“You look lovely just the way you are. Let’s go,” my husband coaxed me toward the door. Was that a compliment or him hurrying me to leave?
Jim’s last-minute suggestion of lunch at the Cotton Patch restaurant made my mouth water just thinking about a double order of their fried okra and homemade biscuits. The problem…I wasn’t dressed for going out in public. The granny jeans and plain t-shirt I wore were at the top of our daughter’s “What Not To Wear” list. Worse yet was my no-make-up look. The last time I poked my nose out of the house sans full face of foundation, eyeliner and mascara, I was 12 years old.
On that Saturday morning, the doorbell rang at 7 AM. While still trying to shake cobwebs out of my brain, I thumped through the living room in rumpled PJ’s and pink fluffy slippers to see who came calling at the crack of dawn.
“Surprise!” my friend stood outside our screened door with her mother. “It’s a ‘Come As You Are’ party. C’mon!”
I wiped sleep out of my eyes and ran fingers through my haystack of hair flying in every direction. I hardly looked presentable to go anywhere, much less a party. Mom snuck up behind me and pushed me out the door, chuckling, “Have a great time.”
“No way.” I mumbled while putting on a mask of joviality to hide my self-consciousness. Just like I now did with my husband. Too weary to argue and hearing the cry of fried okra beckoning from the Cotton Patch stove top, I relented and strolled to the car. Sans makeup. In frumpy jeans.
Seated at the restaurant, the waitress asked for our order. My moment of truth arrived. Lowering the menu I used to hide my face, I looked the lady straight in the eye. “I’ll have two fried okras, green beans and roast beef.”
“Good choice,” she responded, returning my eye contact with a genuine smile and approving nod. No startled look or cringe at the sight of my freshly scrubbed face. Well, this was going better than expected. Even fellow diners didn’t faint or point at my shiny nose and whisper.
With new-found confidence, I vowed to try the clean look more often and remembered that “Come As You Are” party. I arrived to find eight other girlfriends, all in various stages of dishevelment. No one cared how I looked. They welcomed me just as I was.
So, over a double order of fried okra at the Cotton Patch, the Spirit used my blessed husband to remind me…God wants me to come just as I am into His presence. Sans Sunday dress or pious face. Authentic me. Wrinkles, spider veins, weariness, hurts, fears and all. Oswald Chambers once said, “If we…put on our Sunday moods before we come near to God, we will never come near Him.” However I look or feel, whatever my present or past, He calls, “Just come as you are.”
Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God doesn’t show partiality. In
every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.”
(Acts 10:34-35, NLT)
©2011 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.