Today's post is by contributor Noelle Rhodes.

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Bathing suit shopping is evil. I am convinced of this. If you need to torture me, all you need to do is kidnap me and make me shop for bathing suits with a 21-year-old, size 2, fashion model. I’ll talk!  I’ll turn!  I’ll hand over any and all the classified information that is in my possession.

Just please - be merciful. Don’t make me go bathing suit shopping!

I suppose, struggling with my weight for the last ten years has something to do with this distaste for the ‘bathing suit.’ Like a mean girl from sixth grade, the bathing suit points to all my rolls and lumps and sagging only to mock me,“You aren’t skinny enough to be wearing this! Ha! Ha! Ha!”  Let’s face it, a bathing suit will never be my best friend.

When I do go bathing suit shopping, it’s as though I am hunting on a dangerous safari.  I take my life into my hands as I wade through hundreds of snakeskin or leopard print suits. My hands are shaking and my knees are knocking as I bypass the racks of bikinis and head to the lone rack of “full coverage” suits. 

My mission is single-focused: find a bathing suit that won’t be mean to me. 

The dressing room is like a prison cell. Who wants to be locked in a small confined space with full-length mirrors on three of the walls? It is just down right cruel for a person to have to see their body at every angle! This is why I have come to call the dressing room, “the stalls of shame.” I never come out of one feeling very good about myself -especiallyafter trying on one of those blasted bathing suits!

But,thissummer, I am determined to make peace with bathing suit. I decided that what number I am at on the scales and what my bathing suit does with that number is not going to make or break my summer. It may motivate me, but I am not going to let it depress me.  Nope. No sir. No way.

There will always be seasons that expose us to the areas of our hearts that need a little work.

We are suddenly faced with the reality that we aren’t perfect and, in fact, arestillstruggling in some of the same areas. We are shamed by ‘our lack’ and we decide to let our insecurity get behind the wheel and drive us wherever it decides to go. We don’t want people to see us or know us because if they did...they would be disgusted by what they find. This is why I don’t get along with bathing suits. They expose too much of me... and not just to others... but tomyself.

ButChristsees me. He sees me in my lack...my weakness...and in my struggle. He doesn’t mock me. He doesn’t shame me. He doesn’t condemn me. Instead, He understands me. He helps me:

“ For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

Did you read that? We can approach God’s throne of GRACE with CONFIDENCE to find GRACE and HELP in our time of need. There is no walking up to God’s throne with our heads hung in shame! We can walk up to Him with great expectation and assurance that He will come to our aid! So, the next time we are exposed to the parts of ourselves that “need a little work,” let’s run to Him... no, let’sdanceto Him! He is the giver of grace and mender of broken hearts!

The bathing suit is NOT my best friend, but, thank God, Jesus is.

Comments welcome HERE.

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Noelle Rhodes is married to her best friend, Troy, and 'mama' to two of the most hilarious human beings to exist: Silas and Olive Pearl. She and her family reside in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as missionaries. When she is not wrangling her children or beating her husband in a game of Scrabble, you would probably find her doing laundry. Noelle blogs at Coffee with Noelle.

photo credit: aplusnyc via photopincc

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