Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

2.05.2013

The Dress that God Gave Me


It was the beautiful cable-knit that first begged my notice.  Haphazhardly hung amidst cast-off 80’s dresses with stripes plus daisies and 90’s evening gowns of a weird holographic purple at a diverse thrift store, this dress was different.  I rescued the dress from its place of scorn and examined it.  Brand new; seemed to be the right length and size; quite simple but somehow lovely; but was grey my color?  I tossed it over my arm to try on. 
 
A few minutes later, I pulled the grey dress over my head in the fitting room, and I knew I loved it.  But as I rotated in front of the full-length mirror, a question niggled in my mind.  Was it too small for me?  I stepped out of the fitting room, and a friend gushed, “Oh, grey is definitely your color!” 
 
Mama agreed, and, in fact, everyone loved the dress, except for the very question that I had had—it was definitely too tight.  Although the tag clearly stated my size, the fit of the dress on me was simply too form-fitting to be modest.  With some sadness, I hung it on the rack of “discards,” and tried to forget about the dress that had almost been perfect.  I knew I wouldn’t want to wear it as it was, but I still had one of those moments in which I mentally ran through the far-fetched options of a fabric-stretching machine or a wonder-slip to try to make it work. 
 
But the day sped its way on.  A happy blur of trying on, laughter with friends, finding finds, and chatting.  Soon enough another store, another town.  Another rack of clothes, but the same grey cable-knit fabric beckoning to my astonished self.  I was convinced my eyes were lying to me, but I pulled it out and held it at arm’s length, and had to admit that it was the very same dress I had seen at a different thrift store!  With trepidation, I pulled at the neck and peered at the size, only to be floored by the realization that it was several sizes bigger than the other dress I had tried on. 

 
I could not keep this secret to myself, and with excitement bursting out of me, ran across the store: “Guys!  Guess what!” 

 

 The fitting room mirror confirmed that this dress was a perfect fit, and as I stood in front of the mirror, smoothing the fabric down with my hands, I had to be overwhelmed with this gift from my Lord.  Because, really, what are the chances of finding the same dress in the perfect, larger size at a different, random thrift store?  Statistically—I’m sure the chances are small.  But the chances are not small when you are loved by the God who created the world.  In that moment in that 3 by 3 fitting room I was humbled to realize that my Father is one who delights in giving His daughter a gift like that to bring a smile to my face and refreshed faith to my heart.  It was as if He were reaching down from Heaven with a hug and saying, “Because I love you!”  He was living out Isaiah 43:4:

“Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life.”

 
And He was fulfilling James 1:17:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

  And naturally, I wanted to share with you all that wonderful present from God that I opened last week!  What gifts has He given you lately? 

 
P.S. Melanie is the photographer responsible for the photos.  Didn't she do a great job?  She sweetly agreed, and we had such fun doing this photo shoot in our beautiful backyard!
 



Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

21 comments:

  1. Lauren,

    How wonderful God was to you that day! I can just imagine how thrilled and blessed you must have been! What a sweet gift from our Lord! Thank you for sharing that experience!

    ~Emily

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  2. Such a neat story {and your dress is beautiful too!}. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Okay i totally needed this post!! Thanks!!

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  4. That dress looks so cute on you :). God is so good!


    Ashley

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  5. Emily--Amen--God was and is wonderful! I knew right after it happened that I needed to share it with you! (-;
    Shelbi--Thank you! You would have thought it was Christmas judging by how excited I was! Have you ever had an experience like that where God completely blew you away by His care?
    Elizabeth--Aww! I'm so glad if it blessed you! It's great to hear from you, sister! Love you!
    Ashley--Thanks! And God is definitely good!

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  6. What a Beautiful story of a gift from your Beloved! Thank you for taking the time to share it. Too often it is easy to just think that God is absent from our lives, and although He gives us plenty of daily choices, He is always right there with us!

    The dress is just gorgeous! Love it!

