It was my second visit to the small Odessa, Texas store. My husband and I were visiting his family and I remembered loving the knick knacks and cute decorations in the store. I was anxious to get back to the shop and find something for the house.
I followed my mother-in-law through the glass doors, catching up with her, when a young woman, an employee, in a T-shirt and jeans looked up from the counter.
“How are you guys?” she asked, smiling.
“Doing great,” my mother-in-law said. “How are you?”
She didn’t hesitate: “Blessed and highly favored,” she said.
It sounded strange to me at first. Then I found it awesome. Here’s why: The store, dubbed WOW! (Women of Worth) Fashion Warehouse, is a work training program for single women and their children. The store was started by Mission Messiah, an Odessa ministry that helps primarily women who have dealt with drug or alcohol abuse, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders and physical or sexual abuse.
This woman behind the counter probably had a painful story to tell, and yet, her response wasn’t the perfunctory “Doing well” or “Just fine.” It was “blessed and highly favored.”
Scattered throughout that Odessa store are photos and testimonies of the women who work there— testimonies of pain and broken bones and addictions, and always, always at the end, grace.
It matters that this woman was able to say that after all she’s been through. It reminded me that we are stronger than what happens to us. I don’t know what your story is. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I hope you know that you’re blessed and highly favored. If you haven’t heard that lately, read it again: You are blessed and highly favored.
In all honesty, I don’t always believe it. I say I’m OK most of the time. I shrug when I say it, like things could be better. I don’t say I’m tired and I locked my keys in my car the other day or the dog tore up another pillow or I didn’t hear back from that magazine. I say I’m fine.
I say the easy thing, and I tell myself I’m making it, and I forget that grace has chosen me for more than fine.
Whatever sludge you’ve had to crawl through, whatever scrapes you boast, you are blessed right now and you are highly favored in that those blessings will continue. Maybe you have one really good friend. Maybe your blessing is this website. Maybe it’s that song spinning on repeat on your iPod.
And you are highly favored in that God has great plans for you, impossible plans that you never imagined, an impossible recovery that you never dreamed.
There are two beautiful parts to grace: blessing and favor, and you’ve been promised both, so don’t say you’re fine. Don’t say you’re OK. Tell your story. Cry a little. Stay hopeful. Today, there’s only one question, one single, but important question: how are you?
Also, if you’re ever in Odessa, Texas, check out WOW! The store is located at 815 North Grandview.
Photo Cover Credit: Flickr Creative Commons