20 Mar 2013

On showing your waist grace

I’m older. My son thinks it’s incomprehensible that I’m 38.

He likes to ask me over and over again and then shake his head in awe; mutter under his breath, “I thought you were only 37. Wow, 38!!” But I find I fit into this woman’s skin better than I did a year ago; so much better than a decade ago. I am becoming the surest version of myself. I feel it in my heart. Sometimes I feel it in my tired feet too. But those simply tell me I’ve been busy. Busy with children and their wrangling and wrestling and carrying and tending and it is a soulful kind of busy.

I am not afraid anymore of who I will grow up to be. Dressed up on Sunday mornings or wound down on Friday nights.

I feel the wrinkles climbing happy around and about my eyes, my cheeks, testimony to laughter and life. I feel so full of the wonder of being alive. Even on the days I am tired or frustrated or desperate for an hour to myself. I am aware that the God who made me finds me useful and this is a miracle to me.

I feel Him at my shoulder when I’m leaning over Zoe’s crib watching her sleep. I can’t help but lay a hand on her back – feel the gentle rise and fall of life. Because I know He knows this is the good stuff. These are the moments like treasure hidden for us to stub our toes on, since we’re not expecting it.

Boys who bury their heads in my chest and stifle me with their hugs. A baby girl who just turned two.  A man who wants to dash out at 9pm after taking the long commute home to go and buy cake.

This is older. This is better. This is good.

And I know I’ve made my peace with this time and place when I put on my jeans and care more about their comfort than their size. Those jeans have been on a journey with me and seen the rise and fall of hips and belly as I carried three babies. Men don’t have closets full of clothes in such a unique array of sizes I don’t think. But they haven’t worn their children on the inside either.

Once upon a time I bought a pair of jeans in Prague and they were gorgeous. It was the year before I became a mother for the first time. I bought them in a store that was just a stone’s throw from the Charles Bridge and they fit in ways that made us feel like newly weds on honeymoon all over again. But better; five years into marriage and so much better than when we were still fumbling our way forward that first year.

Those jeans could tell stories of late nights in expat restaurants ordering onion rings in a country where the phrase is foreign. Of an afternoon watching Cats, an evening at the opera when I ditched them for dress up, a long walk along the sky line. Those jeans. Those jeans could tell stories on me. And more and more they tell the story of what it means to say good bye to that size and that version of myself. Not because there’s a perfect size. There’s just an irreversible change in the set of the hips, the heart, the fit post-babies and that’s OK.

But some days it’s also something to be missed.

Most mornings now there are kids clamoring for breakfast and my eyes are blurry without contacts as I dig into my closet for comfort and bring out a pair of dark blue denim that is a friendly fit. And my daughter walks over and rubs a booger against one leg. A boy wants cake for breakfast. And I’m more likely wearing my converse sneakers than my heels.

But my waist can tell stories now bigger and grander than the view from the Charles Bridge in Prague.

I am a life maker, grower of tiny humans, raiser of sons and daughter. I fit into my self better than I ever fit into my Prague jeans. I fit into this house and this family and this story we’re living of tired parents who glory in the quiet beauty of waking up beside boys who have pretzeled themselves in between us under cover of dreams.

My waist made this moment possible.



This moment. This moment, fits me like a glove.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1
    Jeannie K says:

    This post is beautiful. And I think you are beautiful… in every single picture.

  2. 2

    Ahhhhh yes. Such truth. Blessed words.

  3. 3

    Beautiful said! What a picture of contentment!

  4. 4

    Love this. Love that the jeans could tell stories on you and that you can tell stories long after your jeans. A beautiful tribute to a life that fits you.

  5. 6

    This is just what I needed to read today! Simply beautiful!!!!

  6. 7

    Another awesome post by Lisa Jo. Love you girl! You have a way with words, and you always seem to write just what I needed to read. Thank you!

  7. 8

    Thanks! I needed to hear that!

