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Little devotions from the LAEFC blogging team to encourage you in your walk with God.

A Mom in A Mall by Laura Zimmerman

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP1er @ 1:44 PM

(Reposted from Laura's personal blog, PlantedShards)

A mom in a mall
               by Laura Zimmerman

The other day, Josh and I took our Laney on a special day.  It included a trip to the Apple store for dear old mom and dad to look into getting a new computer.  Laney loved this place, because she loves screens.  There were iPads everywhere just waiting for her to play, and play is what she did.  As Josh spoke with the salesperson, I decided to take Laney for a walk and check out the mall we were in. 

I used to frequent this particular mall on a regular basis before we were married and I had money to spend on clothes.  I loved it there.  There was a rush I felt upon walking into the mall...the possibilities were endless!  I could get some new clothes, semi-loathe myself but realize I still looked cute, get some Starbucks, browse for hours...HOURS.  But now, as an exhausted mom to three very active girls, time spent on myself is lacking.  As a woman who is recovering from actual self-loathing, a mall is like a minefield.  I braved this minefield with a 4 year old who is still innocent enough to pirouette (literally) through it.

So many of you head to the mall on a regular basis, and that's totally fine.  For me...for us, we've unintentionally but kind of intentionally chosen not to make mall trips part of life.  For our young girls, there are all sorts of blaring messages they don't have the capability of processing appropriately.  For me, it's a way to prevent discontentment with myself and with what I have (or really, don't have). On this day, my girl and I wandered through a few kids stores before I finally headed into one of the stores I frequented quite a bit. 

It was immediate for me.  The smell of the store brought back SO. MANY. FEELINGS.  I could recall some of the clothes I bought, the sizes they were, who I was with when I bought them.  I could remember wearing said clothes to events and the motivation behind my wearing them.  Literally, a catalog of memories was flung wide open.  And here I stood 10 years later... 3 kids later.  1 husband later.  ___ pounds later.  Gray hairs later.  All of a sudden I was at the top of a slide that I did  not want to go down.  In one big whiff, the lies began... "You were so much prettier then.  You had so much more to offer then.  Look at you now.  Look at all of the other moms in here who look so much better than you."  Even as I write this, my heart tightens in my chest.  And I looked at my little girl, impatiently waiting for me, and I realized that I don't have the time to entertain this crap.  I don't have the time to listen to this junk and believe this junk and I hightailed it out of there with my bouncing little girl.  We walked back to Josh and I repeated things I know to be true... "You are strong.  You are beautiful.  You are loved."

My girl bounced through the mall, oblivious to the wrestlings in her mommy's brain.  What a contrast we were.  Her innocence, bouncing past huge photos of impossibly perfect women...her not noticing because she just didn't care.  And me...trudging past those photos recovering from a full mental assault, not wanting to notice those photos because I care too much.  I would so love to say that I don't care at all, that those photos don't bother me.  There are days when that might be true.  But lately, they've been bothering me.  And it's ok for me to say so.

This world is not a gentle place for a momma who is full of love and bereft of "me" time.  There are photos and songs and all manner of things that make us feel "less than" for choosing what we have.  And it's OK for those that have chosen differently than I have.  Really. It all goes back to the repetitive line in my life, spoken by my husband all those years ago..."This is your story, not their story." I'm still learning this, to let theirs be theirs and to embrace mine.  (I cannot tell a lie.  I have, from time to time, asked the Lord to please allow my story to include fabulous clothes and a trim body. Some of it I have a say in, some of it I don't.)  But just like theirs, my story is a rich and layered one.  One that is not defined by my size or my clothes, but by my love.  I want to have loved well. 

We left the mall that day, and I struggled with my thoughts for the ride home before finally talking to my husband about them.  He reassured me of his love, of my worth.  My girls remain oblivious to the body image stuff.  The f-word (fat, that is) is never used in our house.  They worry about things like secret sister handshakes and memorizing "Frozen" and jumping rope backwards.  I hope they can stay like this for awhile longer.
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