I can’t breathe, but my jeans fit

After just posting yesterday about working hard at not complaining about my physical imperfections, especially around my children, I thought I would make sure you know what a work in progress my “be content with me” endeavor is.

Two years ago I wouldn’t have dared blog about my body or any issues I might have about it.  But for me, part of being content is talking about it and not fussing over what you might think about it.  That’s why I love blogging.

We are in the middle of a looking-for-church season, we’ve never done that before.  With Chris’ job requiring what it does of his time, leading a house church does not fit in with our life and our intention of having a healthy family and marriage.  So after enjoying our time doing that, we felt God asking us to move on.  I could write a small book about my thoughts and observations from our church visits.  Maybe you’ve read the book Jim and Casper Go to Church.  I told Christopher I’d call it The Strovas Family Goes to Church.

Instead of a book, here is our story from this past Sunday’s visit which also unveils my work-in-progress self, for the umpteenth time…

We had visited 5 churches already in less than 2 months.  This one was big and not close by but we knew some people there so we thought maybe it would be a good fit.

Since it was a Sunday morning service, we felt more compelled to dress nice.  Don’t ask me why, I have no idea.  Saturday/Sunday night services feel more casual for some reason.

And since we might see people we knew but hadn’t seen in a while, I wanted to look nice.  The trouble with that is two-fold:

  1. Church isn’t about looking nice and impressing everyone, though some might argue about that.
  2. Looking nice involves fitting clothes that don’t quite fit.

I won’t open the can of worms about putting on a church face and looking nice on Sundays.  Instead, I’ll just say that what I subjected myself to on Sunday morning to ‘look nice’ was unreasonable.  I put on my one and only ‘church shirt’ as my kids have dubbed it.  It has sparkles and is flattering and fun to wear.

But what went underneath was not fun to wear.  In an effort to smooth out everything and put things in the right places, I pulled out the girdle from my sister’s wedding to wear under my shirt and jeans.  I locked the door while I worked up a sweat trying to get the darn thing on.  When I bought it I was 20 pounds lighter.  The extra pounds did not want to make their way into the girdle.

The straps over the shoulders were removable.  A lovely feature I’m sure at some point but it left me feeling spring loaded and if I moved wrong, someone might get hurt.  I shimmied into my nice jeans and donned my brown shirt.  Pleased with the ‘support’ being provided I was keenly aware that my ability to breathe had just been significantly limited.

All for the sake of…what?  Yes, I know how ridiculous it sounds.

In the car on the way to church one of the kids needed something, instead of being able to reach back and help them, Christopher had to get out at a stoplight and do it.  I told him if I moved too much it might be like undoing a bungee cord off a full truck load and I might lose an eye-or something.  He smiled and helped the kids for me.

We arrived at our destination, me only slightly light headed and did the kid drop off then wandered around the back of the church looking for seats.  As we did, I was struck by how alone I could feel in a room full of people.  When we finally found some stray chairs and tried to sit, we were quickly scolded by an usher saying we couldn’t sit there.

I held back tears and the ability to breathe would have been quite helpful in that moment.  We left and sat outside the remainder of the service trying to catch parts of the sermon which sounded wonderful.

Upon our return back to the house, I ran to my room, peeled off the girdle and put on some sweats.  There were purple imprints of the straps and hooks on my back.  It literally felt bruised.  I promptly hopped around the house squealing as I enjoyed the feeling of my skin on soft clothes.

Why in the world did I subject myself to such pain?  And for what?  I really would like to say that I don’t care what people think about me and I just want to enjoy looking nice sometimes.  Which is true, somewhat.  It IS fun to dress up.  But it ISN’T fun to fret and worry about what other people think.   I care less now than I ever have, but I still do care.

Hence the girdle.  But I’ll have you know that the girdle has found a happy home in my dumpster today.  So next Sunday when we venture to yet another church, I may wear my nice shirt and I may enjoy a bit of makeup but I will be my lumpy, happy, able-to-breathe self when I go.



I love you. That girdle seriously does belong in the garbage! When I thought about visiting Quest last night all those same issues surfaced in my own head. I really wanted to wear my nice jeans so I would look better. Keep in mind, the “nice” jeans are 4 sizes too small right now 🙂 I ended up going to the block party instead and happily wore my fat jeans and a hoodie. Getting over these ideas of what we should look like is definitely easier said then done.


Thank you for sharing! I know what you mean. How I would love to be that size 5 again! Ha ha ha! After Morgan, I realized that I will NEVER fit into my skinny jeans — pregnancy shifts EVERYTHING around and it never goes back where it was. I think that’s why sweat pants were invented!!


i am seriously laughing out loud! I am beginning to think that after this 3rd baby things are REALLY never going back to normal. (normal being not that small to begin with). I am living in my pajama bottoms and my neighbors are starting to ask questions about it. So, i too, am squeezing in to way-too-tight clothes. haha! It’s not pretty. On Saturday I signed up at the gym. haven’t gone yet because i’m so freaking tired from the lack of sleep that i can’t fathom stepping foot on a tredmill. none the less i have the membership 🙂

(sidenote- how great is the Book Thief? I LOVE that book)


Whew – good thing you didn’t go out to lunch afterwards!!! I am astounded at how many times I have been late to church because of trying to find just the “right” thing to wear. Ridiculous. I wonder how many (more) years in this life it will take me to stop caring so much what other people (might) think!


And I personally think ushers should go through a compassion test. 🙂