Have you ever gone on a dream shopping trip? Like one of those televised free-for-alls where someone can keep whatever they grab in thirty minutes? Well, I’ve not been on one of those – thankfully, I think, for I can only imagine the specter of my consumerist heart going mad. But a few years ago I got to go on an even better trip to the mall.
“Let’s go shopping!” Lulu said.
“Okay!” I responded, with a surge of joy and nervousness. My friend was a generation older than I, and in a different stratosphere financially. I sensed this wouldn’t be any ordinary shopping trip, but an amazing experience of grace and beauty.
I had recently given birth to our second child and wasn’t feeling good about my body. The weight hadn’t magically melted after my daughter appeared; nor was it shifting in the months that followed. I felt I didn’t deserve the nice clothes Lulu might buy for me – I was lumpy, not svelte. Somehow I believed that gorgeous clothes should only be enjoyed when we are at our goal weight. Not when we’re way over.
But Lulu wanted me to feel beautiful, extra pounds or not. She decided I needed some stunning business suits and dress clothes, with no cost spared. So we camped out in the fitting room of a high-class department store with a special salesperson at our beck and call. This woman dashed from one rack of clothes to another, finding the right sizes of sparkly shirts and well-cut trousers.
As I glimpsed the expensive tags I started to worry. How, I wondered out loud, could she spend so much money on me when I wasn’t slim and trim? Lulu shushed me in a loving but firm manner. “Amy, I want you to look and feel good. Let me do this for you. Besides, when your size changes, you can always find a tailor.”
Grace incarnate. Did I deserve the clothes? No. But do I feel good when wearing them? You bet I do (although for some I now need a tailor). What a gift, this lavish splurge on clothes. What an example of love and acceptance.
I’m still not at the perfect weight, and my daughter is well into her primary school years. But instead of hating my body, I try to remember that God has formed me and created me. He doesn’t want me to look down at myself with despair, but to turn to him in praise and out to other people with love.
He’s always sending his loving words to us, saying that he’s chosen us and not rejected us. That he is with us when we pass through the waters – they will not sweep over us. That we are precious and honored in in his sight.
When I look to the Lord for love and affirmation, I gain a sense of well being – whatever the number on the scale. How about you?