Returning to my regular life started off well. All the fresh clothes and jewelry kept my spirits high. I made it over the makeup hurdle pretty quickly. The pieces Jill helped me put together served me well those early days. Then came Sunday.
I planned to attend a small, country church about a mile down the road. It was my first visit, but I had a pretty good idea what it would be like. Thirty odd years on the inside of church life gives a person a fair amount of discernment.
Do I dress as myself or choose an outfit to fit in as a local? It took too long to put on one of my new outfits—makeup, jewelry, tall boots, the entire look. God was helping me discover the woman He made me to be. How could I go to worship Him as anyone else?
All the way to the church, a mile that felt like a hundred, I prayed. Strange as it may sound, I felt as if I were about to face a jury that would vote unanimously to declare me unfit, unsuitable, unworthy and tell me to leave.
On the verge of tears I prayed. “LORD, please don’t let them shun me. Whatever happens. Please don’t let them shun me.” Okay, so a few tears fell.
I entered the sanctuary a few minutes early. It was empty but for one woman about my age sitting on the left. I made my way to the third row on the right and took a seat. I could feel my heart beating wildly and took a few breaths to settle it.
Clarice* called out a sweet, “Good morning.” I turned and replied with a grateful smile. She came over to my pew and we chatted for a few minutes as folks filled the room. I was relieved when the service started and the fellowship calmed down. Now everybody was facing forward and I’d be all right. Until . . .
I’m a rule-keeper so I stood and looked weakly around. Person after person approached me. They shook my hand or hugged me, welcoming me with some of the richest grace I’ve ever received as a visitor. I sat down overflowing with joy and peace.
Yes, I’d been right about the casual culture of this rural body of Christ. By appearances I was a misfit. But my fears were totally unfounded. The love of Jesus oozed from their pores as if I were a recently-discovered sister. And I guess I was because they repeated their heart-felt reception the following week, sadly my last Sunday with them.
I continue to experience this type of dilemma. By God’s grace they’re turning into opportunities to claim my identity and follow His call. I’m thankful for the close friend who said, “Sandra, that’s who we’ve always seen.” She helped me realize I’m still ME. It’s simply that the outside is more accurately reflecting the inside. Hallelujah
You know, we women are adept at blending into the patterns of those around us.** Somehow we take our eyes off the One who made us and His Jeremiah 29:11 plans. We fade into the wallpaper of our lives, the background. Maybe we feel useful or it’s simply comfortable. We become Wallflower Women.
If that could be you, perhaps it’s time to emerge under the Father’s hand. Consider giving one of Jill’s fashion tips a try. Here are two. You’ll find more at her website.
- Update your makeup. Freshen your look with a trip to the local Walgreens or Macy’s. Invite a Mary Kay consultant to give you some suggestions. It may be time to let go of “what you’ve always done.” One new technique or color can rejuvenate you.
- Change your hairstyle. Check out some options online or in magazines. Many salons give free consultations—cut, color, styling tips. Try a new stylist or take the ideas back to your faithful friend. Fifteen years with the same hairdo is way too long. Ask Sandra.
What keeps you from making changes in your look?
Share one hesitation in Comments.
Asking the God of all power to fill you with His peace,
**an effect of the Fall on the beauty of Genesis 2:18
***all photos are my candids, can’t believe I’m sharing them