LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth… What is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor (Ps. 8:1; 4-5 — NIV).

Her cheery countenance greeted me at the guest relations counter. She wore an all-black uniform, with a bright blue headband that stood out against her dark skin and hair. 

“Good morning,” she said. “How can I help you?”

“I’m checking out,” I replied. “I just wanted to be sure I was squared away.”

“Let me check that for you. What’s the name?”

“Miller. Rooms 214 and 216.”

Her fingers danced on computer keys as she pulled up my account.

“Yes, m’am. You’re good to go. Was everything to your satisfaction?” 

“Everything was wonderful,” I replied. “Thank you.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” 

She paused, and her smiling eyes shifted slightly. “I love your headband,” she complimented. “It’s so colorful.”

It was my favorite, too. “Oh, thank you. It goes with just about everything.” 

Our eyes met again. “Safe travels,” she offered.

“Thank you, and Happy New Year.”

The late December air nipped my cheeks as the hotel’s automatic doors opened, and I stepped into the blustery Detroit morning. The warmth of my car was a welcome relief. 

“Brrr,” I said to my kids, who were waiting for me. “We’re definitely in Michigan.”

Before pulling out to begin our day’s journey north, I programmed my GPS with our next destination. We were caravanning with my eldest son and his girlfriend, as well as another young couple — all of us heading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a week of snowmobiling and winter fun at our family farm. 

As we sat idling, waiting for the others to pull around, I heard a still, small voice, Give her your headband. 


Give her your headband.

I shifted in my seat, suddenly uncomfortable. Had I heard correctly? I asked again. What? Really?

There were all sorts of justifications running through my mind in that moment. It was just a silly headband. Who would want to wear someone else’s? She’d think I was crazy. She would throw it away, afraid it was dirty. It was too cold to get out of the car and go back inside. 

Anyway, I don’t want to give it away. I love it, I argued. 

My banter with God was suddenly interrupted by an incoming call. 

“Good morning,” I said to my husband, who was calling from work. He was to join us in Michigan in several days — flying north rather than driving from our North Carolina home. 

“Are you on your way?” he asked.

“Just getting ready to pull out. I’m waiting on Ian and the others. I think they’re loading the truck.”

“How’s the weather?” 

“Cold. Slightly overcast, but not as windy as last night. It snowed a little.”

“Well, be safe, and don’t forget to send me pictures.”

I knew Bill was sad to not be with us, but he had to work. Besides, he didn’t really enjoy long road trips, so flying was actually a relief to him.

We hung up, and I held up my phone to take a selfie of me and my two youngest children. “Say ‘cheese’.”

I texted the photo to Bill and almost immediately got a reply. Hey. That’s a recycled picture, he’d written. Isn’t it the same one you took yesterday?

I wrote back, No, Silly. Can’t you tell. Different headband.

I’m known for my plethora of headbands — ranging in colors and patterns. I’d taken a selfie of the three of us the day before as we’d waited in a drive-thru line and sent it to Bill.

Another text came through. Hahaha, he’d written. Nice headband.

And then I knew. I had heard correctly. God wanted me to walk back into the Hampton Inn and give the sweet young lady my colorful headband. All the reasonable justifications in the world wouldn’t change that, because sometimes God calls us to holiness by asking that we do what might seem unreasonable. Plain and simple. 

Before I could change my mind, I told the kids, “I’ll be right back.” 

“What are you doing now?” my nineteen-year old moaned.

“I need to go back in for a moment.”

“I want to go with you,” Allie, my nine-year old said, unbuckling.

“Let’s go.”

We stepped out of the cozy car and into the chill, my heart pounding. 

She’s gonna think I’m crazy, I complained to God.

“Hey. I’m back again,” I said. 

“Already? I hope everything’s okay.” Her smile was radiant — her white teeth a beautiful contrast to her dark skin.

I paused for a moment — then, “God told me to give you my headband.” 

I took it off and handed it to her. She stared at me, her smile broadening. 

“I promise it’s clean, but it can be washed,” I added. 

Without hesitation, the young woman came around the guest relations counter and wrapped her arms around me. “Oh my goodness. Bless you for your kindness and for listening to God,” she said. “Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome. It will look beautiful on you.”

We smiled at one another once more. “Safe travels,” she said again.

“Thank you. Happy New Year.”

Sometimes God asks us to do strange things to demonstrate His holiness. His love. His ministry of reconciliation. 

We don’t always know why or what impact our obedience will make. He just asks that we obey. After all, He’s writing a story with our lives. This experience is now part of my story and hers, as well as my daughter’s, who witnessed this simple act.

I could’ve said no — I certainly wanted to — and my justifications were valid. But I’d have missed the blessing of seeing her smile, not to mention that I’d have kept her from receiving the blessing that always comes when God is honored through our obedience.

Yes — even when holiness is a crown of glory and honor in the form of a colorful headband on a young woman at the Hampton Inn.