  8. 9

    Okay girl! Two days in a row and my eyes are oddly leaking this wet stuff. You undo me with your beauty… and this —> My waist made this moment possible – –> well this has me wrapping my arms around my middle welcoming the softness that grew life…

    • 10

      It’s nice to love that part of ourselves rather than feel embarrassed about it, isn’t it? Beautiful, brave, child bearing tummies :)

  9. 11

    Lisa-Jo, how on earth do you do that? How do you know just what to say to feed this weary heart of mine?! Your words go right to my heart, resonate with my soul. As I look at this waist of mine, and look at the tummy that hangs over the waistband of my jeans, I can easily be ashamed of how I look. I can fret over the abdominal separation that may never close, causing me to have a “pooch” that makes me look 4 months pregnant, and wish that I could be “normal” again. But you, Lisa-Jo, have reminded me to look at the beauty in these babies of mine, to marvel at the wonder that this body of mine grew them, nurtured them, and birthed them. What a miraculous wonder. Thank you for helping me to see with different eyes…..

  10. 13

    Amen! Amen.


  11. 14

    This post? Oh there is joy and love in this post and I just couldn’t help smiling :)

  12. 15

    “And I know I’ve made my peace with this time and place when I put on my jeans and care more about their comfort than their size.”


  13. 17

    Ah, the loveliness! Beautiful post, beautiful you!

  14. 18

    Oh, I just love this!! It is wonderful how the number on the tag slowly becomes less important when you realize the number of moments you have to cherish

  15. 20

    Holy crap, this post has blessed me beyond measure today. The irreversible change…is beautiful and priceless. Thank you!!!

  16. 21

    That was truly lovely.

  17. 22

    Oh so true. Love the picture of your boys.

  18. 23

    So beautifully written!

  19. 24

    beautiful. yes.yes.yes. we carry the whole world with us, always. sometimes just a smidge closer to the hips than the heart :)

  20. 26

    #Swoon Love this! And this… I was reading this this morning and thought of you: “Once upon a time, she decided to follow her heart She flung off her pinstriped suit and gave birth to herself. A new self. Her true self…” (Monique Duval) Not that you weren’t following your heart before… but this… yes, this! “I fit into my self better than I ever fit into my Prague jeans. I fit into this house and this family and this story we’re living…”

    • 27

      Oh what a great, great line. Yes, flinging off all the versions of myself except the real one. yes.

  21. 28

    I’m thinking of eating my own ex-pat dinners in restaurants pre-baby and I feel more like myself now then I ever did then. I found an old belt of my moms in a box of junk, one of those leather stamped from the 70s things with my brother and dad’s name etched in it, and in the past I was always to small to wear it. This time I slipped it on and it fit. That could make me a bit sad, but somehow the new me didn’t mind one bit. This post was just perfect.

  22. 30

    So beautifully written, it made my heart sing! Thank you.

  23. 31

    Loved this: “I am aware that the God who made me finds me useful and this is a miracle to me.”

    Me too. Me. Too.

    I’m looking forward to turning forty in three years. I can’t wait. I feel like I’ve earned it already. My thirties have wrung me out and hung me up and drawn me so close to Jesus I can barely stand up without shouting a “Hallelujah!”

    Aging is a beautiful blessing and I refuse to believe otherwise.

    • 32

      Oh I love how you said that – yes the 30s have been so full of life and learning and getting to know myself through Jesus’ eyes so much better. I’ve loved them the most, my favorite decade so far.

  24. 33

    Great post! I’ve got about 20 years on you and so understand what you are saying. We are women who have grown into ourselves. Our identity is not only what we do, who we are married to or who’s Mom we are, (well, now it’s Grandma for me), but as we take those steps further into life, it is so important to remember that our identity is marked with smiles, hugs, crisis, triumphs, tears and alas wrinkles and dare I say it, a few squishy pounds around the middle! :) As my 4 year old grandson hugs me and snuggles against me on the couch as we read a book or I hold the tiny body of my new grandson, I know without a doubt that touching skin to skin and life to life is priceless. That is what we do and that is who we are!

