The Princess and the Dress

Published April 25, 2013 by joypatton

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My friend called me with an urgent prayer request. “I have to go shopping with my daughter for a prom dress, and I just might kill her in the process.” It was that time of year and her oldest daughter’s first prom. Everyone knows the most important part of the evening is the dress. Her daughter had gone into Ice Queen mode, doing all the necessary research to find the perfect dress. Her friends said “The White Room” was the only place to go, and so mother and daughter headed to the store. “Maybe you should come as a buffer,” my friend said to me. Because I love to shop with other people’s money, I was very disappointed I couldn’t go. The trip was successful though without me. They found the perfect dress, one that her daughter LOVED. My friend worried that the dress might not be a good fit for her daughter’s body. But it was so beautiful and her heart was set on this dress. In Ice Queen shopping mode, no daughter listens to what her mother has to say anyway. Because the Orphan side of my friend wanted to please her daughter, she pushed aside her concerns and said yes. Even though the shop didn’t have her size in stock, they signed on the dotted line and ordered the dress. The seamstress assured them that with a few simple alterations, the dress would be perfect. The shop even noted which dress she bought so that they wouldn’t sell the same dress to anyone else at her school.

The week of the prom, I received another urgent call from my friend. She needed me to take her youngest daughter to rehearsal so that she could go pick up the dress from The White Room. The problem was that the seamstress was sick and none of the alterations had been made to the dress three days before prom. But my friend was sure that her mother, an experienced seamstress who had arrived in town the night before, could make the necessary alterations and everything would be fine once they had the dress.

Later that night I received an urgent text from my friend’s precious daughter. “Got the dress back from the alterations lady today, and it does not fit to the point that it is unwearable. Will you pray that I would trust Jesus in this? I’m so sad and feeling a lot of shame.” She was trying so hard to be a Princess about it all and trust Jesus. She also courageously acknowledged her feelings. But while the rest of her family attended her sister’s play, she stayed at home wrestling with the Orphan side of her. “You shouldn’t have been such an Ice Queen at the store. What an awful, ungrateful daughter you are! You should have listened to your mom and not your friends. What a fool! Now they have to buy another dress in less than 48 hours. That’s impossible! You should just stay home. You don’t really deserve to go anyway. You will never find a dress to fit your gross body.” And yet the Princess side of her battled back and she prayed and cried out to Jesus. He began to speak His truth to her. “I’m not surprised by this turn of events. You are beautiful just the way I made you. I have a husband for you some day that will love your body exactly the way it is. I love you, and I have made a provision for you. You can trust me.”

The next morning I called my friend. “What do you mean it’s unwearable? What’s the plan?” She told me that when Meme, her mom, looked at the alterations the seamstress was going to do, there was no way it was going to work with that dress. It had no back and simply wouldn’t look right. My friend asked if I could go shopping with her and her mom while her daughter was in school. This time I got to go because my morning was free. We agreed to meet at the mall and “pre-shop” for her daughter. Then she would get her from school and show her the things we picked out. So the Princess trusted that her grandmother, her mom and her mom’s friend would find the perfect dress for her. Three old ladies shopping for prom dresses made quite the team. We each brought something unique to the table. Meme knew what could realistically be altered. Her mom knew what styles and colors had already been rejected, no strapless, no white. I was the fashionista. The store clerks looked at us funny as we tried on dresses. But we were pleasantly surprised at the options we found and were sure that one would work for the Princess, who received many text message pictures from us.

She went to get her daughter, and I went to pick up my preschool daughter. We met back at the mall, and she tried on all our finds. Three generations of women united in a singular mission. I smiled at my daughter Faith and said that some day we would be shopping for her prom dress. I don’t think it meant as much to her as it did to me. Mission accomplished: we found a dress that she truly loved and looked beautiful in. A dress that fit her body perfectly.

The next day the vigorous beauty regimen for the prom kept my friend and her daughter occupied.  And yet even adorned in her new dress, the Princess doubted her worth.  She was ashamed that her foolishness had caused such turmoil.  Even a full-length ball gown and perfectly curled hair could not give her a Princess heart.  Her Princess heart came from repentance, from taking her feelings to Jesus, from receiving his lavish gifts.  The Orphan heart cannot accept these gifts, and the Ice Queen heart demands them in her pride. The Princess knows she is not worthy of such arraignments, yet she receives the love of the Father.   The Father sent all of us a beautiful gift by sending three other Princesses to shop for a dress.  All we do is accept the gifts He lavishes and live like His Princesses.

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