The top drawer of my Grandmother’s dresser, it was a favorite weekend hangout. Rhinestone pendants and baubles lying in open boxes from department stores were a feast for curious eyes. I sashayed back and forth, posing faux pearls in the mirror of my adolescence, dreaming they might be mine one day.

Over the years, she put the lid on each box and slid them into my hands. Now, every time I open the top drawer of my dresser, I see her smile in a silver necklace laying next to the one my daughter gave me.

In the early years as missionaries, H and I returned home on furlough periodically to rest from work, cultivate relationships and raise support. We stood in bright lights of the church of our youth, hung our heads low at the touch of our pastor’s prayers, and embraced the hug of community.

On one of those visits, a friend who won the lottery tells me I shouldn’t wear jewelry like that. “It might give people the wrong idea,” she whispers at the front of the church. “After all, you’re asking for financial support and that necklace makes me think you don’t need money.”

I let her know it’s my grandmothers, that I wear it because it reminds me of her. It’s not real diamonds, just costume.

It’s the first of many examples of the way well-meaning people judge me as a pastor’s wife. My first test about whether I will allow what others think about me to define who I am?

I keep wearing my grandmother’s jewelry.

And I want to be James telling my friend to wipe the fog from the lens of her rose-colored glasses (James 2) but my soul lens is out of focus too. When I show favoritism toward people who are like me, I do not love my neighbor as myself.

Years later, my daughter clasps a silver strand around my neck. Uses money she earns serving chicken with a smile and “it’s my pleasure” to make her mother smile under the Christmas tree.

An embossed pendant of a branched bird shines on my chest. It’s not just a thoughtful gift from my daughter. It’s a love letter from God. One in a collection of metaphors with birds he uses to get my attention. Metaphors she doesn’t know about.

“Turn it over,” she instructs with pride. Matthew 6:26, it etches slight on the back.

I rub my fingers over the branches; feel the indents of scripture hanging around my neck. And I think about how I wear the promise hanging from heart every day since I stood before my friend with the smile of good intention.

If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. ~Matthew 6:26, MSG

Counting gifts with Ann in thankfulness for the way God takes care of our needs, never forgets about us even in silence. And for the way He never diminishes our dignity.

Amber’s, word prompt, necklace, in her Monday posts about Writing and Concrete Abstractions, inspired this post.

Linking with dear friends: Laura, Michelle, Jen and Eileen, Just Write and Mercy(Ink).