She sat down next to me, leaned in, and smiled wide. Behind black-rimmed glasses, her eyes showed kindness and welcome. Her outfit was simple but chic, cozy, and effortlessly cute — a lightweight sweater over black leggings. Five minutes passed quickly as we caught up on life, diving right in and skipping past the casual chit-chat.
And then just like that, she was gone, walking up to the front in her black and white tennis shoes, preparing to lead us in worship.
I turned to my right, locked eyes with another friend, and honestly answered her question of “How are you?” with “It’s been a really difficult week.”
She listened intently, gently encouraging me simply by making room for an answer other than “I’m fine.”
The music began, we sang the Doxology, and I knew there was freedom to sit or stand, to sing or cry, to kneel or dance.
She stood beside me, hands lifted high, bare feet tap-tapping on the carpet. Wearing a tee and athletic shorts, with her hair pulled back in a messy bun, she sang along as the band played. When the music ended, she rested her head on my shoulder, told me to text if I needed anything, slipped her feet into her sandals, and set out on the short walk home.
I mention their outfits for one reason: if you look closely, you’ll find that they were both wearing the same thing.
Earlier that afternoon, hours before walking up the stairs and into the loft where voices rang out in worship on a humid summer night, I read these verses:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
The Message version says it this way:
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Two women. Two totally different outfits. Two unique backgrounds. One common theme of love and kindness.
They have no idea I’m writing about them, and they’d likely laugh and say “It was nothing!” if they saw these words. After all, each woman was simply being a friend. But isn’t that what love looks like when it puts on skin and walks around?
We can give it a name, call it something fancy like the “Ministry of Putting on Love,” but when it comes down to it, it’s actually rather ordinary and simple.
It’s a hand stretched out, a friendly face, a listening ear. It’s asking “How are you?” and waiting for the response. It’s the freedom to be yourself and the reminder that you’re welcome just as you are. It’s a seat at the table, an encouraging text message, a hug.
Sometimes love looks like a grand gesture. Sometimes it’s extremely expensive, a sacrifice of time or money. But that night, love looked like a welcoming smile and a listening ear. It cost very little, yet made an impact, rippling out wider and wider all the way to your computer screen today.
I wonder if we make it too complicated some days, forgetting that as we slip on our shoes and head out the door, we’re bringing Love with us.
This is my prayer for you and for me, for all of us learning what it looks like to love much and love well:
Dear God, remind me today that You are always and ever with me. Wherever I go, I carry Love, and so I ask that You give me eyes to see each person I encounter as Your child. When I slip into familiar patterns of pride or impatience, help me reach instead for humility and kindness. Show me how to wear love in every season. When I over-complicate things and focus on the big and grand, bring me back to the small and simple. Thank You for loving me so well. May I be an extension of Your love to those around me today. Amen.
God, show me how to wear love in every season. When I over-complicate things and focus on the big and grand, bring me back to the small and simple. -@kaitlyn_bouch Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Beautiful…I love this! At my age I basically know how to dress myself. I will admit, however, that I’ve walked out of the house forgetting to put on both earrings, wearing two different socks, or forgetting deodorant. Your post reminds me just how insignificant these are…and that I am ultimately to clothe myself in love before I walk out the door. I’m a visual person, so I may just make a hanger that says “LOVE” in big, bold letters, and hang it in the front of my closet. To put on love, compassion, and kindness takes humility. It takes setting aside the “Me” itinerary and making room for the “There YOU are” mindset. Thank you for challenging me as to what “wearing love” will look like today, tomorrow, and the next day!
Tara Archibald says
I love the “love” sign on the closet door idea! A great reminder to put on love above all else. I think we’ve all been there done that when it comes to forgetting some “necessary” part of our outfit. But like you said, the greatest of these is love. 🙂
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
I *love* that idea, Beth. If you do and if you take a picture, please tag me so I can see!
Beautiful message of encouragement. The “with-ness” of these people allows you to see, touch, and feel His love. Bringing it to life. It’s resurrection love. Thank you for reminding us all that the small and simple hold His power as well. Live blessed this day.
Sara Meredith says
For such a long time I believed that I needed to look a certain way, fit a certain description to be loved by God. That my image was not the image he wanted to share his name. How wrong was I my actions will always speak louder than my top. My desire to love upon on others will always be love more than my clothes. This is a reminder that I so needed as I was struggling again only this week in judging my appearance and judging myself. My heart is what God searches for and i hope and pray he finds it open and loving.
