“Don’t worry, it will be fun,” my husband reassured. “All you have to do is stand by me and look beautiful.” 
The way he said it didn’t sound so bad, a formal dinner dance could be fun. If he thought I’d be beautiful, then beautiful I would be!
He continued, “We’ll go shopping and get you a new gown.”
Good thing. The only gowns I’ve ever owned are my wedding gown and ten (really, ten) bridesmaids dresses. Pretty sure none of them fit me now.
The problem was a new gown required shopping. Maybe it’s because I grew up on hand-me-downs or perhaps I’m missing some unknown female chromosome, but I do not like to shop. I dread shopping.
Thankfully, my retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, Chiefs of Staff husband fears little in life. Not even shopping. So off we went.
He waited patiently as I tried on the frilly, ruffled dresses I’d picked out. They made me look like Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke. Fashion is not my forte.
Then I tried on the one dress he selected. It was pure elegance. I felt like a queen. We’d found our gown! He gave me that, Why do you think shopping is so difficult? kind of expression.
So the other day, I went off on my own to buy shoes, a strapless bra and slip to complete the outfit. Inspired by my husband, I went shopping without fear. Shoes were the first thing to find.
The daper, young salesman asked what I needed. He smiled broadly anticipating a sale.
“I need shoes for a formal event…” I explained.
He nodded and smiled.

“Got it! Follow me.” 

“I need silver, beige or grey.”

“No problem,” he assured me.

He picked up something I couldn’t see, and proudly turned to show it to me.

“Oh…I forgot to mention, I have a bad back, can’t wear heels.”

His smile faded, replaced by a worried expression.

 

“Okay, what about these?” he asked holding up a pair of jeweled flats in the several hundred dollar range.

“Sorry, on a budget. With narrow feet. I’d step right out of those.”

Several pairs of shoes later, he shook his head, blinked back a tear, and admited defeat. He said my joke about gluing glitter onto my sneakers was actually a good idea, and waved good bye.

Hours later I found shoes I could afford, would stay on my feet, and not give me too much of a backache. I was very tired from shopping, and my aches and pains were in full force, but I pressed on. How hard could it be to find a strapless bra and slip?

I asked the young lady in the store for suggestions. She said I’d love this particular item because she wore this exact thing for her prom and loved it.

In the dressing room, I tried on the recommended strapless bra-slip combination. Only there was nothing about it that would actually slip. In fact it hardly moved at all. It was like trying on rubber velcro. I got it on, sort of. Half on. Half off.
Then I was stuck.
Completely stuck.

There I was a mostly naked, fifty year old woman, arms raised over my head, stuck in some sort of figure control contraption that would not go on or come off.

I thought about using my cell phone to call for help, but with my arms stuck in a full, upright position over my head like a giraffe’s neck, I’d have to lean way down for my fingers to find the phone buried somewhere in my purse. All the blood would rush to my head and I’d pass out. Not a good plan.

I couldn’t even see through the fabric to know if little Miss Homecoming Queen was nearby and could call 911. Perhaps the firemen could use the Jaws of Life to cut me out of the thing. They use the Jaws of Life to rescue people trapped in cars crumpled and crushed after an auto accident. Maybe it would even be able to rescue me from a bra.

Somehow, I got myself out of the non-slip-slip-thing, though in the process I pulled a back muscle. (Not kidding.) Before the firemen arrived, I escaped to another store.

I searched for the right garment, pushing hangers across the metal rod that suspended them. Then, for some reason the whole rack fell apart with one little push. Bras flew off the rack left and right, and scattered across the floor.
(Again, not kidding.)

Finally, I found the right little number and tried it on in the dressing room. I felt pretty triumphant until one of the hooks caught under my fingernail as the elastic garment sprung open. It ripped the flesh under my nail so blood dripped down my fingers. (Really not kidding!)

I grabbed a slip, not caring about the size, and paid for the two items before the salesgirl could notice the trail of blood behind me.

So maybe now you can understand why I don’t like shopping.

But I do look forward to going out with my husband, dressed up like the beautiful woman he believes I am.

Even better is knowing that the Lord of the Universe thinks we — you and me — are beautiful.

He created and fashioned you in a wonderful way. He knows your inmost being, the core of who you are, your deepest thoughts, feelings, dreams and desires.
And he loves you.
More than you can imagine.
Go out into the world today knowing you are beautiful and loved with an Everlasting Love.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.                         Psalm 139: 13-14