The most significant spiritual marker I had in my married life occurred two years ago.
I go on a Minister’s Wives Retreat each year. I missed several years in a row early on because I didn’t make it a priority. Then, I found out that each year they give each attendee a bag. I love bags. Hand bags, reusable shopping bags, tote bags, you name it, I love it. The bags brought me back to the retreat. It is not in my plan to miss another one because I want my bag!
Back to the story. There is a higher percentage of the retreat attendees who are Caucasian. I love my Caucasian sisters in Christ. I admired them so much. Each one I meant was so open. They knew who they were, flaws and all, and I could still feel the love of Jesus emanating from them. I wanted that so badly. I couldn’t understand why we, African-American sisters in Christ, didn’t have that? I was striving to be perfect; mask my flaws by working to rid myself of them at all times. I always tried to have the perfect thing to say. I even tried to dress like my fellow African-American minister’s wives. It seems like I did everything I could to be this image of a woman with no visible spots or blemishes. What did I find out by living like this? Life truly sucked!
To be quite honest with you, I envied the Caucasian sisters in Christ that I saw there at the retreat. I wanted to be free like they were. I wanted to be me but still love the Lord too. I didn’t know how to get there so I asked the Lord.
My answer came during one of the breakout sessions. The session leader, referenced several scriptures but God spoke to me through 2 Cor. 4:7 & Psalm 51:16. This is the visual God gave me. Think about a candle that is put in a terracotta mug. The light only shines through the top of the mug. Think about that same candle put in a terracotta mug that has cracks in it. The light shines brighter in that mug. God uses my cracks (flaws, imperfections) in my earthen vessel (Xara) to shine His light through. He shines more through my cracks than in my perfection!
There was such a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders! I felt free. I didn’t feel heavy anymore. I started to enjoy myself. I began being comfortable in my own skin. I became more vocal about everything. It was amazing.
I felt like my Caucasian sisters. Francesca Battistelli says it best. I was free to be me.