I don’t get stretch marks. I don’t swell at my ankles or in my hands. I don’t gain a lot of weight, and I pop right back into shape – almost. But there is something that sticks with me after the 9 months of pregnancy comes to an end. What remains is a faint, distinct, charcoal-colored line stretching from my chest down through my belly button. Some may look at it as a flaw, but I call this my beauty mark.
How can a line down my stomach be considered something of beauty? It is a gentle reminder of God’s special gift to me – my children. There are three specific things this line represents in my life:
1. It is a reminder that I was chosen by God to be the mother of each of my three precious boys. When I see the faint line, I am reminded of the miracle that grew inside of me, who is now in my arms trusting I will take the best care of him that I know how.
Thankfully, I don’t have to have it all together to raise Godly men. I just have to lean on and trust in my Lord to get me through the ups and downs of motherhood, which includes praising him in the good times and praising him in the storm. God will not leave me, and He’s also placed really amazing friends and mentors in my life to help me on my journey. I never knew how much I needed the love and grace of other mothers. They are my rock that I lean on to make it through the tough days. They speak truth into my life, even if it hurts. They are true friends put in my path by God for a season, and it’s how I treat them that will determine how long they can stay.
2. My beauty mark is a reminder of God’s grace in my life. When I look into my children’s eyes, I feel so blessed to be their mother, but I also think about how I fall short as a woman. I’ve messed up too many times to count, but God doesn’t give up on me. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 10:9).
I thank God that He didn’t give up on me because I know I may have if I were Him. How many times do I put a hand in His face telling Him my ways are better than His for my life? How many times do I say I will do something and immediately do the opposite? How many times do I turn my back on Him because I don’t like what He says? And yet, He never gives up on me. Because of this, I have no right to give up on my boys. No matter what the day brings or how I feel. My feelings are schizophrenic; they cannot be trusted. God promises that if we raise our children right, train them in the way to go, they will not depart from the truth when they are old (Prov. 22:6). That doesn’t mean they won’t mess up – because they will. But it does mean that the truth will be ingrained in them, and they will remember it when they are out of our care.
3. The charcoal marking is a reminder of God’s unconditional love for me. It is hard to imagine how long and deep and wide His love truly is, and that this love surpasses all knowledge (Eph. 3:17-19).
I love my children more than words can express. I will do anything to give them the best life possible. I will protect them if they are in danger. I will reach out my arms to them if they are hurting emotionally. I will kiss and wrap their wounds. I am a mamma bear, and I will protect my cubs. When I think about how much love I have for my boys, I cannot fathom how much greater the love of my Heavenly Father is for me. He gave the ultimate sacrifice, His Son, so I could be with Him in eternity. I would sacrifice myself for my children, but I wouldn’t be able to sacrifice my sons for the good of mankind, that’s for sure. God loves not only our talents, but He also embraces our imperfections. He doesn’t care about what I’ve done or what I haven’t done. He doesn’t care about who everyone else thinks I am. To Him, I am a child of the King, and I am loved in a way unknown to humanity.
The distinct mark stretching down my stomach represents three things in my life: I was chosen; God’s grace is sufficient; God’s love is unconditional. After all is said and done, what remains is that faint line of imperfection from childbirth – my beauty mark – reminding me how truly special my boys are and how blessed I am to be their mother.