If you haven't read my previous post about the dress or need a refresher click here before continuing (or you'll be really confused).
The story of that 5th birthday would often come to mind as a significant event but I wasn't quite sure why? That's the thing about the Holy Spirit, sometimes he brings up things that seem a bit strange or confusing to us so we don't pursue them. They feel "out there" and we dismiss it.
The thing I'm learning is God has a much clearer vantage point to our story and the distorted narratives we often live out. So he brings up the odd image or recollection every now and then to "retell" us our stories and breathe the gospel's life into them. The best thing we can do when this happens is dismantle our little gods of understanding and control and follow Him into the unknown. Again and again I've been rather undone by what unfolds.
Now, back to that dress.
I think the enemy used "the dress event" and many others to distort the image of my mom and my relationship. If she was "weak" then I needed to be "strong." Truth is my mom wasn't always sick, she could care for me in many, many ways. However, I began to close off my heart to her and not look to her for care in the way a little girl does with her mom. Slowly I began to believe care was not really available to me which played out in subtle ways. And see, if you believe that lie you tend to anesthetize your heart numbing out to a lot of what makes life, life (hurts, frustrations, anger, elation, joy, goofiness...). I was "even keel" to a fault and my friends told me they never felt very needed. I started to sort out everyone else's problems and hurts while ignoring my own.
Now here's the beauty...When the Spirit took me back to the dress event he wasn't simply talking about that event, rather it was the metaphor for a couple things.
First, illuminating what I had done with desire in my life. He loves his children to dream, hope, long for things, play. The dress symbolized that to the little girl. Sadly I had shut down or felt ashamed for a lot of the things I still longed for as an adult woman. Somehow I equated godliness as being void of desire, like I was somehow supposed to be OK now. The opposite is true. Godliness is being open and honest about the desire, not judging it, but bringing it into relationship with God. Letting him illuminate what it's pointing to (and quite frankly it's often not what we think).
Second, the dress was an image of relationship with mom. Our relationship was fragmented by her illness at the tender age of five. And there were a few other events afterwards that seemed to slither in with the same message, "Take care of yourself. Your heart is obviously too much. No one can care for it anyway." Did I know I was living out of this distorted narrative. No way. But later in life I felt the repercussions of it.
The Lord seemed to be saying, "Don't accept this as the final story. There is more, much more."
He began to take me back to other dresses that popped up on the pages of my life. (He did this on a a retreat called Learning to Love the Master as I dialogued with him about my story).
One in particular stood out. The October after my mom's hospitalization I asked to be a bride for Halloween. I have no idea why and where I came up with the idea. I have vague memories of my mom saying it was a rather challenging costume. However, what I remember most is how hard she worked to bring the little dream to fruition. There was gold glittery lining, bling, lace, ...even a bouquet.
And I felt beautiful.
"Sweetheart, she cared, she cared so much."
"Beloved these dresses are a symbol of being set apart, chosen, special, clothed in care and beauty."
Which is why, this year when I was invited to my cousins wedding who was marrying a lovely Indian woman, I knew...He was inviting me into longing again, desiring to be the beauty and believe dreams do come true (afterall, He's often there author).
The other fuchsia dress.
Throughout my childhood I used to sneak into my Grandma's closet and admire her minks, gowns, and fancy jewelry. There was always one dress that stood out...
And so when the invite arrived and my parents invited me to go, I knew, it was time... for the dress.
I let myself want it, really want it, the I'm eating no carbs kind of wanting it!
And wa-lah! My dream came into being.
And wa-lah! My dream came into being.
And he allowed me to share all of this with mom by my side.
Another fuchsia princess dress.