    • 34

      Love seeing that it only gets better – this getting to know ourselves and feeling like we fit in our skin. Thanks Linda.

  25. 35

    Love this. I’m so glad I found your blog. My expat adventures have been post kid but I can still so identify since we were married 9 years before kids. But I have to say, I am so much more comfortable in my body now than I was then.

    • 36

      Yes, and we’ve continued to travel with our kids – but the jeans and the sanity have all changed with that twist :)

  26. 37

    Thank you. Thank you for writing this. From a mother who is 37, and who just had her precious, adopted miracle twins turn three, this was just what I needed to read. I fit into my skin now better than I ever have, and it is beautiful to hear that from the heart of someone else in the same situation.
    Blessings to you,
    The Welcoming House Blog

  27. 39

    GUSH!!! I love everything about this post and must share it with all my mommy friends! THANK YOU!!!

  28. 41

    I spent most of yesterday in a complete panic because an old friend was coming to visit and I was ashamed to see her since I haven’t lost my all of my baby weight. This post spoke to me so profoundly and helped me realize that I really am more than the size of my jeans. I am a mother, a wife, a woman who has been so very blessed. My current body fits my current life of cuddling little ones. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words.

    • 42

      Yes ma’am – that is the absolute beautiful truth. And with that baby on your lap, no one will be noticing anything else anyway!

  29. 43

    SUCH a good word today, LJ. I’m so glad you said every little word here, because they each made my heart soar. It’s perfection.

  30. 46

    I love you

  31. 47

    So beautiful. Your words were a salve to my aching mama heart. Thank you for this.

  32. 48

    Thank you for the words that speak to my heart (and the rest of my body). I am encouraged by your words to see my body as a living memory of my well-lived life.

  33. 49

    This blessed me so much today! I have slowly been working off weight from six pregnancies and at age 44, it is slow going! Thank you for reminding me that I am more than a number and the sale does not measure talent, joy, blessings, gifts or love.

  34. 51

    This should be a “must read” for all Moms, absolutely wonderful! You are such a gifted writer and I am blessed each time I stop by. Easter blessings!

  35. 52

    Your words always seem to make my day better. Thank you!

  36. 53

    Lovely post, lovely you. :) I’m 55, and I actually got really fit in my mid thirties and managed to keep it up until menopause and now there’s a 10 lb. tire around my middle. But today, as I did my 3 mile walk/run, as I ran I felt strength and self acceptance. I wanted to pat myself on the back and say, “You go girl! You’re not bad for an old lady!” LOL!

  37. 54

    I love this post. “My waist made this moment possible.” How perfectly you got this.


  38. 55

    This made me cry. Maybe it’s the hormones…because I just gave birth to my third child two weeks ago at age 36… but more likely it’s because I just needed this. Today. So much. Thank you.

    • 56

      Oh snuggle on that one, I had my third at the same age. And she just turned two. enjoy every minute while the baby stage lasts!

  39. 57

    THANK YOU! What an encouragement you are to me, a new mom struggling to get used to my new life, and body. I have also traveled to Czech many summers and love it there!

  40. 58

    You know I almost didn’t leave a comment… because you had so many. But the reality is that I couldn’t not say it. Thank you for being a transparent beautiful mama. It makes this mama heart happy to see that in another soul. :) I’ll be 36 in a week and this has been an interesting year… but yes. I am getting more comfortable in my skin. Still want to shed this extra “skin” that’s hanging around because I eat when I’m sad or stressed or happy or blessed… I just like food. ;)

  41. 59

    I like your “soulful kind of busy” statement. I forget that lots of days. Thank you for the reminder.

    I’m a few years ahead of you and the six children didn’t do in the jeans, but the hormone issues last year at 43 did. Or sort of. They still fit, just not the way I want, if I want to breathe normally ;) So…nine days into 44, I’m onto it and and over letting it get me down, obsessing about it as I have off and on the last six months or so, but onto it just the same. It’s a battle I’m going to win for my girl and she is completely unaware and will remain so, if I have anything to say about it or she reads a blog post I may write soon. She sees me eating well and exercising and we’ll talk hormones later. Ugh.
    Thank you!!

