Tanner and I had the opportunity to take a few days vacation this week with our girlies. We headed up to Kentucky Lake and had a wonderful time. We enjoyed Pontoon boat rides, discovered a secret cove with our “very own beach,” had great family game nights, and even learned a lesson, albeit unwelcomed, about gardener snakes. My Mom, Dad, and sisters have also been vacationing this week, in Hawaii, in conjunction with some work for my Dad. We have an on-going Chapman family group text message, and while they have been sending photos of the crystal blue ocean water, the Richards were proud to send our photos of the opaque brown lake water. Ok, ok, ok . . . I’m not really that jealous. At the end of the day, I am thankful to be making memories with my girlies, and am thankful they are making memories with theirs.
I posted a few pictures on Instagram of our time at the lake. I wanted to post a photo of all of us together, to look back on and remember what family vacations were like when the girls were tiny. But, the only photos I took of the five of us were on “our secret beach,” and I was in my swimsuit. I debated with myself as to whether or not I should post a swimsuit pic. I thought, “I don’t want the world seeing what I try to look past in the mirror everyday.” The lies started creeping in, “You’re not cute. You’re too big.” Heck, I’ve got one life to live . . . and I have one family vacation to document when my girls are 4, 2, and 10 months old. And, in hitting that wee “publish” button, I felt a little bit like I was sticking it to the man – to the industry that says I should be little, itty bitty, and killin’ it in a florescent pink bikini.
Later that evening, my Mom posted a picture to Instagram from Hawaii. Perhaps you guys saw it? First of all, it is pretty hilarious as they are posing with a random beached seal they found in Hawaii (we didn’t discover any of those at Kentucky Lake, and my girls were confused as clearly we, too, were at a beach). My Mom is in her swimsuit. I know my Mom well enough – I guarantee she analyzed that photo for a minute, or two, probably more like an entire afternoon, before posting it. But, do you know what I felt in that moment as a daughter – PRIDE. Sure, I love how much fun my parents have together and the awe and humor they find in seeing a seal. But more so than anything, I thought, “More power to ya, Momma C!” My Mom is cute as can be in that swimsuit and I am proud of her for having the self-confidence to post this particular picture. Her decision helped encourage me to be at home in the skin God has given me. These moments are fleeting - the laughter and adventure of today, will be tomorrow’s memories. I don’t want to be caught up in this little, self-destructive narrative of how bad I think I look in my swimsuit, that I miss the moment. My girls are only little once, you only see beached seals once . . . so snap the photo.
To all of you who may be dreading swimsuit season – get on out there, smile in those photos, and know that you are the only one who is ever going to walk this earth in the body God gave you. I was with a friend recently who reminded me that there are only two kingdoms at play in this world: the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Those voices telling you that you aren’t good enough, they only come from one place - the kingdom of darkness. And so, if and when those thoughts come as you slip on your bathing suit, or try to get that perfect angle for your swimsuit selfie, join with me in sending those thoughts right back to where they came from! You, yes you, and I, yes me, are fearfully and wonderfully made. Let’s believe that together this summer.