Wise men and women are always learning,
always listening for fresh insights.
Prov 18:15; MSG
Sometimes I pray, and then when God answers I am surprised. I know I should be expecting His goodness by now…..but it never gets old to see it play out. So, I have to tell you about Andrea. She’s one of those crazy answers to prayer I am still marveling over. I first heard of Andrea when my son Kenney told me he was going on a date with a good friend from Bible College. He wasn’t sure how it would go; he had never “seen” her in that light before. Turns out it went so well that a year later they were engaged!
The wedding date is set for June 6th and at the top of the list of things to do: find “the dress”. Not just a dress, but “the dress”…the one of her dreams. I didn’t take it lightly when Andrea invited me to make the journey with her and her mom to find “the dress”.
The day we all met, it was obvious Andrea had done her homework. She had a vision for “the dress”. Even before we stepped into that first boutique, this girl had decided on fabric, neckline, back, and skirt details. You’d think this would make things easy for the attendant, but not so much. Turns out, what Andrea wanted wasn’t all that common. What can I say, she’s a “trend-setter!”
Our experience at dress shop #1 was short lived and disappointing. The attendant came up with only three dresses for Andrea to try on, and all three would need major alterations to get close to what she was looking for. But at boutique #2, we were in for a pleasant surprise. As with dress shop #1, Andrea was asked to describe the wedding venue and the type of gown she was looking for, but this time the woman helping her was enthusiastic. She invited us to stroll down aisles of dress racks stacked tightly with gowns. We walked a few steps…and then she held out her hand, grabbed the edge of one of the gowns and said, “Okay, I just want to get your first reaction”….and with the joy you might see on the face of a 5 year old Christmas morning, she pulled the dress out and waited for what you knew she hoped would be an enthusiastic…”Oh, that is beautiful!”. But, when Andrea didn’t light up, when she struggled for the words to say, “Uh, that’s not really what I like” the attendant didn’t break stride. With exaggerated optimism she said, ”Okay…now we learned something!” She listed off a few details featured in that dress that she would avoid selecting next time and off we went…down the aisle a few more steps where she grabbed the edge of another gown. We heard the same question, “I just want to get your first reaction.” She gave the same response, “Okay…now we learned something!” The adventure continued and I found it hard to keep a straight face. This lady was the real deal! What a crack up!
Eventually, we made our way to a dressing room and for the next 2 hours, dress after dress went on –and off. But somehow we believed we were closer to finding “the dress”…because each of Andrea’s no’s was followed by “Okay…now we learned something!” I started imitating our enthusiastic helper when she wasn’t looking…I couldn’t help it.
And you know what? It’s been a month, and I am still imitating her. This perspective is a big change for me. I can get easily discouraged and frustrated when trying on new things. I am a bit of a perfectionist. Ugh. But I can see that to experience success you have to be willing to learn from repeated failures. Writing this blog is an example. I felt the idea was from God, but was uncomfortably aware that I don’t know what I’m doing. I spent the past month writing, and rewriting, trying to figure out how to start….many entries were discarded because they didn’t fit quite right. When I threw them out and started over I was able to say, “Okay, I learned something. Now I know what I don’t like in a blog post.” The repeated failures were tools to teach me more about what fit my vision.
My vision for this blog is to share with My Sistah’s what God is teaching me. When I get together with friends, this is something we spend a lot of time doing. It is truly one of my favorite things! I hope that you will feel comfortable responding to what you are reading so we can learn from each other. Along with my own thoughts, I will be posting stories penned by some of My Sistah’s that are encouraging and meaningful to me. Hebrews 10:23-25 says, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I have to end by telling you that Andrea eventually did say “yes to the dress”. We knew the search was over as she came out of a dressing room at Boutique #3 in a gown that made her twirl around in delight. Her mom said she hadn’t seen her do that since she was a little girl! Those repeated “no’s” eventually led to the one “yes” that made the whole journey a great success.
- Laurel Bahr