    Blessings, Rebecca

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  7. Too often I think it's said, "I would dress more modestly, but it's so hard to find modest clothes!" But isn't it amazing that when we make the effort to do right and be pleasing to the Lord, He is always mindful of it? Thank you for a story that proves again that when we have a heart to please Him, He will bless us for it!

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  8. Lauren,

    Thank you so much for sharing. What a neat blessing! I appreciate your example of saying "no" to the first dress because of your conviction in how you dress. It's so important not to make even "little" compromises. Thank you for sharing!
    ~Amanda

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  9. Could you explain the theology behind your belief that God loves you enough to go out of His way to provide a dress that you didn't even need, just wanted, while letting the prayers of mothers watching their children starve go unanswered? I have never heard this sort of belief before. Where is it in the Bible? Do you believe God loves you more than those children since He provided your mere frivolous wants while he ignored their needs? That is how it comes off in your post, but I'm not sure if that is how you meant it to come off as or if I am not understanding your belief system.
    Thank you in advance for your answer.

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  10. Great story! And beautiful dress! I totally know how that is when you find the almost perfect thing!!! :) And then when God provides something even better!

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  11. Rebecca--You are so welcome! It's so easy to take for granted the many blessings God gives us, but a friend once gave me a memory box to hold little notes that describe all of the ways God has worked in my life. I love it!
    Tanya--Amen! That was what was so exciting about this experience--seeing God reward my desire for modesty! Thanks for your comment!
    Amanda--Thank you for your encouraging note!
    Eden--Good to hear from you, Eden! My lesson for the future is definitely not to be sad when something is so close to being perfect but not quite because you are right--God will provide something better, whether tangible or spiritual.

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  12. Lauren, this story certainly made me smile and recall the times God has given me such gifts. It is mind-boggling to think that our Awesome Creator knows our needs and desires, and delights in bestowing His bountiful gifts upon us. Thank you for sharing!

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  13. Hi, I'm confused why you didn't publish my comment, I was polite, respectful and had a real question. I am not sure why you don't want to address your beliefs. I'm assuming you have verses to support your belief that God chooses to give you wants while letting other followers of Christ go without need, often dying because of lack of those needs. I have studied the Bible a great deal and have never seen that in there, but obviously you have so it should be fairly easy for you to answer. Unless, of course, this isn't a biblical belief, and then shouldn't you humble yourself and admit you are wrong? You are supposed to be a light on the hill for Christ, but by not answering these sort of questions it looks like you have covered up your light and are trying to hide your sin.

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  14. Dear Tina,
    Never fear! I was simply waiting to publish your comment until I had some time to give it the thoughtful response I wanted to devote to it. I definitely appreciate the polite way in which you voiced your comment, and your respectfulness was what made me know I wanted to answer it.

    I do not believe that God loves me more than that child who dies every 30 seconds. I do not believe that God wants to bless me more than He wants to bless the people in impoverished countries. And, in fact, I don’t believe that God loves me more than He does you.

    What I do believe is that I serve a God who is big enough to love the whole world (John 3:16)! His greatness is utterly beyond our ability to comprehend. His majesty is inimitable; His knowledge is complete from before creation, for the thoughts of every single person on the globe in this second, and on to the infinite future; His power is so mighty that Psalm 29:5 says that simply His voice breaks cedar trees.

    Contrast that with my mind, which is so utterly finite and limited. My desires, which are admittedly frivolous and caught up in transitory items like dresses. My compassion, which is so minute compared to the mighty love of God.

    Finding a dress in the right size at a thrift store is clearly a want, as you pointed out, not a life and death need like so many face each day. God did not have to give it to me. But neither did He have to perform the miracle of turning the water into wine (John 2). And while I could ascribe finding the dress in the right size to fate, assuming that God has too much on His plate to even know I exist, I would be missing out on the reality of seeing God work in my life every day.

