Christian Woman Inspiring Sermon

Christian Woman Inspiring Sermon

“Bikini Mom” Rachel Hollis talks about viral post of her stretch marks and her perspective on real beauty as a Christian woman. Taped at Fellowship Monrovia’s “Women Are…” series.

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I was a little nervous today this feels like a really big deal I do public speaking a lot for work stuff but my daddy was a preacher so speaking to a church is not something I've done since I was a little girl and I was really nervous about coming here so I I'm washi tapes the back of the last card because when I'm nervous I craft and this made me feel better about talking to you today so I have I have note cards clearly so I don't read this off a piece of paper will you show the picture yeah that one it did anyone see that couple people so uh when this post went crazy the question that I got over and over from press was what was your intention why were you posting this picture what were you trying to do and the truth is I feed my Instagram every month to a color and March was orange and so I had the super cute a bikini top and I'm southern so I love a monogram and so it had the monogram and it was orange and I was like oh my gosh my Instagram followers are going to dig this I'm going to I'm going to post this picture so my husband had to speak at something down in Cancun such a hardship and I went with him we got a weekend away from the boys and nothing ahead of us but you know the bikini and the pool so I said hey Dave will you go down to the beach with me and you will you take picture and I am nobody's model so I don't know about y'all but when I am go to take a picture for social media I sort of like have someone take 173 pictures we're going to find one but then I just like stand awkwardly for like five minutes and it's terrible and that is made so much worse when you're in a bikini so we took 173 bad pictures and the picture I posted was actually myself laughing so I felt really silly and I was like okay this will this will work this is the probe I start throwing cards like David Letterman so we took this wheat wheat Dave took this picture and the first thing I see is my stretch marks you know as women we sort of zoom in on those parts of ourselves that we don't think are that great and so I thought I'm going to zoom in on this picture I'm gonna do one of these little pinch maneuvers and we're going to get you know high and tight on just the bikini top and you're not going to see what's going on down here and as I was looking at it I thought you know gosh I've never seen a woman that I know post a picture of herself with stretch marks from a place of pride so like I'm just going to leave it in I have a few a lot of my followers are moms I have a lot of girlfriends who follow me so I'm going to just leave it in and they're totally going to get a kick out of this so this is what I wrote under the picture I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini I have a belly that's permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini my belly button is saggy which is something I didn't even know was possible before kids and I wear a bikini I wear a bikini because I'm proud of this body and every mark on it those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flab B tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could I wear a bikini because the only man whose opinion matters know what I went knows what I went through to look this way that same man says he's never seen anything sexier than my body marks at all they aren't scars ladies they're stripes and you've earned them flaunt that body with pride thanks so I post the picture and my Instagram is connected to Kate said I run a lifestyle website called the chic site and it's connected to the chic sites Facebook page so like always I post it and then I go check to make sure technology is still working like this will be the one time it doesn't work I go over and I check Facebook and it's been three minutes and it has a hundred likes which was already you know I post stuff all the time that gets five like so I was like 100 likes this is madness and then it was 200 and then it was 2,000 in less than an hour and you know I run a site so a big part of the site is social media and we post at least 10 pictures a day now not all of them have like my weird sad face belly button happening but it's a lot of photos and a combined weeks worth wouldn't be 2000 so we were like this this is crazy this is the craziest thing that's ever happened because of this picture we added 60,000 new fans on Facebook in a week the the post as of right now has been seen by twenty million people it has half a million likes it's been shared 60,000 plus times it has 50,000 comments and all of that really quickly together in the span of a couple of weeks and what was so amazing about that to watch besides it being overwhelming which it was because if you work for years to have a lifestyle site and you hope that something's going to take off you probably don't think it's going to be that everyone's like what is your husband think I was like oh he's not talking to me right now it's five-color – yes he was very proud but what was so amazing was that almost immediately I mean within an hour women were commenting on this picture on Facebook with their own stretch marks they ran into the bathroom they lifted up their shirt they took a picture they were posting photos of themselves on vacation and even more interesting was that it wasn't just women and it wasn't just stretch marks it was oh the Lord liked that comment it was men it was veterans talking about having lost limbs in war it was people who had gone through multiple surgeries for cancer it was people who had been burned as children and carried burn marks on most of their body and suddenly people were picking up the torch of this idea that you had earned your stripes and running with it what I was so amazed by and so humbled by was that people were saying I love my body right now as is not when I lose 10 pounds not what I look like 15 years ago but right now today this is my body and I'm thankful for it and I see that and I think why wouldn't you be thankful every mark on our body every scar or burn even stretch marks are a sign that we have lived through something and come out the other side of it stronger those marks on your body are a sign that you are a warrior and that is something to be proud of that is not something that we cover up that is something that we should be celebrating instead of hiding behind a sarong by representing the real you by being honest about who you