I asked my daughter, Emily (11), to write me a story in the car this morning. She whipped this up in the 15 minute ride between the little sister drop off at the elementary school and her middle school.

**

I was sitting in church next to a lady. I didn’t know her. It was a new church.

I could almost feel the aroma of her presence. It made me smile!

I could feel that she put her faith in God and that she was happy.

That will probably never happen again.

It felt un-stressful, which doesn’t happen a lot, like the whole world could deal with their own problems.

That lady I sat by, with the leg that needed help with walking, was amazing.

**

Here’s the back story. About a month ago we started attending a new church. It was the first time we’d attended with the children and eldest daughter wasn’t brave enough to go to the middle school service, so she sat with us during “big church.” We were seated in the last row in a large sanctuary next to a middle-aged woman with a cane.

 Emily sat between her and I. We didn’t speak to her, nor her to us. I don’t recall she even looked at us or paid us any attention.

After the service, as we were walking out the door, Emily said to me, “Mom, that lady I sat next to? She’s awesome. I felt it.”

A moment of true discernment or childhood crazy? I took note.

A couple of weeks later we were attending the same church but without the children. As my husband and I were exiting, I caught sight of the lady with the cane. She was moving slow, perhaps due to a hip  or knee surgery of some sort. We were having a particularly difficult weekend and I was in no mood to do anything remotely Holy Spirit-ish.

And then I thought this was probably the exact time to do something Holy Spirit-ish, when our life was in tumult and we were questioning everything.

I told my husband to wait and I veered off in the other direction. I remember him catching sight of my target with the cane and saying, “oh, yeah. good.” He was proud of me.

“Excuse me,” I said to the woman.

“Yes,” she said, with a wide, bright smile. Emily was right, she shined even in pain.

“Our family sat next to you a few weeks ago.”

“Oh yes, I remember,” she said.

“My 11-year old daughter, Emily, told me after the service that she could feel that you were awesome.” It came out really awkward, I have to admit.

A beaming face shined even brighter, her back straightening in reaction to my utterance. She choked up and said, “oh my! You just made my week! Thank you so much!”

Her name is Anna.

**

Do you know what I love about this story? It’s what she didn’t say, what we as women usually do when someone gives us a radically positive comment.

“Oh, no I’m not!”

“That’s ridiculous! How silly!”

<insert head shake or eye roll>

Why do we continue to diminish our own awesomeness, ladies? We’re our children’s heroes, our partner’s soft place to fall. We’re daily combating injustices in the office or the classroom; we’re constantly conquering doubt, shame and guilt. We’re entrusted with raising other humans and teaching them how to love themselves and the Lord. We’re warriors for our families, our friends, ourselves.

And, yet, how often do we brush off compliments on our work ethic, our dedication to a cause, our patience, intelligence or beauty.

Let’s all take a lesson from the lady with the cane. Next time someone tells you you’re awesome, let it wash over you, brighten your already beautiful face and settle in your soul. Graciously and humbly say, thank you, and go about your day.

Walk with it.

Breathe it in .

Give it away.