I made my first trip to the pool this week since the baby was born.  Jeff has Mondays off, so we loaded up everyone and headed out for a day of fun in the sun.

I am a little overwhelmed by the amount of gear it takes to get four kids and two grown ups adequately equipped for the pool.  The kids need swim diapers, extra swim diapers, sunscreen, hats, goggles, towels, cover-ups, toys, snacks, and juice boxes.  I need sunscreen, magazines, sunglasses, cell phone, wallet, and Peanut Butter M&Ms (my new favorite!).  Jeff needs… Jeff.

Anyway, we got there, found a table in the shade, and everyone ran and jumped in. Everyone but me.  I was having a little inner struggle.  I had taken a moment to gaze around at all the other women at the pool.  They were looking good — toned, tanned, and together.

Me?  This was my first outing in a swimsuit.  A few extra pounds.  Ew.  An obvious lack of sun.  Ewww.  A swimsuit that did nothing to help my chest that has nursed four babies and has decided to head south.  Deep south.  Ewwwwww.

So I stood there feeling a bit like I was 13 years old.  I couldn’t bring myself to take off my cover up.  I tried to figure out how I could keep it on without being soggy the rest of the day.

Why is it in those moments I feel absolutely WRONG?  As if being thin and tanned and having a perky chest is the right way, and anybody who doesn’t fit those criteria is somehow flawed.  I hate it when those waves of insecurity sweep over me.  I hate how I fall into the trap that we are all supposed to be shaped and colored and designed the same way.

It goes against everything we know about our CREATOR and the way he CREATED us.  With CREATIVITY!  Creativity implies expression and variety and uniqueness.  Creativity strives to break the mold and cause each and every design to have its own beauty and distinctiveness.   A million species of animals, a billion shades of color, and a limitless combination of features and form all create limitless beauty in the world.

I am so quick to allow our society to dictate what is beautiful and what is not.  It tries to place us all into one tiny little box of what is desirable.  And I buy into it!  Shame on me.  It’s like saying the only pretty flower is a red rose.  How I would miss the daisy and the sunflower and even the dandelion that sits in a vase on my counter because my kids love to bring them to me.

So, my friends, I took a deep breath, took off my dress, and made my move into the pool to play with my kids.  Because I need to be OK with the way I am.  Because I need to realize that I am created just the way I am supposed to be.  And because I never want my girls to think that THEY are wrong.  They need to know that they are perfectly created beauties – just they way they are.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece.