For about a month or so I have been thinking about stretch marks. To some it may be an off the wall topic to even contemplate, but in my world this subject just flows seamlessly into my everyday life. OK, so maybe I should say that they are staring me in the face daily-or staring back at me through the mirror to be more exact. Hopefully that is not too much info to throw out there, but let's be real.
I think my musing all started one day when my darling 3 yr. old saw me changing my clothes and asked me, "Mom why do you have zebra stripes on your belly?". Oh, how words from the mouths of babes can pierce one's heart. After I recovered from the shock and had picked up my hurt feelings off of the floor, I proceeded to tell her that yes, while they did look like zebra stripes they were called stretch marks from where my belly had grown as a result of having four babies. She seemed happy with the answer and went about her way. I, however decided to really think about what those little marks on my belly meant and represented to me.
I have heard it said that, 'Stretch marks are the badge of a real woman'. But I think that is crap. Does that mean that just because a woman does not have them (wouldn't that be nice) makes her less of a woman?! Of course not! And besides, women are not the only ones who have stretch marks. OK, so that's enough ranting, I'll move on before I am sucked into the abyss by an unforeseen tractor beam and completely given over to the dark side.
So I know that those little marks do not define me as a woman, but they did help to shape me into the woman I am today. I realized that each one of those little lines is just a little puzzle piece in the story of me. I can probably even tell you when or more specifically who I got each of those little lines from. To me those lines are a reminder of all four of my pregnancies. All of the prayers said for my Payton during a difficult and fearful time full of trips to the genetic counselor and endless testing, camping out on the couch because it made my back feel better, the thrill of feeling my baby move inside of me and the joy that each of their births has brought to my life.
It is because of these marks and becoming a mother that I have truly been able to understand and see in a new light the love that our Savior has for us. After all it was Jesus who made the greatest sacrifice for us on the cross. And I have only just realized that as he was up on that cross his arms were stretched wide and as his hands and feet were pierced he was receiving the ultimate stretch mark. He loved us so much that he was willing to die on a cross for our sins. And those little scars that were left on his body are merely a symbol of his love for me. So even though I am not too excited to have a zebra striped belly, I will try to remember that those little marks are a direct result and symbol of growth, sacrifice, dedication and most of all love.