Only divine, shake-free mercy would let me 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 that one bliss, the one blessed pregnancy God gave me.
The infertility that delayed that one settle again. 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 both a reminder to hope and sign of loss. When my sister and friends 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. I’d slide that door shut again.
So I kept knocking- and pounding-on heaven’s door. I was a bee at the window. I clamored for sweetness, for more reward, more womb’s fruit, for a whole quiver-full, I prayed. For these best of earth’s comforts, I buzzed, I boomed, and I pressed.
But He said,“Not that way! All, all in vain, You weary out wings and bruise your head.” Then came that day in June.
The day I gave that dress away was the day niece Ruth was born. The time was right. 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 with I gladly go.
* * * * *
Is nine years a long time? Maybe it’s a minute compared to the hours you pressed on your 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, pushing you to pitch your hopes heaven-high.
The LORD is good to the one who hopes in Him, to the one who seeks him.
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’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.”
*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 stunning depiction about the death of what’s dear and how finally we can be freed to pitch our hopes heaven-high.