…and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair
Isaiah 61:3a (NIV)
I was getting ready for a fashion show. Not that I belong on the runway, but I am 5’10”. People assume that all tall women are either basketball players or models. On a good day, I average one shot out of every six attempts and walking in heels has never been a graceful endeavor for me, but this modeling assignment was for a good cause—a fundraiser for a mission trip. “Okay, I’ll do it,” I replied. “as long as I can wear flats.”
I don’t need anymore embarrassing moments to add to my repertoire.
Each model had to provide her outfit as well as a description. I knew right away what I would choose.
The inspiration for my favorite skirt came from a party I attended…sort of. It wasn’t a lavish affair. In fact, there was nothing posh about this gathering at all. The guest of honor was full of herself. Before you think I’m gossiping, let me bare my soul. The “get-together” was a party for one—a pity party. Yes, it was me that was puffed up (literally from PMS) and according to my husband, unapproachable.
“Stay out of her way today,” he warned the kids. “She’s liable to claw at anything that gets in her path.”
So on this gray afternoon, I grabbed a box of cookies and curled up on the couch, fully intending to OD on sugar and sleep my sorrows away. My husband drafted a Do Not Disturb sign, placed it on the coffee table and left me alone to sulk.
But my desire for comatose solitude was soon challenged. I wanted to evaporate into a peaceful slumber, but instead, Inspiration dueled with Gloom. The luscious mix of zebra and red silk fabric on my pillow captivated my attention, and Inspiration seemed to beckon, “Wouldn’t that mix of fabrics make a beautiful skirt?”
I already knew that I didn’t have enough fabric to make an entire skirt. But by now, my creative instincts were on high alert. Ignoring protocol, the dumpster diva within took over and began assembling an eccentric mix of red silk noil, zebra and distressed denim.
I was so engrossed in my project that I hadn’t realized that my PMS had vanished. My husband removed the Do Not Disturb sign, and my kids quit trembling in fear. By the end of the day, my world of gray had been transformed into a vibrant display of color. Plus, I had two new skirts—one an eclectic mix of grunge and elegance, the other a garment of praise in exchange for my spirit of despair.
Prayer: God, help us to look to you especially during times when our world is gray. When we surrender to you, you can take our misery and transform it into a display of splendor.
Scriptures to Ponder:
- The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up (Ps 94:18-19 The Message).
- He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart (Ecc 5:20 NIV).
- Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Rm 12:12 NIV).
- Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope (Acts 2:26 NIV).
- The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song (Ps 28:7 NIV).
Questions to Ponder:
- Why is it important to have joy?
- Read Ecclesiastes 5:20. How do you think God keeps us occupied with gladness of heart?
- You may not like to sew, but when your soul is downcast, what activities take your mind off of your misery and bring you joy?
- Do you think it is possible to have joy in the middle of harsh circumstances? If you have ever experienced peace and joy in the midst of difficulties, explain how you were able to look beyond your issues. How did it affect the outcome?