Late Summer of 2003
Kathy Miller applied the last stroke of mascara and pushed the applicator back into the bottle. She dabbed at a stray fleck of brown beneath her lower lash and stepped away from the mirror to take a critical assessment of her appearance. The same thing she did almost every Sunday morning before leaving for church. The last few years of the routine had become increasingly difficult with the addition of several gray hairs as well as pounds. Her curvaceous figure of twenty years ago was resulting in a lumpy look that she did not find attractive at all. Her ample bust had lost to gravity, keeping the eye away from her once trim and small waist.
She tried to fluff her brown hair, succeeding to make it even frizzier in the late summer heat and humidity of the Hudson Valley. It was desperately in need of a good cut, but she never seemed to find the time to locate a good hair dresser. Several bad ones over the years had made her a little leery of trying anyone new.
She sighed and turned away from the mirror, feeling as though she had just wasted another five minutes of her already hectic morning. She straightened the little jacket of the floral dress she wore. She felt old and tired.
The above was taken from the first part of chapter one of my book, To Thee I’m Wed. If you are a woman, and have been married for any length of time, and you have children…multiple children… you understand the above. You have lived it while getting dressed for the day or going someplace special. Women can be very critical of themselves…probably their harshest critic.
I started my marriage full of hope and expectations. I wanted to be the perfect wife and mother, have the perfect house, and I was always going to be thin and attractive. My thoughts at nineteen, almost twenty were that I would never let myself go, as I had seen other women do. Gaining weight and becoming haggard-looking were choices…and I was going to be sure to not let that happen to me!
Now, I’ve spent the past thirty years being overweight. Yes, I’ve dieted and exercised in between having five children. I’ve never been a couch potato…but in my mind, I certainly look like a bag of potatoes! My hair is starting to go gray around the temples and there are many days when I look pretty haggard. And to me…that seems cruel!
It’s cruel because I’ve had the best of intentions. Cruel because life marches on and doesn’t wait for you to get your act together in any area. Cruel…I never wanted to look as I do now!
Yes, it’s difficult to write this. I’m baring my soul and acknowledging things I don’t really want to face, much less put down on my computer. But I know many of you feel the exact same way…we are not alone .
So…is it really about the weight and the gray hair? Probably not. And that is also true for many of us. We try to fix the outward appearance or the items that seem ‘fixable’. But we don’t deal with the real issue at hand.
To Thee I’m Wed deals with the real issue of Kathy’s loneliness in her marriage. Her children are older, her husband has a job he loves, and he is wrapped up in that. Kathy doesn’t really feel needed or wanted. I think many women attack themselves because of those feelings. They don’t know where to go or what to do, and that leaves us very vulnerable. We take comfort in many ways. Sometimes eating, drinking, and spending hours with friends so we don’t have to deal with the insecurities of our home life. And yes, sometimes male companionship enters in when we think our needs are not being met at home.
Of course those are wrong responses…usually…and no, I don’t have the answers. If I did…I wouldn’t be writing this post!
I do know that women need to take more time to be thankful for what they do have…me included. Look around and consider your life. If you are married, be thankful for that husband. If you have children, be thankful for those little blessings in disguise. Because there are many, many days, when the good side of having children can be hard to find! Be thankful for your home, your job, your church and your friends. These are all given to us to help us live this life and have enjoyment. As it says in:
Philippians 4:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
We can all find bad in almost any situation. Believe me…I’m a critical person. If it’s there, I’m going to find it! But that attitude also takes our joy out of life. So concentrate on that verse. Apply it to your life.
Practically…if you are overweight, take steps to lose weight. Actively get involved with changing your appearance and health for the better. Instead of watching TV and snacking, go for a walk. If you’re lonely, think of volunteer work or a job. If you’re overweight and lonely, look into a gym membership. My point being…make a change. Baby steps toward something different and positive, usually result in great strides at some point. Just start!