What a weekend!
My husband and I drove up to Washington D.C. on Friday for a wedding on Saturday, and we just got back into town last night. His cousin on his mom’s side was the groom. It was unbelievable, something out of a fairy tale. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
My name is Jamie Henderson, and I am so blessed to get to write alongside some very amazing women here at Share His Peace. Stephanie wrote last week to kick off our new theme of sacrifice. I could so identify with her WWIII story. I had one of my own this weekend, only mine was a battle in my own mind with my own fears.
It all began last Monday with the realization that this wedding was black tie formal and I would have to find an evening gown as soon as possible in case it needed alterations before Friday. I went to a local dress shop and began to try on dresses. I was mortified. The dress I ended up buying was a size larger than any size I had ever worn before. I was excited to go to D.C., but I was not excited about wearing that dress.
To make matters worse, I found out on the drive up that we would be attending a cocktail hour that very night that required a cocktail dress. I told my husband we had to stop and buy another dress. We looked in one store with no luck. We found one at a second store. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but at least it would pass the dress code.
We arrived at the hotel around 4:30pm. It was extravagant. It had valet parking and bellhops to carry our luggage. The foyer was adorned with jeweled chandeliers. The ceiling had been decorated for the season. There were white umbrellas intertwined with flowers strung from the ceiling.
It was extraordinary. A bellhop showed us to our room and unloaded our luggage. We began to get ready right away. I carried everything I needed into the bathroom and shut the door (like I was scared to get dressed in front of my husband all of a sudden). I stepped into my dress and as I pulled the straps onto my shoulders I began to pray.
I prayed that God would put favor in the heart of Eric’s family for me. I prayed that I wouldn’t worry about how I looked. I prayed that they would see past my overweight body and see the good person that I am. I prayed that they would even see Christ in me.
But why would they? Why would they see Christ in me when I couldn’t see Him? As I stared into that bathroom mirror, all I saw was a plus sized failure. I heard God speak so clearly. He said, “Do you really want them to have favor in their hearts for you? Do you really want them to see Me? Then love them; serve them; make them feel comfortable by just being you.”
What He said next baffled me. He said, “I can use your body as a vehicle to do all of those things.” It wasn’t the first time I had heard those words. I had heard them last year, or should I say I had read them. In a book called Overthrow by Jennene Eklund, those words screamed to me. Your body is a vehicle.
You may be asking at this point what any of this has to do with sacrifice. I looked up the definition of sacrifice. It has two main definitions. It could mean to offer or kill something as a religious ritual. It could also mean to give up something valuable for the sake of something else. Another interesting note is that the very first word under synonyms for sacrifice is abandon (which we’ll talk more about on Friday). In other words, if you sacrifice something, you are totally turning your back on that thing for good. You are dead set on leaving it behind. I think maybe as a society we have cheapened that word a little bit.
This is how it all ties together: I realized in order for me to learn what I have learned about my body being a vehicle, the author of Overthrow, Jennene Eklund, had to sacrifice some things. She sacrificed her time, her privacy, her pride, and all of her secrets to tell her story. Her story came to life last Friday afternoon as I stood in that hotel bathroom talking to that girl in the mirror. My body is a perfect vehicle that transports a loving soul that longs for nothing more than to be used by God.
By the way, God answered my prayer in a very special way at the cocktail hour and the next day at the wedding. He put favor in the heart of at least one young lady and one elderly man at the wedding. But that wasn’t the most awesome thing that happened. God continued to speak to me the entire weekend about how this body of mine is a vehicle to love and help others and to be the hands and feet of Jesus, the beautiful hands and feet of Jesus.
One way He spoke to me specifically was through the tomb of Jesus. Crazy, right? We had a few free hours Saturday morning before we had to start getting ready for the wedding, so we walked over to the National Geographic Museum. We had no idea the museum was featuring a special presentation on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the church in Jerusalem that houses the tomb of where it is believed that Jesus’s body lay for three days over twenty centuries ago.
It was the second time this week I had heard the word “sepulcher.” I had read over the curriculum for the Children’s Ministry at my church. It came from Matthew chapter 23. Jesus told the hypocritical Pharisees that they were just like whitewashed sepulchres (tombs). They were beautiful on the outside, but on the inside they were full of bones of the dead and everything unclean. Jesus told them it was more important to be clean on the inside. As I walked around the museum, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had wasted too much of my life worrying about what the outside looked like.
I could hear God asking me, “What is more important to you?” So I asked myself some hard questions.
Is it more important to me that I am noticed for how I look, or is it more important that they see Jesus in me?
Is it more important that I am taken seriously, or is it more important that I help someone in need?
Is it more important that I have a place of honor and a title, or is it more important that I serve people and earn the right to share the gospel with them?
Is it more important that people look up to me, or is more important that they know how much I love them?
You see, it seems my goals up to this point in my life have been to be noticed, to be successful, to be taken seriously, to be loved, to be accepted, to receive accolades, and to NOT be abandoned…and the lie I have believed is that none of these things could happen as long as I am overweight.
But today….today I have new goals. My goals are to notice others, to help others succeed, to take others seriously, to love, to accept, to give accolades, and to help others see that there is a God who will never abandon them, and the truth is, I can do all of those things no matter how much I weigh.
Come back on Friday because I want to describe the bodies of five stunning women that God placed in my life to get me to this place of knowing change is possible. I can’t wait to tell you how they have all sacrificed things for me and to share with you a few things I plan on sacrificing as tribute to them.
Happy Monday y’all.