I have this crazy tradition where I wear my wedding dress every year on our anniversary. With only boys, it’s obviously not going to be passed down to be worn again so I figure I might as well get my money’s worth out of wearing it. Given I bought it on sale for $99, I’m down to $5 a wear. Not bad. This year, as I was washing dishes in my dress, I thought about the tales of the women who have worn this dress. For you see, while the body that wears it may be ‘somewhat’ the same, the woman inside has been very different.
First, there was the girl escaping her roots. States away in college & uncomfortable in my own skin, I changed a lot of majors and put on a great mask. Despite the show, I connected with some really great people who saw the real me. I found my soul mate and we vowed to be world changers. Grad school and big dreams filled up the future of our lives. I walked down the aisle in a beautiful white dress believing that this new life was a clean white slate before me for my making.
Then there was the victim. An accident that I felt shattered everything. Dreams, plans, goals…all gone. I, literally, no longer looked the same. And while plans changed and God provided, the victim remained in my heart and my identity. Just like that stubborn flower stain on the bottom left of my dress that won’t come out. Forever tainting the canvas of my life.
Next was a female warrior. I was driven to do more and be the best. Climb the ladder to the top of the class. Be the great employee, use my woo to make a difference. I knew everyone and thought I was needed by everyone. I worked for a world-changing ministry so I was a world changer, right? I knew I was called and equipped and right smack in the middle of God’s plan and it was good, real good, but then my identity became all wrapped up in what I could accomplish. My sleeveless dress those years showing off my muscled arms that could hold the weight of my world...and possibly yours too.
Now I’m a home mom and recognize how very little I truly control. My porch holds a sign stating ‘A plain and simple life is a good life’. Give me some tea and a fishing pole and the laughter of my children. My days are spent making meals, cleaning meals, making more meals. Laundry, changing and cleaning children. Doesn’t seem very world changing anymore. I’ve learned to be ok with a few friends and a mostly-warm coffee. I’d rather pull weeds in my garden than drive into town. I smile as I slip on the unadorned, simple satin dress this year. All those years and it’s still a perfect reflection of my story. The dress hasn’t changed, but it has fit in a different way during each season of life.
Thirty years ago, I walked down the aisle to God and became His bride. He is the same, never-changing constant presence although I surely don’t look the same. I’ve come to appreciate the different aspects of life with Him over the years. The clean slate, the lessons from the stains I’ve made, the strength I’ve developed and the sheer simplicity of loving Him. I'm thankful for the seasons of growth and change, so I’ll continue to smile when I slip on that dress. After all, it did change my name.
*Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
*To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. Isaiah 56:5
*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 3:12-15
Today was a fun day. After I picked up my 4yr old from Pre-K, we went to lunch with some teachers from the boys school as well as the director at a school in El Salvador where we have connected with some penpals. In this electronic day and age, it's been fun to write real letters to children who don't have access to much. After lunch, we dropped by the library to pick up a movie classic...'the Shaggy Dog.' Looks like the Thomas household will be rocking' it for movie night tomorrow!
Thursdays afternoons come hard and fast with a barrage of school papers, emails, reminders, sign-this, return-that items. What a joy in the midst of the chaos it was to be notified that Week 4 of 'The Shadow of My Porch Swing' devotional had released. Just in time to head to church for a night of worship.
Jesus is so sweet. So good. So perfect to immediately redirect any praise right back to himself. I praise him for this small platform to share the words of my testimony in hopes that it, too, would bring you closer to him. Seeing Christ in the everyday. Hope has a name. His name is Jesus.
The Shadow of My Porch Swing
You will usually find me on my porch swing or trying to get there at least. Warm drink in hand and the best view in the world...4 boys digging a hole. Seriously tho, I enjoy the chance to sit and rest but mostly ponder the life that happens in between each of those sways of that swing. As the sun rises and sets, the shadow of that swing moves across my porch reminding me that Jesus is always shining on each moment. May you find hope and rest in Jesus here.
Partnering with YouVersion and The Bible App, The Shadow of My Porch Swing - 7 day devotional is now available in the Plans section of the Bible app. Click link above or search by title or 'God's Presence.'