Tara Archibald says
Love that…”my actions will always speak louder than my top.” So spot on! What a great reminder and so true! I struggle with the perfection infection too. But like you said, God sees the heart and that is the most important thing.
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
This: “…my actions will always speak louder than my top.”
I love this post! So different… a new way of looking at wearing love…
What a lovely way to start the day. I need to read this everyday. I want to be this person but some days seem more difficult than others. I make a pledge to myself today to cloth myself with more love and joy. The whole world needs to read and absorb this message. Oh, how each of us could see what a peaceful and magnificent place the world would with be if each of us was dressed in love. Thank you for your words of inspiration.
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Happy to start the day with you!
“Her outfit was simple but chic, cozy, and effortlessly cute …”
“When I over-complicate things and focus on the big and grand, bring me back to the small and simple.”
When I get dressed every day, I do hope I look “effortlessly cute”. I have no idea why this is my aim every day! I feel more confident to share the Lord when I “look the part” and then what is “the part” I ask myself this question all. the. time. Seriously, I ask it every day I put my clothes on, so reading your words are wonderful. I don’t really feel alone in it. It always makes me think I’m full of pride ( or vain) but we are unique in our relationship with God. In my older age, now (I do pray) when I dress each morning. I aim now to look like God in heaven created me to look (on this day.) Dear God, what is Your choice of “effortlessly cute” for my meeting, my lunch with friends, my volunteering, for a day with my grandchildren, or for my evening out with my husband, or leading a group at Bible Study Fellowship? And don’t you know it… God helps me when we ask him. HE adds or takes off and then puts His touch of LOVE on us until we are content. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the Scripture, too. I loved this.
Jen C says
Kaitlyn, thank you for such great encouragement. This is much needed as I tend to ” over complicate” things. Thanks for reminding me to focus on the small and simple, all while wearing love!
@Bev, I love that idea of the visual LOVE to hang on your closet door!
Have a blessed day, ladies!
Thank you! I too shall be making a sign for my closet door! I get busy wondering what shall I wear, thanks for reminding me the most important things I need to remember! If everyone would do this what a beautiful world it would be! However , let it begin with me !
I don’t want to forget to dress myself with His love that will flow to others. Blessings to you all.
Beth Williams says
Spot on post!! Just heard a sermon by Dr. David Jeremiah on worry. One passage he used was Matthew 6:25-29 where Jesus tells us not to worry-especially about the clothes we wear. We are so consumed with how we look & rushing around that we often forget about putting on love & compassion. We may not realize it at the time, but our actions speak louder than words. It only takes a few minutes of our time to talk with someone. Just ask them how they are doing & listen to them. Anymore I won’t take an “I’m fine” answer. I want to know how you are doing. What troubles/trials are you facing? Can I pray for you? Some things I do that take little to no time or effort are to smile often & say hello. That cherry smile may just brighten someone’s day. I work in a hospital. Patients & their families don’t want to be there. Often times I will ask them if they need anything or if I can help them. My way of trying to make an uncomfortable situation a little better. I feel I’m spreading some of God’s love along the way. Everyone could use a friendly smile or pat on the back now & then. Let’s go out the door wearing compassion & love.
The messages are all so positive. I hope that more people will be able to wear love as they go out and face the World. I’m usually that silly ALMOST old lady who you get behind in line at the store. Usually I have formed some type of connection with the sales associate, customer rep, whom you may be waiting in line to see. Please show RESPECT For the connection, it’s probably the right person to help you out too. ie:get things done correctly and in a timely, friendly manner. Guess what? You’re probably going to form some kind of bond with the sales associate you’re waiting to see. Patience is a virtue. Strive to be the person who wears their love on their outfits. You’re going to be SO much happier! ♀️❤
Powerful message! Beautiful reminder of how we are to love one another at all times, exemplifying Love.
I admit that I struggle with “that person” who “gets on my last nerve” sometimes. So, I’m writing this verse in my scripture journal – a close reference.
Thanks and have a great day!
Being kind and showing love doesn’t cost us a single thing. We just never know whom we would be lifting up with one simple kind gesture or word. I know most people just want to be acknowledge and we are called to love and serve others. I truly believe that when one person passes that kindness around, it is infectious and contagious and can brighten so many lives out there. I tell my hubby all the time that small acts of kindness makes all the difference in the world. I don’t need anyone to do anything grand for me, just a simple, “hey I was thinking of you” brings such a huge smile to my heart…. Thank you for sharing this message.