    Humans are notoriously bad multi-taskers, so it is hard for us to understand how God can superintend the miracle of a dress at the same time as watching over the persecuted, imprisoned pastor in Iran. However, saying that for God to give me the dress He had to remove blessing from some other person is like saying because your heart beat in the last second, you can’t take a breath also. God is so much greater than that!

    Also, you asked for verses, so here are a few of my favorites on this subject:
    2 Chronicles 16:9 (Speaking to a king about not relying on the Lord enough) “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”
    Matthew 10:29-31 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

    The hairs of our head are so insignificant, yet God knows and cares! Tina, I hope that I have explained this clearly and that you truly see the awesomeness and greatness of our God! His love for you, me, and the children and people He seems to have given you a compassion for is real, and is never stretched too thin or too far. His love never runs out.

    Blessings,
    Lauren

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  15. Thank you for your answer. Why do you think that God chooses to give you frivolous things while choosing to not give children food? That is what is confusing me. That you serve a God who cares enough to give you something so minor while he doesn't care enough to give a starving child even bland tasteless food that will keep him alive. He lavishes gifts on you, who has an abundance, while withholding life stustaning food from another who has none. It is like you are the favorite child.
    I just can't fathom why one would want to worship such a cruel God. And, of course, there is the whole "We can't undrerstand God" that gets thrown around when these sorts of questions are asked, but but it would be nice to at least see it acknowledged that giving one child of God gifts they don't need while not giving another child of God actually needs that they will die without shows favoritism on the part of God. If God is in such control of the minor details in life that he provides a dress for you, then He is in control of the detail and is CHOOSING to let a child starve while letting you get a dress. Do you agree with that, that God is choosing to withhold food from that child while choosing to give you a dress you don't need?

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  16. Dear Tina,
    I shared in this post about a blessing from the Lord--but don't infer that I have not had my share of trials. I will be the first to admit I am one blessed girl, but also that I have had to go through dark times. This is one blessing from the Lord that I am focusing on--should I ignore it because He is also giving me difficulties?

    Now let me answer the heart of your question: "Is God choosing to withhold food from that child?"
    Psalm 145:14-16 says, "The LORD upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing."
    God is completely sovereign. He has also chosen to give man a free will--He does not want robots for children. In many cases, the suffering you are talking about with children starving is due to terrible choices on their parents' part which destroy their children's lives.
    In some cases, granted, that is not true. And yet, Tina, God is still in control, and He still has a plan for that little child far above what you or I think is best.
    C.S. Lewis in "The Problem of Pain" wrote, "The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word "love", and look on things as if man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love may rest "well pleased"."
    I can't agree with your universal, general statement since, as I clarified earlier, there are different reasons behind suffering. And I can't agree that God giving me a dress is a sign of favoritism. He brought many children home to be with Him today--while many of those situations were tragic for us left behind, from an eternal perspective isn't that the greatest favoritism of all?

    God is grieved far more than you or I could ever be by a child's suffering, yet He has a plan of eternal redemption and joy far greater for that child than you or I could ever dream.

    I have but stumblingly explained this truth, but I pray you understand the heart behind it.

    ~Lauren

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  17. Lauren, you don't have to publish this comment, but I just wanted to thank you for responding with grace filled words to Tina. I thought you defended the faith with boldness and wisdom. Thank you for being a great encouragment to me and an obedient daughter to the Lord. God richly bless you.

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  18. Abby and Emma--Thank you so much for your encouraging words! Now you've blessed me!

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  19. You are reaching people for Christ everyday Lauren. I am sure your loving, provacative response has many rethinking their beliefs or desiring to hold such strong and comforting convictions. You are so dear and so real and my faith continues to grow because of you. I love you so!!!! Aunt Hiedie

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  20. Aunt Hiedie--I love you more! Your comment brought sunshine to my day and joy to my soul; thank you so much for your sweet words.

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  21. our God is a good God! A God who cares! I think He was so pleased when you put that dress back, the one who was too tight. Sometimes it feels like God sends a special smile or hug, in that He fulfills a hearts wish, don't you think? He is really good!! Love, Tabitha

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