A Glimpse of Unconditional Acceptance
I am excited that one my daughter’s friends is getting married in a few weeks. This wedding is special to me because my daughter is a bridesmaid and because the bride asked my daughter to design the engagement photo dress and the bridesmaids’ skirts for the wedding.
I admit I was surprised when I got an invitation to the bridal shower, because I have never interacted with her family.
I didn’t know what to expect and seriously considered not attending. I knew I always felt anxious whenever I met new people or when I was in new social environments.
It would have been so easy for me to send the gift by my daughter, but whenever I thought about doing that, I thought about this precious young woman, her love for God, and how she chose to live a life that reflected God’s love and joy. She had always been a source of light and grace and compassion, and I didn’t want to disappoint her.
I think a lot of my stress came from thinking about being alone at the event, having to engage in conversation with strangers, risking being shunned, or sitting all by myself.
Each scenario frightened me, but I knew I had to gather the courage to go. This day was not about me, and I wanted to show my love and support for the bride-to-be.
Even though I had no idea if the people would be friendly, or hostile, or judgmental, or accepting, I felt peace after praying for God’s comfort. This day would be like all my other days – I’m never alone because I always have the presence and power of the Holy Spirit with me.
So, I ordered the gift, got some rest, and prayed that the shower would be a blessing for her.
I was not prepared for the atmosphere I encountered! I felt welcomed, included, and accepted as soon as I walked in the door. Everywhere I turned, I was hugged, asked my name, and greeted like I was part of the family.
I never got the impression that as soon as I turned my back, someone would start tearing me to shreds – judging me or criticizing me.
No one stared at me rudely or asked what was wrong or tried to shame me for not, “Walking in divine health.” There was never a question about my faith or my ability to pray “fervently for healing.”
On the other hand, the young women seated at my table, never stopped catering to me and to the grandmothers sitting next to me.
When I went through the buffet line, no one complained, made a “tsk-tsk” sound, or rolled their eyes at my skimpy food selections. In fact, one woman leaned close and asked me if I had food sensitivities because her daughter did, too, and said that she understood.
After we ate, some of the older women took time to speak into the bride’s life. They used pantry staples as their theme. Each woman spoke about the item and then linked it to Christ-like traits needed to make a marriage successful.
A beautiful evening.
“Lord, is this how You designed true friendship and fellowship?” I wondered.
During the entire evening, I never noticed competitiveness, haughtiness, or rudeness.
That evening gave me a glimpse of true love and peace and joy and compassion and harmony – the feeling of one big happy family. No stress. No arguing. No tension. Everyone cherished. Everyone accepted. Everyone treated equally.
A glimpse of heaven. Feelings of safety. Trust that no harm can touch us under the watchful care of our Lord and Savior.
That day made me want to be a refined woman, to represent Christ with joy and grace. To open my life to love and acceptance without thoughts of self-preservation. To allow God to use my life to share and show His love to others. To venture onto the path He opens before me.
Questions for Reflection:
- Is there a special way you welcome guests into your home?
- Has there been a time when you felt enveloped in love while visiting someone for the first time?
- What characteristics do you look for when considering someone as a possible friend?