(Some background: About two years ago I started feeling called in prayer to start speaking to women.  For seven years I have spoken at least three times a week to groups about weight loss, but I started to feel the pull to do more womans ministry.  Last year I was blessed to be a key-note speaker at a womans retreat, and I felt like I did ok after the retreat…and then I didn’t.  I started thinking I’d failed.  But this Lent through prayer a new talk/ theme  started to be written across my heart…and I started writing a new retreat.)

This Lent I’ve been thinking a lot about my faith journey.  I started questioning certain parts of my life.  Where I was at.  All the ways I have been failing…All the ways I have been lied to.

Because we have all been lied to.

As Women…as Mothers…as Daughters…as Sisters…

We have been lied to.  We have spent days, sometimes years in the desert being told things about our selves that are breaking us. Piece by Piece.  Jagged little lies that slice across our bodies, leaving us cookie cutter versions of ourselves…or just broken.  Falling a part.

And I am tired.

40 Days in the desert.  40 Lies that have redefined-good women, some my friends, some of them myself. Lies that have begun to weigh heavy on my heart…many of them are not things I struggle with…but many many women do. And they are lies, lifestyles we just accept…

Do you see these lies in your life?

40 Lies we tell ourselves. 

40. That if we take pride in how we look we are vain.  And if I wear stretchy pants I’ve let myself go.

39. That if we can’t lose weight we don’t have enough self-control.

38. That we should walk on egg shells around our spouse, our sibling, our parent because that’s the way it’s always been.

37. That being mean or gossiping about someone else will make us feel better.

35.  That if we are a stay at home parent, all we have is time on our hands.

34. That if we are a working parent,  we have it all together.

33. That if we don’t breast feed; our children will be malnourished, sick, obese, or have an ear infection for the next thirty years.

32. That if we breastfeed after our child is two, we are a hippie and are going to have saggy boobs for the rest of eternity.

31. That we should feel guilty when we buy something for ourselves.

30.  That stretch marks are ugly.

29. That it’s ok for a spouse to stare  at other women.

28. That we are failing our children if we are overprotective of them they may never survive the cold cruel world.

27. That we should wear the same size we wore in high school.

26. That taking an antidepressant is a sign of failure and that seeing a counselor is weakness.

25. That we should always be the first to apologize.

24.  That the weird feeling I feel around that person is just me, not them. That we shouldn’t trust our gut instinct.

23. That it’s ok if he talks that way about other women.

22. That our love for our children will always be unconditional. And when it’s not… you are a crappy mother.

21. That I should like Reality TV and cats.

20. That it’s not that big of a deal if we miss Church.

19.  That not saying yes, makes me a bad parent.

18.  That being a good friend, means always being the one to try.

17.  That if only I had more self-confidence, I’d be happier.

16.  That the way I talk around and to my kids won’t affect them.

15. That being funny is the same as being insecure.

14. That he didn’t mean it when he said “You’re Beautiful.”

13.  That eating “blank” will make my day.

12. That I should be able to do it all.

11. Because I cry easy, makes me look weak.

10. That the fact that I don’t have a college degree makes me less worthy.

9.  That every medical thing I read on the internet is true.

8.  That if I don’t do it, no one will.

7.   That it’s a silly dream.

6.  That it’s my fault.

5. That because I love being Catholic means that I have to hear every persons opinions on why they left the Catholic church and just listen.

4. That if I don’t buy cookie dough from my kid’s school, they will learn in the dark.

3. That forgiveness should be easy. That forgiving ourselves is unforgiveable.

2. That I should be over it.

1. That I’m failing…my family.

Tired of the lies.  I am taking back my life.   Because life is not about greener grass– it’s about stopping that voice that tells we are not good.  Good. Enough.  Stopping the voice that is influenced by shiny magazines, and headlines, and pictures my friends take of themselves sleeping(still trying to figure out how they do that)  — these voices that tell me they have it all together, and I don’t.  A voice that sounds an awful lot like my own.

Because there is another voice I have heard a lot this Lent.  A voice that tells me how “Our God is a God of Miracles.” That he is going to heal this part of my heart that forever feels so completely inadequate…Because that’s all they are…Lies. Lies that have lined the part of my heart and how I feel about myself. The truth:   I have a husband who adores me and openly tells me that daily.  He has never been dishonoring or looked at another woman, but when he tells me I’m beautiful,  I don’t usually believe him.  I have four children who I know love me just as I am.  They don’t see stretch marks, or the fact that the pile of laundry is bigger then my 11 year old — they see the Mom that has dance parties with their classes and always keeps her word. To them I have all the self-confidence in the world, they don’t hear the inner dialogue, all they see is confidence.

I wish for one day I didn’t hear the lies and I could see what they see.  Because the truth is I don’t want to be a slave to these lies that in many ways have defined me.  I want to be free.  Free to embrace the love of my life without worrying that I’m sucking in my stomach.  Free to be home with my kids snuggling and not feeling guilty that I’m not doing everything, and that my house isn’t stocked with whole wheat toilet paper and organic produce.  Free to cry and not feel embarrassed.  Free to  not second guess every conversation worried that I was too funny or said the wrong thing.

Our God is a God of Miracles.

Because wouldn’t that be amazing? To be free of these lies.

Because what I see when I see all of the beautiful women who hear these voices, so similar to their own…these women who are broken by lies…I see how radiant they are.  They are beautiful.  Made in Gods perfect image…maybe they are broken, but they are beautiful, and so much better than all the lies they’ve been told is their reality.

Our God is a God of Miracles.  He is the Way, The TRUTH, and the Life.  And he Loves me.  He Loves you, even if you pretend he’s not there, or don’t hear him. I do, and he loves you. No lie.