About a month ago, I got the opportunity to speak to a group of middle and high school girls and share with them what being a godly woman looks like. It was seriously the coolest experience and wow, do I want to do it again! In the middle of the night, God (and the lack of AC in the cabin) woke me up and wouldn’t let me rest. I pulled out my phone and He began to give me this illustration that He was wanting me to share. The Lord has been reminding me of it lately, and I feel like it’s a reminder we all need to hear every now and then.
You’ve seen Cinderella, right? If you haven’t, get off my blog now, I am greatly offended. We all know the story. We know about the prince (side note: is it weird to be attracted to a cartoon character? Because that Prince Charming got little Carrie’s heart skippin’ beats in elementary school). We know about the evil step mother and ugly step sisters. We know it all like the back of our hand. And nothing pissed us off (sorry for the harshness but it’s true) more than the scene where Cinderella’s dress gets torn to pieces. If I were Cindy, I’d fight them, straight up.
She cried in a torn dress, and we cried with her (or maybe just I did). She stood in total humiliation in a dress that was dirty and in pieces and not presentable in the slightest. And when the fairy godmother gets her ready to go to the ball, Cinderella says, “but…my dress is torn.”
Okay, let’s pause.
I’m a screw up. You’re a screw up. Honestly, we all fail daily. We fail a ridiculous amount. We have a sinful nature.
But we also have a perfect God.
I’ve said this before, but I totally dwell on things, especially my mistakes. I’d rather you yell at me then tell me, “I’m disappointed in you,” because I swear I will remember it for the rest of my life. I can tell you every single time anyone has said they were disappointed in me, and I could cry just thinking about it.
I dwell in shame. That’s what it really comes down to. I forget about the powerful forgiveness of the Lord, and I look at myself and I think, “Well God, this is WAY too shameful to saved. Do yourself a favor and give up on me.”
I feel like God laughs at me all the time, and I do really think I’m the one person He probably looks at and thinks, “wow, you’re stupid.” He has to remind me of His grace daily, because I feel too humiliated to do anything. I just want to cry on a bench outside like my girl, Cinderella, did, but that sounds a little dramatic.
I’m the girl standing in the torn dress.
My sin has torn my life to pieces. My failures have ripped it apart. And now I’m standing there, completely humiliated. And I’m looking at the King saying, “I’m a total mess and I’m not worthy of love at all. My dress is torn.”
In Genesis 3, God calls Adam and Eve out of hiding, and they’re standing there totally naked. But here’s the thing: God still called them. Sure, they messed up, but He was still desiring them, wanting them, calling them. I love how in verse 9, God asks, “Where are you?” He knows they’ve messed up. He calls them anyway.
I too often stand in the trees, clothed in a torn dress and hiding my face from God. I too often view my humiliation as something so much greater than the grace of God. And I hope it’s not just me. I know we all have the tendency to think this way.
Here is my promise to you: You will never have your dress so torn that God will not call you. Your sin and your past do not disqualify you from your calling to be a powerful vessel for the Lord.
If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be on leadership at my school, in ministry, getting chances to speak at camps to students, or any of this craziness that is happening in my life, I would have laughed. How could a girl who used to cut, used to struggle with depression, or used to doubt God’s love possibly have a ministry?
God is so powerful, guys.
I dream of being married someday (please pray for the poor guy who chooses to marry me), and when I say dream, I really dream. I have it all planned out. I have songs picked out, my dream venue picked out, and my dream dress chosen. I would never even imagine walking down the aisle to my future groom in a dirty dress that is falling apart. I dream of it being a a-line gown with a keyhole back and lace, lots of lace. I dream of it being absolutely perfect.
When you walk towards Jesus, such as you will your groom one day, you’re a mess. You are far from perfect. But He doesn’t require your dress to be perfectly white, or intricately designed. He just requires your feet to be moving towards Him. He’s going to reach for your hand, no matter how tattered your dress may be. He’s going to clothe you and make you new again. Your mess doesn’t matter.
If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: You are loved, no matter the sin you faced yesterday or the sin you face today. Your mistakes may tear your dress to pieces, but the Lord looks past that. He looks at your face, and He says, “she’s mine.”
You are capable. You are worthy. You are forgiven. And you are so loved, friends.
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”