are on the inside on the outside you give permission to the other women around you to do the same sometimes we do the opposite though right maybe a lot of times we do the opposite and I am guilty of this working so hard to appear to have it all together I've got it all together I look perfect my family's perfect we're all great that you don't notice that the women around you are drowning because you can't hear them because you're so focused on your own life or you spend so much time trying to have a facebook perfect life you know what I'm talking about it's exactly what they were saying earlier the mom who's screaming at her kids and then they take the picture and it's all perfect you say so much time doing that that nobody knows that you can't keep your head above water or you are going out of your way to show only the best side of yourself and nobody knows that this is the worst your life has ever been you come to something like this and you're surrounded by women who could be your tribe who could be your peers but you're too afraid to talk about your own truth and who you really are and you leave feeling more alone than you ever have am I the only one anyone else you know what a facade is an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less than Pleasant reality how many of us maintain the perfect facade because we believe that is what life is supposed to look like we believe that is what we are supposed to look like we've been shown image after image of what we are supposed to aspire to be if only I had six-pack abs if only I had great hair if only I had white teeth if only I had legs for days if only I didn't have that weird saggy underarm thing that like you're waving and your underarms keep saying goodbye long after your hand stop moving right if only I didn't have a belly button that's like in a permanent scowl as if it's upset about all of my life choices what's scary about the image of what you should look like in magazines and media is the implication that you need to change something about the way you look in order to be happy it's the idea that something outside ourselves can make us happy it is one of the greatest lies that the world tells women because here's the truth you will never find validation outside yourself because a broken world cannot make you whole a few months ago pastor Albert gave a sermon truly one of the most powerful moments in my life everybody got a red note card raise your hand if you were there for the day that we talked about lies so good so everyone got a red note card when you came into church and the pastor asked us to write down what are the lies that we tell ourselves that we've come to accept as truths and those lies keep us from having a closer walk with Christ my lie that I wrote down which I hadn't even told my husband until hi read him my notes last night was that praise or success or accolades or more fans on Facebook or more visitors to my website will validate me as a person I am I grew up in a house where for most of my childhood my parents marriage was in trouble I was the baby of four children and to be totally honest a lot of times I was just forgotten except when I did something good so if I got a part in the school play if I got an a on a test if I made the soccer team then I got praise what this does to a little girl is teach her that the only way she can be loved is to keep producing what this does to an adult woman is make her workaholic being a workaholic means that I take time away from my husband and my three boys it means that I have worked through more weekends than I care to count it means that I don't have time for prayer or reflection it means that I never rest because no matter what I do it's not enough no matter what I cheat what I achieve it's not enough any success I have I'm immediately racing on to the next thing I have a to-do list that's so loud and and God is he's tapping me on the shoulder and he's nudging me and he's calling my name and that to-do list is so loud in my head that I can't even hear him when he's yelling years of therapy and writing it down on that little red card in church that day made me finally understand the life or what it was and the dangerous part about a lie is that we can find a good excuse right so for me I think this site is my testimony it is a gift from God it is my platform and I use it to speak his word and speak his truth into the world so it's okay God because I'm doing this on your behalf you know I can make the excuses all day long but the thing is reading that sentence made me realize that nothing outside myself can validate me because I cannot maybe be made whole by a broken world nothing in this world can fill up an emptiness in me now thing of this world can fill up an emptiness in you can we show the scripture this is Ephesians I'm going to read it off my notes so it might be a little bit different effusions 3:17 says so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with the fullness of God ladies you can workout until you look like a Victoria's Secret model and you can watch a million YouTube tutorials about how to get perfect hair and you can know all the right brushes to get a smoky eye and you can have the right makeup and the right clothes and a perfect manicure and you can be the most gorgeous person in this room or any other but if you don't have a love of Christ that surpasses knowledge it's pretty wrapping paper around an empty box gosh I was hoping I was gonna get one of those I was like let me let it man dr. Alver gets out like 80 times the serve and I was like let me just get one Lord okay great that was my bucket list um I am not I'm not implying that you stop trying I love the idea of growth I love growing in your face I love learning a new language I love the idea of becoming a better sister wife mother friend but I dislike I don't love a beauty industry that is built on the idea that you need to fix something that who you are right now is somehow wrong um after my first baby I decided to go visit a trainer for the first time which is horrible and I'm going to hopefully the sound of me drinking this water is going to be on the mic it'll be awesome the cool sound effect um so I I went to I got a trainer will call her Gretchen and Gretchen was at just a battle-axe of a woman she had like like her arms were like more muscular than my legs and she just oh she relished putting you through pain she loved like burpees and mountain climbers so she was clearly in league with the devil and at the time I was in a I was going to a really bad breakup with Carl's jr. and um you know like I know no idols before you lord but they're