Dressing Room Prayers
I was running in to try something on. Just a few minutes and I’d be on my way.
Dressing rooms are usually quiet places. If you hear anything, it’s along the lines of, “That’s pretty, but I liked the green one better.”
“Should I try another size?”
“Hey, we’re heading to the food court. Meet us when you’re done.”
“Agh! What was I thinking?!”
And it’s not uncommon to hear small, restless children with far too much energy for such a small space. But have you ever heard a person crying?
And this wasn’t ‘normal’ crying. This was a young woman in agony. I say ‘young’, but I can’t know for sure. I never saw her. Nor did I see the person she was with. She was on the verge of sobbing.
I heard the gentle voice of the woman with her. Her mother, perhaps? Grandmother or aunt? Older sister or friend? This person clearly loved her and was trying to help.
I didn’t want to eavesdrop, but they were only a few feet away.
Her loved one spoke in hushed tones, “We’ll find something… It’s okay…no need… always… to cover yourself … dresses and…
I’ll go outside… Take your time…”
After her companion left, there was a brief pause and then, again, tears.
Was she overweight? (Gee, why would I automatically assume that?) Did she think she was too tall or too short? Was she crippled in some way or deformed? Did she have a noticeable skin condition? Were there scars from an injury or life-saving surgery? Perhaps she was a ‘cutter’ whose limbs were now scarred and difficult to cover?
I wondered what had happened in this person’s life. Was she abused? Had she been abandoned or neglected? Had poor choices left her with visible consequences? You’ve probably seen the videos of what happens to people on crystal meth. It wrecks those who use it.
Or alcohol? Who doesn’t know someone who’s life and body are scarred by alcoholism? Overeating? Did she binge as a way of coping with stress?
It’s entirely possible that she was a perfectly lovely individual and only perceived herself as unattractive due to emotional trauma or abuse. It happens to men and women of all ages. Individuals, who, when asked to describe themselves, produce images that suggest monsters rather than humans. It’s called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Researchers estimate that 1 in 50 people suffer from it.
That’s nearly 10 million people in the United States alone, y’all.
I’ll never know. I never saw the woman in agony. Never saw her companion. But the memory will be with me for years.
“…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I Samuel 16:7b
God allowed me to ‘see’ so much in those few moments. I’ve prayed for her many times since. Will you pray for her, too? And ask a special blessing on her companion, who was so patient and compassionate.
“Please heal her, Father, this woman whose name I will never know. You are ‘the God who sees’. Just as you saw Hagar in her distress, and came to her aide, help this woman. Wherever she is, whatever the issue is that grieves her, I ask your blessing and your presence in her life. If it’s your will, please heal her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Open her eyes, Lord, so that she can see herself as You see her. And God, bless her companion for the tender concern that she has for others. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”