It started out a normal school-day like any other. Pulling myself out of bed, I stumbled into the shower as my eyes slowly adjusted to the brightness of another day. I soon escaped the heat of the bathroom for the coolness of my bedroom as I quickly dried off and began to dress. It had become a chore to get dressed by this point in my life—those ever-widening curves made all of my attempts at covering myself seem useless. The clothes sprawled out across the bed began overflowing onto the floor. It seemed the tornado had touched down in my room then continued spiraling its way into the distance, the rest of the house untouched in its perfection of cleanliness. Finally, something black—yes this will have to do! Gathering my stuff, I hastily ran out of my room, flipping off the light switch as I headed for the stairs.
The words to follow stung. “Courtney, if you want to go back to LA Weightloss, I’ll sign you up today. I mean are you even trying?” Silence.
I honestly don’t think she has ever realized the hurt of her eyes and words that morning. This moment has been engrained in my heart for nearly eight years now. Every time I walk down the stairs and sense her sitting on that couch, my stomach churns as I try my best to suck in my gut, stick out my chest, and swing my purse around for additional coverage. No matter how much weight I lose, the whole stomach churning when walking down the stairs to meet her criticizing eyes never does seem to dissipate any—not when I was thirteen and not now, in my twenties. It is so stupid! Some of it probably just in my head by this point, and she is not even looking at me that way.
It was on this day that I decided to make myself throw up my lunch for the first time. I was covinced worked for awhile too—not that it quieted the gaze of her eyes and judgment in her heart any. I wish I had never made that decision, but I didn't know any better--I was insecure, lost, and on a desperate search for love. I have felt that I never measured up to my mom’s standards my entire life—never pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, bold enough, funny enough, or nice enough. I have battled this one out tirelessly for nearly a decade now, yet it continues to linger in my mind most days.
God’s word agrees…I am NOT good enough…nor will I ever be in comparison to Jesus Christ. That is why today I am desperately dependent upon Him. Only by His blood am I able to renew my mind and accept the Truth in exchange for such lies, but at the time I did not understand this concept apart from Christ.
Fast forward to now--just yesterday, I was with my mom visiting my grandmother in a rehab facility (she fell and broke her hip a couple weeks ago). My grandma asked me to water the flowers we had brought to her several days prior. I hesitated. I made up a couple excuses of why I didn’t want to, praying she would forget. She may have a broken hip, but lemme just tell you her memory is still going strong! Finally, I had run out of excuses—I stood up, sucked in my gut, stood up straighter, put my chest out, and awkwardly tried to narrow my hips by putting my hands on them. Within moments of rising to my feet I felt two sets of eyes judging and critiquing my body as I moved across the room, bent down to water the flowers, and as I sat back down I looked up to see my mom, eight years later, staring me up and down—still ashamed. I guess some things may never change—and that feeling that you are being judged will never be something I enjoy.
But one thing has changed from that morning walking down those stairs to face her gaze to now—I don’t have to measure up to her standards…I don’t need her approval…I don’t have to be good enough because that is something impossible to achieve. I know that the Word of God tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that I am flawless in His sight, that I am a new creation, that I am white as snow. Now I understand my position in Christ and who I am in Him.
After that afternoon in the nursing home, my mom and I were driving back home after leaving grandma’s and we were talking about her husband, Kevin, and how he was probably out to lunch or at a movie. “Well who did he go with?” I asked, interested. “No one,” she replied, “he doesn’t mind going to eat or see a movie by himself! In fact, he goes often” I laughed, completely picturing him, in all of his confidence doing just that. Of course he would! Shortly my mom broke my thoughtfulness, “Gosh, he really is crazy. I would never have the self-esteem to do that!!” I nodded my head in agreement as a grin formed across my face. Turns out the whole, “like mother, like daughter” concept is more fitting then I would ever like to admit.
Yesterday I realized that as much as my mom’s gazes, comments, and disappointments have hurt me over the years, she really doesn’t mean to hurt me—how could I ever expect her to gaze at me, curves and all, with pride and joy across her eyes when her mom never looked at her this way. How could I ever expect her to speak encouraging words about my appearance and character when she is constantly trying to change hers. How could I ever except her to be proud of me, to accept me, to tell me how much she loves me when she doesn’t know how to accept, be proud of, and love herself?
The root of it all—insecurity…pride. Like mother, like daughter, like grand-daughter. Well it is broken here—in the precious name of Jesus Christ, my girls will not be enslaved to this generational curse of insecurity rooted in pride. I pray that my mom and grandmother could come to know the hope of life with Jesus Christ—that through Him their minds could be made new, that they would not continue to live out their lives bitter and fearful of what others think. That they may be set fear from this trap of insecurity and self-condemnation. That with knowing Christ, they may still hear the lies, but that they could be equip to fight the battle—praise God the victory is already won—even in my life! I needed this reminder today!! Oh is He ever faithful to complete the good work He began in us, until the day Christ returns.
“And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free!” -John 8:32