I was speaking at a Mother/Daughter banquet a few weeks back. My speech, “Living a Life Worth Imitating” was a charge for moms to be the example they wanted their children to live out. I hit on the topic of self-esteem and I instantly knew from the looks of all the women’s faces that this was a topic many struggled with.

I told the women staring back at me to speak life into themselves and others, to avoid the nasty comparison game, and the negative voice telling them they were not enough. I made reference to a picture my husband had snapped during a weekend hike, describing the picturesque beauty of nature captured through the camera lens. I looked at each of them and told them to remember that the same God who created all that beauty created them and it was our duty to live lives that reflected that beauty.

It was moving. The women were motivated. I was motivated. The words spoken to me after the event solidified I was right on point. Yet, something was nagging at my spirit. It was not until a recent photo shoot that I realized that I needed to speak that same charge over my own life.

Practice what I preach so-to-speak.

By all definitions, I was an ugly duckling when I was little. I was lanky and always the tallest in my class. My hair was stringy and style was not in my vocabulary at the time. I wore hand-me-down purple Girbeaud Jeans (some of you are getting flashbacks right now).

I was the poster child for nerd.

Yet, here I am now, charging women to love themselves when I am not really sure I ever did. I told them to look into the mirror and remind themselves that they were wonderfully and uniquely created, yet I never accepted that I was.

It was not until a photo shoot for my book and blog that I saw myself through another’s lens. I have never considered myself photogenic. Beautiful is not a word I use to describe myself. It felt slightly awkward as my girlfriends curled my hair, played dress up with me and sang my praises as the photographer starting snapping pictures.

After a few clothing changes and background swaps, the photographer walked over to me.

“What do you think Sarah?” She handed me the camera.

The woman I saw looking back at me was beautiful. There was nothing fake or pretentious about the photo but it reflected the woman I spoke of in my talks. For the first time, I saw myself like God sees me.

I did not see a lanky, awkward little girl but a woman of God. A women that is mighty and bold and ready to take on whatever is placed in her path.

Isn’t it amazing how your view changes when you look at yourself through a different lens?

Sarah West

Sarah West is a homeschool mom, freelance writer and first-time author of Walking the Talk: A Parent's Guide to Intimacy and Healthy Relationships. Formerly, she served as the Director and Youth and College Counselor for Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Mississippi. Sarah writes for various online and print magazines on matters of faith and family, and believes in strengthening family relationships and reconnecting parents to their children. You can connect with Sarah and keep up to date with her writing through her blog at https://a-life-inspired.com/ Find her book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GM5ELRE