The Day I Gave The Dress Away

Only divine, shake-me-free mercy allowed me to give this dress away. 

Is nine years a long time? Nine years is how long this little red dress hung on the end in the closet. It was a precious sister gift during the one bliss, blessed pregnancy God gave me. 

But no daughter ever came and I never quite knew what to do with that silky-soft, rosy-red dress. 

As time passed, the dress became the sign of both hope and loss. When girlfriends had girls, I’d peek in the closet and ponder setting it free. But Don’t give up hope or admit defeat-keep buzzing-came to mind while I caressed the soft, little dress. 

No, I’d buy a gift, and slide that door shut again.

And I kept knocking- and pounding-on heaven’s door. For more reward, more womb’s fruitfor a whole quiver-full, I’d pray. For these best of earth’s comforts, I buzzed and I pressed. A bee at the window, I clamored for sweetness, and boomed.

But He said,“Not that way! All, all in vain, You weary out wings and bruise your head.” Then came that day last June. 

The day I gave that dress away was the day sweet niece Ruth was born. The time was right, so God caught me up, pressing, buzzing at the windowpane. He caught me up and shook me out and He gently let me go. 

Then I gave the dress away and out now to real sweetness I gaily go

*   *   *   *   *   


Is nine years a long time? Maybe it’s a minute compared to your hours pressing on the windowpane. And maybe the rosy-red dress is feather-light in view of your loss. Whatever your hope, however deep your pain, may you too know God’s gentle hand, catching you up, shaking you out, to help you pitch your hopes heaven-high

The LORD is good to the one who hopes in Him, to the one who seeks him. Lamentations 3:25

The Day I Gave The Dress Away

The day I gave the dress away
Hope wasn’t lost but found.
That same night two boys played
Rolling happy on the ground.

Sons that came two different ways;
One from the heart and one from the womb.
But barren came back, and the dress, 
All that was left of hope deferred, entombed.

Mercy-more years, more hope deferred-
Took me down to the frozen centre.
A cycle of months, and still no third,
Heaven’s door my knock couldn’t enter. 

(Clamor, buzz at window pane
I did so much I bruised,
Left to my own will
I’d be dead at the sill…)

It is for mighty saints– for
You and me-this way ’round Mount Pain
So up we pitch up our longing great; for
Better reward, deeper joy, and more gain.
We toss hope up-He catches it and us, 
Then gently shakes us free
To set hope our in Him heaven-high.
Because-we know-He told us why:

“Then you will know that I am the Lord

those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”

Isaiah 49:23


*The Day I Gave the Dress Away was inspired by C.S. Lewis’ Five Sonnets. Lines in italics are directly from the sonnets.

The five are a stunningly beautiful depiction about death of what’s dear and the climb up the mountain of pain that follows, and how finally we can be freed to pitch our hopes heaven-high.  

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