My husband gave me a soft nubby-textured shawl for my birthday. But it wasn’t just any shawl. It was a Giving Shawl.
I recently spotted it in a local gift shop but didn’t pay too much attention to its name. So when I released the soft ribbon surrounding the shawl to find a label with the words Giving Shawl sewn onto the pocket, I was torn.
I loved everything about it but felt an odd sort of guilt for wanting to keep it. After all, the shawl was created to be given away.
In the same pocket was a cloth bookmark with these words:
“We all need a little comfort now and then…A reminder to help us know that we are not alone in the world…That there is someone in our corner, ready with a hug, no matter what. Always know you are being thought of, cheered on, And loved for exactly who you are⏤Someone who is beautifully and wonderfully made.”
It was the last line that left a lump in my throat.
You see, this year I’ve gained more than two books on the Amazon shelf. I’ve also gained weight and a lot of it. I shun the camera and scold Brian for posting my picture (unless it’s pre-2016) on his Facebook page. The mirror is my foe, not my friend. I avoid seeing people who knew me before the shift in weight, imagining the words they must be thinking when they see me.
Maybe I was, in fact, the intended recipient after all.
The Giving Shawl lay bare my desire to offer grace to others but receive it at sloth-like speed for myself.
Growing up, weight was a dirty word on my dad’s side of the family. The recordings to stay a particular size for everyone’s benefit have played in the background of my mind for most of my life. So while this post isn’t written from a place of victory (yet!) it is written from a place of desire. A desire not only for myself but also for my granddaughters because the way we view ourselves affects those in our sphere of influence whether we realize it or not. Just as I prayed the destructive cycle of divorce would end with my boys, I now see the need to pray with the same fervency that a Christ-centered cycle of healthy self-acceptance begins with me.
So, as I drape this Giving Shawl around my shoulders, I will remember:
- The only weight that defines my worth is the weight of my sin Jesus bore on the cross.
- My heavenly Father, husband, family, and friends love me unconditionally.
- Just as I pray to see others as Christ sees them, I can embrace this desire for myself as well.
- Acknowledging the need to take better care of myself physically is a gift from the Lord.
- Even so, if the scale never budges, I will still be the apple of my Father’s eye. (Psalm 17:8)
One last tag in the box calls the shawl a “Giftable Hug” and that’s exactly how it feels.
The Giving Shawl is available on Amazon but if you’re local to Upstate SC, it can be purchased for less at Expressions Unlimited in Greenville.
Join the Creative Pauses community!
Sign up for the monthly "Letter from The Tiny House on the Hill" and receive the latest seasonal gift, bi-weekly posts, creative biblical resources, and a monthly giveaway!
You can unsubscribe at any time.
I hate spam! Your personal information is safe and will never be shared.
The weight struggle is all too real for many of us. We are bombarded with images of people who have lost so many pounds and we can too if we just try Diet A or Diet Z. These images and postings make us feel that we will never experience true freedom until we get to a certain weight. But Cathy, we know that is not so. True freedom is only in Christ.
Yes, you are so right, Linda! In Christ alone! Thank you for taking the time to share. It’s always nice to know we’re not alone in the struggle. Miss you!!
Cathy you are so beautiful. I never think of anything from the physical aspect of who or what you are. I’m not saying that should not be a concern if it affects a health issue. Your beauty comes from the heart and soul of who you are. I’ve been so blessed ever time I read something you write, and your words are beautiful as well. Elaine
Oh, thank you, Elaine. You encourage me so often. 🙂 I wrote this post for anyone who might struggle as I do. I hope it offers as much encouragement to others as you’ve given me. ((( Hugs! )))
Happy belated birthday, Cathy. You’ve been a gift from God that I can count as my beautiful friend.
Putting on weight has become an issue for me too. Your words here are encouraging and on target. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for my birthday wishes. Having you visit earlier this month was the best gift ever. 🙂 I’m thankful the post encouraged you as that is my heart’s desire.
Weight. Phew. I get you. Weight of sin, body, and identity. Jesus promises His burden is light, yet many of His followers feel burdened beyond our capability to stand. I appreciate your transparency, Cathy. It’s what makes you real. I also appreciate how you left us with desire, hope, and perspective. We are the apple of our Father’s eye…anyway.
Amen, sister! How could we ask for more? 🙂 P.S. LOVE your new picture, Charla!
Thank you! My sweet, young photographer had a ball with this camera-shy woman!
Well, your sweet, young photographer is also very talented. I’m also camera-shy. High five, Charla! 🙂
Cathy I only see your beauty. I’ve never thought about your body style. I think for most it’s an inner battle. We all yearn for the younger self. Before weight-gain, hot flashes, diminished vision and age spots.
Mostly I think of my mom who could have lived past age 53 if she had taken care of herself and I would have gotten to appreciate her more as an adult.
So my weight struggle is about desiring to be here for my family and physically enjoy living. God loves me as I am and Satan uses it to try and defeat me. If you need a weight loss partner we could do this together!
I love this, Daphne — and you’re so right!!! I’m liking that partner idea. 🙂