His face greets mine every morning with hair standing tall and tan blanket shielding eyes from bright morning light. I see the way he looks in my eyes, the way he looks to me for guidance and understanding.
From sunrise to sunset he explores and plays, often running and jumping with enthusiasm lighting up his sweet face. He’s eager to learn, eager to piece together the puzzle of life.
It’s a mighty big world for a little boy, and a mighty great gift and responsibility to be a mother.
I want my little boy to know what is true, to live what is true.
Because no matter what the world tells my boy the truth is he’s God’s unique masterpiece; he is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
My growing belly was his home for nine months and I held his newborn body close to my chest when he was just seconds old — his lungs singing happy to greet the world. It’s a pure gift to witness every inch of his development, and I desire for him to have a healthy view of himself now as a little boy and as he matures into a man.
As a mom to a son, my awareness is heightened that body image is not just a girl’s battle — it’s a boy’s battle too. Girls often feel the pressure to be trim and thin, while boys often feel the pressure to be big and strong.
I want my son to know that his body is designed by God, for a good purpose.
Every doctor or nurse that checked on him in the hospital when he was first born, noted his physical strength. He is indeed physically strong, but I don’t want him to think his worth is based on how much he can bench-press when he’s sixteen. Rather, I hope that as he grows his physical strength will be channeled in a positive direction to do the good work he was placed here to do.
I also want him to know about a different kind of strength that has nothing to do with big biceps. I pray that he will exercise his faith muscles and develop a strong faith in the Lord — that he will act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). I pray that when he feels weak, he will look to the Lord for strength.
Regardless of his height or physical strength, I want him to know that courage comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be big to be courageous because courage isn’t about being tough and macho. Courage is doing what is right in the eyes of God and going on an adventure where every step requires faith.
Courage is walking humbly with God.
My husband and I intentionally teach our son that God is the Creator of life. When we gaze at the sun and moon and stars, we talk about God. When we observe animals and insects, we talk about God. When we play in the snow and rain and wind, we talk about God. When we sit down at mealtime and eat food, we talk about God. And when we have conversations about our bodies, we talk about God and teach our son that God made him just how He wanted him to be.
We point our son to his Creator because we desire for him to know the amazing love of his Creator.
As a woman who has endured my own body image battles, I have found so much healing in HIS Love and fixing my gaze on Him. The messages I believe today compared to a decade ago are drastically different.
I want to pass along healthy messages to my son who watches me, studies me, observes me — even when I’m not aware of it. When I catch him glancing over my shoulder in the mirror, I want him to see a mom who is comfortable in her skin and talks kindly about herself. He could care less if I wear make-up or not, or how my clothes accentuate my figure or not. What he knows is that I’m his mama and that I take care of him.
I see the way he looks at his daddy, too. His daddy has a lot to teach him about true strength and courage because he navigates life on wheels rather than feet. Together with the Lord’s help, we do our best to teach our son that from his head to his toes and his mind to his heart — he is wonderfully designed by God and has a very special purpose for being here.
His four-year-old body is growing and changing a little more with each passing breath. I admire the miracle that he is — and if I love him this much, delight in him this much…
How much more must God delight in him?
I remember when I held his 7-pound body close to mine for the first time and every ounce of pain my body had endured melted away—
For I beheld a marvelous masterpiece, and a marvelous masterpiece he will always be.