What’s in your closet?
As I put the sewing box back in the closet, I spotted the big white cardboard boxes tucked so far back I had to crawl in to drag them out. Each of the dust-covered, shrink-wrapped boxes had a large plastic window that displayed a wedding dress bodice hermetically sealed inside.
Box Number 1
Jay (or Hot & Hunky, as I called him). It was a high-collared, lacy gown with long, poofy lace sleeves. Not the least bit sexy. I was trying to get his mother’s approval since Jay married me just months after I quit my job as a Playboy Bunny. Fourteen years later, my heart broke and my world imploded when Jay died suddenly of a heart attack at thirty-nine years old.
Box Number 2
The next box held an ivory satin sheath that flattered the flawless figure I’d earned from grieving Hot & Hunky. (When I’m sad, I don’t eat.) Even at forty-one, I looked more like a model than a mom when I walked down the aisle to marry Craig, Adventure Boy.
A pilot error, a thunderstorm, and a mountain range created a trifecta of tragedy that took Adventure Boy’s life at the age of forty-one.
Box Number 3
The last box held the five-hundred-pound white-beaded gown I wore to marry Dave, Mr. 4-Ever, who is, I am happy to report, holding up remarkably well.
Sitting with all the feels.
The decades have ticked off while those dresses sat in their plastic prison. Even if I wanted to wear them again, I’d never get them zipped over my thicker, well-padded frame.
As I sat with the sweet memories of wedding day parties, the handsome men I’d share my life with, I suddenly realized I didn’t need those dresses anymore. I no longer wanted them to fasten me emotionally to a previous time, man, or broken dream.
Purging the past.
Out of fear I pretended was reverence, I had remained attached to what was good or purposeful once, but which no longer served me well. It was time to make room for something new. The wedding dresses could better used elsewhere. So I gave them away.
One made its way to Costa Rica to make another bride’s day special. Another was cut up to make a burial gown for a baby’s funeral. One decorates a friend’s barn that serves as a wedding venue.
Make room for the new.
Some things you keep because they serve you—a quilt your grandma made or a photo of your wedding day. Other things you get rid of to make room for something new that can move you unhindered into your future.
Just as Abram trusted God by packing up and moving on, we have to let go of the very good and familiar to find the land where God will bless us.
Just as Job, who endured great tribulation, moved past the trials to recreate a new life and family, we have to forgive and move on.
When Peter betrayed Jesus, his future could have been forfeit, but he allowed Jesus to restore him and let go of his failures, and we have to believe Jesus forgives us too.
What are you holding onto?
What thing of the past needs to leave so you have room for the new thing God has for you?
Is God calling you into something new, as he did Abram? Have you passed through a trial you hold on to like it’s an old friend? Is there a mistake in your past that still causes you shame, even though Jesus has offered restoration? Could today be the day you evaluate what’s taking up the space in your mind and heart that God wants to fill with new thoughts and dreams?
Verse for today: The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. . . ” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him. —Genesis 12:1, 4
Prayer: Lord, I cling to what I know because it’s familiar, even if it isn’t useful. Give me discernment to sort and sift out the old clutter, not just in my closets but also in my mind and heart, to make room for what you have for me. I want to trust you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Jay and I at our reception – 1982
Craig and me with the boys at our wedding – 1998
Dave and me on our big day – 10/6/2001