My birthday is June 26th. As long as I can remember I have loved gifts. Giving them. Getting them. The process of finding just the right one. Love it! (I think I get this from my Mom and Dad who have an unbelievable track record of picking out just the right things).
One particular birthday stood out for years, but I wasn't quite sure why? That is until Jesus invited me back there, wanting to rewrite the story in a way only He could.
It was right before my 5th Birthday. I can still remember the anticipation and excitement looking through the children’s catalog (I'm telling you gift giving is a BIG deal). I carefully circled the pages and items I liked. And then... in this cornucopia of catalog goodness... I found it . . .
the most beautiful,
fuchsia pink dress I’d ever seen!
I specifically marked the page and eagerly showed mom my one special wish for my birthday—my princess dress!
My mom always delighted in my over-the-top dress up games and acting antics, I just knew she’d try to get it for me.
Mommy had to go away.
"She needs her rest. She'll be back when she feels better."
My dad and family did their best to give me a special birthday, despite not having mom’s help. I got to have my birthday at Chuck E. Cheese! Nothing beat that mouse, my friends, ski-ball and Ms. Pac Man, and, of course, presents!
After the pizza and games, I began to tear into the glorious gifts with great anticipation. I opened them
one by one,
Ooooooing and ahhhhhing at each special gift
... all the while anticipating the Big One (you know, the
one that’s always strategically left last).
THE LAST BOX…and…and…
Where was my dress?
The one thing I wanted...
The special thing I had asked for.
I was confused...
But she knew?
Nothing in my little heart understood why the very thing I had wished for and delighted in wasn’t given to me? Why would mommy and daddy withhold something good?
And that's the story. This has always been where the memory ended. As I got older, I got my facts organized, completely understanding the impossibility of my mom or dad being able to get the dress because of my mom's medical needs at the time.
Go there Beloved....let me uncover other things that were going on. Who else was at work in the midst of your confusion and hurt. (When the Lord brought this up , my heart was ripe for the uprooting. There was so much heartache and confusion going on in my present circumstances somehow it made it easier to go there).
Where was my dress?
“They tricked you.”
They tricked me. (doubt)
I could hear the deceit.
The distortion of truth.
But Jesus I know the truth now? She couldn't do anything about it?
"Facts” don’t change wounded hearts.
Jesus wanted truth to penetrate that “inmost place," that is where He wanted the transformation, to rewrite the story.
Sweetheart, your heart was assaulted by the enemy, he distorted the picture. And it was intentional. Think about it darling a beautiful, princess dress. Princesses long to be cherished, chosen, rescued.
You see the Evil One has used "the dress" event and numerous other events throughout my life (but the Lord chose this one) to tell me a twisted message; “See what happens when you open up your heart to desire? Don’t get your hopes up because, they’ll only get crushed (fear). Don’t open up your heart and ask for your desires because you’re never going to get it. Just settle, keep that stuff hidden, it’s always safer. And I know you want safety, right?”
He’s right, that wicked, sly, sick serpent is right, I do want safety, but at what cost?
Jesus was gently exposing the cost of self-protection and tenderly showing me more about its origins.
He also exposed the enemies scheme. The enemy used this disappointment and many others to unearth fear, “If you keep your heart open you will only be hurt. Your heart is too much anyway. It’s not safe to let them in. I’ll help you find a way out of your vulnerability so you feel safe again.” (bartering control, a way out of pain).
Fear and control are his greatest tools.
If he can get us to distrust God’s heart, skew our image of God through life’s hurts, make us believe we have nothing to offer, and take us out by bartering back a measure of control (a way out of fear and pain), He has our allegiance. We live a protected, safe, fearful life.
B U T .... once his twisted strategy is exposed that's been
hidden in the darkness,
R O O M is created...
JESUS' light can now permeate!
The Gospel can now touch a place that has yet to hear it in that inmost place...
Enter Dress #2
(to be continued...)