I unassumingly headed to Costco Saturday before my first pool day of the season with the kids. A day, I might tell you, I have been dreading for months and after trying on five different bathing suit options, none of which even came close to fully covering my belly (or anything else for that matter) I said ‘forget it’ and headed to the store.
First on my list was diapers and wipes. Felt very weird throwing them in my cart and in my mental distraction I clumsily knocked over a few nearby items on display. Every time something falls to the ground at this point my brain goes “noooooooooo!!!” but I was pleasantly halted as a nearby gentleman offered to pick them up for me. And then she walked over to me.
I hadn’t previously noticed her, but all of a sudden there she stood. A sweet, old, Angel, woman lady who at first just stood there smiling at me. I am not exaggerating, her eyes and her smile literally glistened as she spoke to me. She had the softest voice and I have never been so convinced by the words of a stranger in my entire life.
“How beautiful you are!” she exclaimed. “Just gorgeous!” as she pointed to my ever growing baby belly. And then came the tears as she pierced straight to something about myself I have secretly been deeply self conscious over. “And your freckles! They just brighten your whole face and simply make you radiating! They even bring out your personality, just beautiful you are!”
My world stood still for a moment.
How did she know?
How could she speak so confidently, almost as if she knew me?
Has she any idea how ugly those freckles have made me feel?
Has she any idea how fully and wholly unbeautiful I have been feeling?
Surely, no she did not know. But God knows. Angel or not, I felt the soothing words of someone who sees me for so much more than I see myself. Eyes that assessed me for so much more than the sum of my parts. So much more than my cankles and freckles…and for a moment I remembered all about the confidence and love for myself I had tried for so many years to acquire.
Its a journey, I’m sure of it. One that, as women, we are always on depending on what life stage we are in and what size jeans we currently find ourselves wearing. Its a journey with good days and bad days, but one that I am sure is so important to our Heavenly Father and He knows what we need.
You see He knew that two things were coming up into my weekend that I had been desperately trying to avoid: pool and pictures. Bathing suits for pool day and outside (in the heat) family pics to remember our Memorial Day Weekend by. Ugh. I didn’t want any of it! I much more preferred holing up in my room watching What to Expect When You Are Expecting over and over again.
And so God sent me an Angel to bolster me for my upcoming tasks. Can I tell you what she said next?
Then she said, “And can I tell you? I have a miracle great grandbaby! She was born at 23 weeks, she is 31 days old and she is doing good! We are so thankful for that sweet baby and every day she amazes us with her strength and alertness. Her Mommy even got to hold her the other day.”
Ahhhhh the miracle of life. Did you forget Maria? Did you forget the miraculousness of life? Forget? No never. I couldn’t ever forget again. But lose sight of? Choose not to focus on? Probably.
I think I just stood there, tears in my eyes, smiling and nodding at that sweet woman. I wish I could have fully expressed to her how much she blessed me. I don’t think she will ever know. But I can only hope and pray for opportunities to someday be that woman for someone else.
In the midst of these struggles I stumbled upon this video. It reminded me of the battle that rages on for so many of us. Today, as I share it with you, I pray that you too will be reminded of how radiating you are. How gorgeous and beautiful even your most hated feature is. I pray for you, for your daughter, your friend, your sister, your mother. May the Costco Angel Lady inspire you too.