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.