Not Today, Satan
By: Lindsay Tedder
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. - Ephesians 5:8 (ESV)
After a particularly difficult stay-at-home-mom week, I managed to escape to the grocery store ALONE. Solitude at its finest. I ran so fast out the door, I didn’t even look down to see how filthy my shirt was. The ride to the grocery store was filled with silence, tears, and prayers. I wasn’t in a great place. Self-care wasn’t on the top of my priority list; I was in survival mode. I made my way to the store successfully, despite my teary-eyed prayers. I sat in the parking lot, trying to get myself together enough to exit my car. I looked down at myself. Wow. What kind of hot mess express was I and how could I walk into this store?
Ironically, my shirt was white with big sparkly gold letters that read “Not today, Satan.” Boy, did I need that reminder. I said the words out loud. Then again and again. I put my hand to the handle and exited the vehicle with trepidation. I didn’t want to be seen. I wanted to be invisible – but I am not a person who easily walks in anywhere and is invisible. I have a presence that precedes me, and I often feel pressure to live up to that presence, even when I’m feeling too low to do so. The longer I was in the store, the more stains I noticed on my shirt. Every time I saw another stain, another memory flashed through my mind. Peanut butter and jelly smeared here, the bright blue remnants of the Play-Doh that was smashed into my shirt, there.
Then someone caught my attention and chuckled. “Great,” I ruminated, “they are going to have some stupid comment about ‘mom life’ or some other ridiculous way to point out the stains on my shirt.” But to my surprise, the chuckle was followed with, “I love your shirt!”
My “thanks” was quick and sent shockwaves through my body. I wondered how they could even see the words of my shirt when they were covered with so many disgusting stains. Moments later, another compliment. “Great shirt!” another shopper said, with a huge grin across her face. As I reached for a cucumber: “Oh my goodness… that’s hilarious… just what I needed today! Love your shirt!” What in the WORLD was happening? I was in the store for about 30 minutes and five, yes, FIVE people went out of their way to compliment my stain-saturated shirt!
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. - Ephesians 5:8
On a day when I felt the darkest, these strangers still saw light. They saw the glittering letters that formed a message, despite the stains surrounding them. The word above says that we were once in darkness but now we are light, so we must walk like children of the light. Despite the chaos of my week, despite how downtrodden I felt, the words of strangers made me realize I was still a child of light. Somehow that day in the grocery store made me realize that if His word lives in me, my light will shine even when I feel dark and dreary.
Are you filled with light? If you love Jesus, you are most definitely filled with light, even if you don’t feel like it!
How incredible that God sent these strangers to show me that my fire was still burning, and they saw my internal light and not the chaos that was swirling through my brain. The enemy tried hard that day to keep my light dim. Darn it if he hadn’t succeeded for a minute. But my Father came in and reminded me that even when I am overwhelmed, even when I am afraid, even when I am weak, even when I am tired, there is still a light within me that cannot be dimmed.
Lindsay Tedder is a believer, wife, mom, bestie and writer who lives in Columbus, Ohio with her bearded, bourbon-loving husband and her too-cool-for-school toddler. She is full of raw honesty, enthusiastic authenticity, amiable compassion, humble grit, powerful passion…and outrageous laughter, double chins, real life, and frothy nectar-of-the-gods coffee…because…coffee. Raised by a hardworking single mom, she overcame such trauma as sexual abuse induced food addiction, the debilitating health issues associated with endometriosis, a decade of infertility, and recurring life themes of worthlessness. Connect with her at www.LindsayTedder.com.
Originally published Friday, 29 April 2022.