I did, I really did, and it wasn’t even a sexy one.
Let me explain.
I’d been out to lunch with a girlfriend and our laughter and chatter hadn’t stopped for a moment. The modern, deconstructed menu challenged my taste buds, and our conversation stirred my emotions – she was going through a rough spell and I couldn’t fix it.
We paid our bill and decided to spend the precious minutes before school was out and our kids needed us home, meandering the smorgasbord of new shops that had sprung up in the area.
The sun was out … the sky was blue… the shops were open …
All was calm and as it should be on a girl’s lunch out, until I screamed,
“Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!! I’ve stolen a bra!”
I’d left the first boutique empty-handed and as I grabbed the handle of our next fashion emporium, eager to find something more my style, I noticed a rather ugly bra dangling not-so-innocently from my wrist.
“I stole a bra, oh my goodness, I stole a bra!”
Immediately, I spun on my heels, waving the snow-white undergarment above my head, determined to confess and surrender to my fate. Peering around her shop door, the store owner’s confused expression said it all …
“Did this middle-aged English woman really walk out of my store, wearing a rather unsexy brassière slung over her wrist like a Kate Spade clutch?”
To which the answer was, most decidedly, YES! Yes she did!
With a thousand apologies spewing from my lips, in my humblest English accent (I’ve found a good Downton Abbey accent gets me out of the stickiest situations), I paid for the bra and left – embarrassed and contrite.
She had silently watched me pick up the bra, turn to my friend to exclaim that I’d been looking for one just like it (yes, I wear unattractive underwear … for comfort!), sling it nonchalantly over my wrist to buy later, get distracted by the shiny objects in the jewelry area, and then absent-mindedly turn to leave; completely unaware I was still carrying the underwear I’d so admired for its practicality and comfort!
Her grace, humor, and understanding kept me out of jail and in a slightly heady, I-can’t-believe-I-just-did-that kind of mood for the rest of the day. I had the clear sense I’d dodged a bullet, or at least an awkward conversation with my teenagers about underwear, policemen, and the dangers of mixing the two.
But as the day wore on, my relief turned to reflection as God nudged me to think about the day’s events and the allegorical connection between my lingerie thieving and my tendency towards emotional kleptomania.
“How much emotional baggage, invisibly slung over your wrist, are you carrying around with you?” He asked.
Whoa! He had me there!
As I looked at myself, I saw myself tired and exhausted from carrying the weight of emotions and beliefs I’ve refused to put down over the years. There were slightly hippy looking hurts from growing up in the 70’s swinging next to beliefs from the 80’s still lurid in their neon ra-ra skirts. Work-related resentments, deep unforgiveness from failed relationships, and ugly self-beliefs, all tumbling down my arm like thrift store rejects.
“I’m not good enough.”
“I can’t forgive him”
“You’ll leave me.”
And so the list went on … and on … and on!
Boy, do I have some spring cleaning ahead of me!!
Thankfully, just like the shop-keeper, God’s grace and humor prevail, and like the shop-keeper, He knows I didn’t mean to pick up all that emotional detritus along the bumpy road of life. He knows it weighs me down and gets me into trouble, and He knows just how to help me put it down.
He forgives me.
He heals and comforts me.
The one BIG difference between my new favorite shop owner and God, is that He paid for me. I don’t owe a thing. Nada. Zip. Zero. All I have to do is put this baggage down, let go, and walk away.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, but I know it’s worth it.
So, that’s how God spoke to a dippy, middle-aged woman, through a very unattractive piece of underwear, about how to lay down her emotional baggage! Wow. I guess He meant it when He said,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
I love His sense of humor!
Niki Hardy is a Brit in the USA, a cancer survivor and pastor’s wife, a fresh air junkie and tea drinker. As a speaker and blogger her candid, humorous storytelling helps us find humor and grace in the darkest place, and learn to laugh and trust God when all we want to do is scream. When she’s not speaking, writing or running trails with her Doodles, she can be found trying to figure out which of the three remote controls actually turns the TV on.
You can find her, encouragement, and lots of practical resources at nikihardy.com.