figured I would just blog it instead...
Hollie Hollie Hollie
first of all thank you for being honest...we all need to read posts like this once in a while to get us out of the fairy tale land we create so we don't dwell on how life can stink from time to time. But frankly it does sometimes...
I agree with your friends...you are a very beautiful person...and uneven skin tone? Are you kidding? You have beautiful skin. All olive wrinkle free...goodness.
and for the record I have several moles on my face...one in particular that is rather large on my chin...ju ju is always picking at it. I have another one on the side of my face that grows weekly I swear. oh what to do???
Beauty is an illusion. It's thousands and thousands of ideas people have created over the years through many cultures and eras of time. What is pretty now was considered malnutritioned in the dark ages- the plumpy girls were the attractive ones- Women used to paint their faces white- because fair skin was considered to be the most desired- now we all want to be tan...because right now in this time of history that is what the world tells us is beautiful. The outward beauty is man's interpretation, not God's. Do not trust in the arm of flesh, it will always let you down. Girls are getting plastic surgery left and right only because of an illusion of what the world thinks is attractive- a close friend of mine who just got a boob job and a tummy tuck told me her decision for the surgery kind of lies in our desire to seek perfection. I was really confused. Who said perfect boobs and a flat tummy is perfect? God? I don't think He cares at all. Hollywood maybe. I think if boobs are saggy and shriveled up from nursing babies and stomachs become stretched out from bearing children...than that might just be perfect in God's eyes for our time here on earth...although it's hard to see that...perfect boobs and a flat tummy would be nice...but perfect? We have convinced ourselves that is perfect...and I think we might have it all wrong.
It is all an illusion. People chase illusions to feel better about themselves. God is not an illusion. One of the only things that never change through time- only our idea of him, but He never changes.
Hollie, I have made some similar comments lately like what you have shared. I know on a deeper level that I am beautiful but it's hard to always feel so. I know certain people who glow with beauty but are maybe not "beautiful" in the world's standards...I always think of Marjorie Hinckley at the end of her life- If I end up looking like her but it meant I lived a life like her then it would be all worth it. I can't think of a more beautiful person than her.
"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
oh to be like Marjorie...this quote teaches me what real beauty is...
But honestly this pregnancy has been something else. I have gained weight in all the wrong places. I feel so incredibly unattractive. I wish I could just hideaway for a year until I feel somewhat normal again....but I know Satan is working on me- He is telling me that I should hide and be ashamed of who I am...and how big my butt and thighs are getting...and the double chin...and the fly away arms- maybe in Heavenly Father's eyes I am beautiful just the way I am. I am carrying a baby for heaven's sakes. I have to be beautiful just for doing that.
I have dealt with self image problems in the past. I was lucky enough to go to an amazing counselor at BYU-Idaho and through a series of 2 hard years of figuring out what the atonement meant for me...I started to climb out of the self hatred state I was in. I finally truly felt that Heavenly Father loved me for all my faults, for all the things I never accomplished, for my evil side, for my laziness, for my bad decisions, and also for the good in me, my talents, my gifts,- he LOVED all of me. The whole April package. good and bad. I always thought I had to prove something or be someone important to the world to be accepted and loved by God and by those around me.
I thought I had to be a size 6, straight A student, super testimony girl, super talented, super duper everything. I knew I wasn't always super duper and that I came up short a lot and so I hated myself for it. I hated my weaknesses, I hated myself. I couldn't be happy unless I was proving something, being nice, being the best athlete- looking the best. I ended up having control issues and unhealthy addictions. Plus the world feeds us these feelings all the time- we are told by teachers, coaches, media, and sometimes parents that only those who are successful get the praise and honor in the world...which sadly we have learned to want and desire so we feel good about ourselves. I have some stories from my life, especially when I was a little girl, that prove me seeking praise and honor for acceptance. It starts when we are little ones...
But it was a break through moment for me when I finally felt what I always knew...I was a child of God, full of weakness, yet a child of God. I was beautiful to God. I believe it now. Still have issues every now and then- pregnancy is a battle...but all in all I am an entirely different person- Christ healed my thoughts.
So Hollie, you are loved. Even if you feel you haven't been the best wife and mother- who cares- you are loved perfectly by Heavenly Father. Who cares if you know you can do better- you are loved and beautiful right now in your life. We all can do better. But God's love never changes.
You will not like yourself more if you accomplish more. You will like yourself more when you begin to like yourself more, when you take your intellectual knowledge of being a child of God and turn it into a spiritual knowledge...you will truly love yourself, because God loves you.
We all want to identify with something to make us feel special. We want the perfect face, we want to play an instrument flawlessly, we want the perfect home, we want to have perfect finances, perfect bodies, perfect whatever, we want to be noticed for something...God just wants us to identify with Him.
Not saying wanting any of these things is bad- because it's not...but...
We are all searching for God and we just don't know it-. yet we go searching outside ourselves and far from God just to feel better about ourselves. In our search for fulfillment in life we do all we can to fill a hole only Christ can fill. Everyone on earth is a child of God, so we are all searching for Him whether we know it or not, whether we believe in God or not- everyone has a hole for Christ to fill, even those who don't believe in God, they are still His children. The desire to feel whole, no matter what it is we say we're searching for, is ultimately the search to know our divinity, to know the Father.
I truly believe God would rather have an imperfect fallen person seek after him than someone who fulfills their "God" need through something else...
I have learned to call upon God and trust His love...I have had many prayers where I have repented for being nasty to my family or nasty to myself- and instead of feeling down and miserable for my actions, I feel a sense of hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Prayer has been a key for me to break through the bad days.
I love you Hollie. I know more of us women are feeling this way. But honestly, who cares what you have and or haven't accomplished by 30. You have three beautiful children, you are active in the church, you are an amazing friend, great Young Women's leader, you are trying to improve yourself- God is happy with who you are...I don't think He has a check list up in Heaven that he is marking off when you do something good or bad- He just loves you. He knows your heart. Compassion for self is one the best ways we can show gratitude to God for all He has done for us. Compassion for self is liberating. Pray for it. It will come and with time you won't feel so much guilt, you will laugh at bad days, you will have more patience, you will feel more beautiful, you will have more compassion for others who are going through the same thing...and you will notice God's help more as you desire to better yourself.
I think far too often we try to better ourselves without God...it's like we think we have to be better then we are to be worthy in God's eyes. oh so not true. I used to think on a subconscious level God was upset with me and that he was disappointed in me...I didn't feel I was worthy of his love until I solved and figured things out in my life first. I then came to realize that Christ is the Physician, here to heal the sick, here for me- and if I wasn't "sick" or not going through a hard time in life, why would I ever need Him? I hope we all have several times if not many many times in our life when we really need Christ. I need him every day. How sad if we are too busy "doing good and accomplishing wonderful things" to never need Him.
Hang in there Hollie. I understand completely. It takes some shifts in thinking to truly understand what will make us happy. Again, I believe the world wants us to accomplish something great to feel of worth. And yet, God tells us we are of worth from the beginning...and with this knowledge and testimony of His love, we then accomplish whatever it is He has planned for us...not the other way around...and that will make us happy. The atonement can make us better wives and mothers or whatever righteous desire we wish to improve- but if we don't truly believe and love our own divinity, how can we fully have faith in the Atonement?- and how can we ever become more like Christ? How can we change?
It is all a process, a healing process...trust me, I know. Still in the process...I think I will be in it until I die...but I feel it to be a good thing, right?