I was skimming the newspaper, preparing for my daily knees-to-the-floor conversation with Jesus about the lost and broken, when I was decidedly wrenched out of intercessor mode.
What I saw couldn’t be true…but there it was. The front page of the paper had a picture of my favorite grocery store with the large caption: Massive Increase! I think it went on to tell of the drought last summer and its effects on food prices.
But I can’t be sure; I read no further. I was stuck in suspended animation; zeroed in on the captioned picture.
Was it? It couldn’t be.
Oh, heavens to Betsy…it was.
There I was, walking into Best Grocers with black athletic shoes, white ankle socks, and grey, mid-calf, past-their-expiration-date stretchies. The same ones my daughter called my “squatty pants” while begging me to stop wearing things that only enhance my pygmy stature.
And it was a perfect shot, straight from behind. I could almost hear the cameraman cackle.
In an instant, the camera had captured the never-should-be-seen evidence that I had run out to the store without changing my clothes on a house cleaning day. Okay, so yes, it’s possible that this wasn’t a rare occasion. It’s possible that this was close to my normal attire, other than the white socks with the black shoes, for which I had a perfectly good excuse.
There I was, secret footage and all, looking like a candidate for a make-over shows. Only I wasn’t getting a $5000 new wardrobe and a trip to New York; public humiliation minus the reward.
If that were the end of it I could say lesson learned. After all, they were just clothes. But there for all to see,
was the wide expanse of my caboose, perfectly outlined in fine detail by my squatty pants. It seems that while I wasn’t looking my body was invaded by another country; my borders had expanded.
Click. Massive Increase!
In one instant I’d gone from “Help them Lord,” to “Who did this to me!?”
My intercessor hat flew off; I was on another mission. Since I just happened to have said pants on, I raced to the bathroom mirror; the long one behind the door, under all of the towels and bathrobes. The one I never used.
I snatched the hindrances of truth from the door and grabbed the hand mirror. Facing away from the mirror, I looked in the small one over my shoulder. The truth nearly jumped out and smacked me on the backside.
I didn’t go back to praying for others that morning. I spent the rest of the day, in between my other responsibilities, thinking ample, expansive thoughts and checking my smart phones capabilities. I envisioned myself doing a little camera sniping of my own. What was that cameraman’s name again?
Festering, flustering and blustering took me down the path of despair that grew as wide as the day grew long. The real needs of the world were tossed in favor of the “I’ve gone over the hill” blues.
“After all, cameras don’t lie,” a voice whispered into my ear.
“Neither do mirrors,” it said with a hiss.
The rest of the day words like Loser, Ugly and… Fat seem to hang above my head like a banner.
By the evening news, I was fruit too rotten for picking. I didn’t want to know what prayers needed to be said. My husband called me into the living room to see the headline flashing on the news. Scenes of heartache and pain flashed on the screen. I tried to turn away but a fresh Voice spoke to my heart,
“I love you just the way you are. Get back to the work I made you for.”
I’d like to say that me and my squatty pants ran to my prayer closet, but it was a slow walk down the hallway; there was a large Hand on my doublewide backside pushing me forward.
In obedience, I slunk to my knees and closed my eyes. As I did, the comfort of soft, stretchy cloth and my built-in seat cushion contrasted with the images I had seen on the television.
The banner fell away, replaced by loving Arms; His perfection became mine.
In the stillness, He exchanged self-hate for His mandate. It turns out God needs my squatty panted, wide-sided self to touch this world with His love through prayer more than he needs an image of perfection.
Massive increase indeed.
Auhtors note: This is fiction. However, it was inspired by a day when I went out for a "quick" run to the store dressed like that. The thought occured to me that I was a prime candidate for a make over and it led to a time of reflection, thanking God that His love isn't trendy or fashionable. It's real.
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