chicken strips or it's just it's awesome um anyway neither here nor there uh so I was going to really a bad breakup as I mentioned and I was struggling with food and I can work out all day long but if you're still eating the left side of the extra value meal they're probably something's off so I was struggling with it and Gretchen said to me one day it went in your head give her German accent she wasn't German but it'll help with story she said would you ever feed a child the way you feed yourself which just by the way we should all just think about that for a minute would you ever feed a child the way you feed yourself and I was thinking about this in regards the idea that we need to fix something about ourselves that the grace that we give our children is something that we often don't give ourselves my am my two oldest boys are six and eight and they take piano lessons and every time they get a new song they're like you know like murder like a cat is dying on the piano keys and it's terrible but as a parent you're like yeah buddy got that that is awesome you've got this you cheer just as loudly for the work in progress as you do for the finished piece and I was thinking about this with God because God is is up there and he's like you have girl you've got this this is awesome and yes you are growing into some new and more beautiful and all of these things but right now who you are right now is awesome and we give this grace to our children why don't we give this grace to ourselves I already did that one part that went to look at me I'm Way ahead there is nothing wrong I just want to make sure and say this there is nothing wrong some good hair and good makeup because I am southern and I love a fake lash like you wouldn't believe I I love good hair I didn't do this to my hair I don't want to make my girl look like this but I understand that one of God's greatest gifts is Drybar so it's if you love good hair and good makeup and good for you girl you're awesome and if you dislike if you wear no makeup and your hair is in a bun that's awesome too but but the beauty industry as a whole and media and magazines is based on the idea that to become beautiful you need to work on the outside of yourself becoming beautiful is about working on the inside of yourself looking one way or the other will not cannot fulfill you true beauty real beauty is real we show the most beautiful picture of me ever taken Nancy so um I had Bell's palsy I've had it twice I wrote a post about this on the site a few years ago this particular picture was taken on our very first trip to Europe which is exactly when you want to get facial paralysis by the way me using my English to Italian guidebook to translate to the Tallinn pharmacist that I needed an eyepatch still one of the most amazing experiences ever Bell's palsy if you don't know is you could literally draw a line down the center of your face and half of your face is paralyzed plus-side amazing Sammy Davis jr. impersonation downside it sucks to have facial paralysis and when I decided to write a post and I put it up on the site my publicist at the time called me and was like you have to take this picture down you cannot have pretty pictures of yourself when you're trying to do this thing and that on the Internet to this day I've received 307 emails because I counted from women saying I have this – thank you so much for writing this post I couldn't find any information about it on the Internet I showed this picture tonight we were going through the tech tonight and my new best friend in the back his name I can't remember I'm sorry that your lovely said I had Bell's palsy – and this is what real beauty is when you talk about the truth when you are authentically yourself you give permission to other people to do the same thing my real self isn't always easy to talk about my real self has had postpartum because of postpartum my real self has had marriage problems I I know I'm not the only one who you know you've like you have a three-week-old and you're exhausted and you're not sleeping and then your husband says something to the effect of how tired he is because when you get up to get the baby it jostles him on his cloud made made of angel wings and he wakes up and it's really bothering them because he's waking up in the night and you're like crazy you go Sybil you're like laughing and crying you've crazy eyes and you're like Lord Jesus if you don't send a choir of angels to shut this man's mouth you were going to meet him tonight because I'm going to strangle him with the wires from my breast pump and then you're like you calm yourself down but only because you're like oh Lord my mama's gonna have to raise this baby and she just started an Etsy shop she's got her hands full okay um uh my real my real is that I have had a boob job I before I had kids I they weren't much but they held up their own body weight and after I had kids it was like like a sock filled halfway with pudding not even all the way halfway uh the real me had a brother who was mentally ill who was paranoid schizophrenic who took his own life and left the discovery of him to me at 14 these aren't um these aren't easy things to talk about being honest isn't easy to talk about but when I said any one of those stories just now some of you in the audience went me too beautiful is your exact weight right now not your go away right now today what you weigh that's beautiful beautiful is you with your wrinkles and it's you with your perfect skin beautiful is the dimple and your cheek beautiful is way too many dimples in the back of my thighs beautiful is you with gray hair and beautiful is you with perfect highlights beautiful is you with a great smile and beautiful is you with crooked teeth beautiful is you with stretch marks and scars and moles and a perfect manicure and you with dry cuticles the Bible says you are beautifully and wonderfully made and Lady Gaga says you're beautiful in your way because God makes no mistakes my photo goes viral and this is the lesson that I've learned in it if God makes no mistakes that means that I am you are we are beautiful as is being beautiful has nothing to do with your face and everything to do with your heart that means that true beauty can never be shown in a viral picture and can never be put in a magazine because true beauty is not something we can take a picture of true beauty is what's in your heart and if what is in your heart is the love of God and nothing is more beautiful than that my daddy here I made a mess I'll clean it up I'm sorry guys give it up a Rachel one more time my heaven

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