Sara laid the brown sweater on her bed. Her fingers lingered on the faux-fur collar and satin ribbon tie before she smoothed the velvety knit.
Today she would say, good-bye one final time to the woman who had been her mentor. The connection she felt toward her grandmother dove deeper than the bond borne of blood. They shared the heartache of self-doubt.
For Gran it was the life with a man who refused to claim her as his daughter, though DNA proved his paternity. Contenting herself with the plain brown dresses that matched her hair and eyes, she watched as her younger sister was lavished with the finest dresses, dolls, and ribbons for her hair. Gran’s clothes melded her in with society like a branch among trees.
But you never were one to remain hidden, were you?
Through the tenderness of her own grandmother, Gran had navigated her childhood and adolescent years graduating into adulthood with a strength and grace Sara wished she could have inherited. Somehow, Gran had taken on a light that fit her name, which meant bright, shining, and clear. People had been drawn to her. She had shed the shame over her birth and subsequent rejection then donned garments of praise and joy.
Sara swiped the back of her hand across a damp cheek. “How did you break free?” she whispered into the air as images of the mischief that sparked in Gran’s eyes paraded before Sara’s mind. Gran’s toothless grin whenever something tickled her heart and those unashamed tears that flowed freely as she shared her love for Jesus.
Almost ready, she pulled the sweater over her head then brushed her hair. She hesitated, reminded of at least a hundred conversations over her clothing choices.
It camouflages my imperfections, Gran. She had argued in Wal-Mart barely a month ago. “Well, it does.” She argued with the memory once again.
But Sara, you should wear clothes that fit, colors that accent your beauty.
Ignoring Gran’s protestations, she had bought the sweater.
Sara scoffed at the memory and fiddled with the satin ribbon until it was tied into a perfect bow. Beauty, indeed… She looked into the full length mirror on the back of her closet door. My body looks like a Shar-pei. Insecurity swelled. Gran at least had always had been pretty. I’m NOT! Her mother had told her so when she was thirteen shopping for school clothes. Sara, you really should wear brown. That color has a slimming effect. Sara got the message. Her closet slowly filled with browns of every style.
Smoothing the sweater around her waist, Sara glanced again into the mirror. A young woman resembling her grandmother’s wedding picture stared back. Ready.
She reached into the closet for her brown wool coat. As she pulled it from its hanger, her hand brushed against something soft. Tucked securely at the back of the closet hung the lavender angora sweater Gran had given her for Christmas the year before.
Gran had taken the sweater and held it up next to Sara’s face. It looks so beautiful against your skin. Quiet sincere words begged her to hear.
Sara had been unable to bring herself to tell Gran she’d probably never wear it, so she buried it in her closet—hidden and forgotten—until now.
Words laid to rest deep in her soul resurrected in her mind. I pray one day you will understand who you are… that you’ll have the courage to be the woman your name declares you to be.
Sara turned back to her room and snatched her Bible from the nightstand. Opening it to the Psalm Gran had often read to her, she sank onto her bed. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… the words, at last, began to penetrate her heart.
Sara’s husband had come to stand next to her. “Your Grandma would be so proud of you.” He wrapped her into the warmth of his embrace as they gazed into Gran’s sleeping face. The soft brown sweater lay securely beneath the woman’s arm.
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