She was a stranger to me, but somehow through divine appointment I came to know her today.
We'll call her "Sara"
Sara is my neighbor and the mother of a teenage daughter, "Samantha", who has a party at her high school this week. After searching all over for a dress for Samantha, Sara came home empty handed and desperate; she couldn't afford any of the dresses suitable for the occasion. She sat down at her computer and logged on to our online community and made a humble petition to buy or rent a dress from any of her neighbors that wore her daughter's size.
I usually delete the "new message" notifications -- they're usually someone trying to sell things before they move or a complaint about the sometimes overly vigilant security patrol -- but not this time. As I read her message my first thought was to make helpful suggestions so I texted her a few places with bargains, but as soon as I hit "send", the Holy Spirit convicted me, "You have what she needs." Not one to question such a clear ushering, I immediately sent her a second text message "I have a dress for you."
Mind you, I had yet to even get the girls' size or confirm that I indeed had a dress, but I knew God wouldn't set me up for failure. I ran to my closet and then it hit me, all the dresses and clothing that I considered "disposable" were already gone as donations. What was left were two special event dresses that I had kept because of what they meant to me - they had sentimental value. Now in a moment of transparency I must admit that I had a quick "flesh" moment and considered offering to buy her a dress instead, but I knew I heard God loud and clear.
I pulled out the dresses and called Sara, who immediately sent Samantha over. When I opened the door Samantha was standing before me, a beautifully somber face covered with an old hooded sweatshirt and worn sweatpants. Her eyes immediately locked on the first dress - a black, halter dress, with a jeweled bustline and a circle skirt that stops the show on the dance floor!
"You want to try it on?" I asked.
Samantha looked at me and smiled, "can I?" I nodded and she went in my bathroom to try on the dress.
When she walked out the bathroom, the dress fit her perfectly. She looked like a million bucks and was glowing.
It wasn't mine to keep.
"Tell your mom that I said you can have it." Samantha started to shake her head, but I stopped her and told her that she would pay me by enjoying herself at the party and bringing me the picture of what she looks like the day of her party. She agreed, put her clothes back on, and walked joyfully out of my apartment.
I know how Samantha feels.
YOU know how Samantha feels.
See, I tried for so long to find the means to do things MY WAY. In my brokenness I have gone to every emotional storefront, searched on every social sale rack, and ultimately came home empty handed. When I finally came to admit that the cost of doing things the world's way was too steep, God invited me in. He assured me "I have what you need. I already paid the price for you."
He surrounded me with his love and made something beautiful out of my mess. And it wasn't his leftovers, it was His only son -- what He valued most. He placed me in royal garments and told me to dance. Not because I deserved it (because I could never buy it for myself), but because He LOVES me that much.
That is what God's Grace is to me. Grace is me clothed in God's best.
So my prayer for Samantha is the same one I have for you, my sisters in Christ....
Grace looks beautiful on you!!
So, I hope you show up to life's party with your heads held high because you are dressed in the King's garments!
I hope you feel valued.
I hope you feel loved.