“I Thought Showing Off My Bellybutton”

Summer is my favorite season of the year mainly because I get a chance to spend more time with my kids. Truth be told, these days I am spending less and less time with them as they are growing very fast and are very busy with their own lives. My older son, Abel, leaves home around 8:30am for his summer internship, which he’s doing at the University of Maryland and he doesn’t get back home until late in the afternoon. I’m not responsible to drop and pick him up anymore since he drives himself; and letting my kids go, JUST LIKE THAT, has been the most challenging and emotional part of parenting for me. Very tough!

For my husband, forget it! He is waiting for the day that he is going to say “Goodbye” to our little one, Biruk, who is very much ready to be on his own. I, on the other hand, dread the passing of each day knowing that my kids are not going to be with me for much longer.

Oh, how I love each one of my kids! You have no idea. I’m sure you are not surprised by that since I’m a mother. I mean, duh, what else can a mother say about her kids other than saying that she loves them to death? Nothing!

I always try to know each one of my kids and strive to meet them where they’re at in life. It is a bit challenging to understand my boys since I’m not a boy, so I’m very thankful that my husband is here to translate their language for me. But my only daughter, Lydia (even if God created her completely different from me), is a girl,   and I understand her very well. She is the most creative, positive, God-loving, kind, wise, talented, knowledgeable, and compassionate young girl I’ve ever known. You have no idea how much I love to spend time with her.

So, summer is the best time for me to find those precious moments with her. I don’t make all these God-given moments with her a time to lecture her but to hear her heart. Lydia asks lots of questions (well, I guess we have some resemblance right there) and you have no idea how I enjoy asking questions right back at her so that she can arrive at the answer herself. I enjoy witnessing those “Aha!” moments, as some light bulbs turn on in her heart.

A couple days ago, we went to a nearby mall, and she wanted to buy a particular shirt. Of course, we are girls! We don’t just go to the mall and pick something up and come back home within 15 minutes, like my husband and boys. Are you kidding me? We go there and forget the time, spending most of it in the fitting room.

So, that day, Lydia was trying on different shirts and I was sitting there and looking how they fit her.

She came out of the fitting room with a pretty shirt, and it looked really good on her. And I said, “Oh, my! I love it, Lydia!”

She said, “Me too, Mom! But if I lift my arms up a bit, my bellybutton will show. So, I don’t want to take it.”

I didn’t notice that, and I quickly said, “Oh, no! We can find another shirt then.”

But after that moment, I went back to my childhood memories, and before I knew it, my eyes welled up with tears. I didn’t want to show my emotion so as not to ruin our wonderful time together, but when we got into the car to go home, I said, “Lydia, I’m so envious of you for knowing appropriate clothing at this young age.”

She cleared her throat and said, “Excuse me! I’m the daughter of the founder of the Appeal for Purity Ministry, remember?”

She does have a sense of humor and I appreciate that very much, but at that moment, I didn’t want to laugh but grieve over something I was not privileged to have like she was. So, I smiled and continued.

“You see Lydia, when I was at your age, 15, I thought showing off my bellybutton was a cool thing; I thought it would make me beautiful and attractive. But you don’t do that at the expense of making your body and yourself cheap because you know your worth.” After I said that I couldn’t keep my tears back any longer.

Then she noticed my tears and stretched her hand and touched mine and said, “Mom, I understand but see it this way. Would you be where you are today if you hadn’t gone through that? I don’t mean that it was right for you to go through that to be here. All I’m saying is that God turned your brokenness into something beautiful. Because He did that, you are now able to help me and many young girls to know our worth. Appeal for Purity has come to being because of your past story, has it not? See the positive side of it and what God was able to do with all those broken pieces of your life.”

I’m not lying, my tears suddenly shot back up, and I don’t know where. They just disappeared. And my heart began to be filled with praise and worship. Praise God!

So, my dear reader, what is your story? What is your background? Do you have a bad track record? Do you have pain and brokenness? Do you have a story that you are ashamed to tell? Do you have some “skeletons in your closets” that you don’t want anybody to know about?

Bring them all to God and watch what He is going to do with each one of them. See how God takes all your brokenness and puts the smoked, smothered, and dead stories of yours together to bring about something beautiful.

Just denounce and abandon your sinful lifestyle; stop masquerading; stop posing to look like someone else that you are not and come as you are to the Shepherd of your soul, Jesus Christ, and say, “No more! I’m here not knowing what to do and where to go from here. But here I am. I heard that you can bring beauty out of ashes. I bring You my messed up stories. Please help me never to go back to them.”

Oh, what a compassionate God we worship. This is the Word I am meditating on today and I will close today’s blog with it:

“Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10) ///

P. S. Here is a message from my only daughter, Lydia, to all who are going to read this post to the end: “Make sure you listen to Matthew West’s song, “All the Broken Pieces””