“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns.”
Week Two on the job! After serving in Christian Ministry for the past ten or so years, I am making some significant changes in my life. Maybe I am having a mid-life crisis but I prefer to think that I am following Jesus. I am officially in week two as the Co-Manager of a LOFT Store! Whoop! Whoop!
The last time I worked in retail management I was in my early thirties. I am now 46. People, let me tell you what I am facing. Here is a small glimpse into this Mama’s Drama:
For starters, the girls that I work with are young. They are in their twenties, they are sweet, they are hard working, and they are SKINNY!!!! Yep! SKINNY! They all walk around with abounding energy and they wear sizes “Double ZERO” and “Two Petite”. Who wears those sizes??? I don’t think I was a size “Double Zero” when I was born!
None of the girls I work with have children yet. They are young.
But, these girls are cute and fun and they do look really good!
On the other hand, I am in my forties. I have frequent (if not constant) hot flashes, I wear double digit sizes that do not start with ZERO, and I am passionate about cardigans that cover my sagging arms. My new favorite fashion is the long maxi skirt because it covers a multitude of everything! I LOVE IT!
My adorable store manager is twenty-six. Yes, she is a full TWENTY years younger than I am and she wears heels EVERY DAY. Seriously. Heels. Every. Day.
So, not to be outdone by my twenty-six year-old manager, I decided that despite my already aching feet, I would wear heels too. I have some cute ones! So, I busted those girls out and rocked the skinny (or in my case not so skinny) jeans and the wedge sandals. I looked good!
I know I looked good because people told me I looked good. And for the first five hours I did great! I pranced around the store helping customers, moving fixtures, dressing bust forms and rockin’ my heels. I was looking good… until… I wasn’t looking so good.
The pain began to set in. My prancing gradually turned to shuffling, which eventually turned to limping. I turned green from the pain and my smile turned to gritting my teeth. I literally felt sick. I started to feel chills, which admittedly were a relief from the hot flashes, except for the fact that they were caused by excruciating pain in my toes and the balls of my feet. How would I ever make it through three more hours? THREE. MORE. HOURS.
The limping turned to hobbling, which turned to standing still and yelling at customers from a distance just so I would not have to move. I found that if I stood and folded sweaters, I could position myself on the heels of my shoes which alleviated the pressure. If I could just stand there for the rest of the day….. Oh….a lady needs a fitting room. Can’t she find it herself?
Gritting, sweating, practically crawling….I escorted her back to the fitting rooms trying not to vomit or faint.
By the end of my shift I was a hot mess. I could barely walk. Amputation would have been a welcome relief. I took those bad girl sandals off before I left the store and stumbled my way barefoot through the mall and across the parking lot to my car. I didn’t even know if I could drive. I just needed to get home.
That night I soaked my toes and propped up my feet. The next morning I was sore, but I could walk. Yes! I could walk. It was a miracle!
I decided to wear flat sandals to work.
I wore my cute maxi skirt, a linen tee, and of course, a cardigan. It must have looked good because a lady came into the store and wanted the whole outfit! I sold her all three pieces! She was about my age, maybe a little older, and she wanted clothes to cover her arms, cover the varicose veins on her legs, and cover the majority of her body that has been sacrificed for her children. She Is My Sista! I loved this woman!
After my shift, which went much better in my flat sandals, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Now tell me how this is possible: As I was leaving the store in my FLATS, I walked through the doors and out to the parking lot. Somehow I managed to twist my ankle, while wearing FLATS, and I stumbled so hard I nearly faceplanted into oncoming traffic! An elderly gentleman literally slowed down his SUV to make sure I was okay.
I had not been drinking and I was not wearing heels. How in the world could I have stumbled?
Suffice it to say I am being humbled. I am having to face my age, my ever changing body, and the fact that gravity and hormones have taken over. I also recognize that my feet are at their best when they are following Jesus and not the latest fad or fashion!
When I look back on my life, and the pictures of my body way back when….I would not trade a thing. I have gained wisdom from life experiences, which only come with age, I have gained compassion for others as a result of raising a severely mentally ill child, and my life is rich and full because of my faithful family, friends, and God. All of these blessings are far more beautiful than a younger, skinnier body without sagging arms!
I vow to replace my worldly insecurities with the security of the God who loves me.
I vow to make Jesus shine more brightly than any outfit I may wear.
I vow to look in the mirror and see a precious daughter of the Lord instead of an aging woman who feels inadequate.
And…I vow keep my feet following Jesus…in low heels.
I pray that you will join me in embracing the beauty of YOU! Your heart, your spirit, your wisdom, your experiences, and your faith define you and make you beautiful! Own who you are but more importantly own WHOSE you are! You are a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Wear that today!
Nuggets of Bold Faith
Jesus, thank you for loving us just the way we are! Thank you for blessing us with experiences, people, and years that shape us and mold us into the women you created us to be. Thank you for our children and loved ones, who may give us grey hair or a few additional wrinkles, but who give our lives meaning and great value. And thank you for allowing us to call you our King.
Help us to see ourselves the way you see us and help us to keep our feet on track as we follow You.
In the name of Jesus we pray,