Outward Appearance

My Granny was a funny lady. There was not one ounce of pretentiousness about her. She didn’t wear make up, her wardrobe consisted of house dresses and work clothes for working on the farm. She wore sensible shoes, and probably never once went to the mall. She didn’t drive, on the road that is. She sometimes drove the farm truck to the field. Even the cows knew to give her a wide berth.

After she died, we found every nice piece of clothing (mostly pj’s and robes) we ever gave her packed nicely in her cedar chest. She never wore them. She was saving them. I’m not sure what for, but it was kind of funny to find them like that. All neat and well preserved. She had no use for them, really.

My granny laughed a lot. She found odd things funny. I guess that’s where I get it. She was also quite a bit superstitious. She didn’t walk under ladders, avoided black cats, and felt that men who parted their hair in the middle were lazy. Where in the world she got that last one, I will never know.

Her phone was on a party line and she was not above listening in to a conversation or two.

Neither was she shy about jumping into the conversation if she felt like it. She believed in midday naps, and would lie down with me in the heat of the day to encourage me to take one. She always fell asleep. I never did.

She sewed, quilted, crocheted, canned and cooked- three hot meals a day. She grew the best strawberries in Blount County. She never got in a hurry. She got up when she woke up- before the sun- and went to bed soon after the sun did.

She was afraid of some crazy things, and would never let me far from sight when I visited her and my Pawpaw on their farm for fear of some of those things happening to me. She loved me like crazy though, and hardly ever told me “no”. She let me help her make biscuits from scratch, shell peas, and make jelly. She let me help pick the vegetables from the field; except for the okra cause it would make my hands itch. I could feed the cows and ride the mule. His name was John.

My Granny died of cancer when I was just a teenager. I hate that. She would have loved my kids to pieces. A few years after she died, I grew concerned about whether or not my Granny knew Jesus. I knew a lot about her, but I didn’t know that. So I asked my mom who told me she felt sure that she did.

She said that as a girl, my granny went to church regularly, and that as adults my grandparents were just very private about their beliefs. She told me my grandparents didn’t attend church for a reason I found really sad. My grandparents didn’t own a fine car; all they had was an old farm truck. They didn’t have fine clothes. She wore house dresses remember? And my Pawpaw was never seen out of his overalls. (I used to wonder if he slept in them.)

They didn’t attend church because they didn’t feel worthy. Not in God’s eyes, but in the eyes of men.

I was saddened by that news. Sad that they would allow what people thought to interfere in their pursuit of corporate worship, and sad (and a little mad) at attitudes like that from within the church.

I’d like to say that those attitudes are long gone from churches of today. I’d like to say that. Church can often still look like fashion week. People worry more about the condition of their clothes than the condition of their hearts. Church is still often a place to see and be seen rather than a place to experience real worship and to hear God speaking.

I find that I easily slip into this foible myself.

I spend far too much time preparing my outer appearance for church, and far too little time preparing my heart for the worship experience.

I worry that my shoes match my outfit, and that I find just the right accessories to complete my look. I worry far less about whether or not my actions match what I say I believe.

I’ve heard it said before that we should offer our best to the Lord. Sure, but I really don’t think God is concerned that our wardrobe is beautiful, as much as he is concerned that what we offer from our hearts is beautiful.

I am convinced that God would rather see one old lady in a house dress that truly loves Him, and lives out her faith, than a whole truckload of fashionistas that show up just to see and be seen.

What do you think?

One thought on “Outward Appearance

  1. Amen Sister!  We’ve been enjoying sermons from 1, 2, & 3 John the past few weeks.  I do think I need more time in prayer, before going to church, to prepare my heart.  Thanks for the insights!

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