There is an old black and white photo from the nineteen fifties of my mother’s first grade class at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Zwolle. I remember seeing it as a child and always being mesmerized by the lack of color in the photo. It was a little torn and tattered around the edges, it had faded ink on the backside and looked like it had been in out of albums for many decades. Every time I looked at the photo my mother would point to the back row where she was sitting and say, “You can find me I am the biggest girl in the room.”
For many years that statement always stuck out to me because I thought she was referring to being the tallest in her grade. My mother was very tall, standing right at six feet. She was a beautiful woman with brown hair and brown eyes and she was a plus size woman. The older I got I soon realized that she meant the largest girl in the room. Growing up as a plus size child was not easy for her and during that time period there were no body positive messages to be found. The thinner you were, the happier you were. This made my mother her very own worst critic.
She spent a lifetime battling her weight and speaking harshly about herself because of her size. She often talked about having to have her dresses tailored as a child because she could not buy regular clothes in a store. This of course, was prior to the days of “husky sizing”. She was constantly worried about how she looked in the eyes of others. She rarely mentioned that she knew she was beautiful in the eyes of her savior, the one who created her. My dad was consistently her biggest fan and constantly told her she was the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
Somedays I am not sure that was enough to overcome her thoughts about herself and her size that she was very ashamed of. But I do know that God loved her no less because of her size. His love never waivers upon us feeling worthy of his love, he gives it freely.
There are many times that I walk into a room and hear my mother’s word, “….the biggest girl in the room”, but I do not think of it the same way my mother did. Most of the time I am the biggest girl in the room. But I know God has set me apart in so many aspects that do not include the size of my clothes. When I walk into any room I am thankful to be there because I know that is where God has placed me for this very moment. There is something special about walking with the Lord and letting him order your steps. I actually pray for people when I am in the same room with them. They do not know this, but I do. I pray that God will use me however he sees fit in that room.
Most days I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be the biggest girl in the room because I know I am completely loved by a savior. His goodness and mercy follows me even when I try to run away from it
God made all of us in very different shapes and sizes. That was an intentional act. He knit every single one of us to be set apart from one another carrying our own unique gifts and talents. Yes, as humans we can alter our appearance by coloring our hair, losing or gaining weight or even plastic surgery but God knew exactly what he was doing before we were even created. He knew what he wanted our appearance to look like, he knew what attributes we would need in order to carry out his work and his desire for our lives.
Whether you are the biggest girl in the room or the smallest girl in the room, please never forget that God loves all of us the same and there is nothing we can do to separate us from that love. God will always bless you with people who see you for who you are, not who you want to be. Your true friends will never make you feel less than you are.
“For it was you who created my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.”