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The Story Of A Stretch Mark
The bright brilliance of morning swooped in as she took a waking breath wiggling her toes only to bask in the warmth which had settled the dents now forming her body from a night of ambiguous sleep. The final hour of slumber had placed her in a state of comfort as signals of muscle aches and nerve twinges were making their way to her brain. She decided to lie still holding off the struggle that was beginning as she would face the first foot placement followed by the impending glance into the mirror. There in her unavoidable doom, the stretch marks jumped out shocking her into the reality, of another day in the story of a stretch mark.
The first of many stretch marks arrived a lifetime ago, most probably approached with an appreciation even excitement as her small body formed the first signs of becoming a woman. The euphoria of the first stretch mark fades, but why, why should the joy and excitement of miles stones, lives lived, even triumphs, lose their power to make us feel awesome? Who decided when the stretch mark no longer has appeal?
For a moment, in our story we rewind reminiscing about pubescence without worry of truly revisiting this awkward time, during this phase a stretch mark was a sign of a body changing with anticipation starting to swell, (no pun intended), maturation was an undeniable truth, but, with excitement and attention came attacks from an ever-changing peer group armed with their own insecurities, thus beginning an almost lifelong cover up of our little battle scars.
Young adulthood brought a slight reprieve, continuing to make their mark, yet less likely to jump out, more subtle in their creep. These marks present during life's special events such as dating, not dating or due to the unavoidable supply of ramen, pizza, popcorn and peanut butter. These staples of a college dorm room diet made the struggle real, but youthful elasticity allowed a pliable response to this method of sustenance.
Unhealthy choices can become a companion to livelihood when poor and hungry, but, this phase of our story is more forgiving as the stretch has an energetic attitude to bounce back, a sort of forgiveness period, or God's grace while figuring it all out, you could say,"God has us covered!"
The early stretch marks can be exciting and confusing
"Bounce back stretch marks" have to be an all-time favorite available for splurging while learning to navigate life’s hurdles at the same time. Early years of independence allow our stretch marks to take many different directions with little understanding or concern for consequences. Youthful imagination stands firm in the belief of unending possibilities while creating a feeling of unsteadiness for what the future holds.
It's a time to fly, wings outstretched, only to stumble into self-sabotage which is prevalent but unnoticed, hitting roadblock after roadblock before understanding the lack of clarity in handling the stretch. Confusion causes repeated fumbles wanting to get out from underneath the heaviness of another cover-up as no one wants to show his or her true stretched out self.
There is a bewildering, puff out our chest stretch, when under attack, but remember the bounce back.
There is an allowance for these stretches, even when they leave us winded, as sometimes we lose sight of self-truth and take up camp with a process of lies telling ourselves you're not good enough, you’ll never make a difference, you're hopeless, be afraid. All these lies, add stretch; some are difficult to bounce back from. The truth is, you're made for such a time as this and your stretch; is part of that process.
The stretch ensures a weak entrance and retreat during this part of the story; in other words, they barely show or are quick to dissipate if self-discipline is applied. Self-discovery is a tedious process, so, we walk with a confidence, denying the stretch and their meanings. Instead of looking inward we attempt to discount our marks, hiding from them, becoming more disappointed in their approach. While we are thankful they hold off for the most part in our experiential life path, we tend to look at others, pointing fingers at their stretch marks, the very ones they too are trying to cope with and hide from.
We do a handy job of breaking one another down and giving stretch marks an ugly feeling never fully allowing their purpose or beauty. We learn to hide ashamed of their truth but, there is beauty in the attainment of a stretch mark and truth is, we all have them and they are beautiful in hindsight.
After becoming a couple, we entwine our collection of stretch marks. Sharing and figuring this phase together adds to the addition of new understandings and for a time, a secret covering until a comfort level of trust and truth is established. Entering this new phase in the story of a stretch mark along with the marriage factor, we may desire to create little humans to continue the legacy of a beautiful union.
The body now contorts and changes for the growing of an enormous cavity to contain life’s most precious gift of a baby or two, three, or more! This evolution of the stretch mark is accepted due to the joyful presentation. In fact, those around the production of these stretch marks add a few to their own forms as the entirety of the grouping is celebrating the old saying, “eating for two,” or three. Each line of flesh tweaking and spreading is a new experience and you almost trace the lines with your fingers believing in the wondrous miracle of life growing inside.
On these mornings, one leaps out of bed, jumping to the mirror, admiring the beauty of the stretch mark. Everyone embraces the delicacy of each defining stretch, making it fascinating to experience the growth of a tiny human. The mere newness and innocence of the new creation give the stretch marks free reign over the body and it is exquisite! This process can repeat a few times during this part of the story of a stretch mark and although the world pounces in on top of fatigue and desire for your old self and form, the stretch mark is in this phase of procreation.
