Dear Daughter of Eve,
You carry the seed of life in you. You are muscle and mind and heart. You walk with the calm of the hills. There is beauty in your gait, in the way you hold your shoulders, in your bending to hold a child close, in your rising for those who are mistreated.
You are womb-an. Woman. You create with every breath, and there is no shame in your sexuality, in your curves, in the way your heart beats for home and I long for you to be set free.
Free to love yourself the way your Creator does, the way your children do, the way your man does – the one who vowed till death do us part – and I long for you to embrace your wounds and your pain and then, let it all fly. Like one of those sparrows whom the Lord sees, let it fly.
You gave birth to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to Leah and Rachel and Mary; you gave birth to Billy Graham and Shane Claiborne and Philip Yancey, to Mother Theresa and Madeleine L’Engle and Margaret Thatcher. You are She whose body gave way so another could run and dance. Whose voice was silenced so another could speak and sing.
We are more than our mistakes and you’ve been carrying yours since the days of creation when the first of us took that fruit and disobeyed her Maker. When she tried to take control because she was convinced God didn’t love her.
And since then we’ve been hurting because we don’t believe we are loved. Or lovable. Or loving enough.
All we do is feel guilty and then we take it out on our bodies. We eat Twinkies and over-exercise and then, pints of ice cream and hang over a toilet and we drink too much wine and we don’t laugh nearly enough.
And we’re always doubting the way our loved ones look at us because we can’t believe they would find beauty there. We think they’re looking at our faults, and “Remember that I love you,” my husband is always saying. “Everything I do and say is out of my love for you.”
We would die for others, though. We are up all hours of the night nursing our children and giving love to our husbands and rising early to pack lunches and do load after load of laundry. We are martyrs who hate themselves and it’s time, daughter.
It’s time to awaken your soul. It’s time to put on some lipstick and go dancing.
You are the right shape, the right size, the right build because you are YOU. Your hair is perfect because it is yours and your waist and your thighs, too.
I commission you, then, to rise and be a woman. Be all that a woman can be. Take joy in your femininity, in your uniqueness. God created male and female and you, friend, have a specific job to do.
So go on and love yourself so that you can love others with an everlasting, full-hearted, spirited kind of love that laughs long and cries hard and wraps its arms tight around the world.
With all my heart,
One of your own,
Friends, I am a former anorexic who has written a book, along with Dr. Dena Cabrera, called Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, which celebrates our femininity and our strength as women, while teaching us how to LOVE ourselves so we can, in turn, love our husbands and our children.
I’m excited to give away FOUR HARD COPIES this week, so please leave a comment below on what you love about YOUR body and we will choose a random winner.
Emily Wierenga is an artist, blogger, journalist and the author of Chasing Silhouettes and Mom in the Mirror. She blogs regularly at www.emilywierenga.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Etsy.