  42. 61


  43. 62

    This is so beautiful. I’m finally starting to feel comfortable in my skin after baby #1, but now I can’t wait for baby #2.

  44. 63

    Your words were water to my soul (and waist) today…thank you for penning them.

  45. 64

    You are, quite possibly, the most beautiful person I’ve ever encountered. From your words to your wisdom to your smile. You spread hope and encouragement like wild fire, set ablaze in women’s hearts the world over. Thank you for growing bold to God’s call on your life. Thank you!

  46. 65
    Heather M says:

    Love this post! I just had #4 five weeks ago and I lose my baby weight fast. But you know what goes with the baby weight? The respect. I get asked if I’m the baby sitter. I get looks of pity like I’m a teen mom and told I’m way too young to have so many. But I’m the same age as other moms. I get pity and patronizing words and they hurt, even though I try to see them as compliments to my figure. I keep waiting for my metabolism to slow down a bit (especially when my husband says he likes the curves… and then they melt away and I try not to ask if he misses them) Oh heart ache, you come in all sizes.

  47. 66

    Dear Lisa Jo:

    I am blessed and thankful for the clicks that led me to your blog. The way you write is simply amazing. Thank you for sharing your life, words and thoughts with us. Your words are truly encouraging and are exactly what I need to read in the moment that I read them. Stay blessed! :)

  48. 67
    Shearisa says:

    I am a Momma of 4 boys and I catch myself thinking I would enjoy looking the way I did when I first got married, thank you so much for the beauty of your thoughts and words.

  49. 68

    You are lovely, and I love you. :) The way you show us all God’s grace as you learn it for yourself, is just beautiful. I’ve struggled with knowing myself for a long time, but am finally starting to settle into this skin after being stretched by 2 little boys. :)

  50. 69

    I have been struggling with how I feel about my weight and body post three children, my youngest turning three soon. It’s hard to feel good about the size my body is now, especially when the media is plastered with images of Beyonce shedding 60lbs by 3months pp. I’m slowly getting there, learning how to dress my new body and feel good about it. Thanks for this post.

  51. 70

    This is why I love you. Here’s to growing beautifully old together ;)

    • 71

      Amen friend. So much amen. And I had your book and my forward in your head when I was writing this. :)

  52. 72

    This, ” I am aware that the God who made me finds me useful and this is a miracle to me.” is GORGEOUS! I had to yell it. I did. This piece made me revel in my own gracious and spacious hips and waist and what they’ve accomplished (a little north) of 38. Your perspective is a beautiful grace.

  53. 73

    OH, Lisa-Jo, this is simply beautiful. What a wonderful way of looking at the – our – your – my waist. Just wonderful.

  54. 74

    Love this post, thank you for sharing it!

  55. 75

    Gosh this is good. Thanks for sharing, it’s truly a beautiful thing, those waists of ours. They get trash-talked way to often.


  56. 76

    Girl. This is gorgeous! I’m 51 and empty-nesting and coming to terms with certain, uh, changes, myself and I’m trying to inhabit my body in every season and be so, so thankful for what it has allowed me to do and be. But we need these reminders. Thank you so much!

  57. 77

    Well said! I’m about to become a grandmother and guess what? All these changes to my body make no difference to who I am. What’s a little donut around the middle, right?

  58. 78

    Beautifully said and I’m right there with you!

  59. 79

    It felt good to read this!

  60. 80

    Beautiful post. Thank you for the reminder! :-)

  61. 81
    Sarah Westphal says:



  62. 82

    Annnnd, cue the tears. Saying goodbye to a size and a version of myself? Huh. I need to think on that, I do. But this: “I fit into my self better than I ever fit into my Prague jeans.” THIS is something to shout about from the rooftops – to ourselves and our sisters. I love this, LJ, I really do.


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