Somewhere in the midst of this joy and adornment, the stretch mark starts to get a bad rap. There are numerous amounts of creams and lotions available to apply for the sole purpose of diminishing their presence. If they sneak out in the summer months they are met with a gasp of indignation. How can this be?
The stretch mark begins to cower and hide under layers of coverings and the form begins to doubt their worth and value. How could they be beloved and despised at the same time? They were earned in life's battle and deserve our recognition.
These emotions and feeling of resentment seem to build forming a devaluing the relationship from which the stretch mark came to be a part of our existence. This occurs as we lose focus of the experience by which the stretch mark was attained, fulfilling a purpose at such an important time in our story.
However, this is where the stretch mark and the form begin to develop a love-hate relationship, creating a battle of confusion. The form forgets what made the creation of the stretch mark's possible and begins to deny their presence, even casting them out, hiding them and yes, hating them!
How we wish this feeling of alienation did not occur, as the feelings and emotions attached to denouncing our stretch are unhealthy. The emotive reaction to the negative side of the stretch mark begins to cloud the beauty of its evolution. The appeal has become opaque and the presence a sour subject, due to regret or lack of recognition for their attachment. None of these attributes of despair have the slightest bit of empathy for the stretch mark. How sad is this?
The stretch marks silence themselves under a facade of coverings that make the inhabitant believe that by denying them they will not be present, however, this is not the truth. Why do we start to deny the beauty of the stretch mark? It's imperative to allow the stretch in our lives in order for growth and maturation of self. Why do we learn to cover our stretch rather than embrace it? Especially the stretch within our emotive heart, or dare I say the stretch of developing scars or wrinkles. How evolving would it be if one could live in the truth of the purpose behind the stretch? If we could surrender self to the greater purpose of a master plan, thereby utilizing the testimony behind each stretch mark, scar, or wrinkle.
We should find it obvious that once the story of the stretch mark enters its middle age there is an array of feelings and emotion attached. The hardest of stretches have been the result of battle scars from emotional or physical traumas. Some of these experiences causing the form to adjust with weight up or down. There may have been joyful births, a health crisis, accidents, changes, some were tumultuous others triumphant and yet all rewarding in their process as they are signs of survival and witness.
Where one may not have appreciated the marks as lovingly as the original childhood phase, they still deserve our respect and admiration. Now even more so, as they are signs of a development over time, the battle scars that leave a stretch mark should have the most appeal as they are the testimony of the stories shared among family, friends, and the world. The stretch marks are remnants of our personal story of overcoming or becoming whom we are meant to be by sacrificing, learning, living, loving and laughing
The aging stretch mark has lived closer to the century mark than the birthmark and once again regains its appeal and deserving of admiration. The longest stretches have come from surpassing a milestone, a loss or a challenge, a joyous birth or life event. No matter how they evolved they deserve our respect as they are part of our legacy. Embracing the stretch and then living a life to its fullest devoid of idolatry is a goal most will never achieve, however, if honest there in lies the internal battle.
When we come to this phase of the story of a stretch mark, we must release the power of the event that caused the stretch to become a humbling reality check. Letting go of the desire to hide our stretch marks is a means of conquering the application of a negative presentation, this is realized by surrendering to the spirit from which they came. Each one, part of the story, our story, placed as a memory of survival, love, loss, growth and witness.
Acknowledging our own weakness, we are mindful that the stretch marks we complain about pale in comparison to the stretch marks made by a crown of thorns stretching the skin above His brow, His hands, and feet pierced by nails. The stretch marks in our story are means of a testimony to the one who stretched the most for all of us, the stretch marks and scars of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Now there is a stretch worth complaining about, and still all He said was, “It is finished!”
We should be proud of the stretch marks that allow our story, using every challenge and or circumstance, to be used for God’s glory. Sometimes the harsh realities of the stretch marks preoccupy the owner and distract from proper acceptance and admiration. They are important, as they are a constant reminder that we have lived and have overcome not by our own means but rather by the power of the cross. When angry or disappointed at our stretch we could remind ourselves it is not the flesh and blood for which we battle, for we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Try not to get distracted by what evil would have us believe about our stretch marks, it is not truthful, this evil wants nothing more than to lead the world astray. If we give attention to the negative in our stretch marks, we waste time that could be used praising the allowance of their placement and purpose. The story of a stretch mark is your truth that evil was “defeated by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” (Revelation 12: 11)
Embrace the story of your stretch marks and let them be used for the glory of God, and may you find peace always in your future stages.