I was about seven years of age, walking with my family down the Mexico corridors. Our father had given us five dollars to spend how we wanted. We were transfixed on the aromas of Mexican cuisine, and shopped for little souvenirs, like the tiny Mexican dolls you can pin to your bags. I remember walking and eyeing everything around me, from the architecture to the people.
And then this is when it happened. I don’t know if it was because I was half the height I am now, but I met her eyes very quickly. She was a young woman, wrapped only in a maroon shawl, breastfeeding her baby. She was looking at me, and I instantly felt drawn to her. She had dark eyes, and her black hair fell across her face as though she were living in shame. Without regard to my family, I walked towards her, and held out my five dollars. She looked at me a little mystified, and then, shyly, she took it. From that moment on, and as I grew older, I began to remember her more and more.
I wanted to share this story of mine, because it directly reflects my belief that God meets us in our most vulnerable state of being. And till this day, I can vividly see her face. I can see her eyes and her small smile. It didn’t matter to either one of us the fact that it was just five dollars; it was the fact that anyone came up to her at all. She probably thought she was being unnoticed. She was insignificant. Her only purpose was to feed her baby and to sit lowly against a wall. I wanted to make her feel—in some tiny way—that she mattered.
At my current age, I am now in awe at this story; I somehow see myself in her now, even all of these years later. And it’s not just the black hair or eyes… she seemed broken, alone and insignificant. For many years of my life, this is exactly how I felt. It effected my personality. I would sit crouched over, extremely shy—always feeling unworthy and unnoticed. But then God met me—in the most intimate of ways—and told me that I am His. God extended His hand to me, and timidly, I took it, not fully knowing what it would entail; it was the first day of not living in a constant state of reticence.
The bashfulness lasted for majority of my life between junior high up to my last year in high school. It was so bad, I specifically remember only speaking once in my 8th grade English class, and that was because I was called upon to read. I specifically remember one girl saying, “Awe, your voice is so sweet.” Of course there are things in my life that have contributed to living in this fearful state, but God lavished His love on me through it all.
Am I still a work in progress? Yes. But, I’m not afraid to speak any more like I once was. The more I compliment people and encourage them at random moments, the more I realize how much time I wasted being shy. You don’t have to be shouting every single day of your life to show you love God, but He does love when we step in boldness for Him; but don’t worry, because His grace will never leave you. You are just as valuable as any other Christian proclaiming the truth; “But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law” James 2:9. Christ didn’t compare… as long as you’re praising Him with all of your being. He knows you in a way no human being ever will and He sees your heart.
We need to be as children, walking in love and light, without condemnation. We need to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” Ephesians 4:2. We need to take on the attributes of God. I know He’s the same God He was for the woman in Mexico as He is for me. He showed me this. He hasn’t overlooked me, just like He didn’t overlook her. And in every way conceivable and unconceivable on this earth, He hasn’t forgotten about you.
“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31