April 20, 2011

The Fit of the Dress

A good friend gave me an unexpected gift one day. Because I’m always happy to receive unexpected gifts, I was very excited for this one. She told me she saw it on a rack in a store and thought of me. It was a black dress, and because I can never have too many black dresses (they are always flattering), I was thrilled.
That night I tried the dress on and went to get my husband’s opinion. It was a simple cut, knee-length and made of a very stretchy and cool cotton jersey, with three-quarter-length sleeves and a kind of empire waist that tied in the back. I put it on, turning this way and that way in the mirror, adjusting the fit as I went, trying to get it just right. It wasn’t tight or too big. It was just my size. But yet, it didn’t fit right. As cute as I thought the dress was, something about it was just off. My husband looked at me thoughtfully, told me to turn around several times, and concurred. Something about this dress wasn’t right.
2011 1511 page31I tried on different pairs of shoes for effect and returned to the mirror to continue turning and adjusting until I finally stopped sideways. The dress, for a reason I had yet to uncover, was longer in the front, and shorter in the back. OK, I thought. Do I just need to lay off the cookies a bit more and spend more time with my treadmill? It was most puzzling, and now I was feeling really disappointed that this fantastic gift of a new black dress wasn’t working for me.
Sighing, I went to pull the dress off. And when I did, my questions were answered. The label on the dress said “H&M Mama.” For those of you wondering what that means, H&M Mama is the maternity line of the H&M brand.
I am not pregnant.
But now everything made perfect sense. This maternity dress had to be longer in the front to accommodate a growing belly (which can grow to amazing proportions, as I discovered with my two pregnancies 12 and eight years ago). So with a pregnant belly in the dress, the hem issues on it are immediately corrected for a most flattering silhouette.
The next day I told my friend what had happened, and she was mortified that she hadn’t checked the label carefully. I told her it was too funny and that I loved the thought behind the gift most of all. So the dress went back to the store, because neither she nor I are planning on any more babies or knew any expectant mothers to give it to.
But that funny experience got me to thinking (albeit several weeks later).
Do you ever feel that your walk with Christ and your approach to living out your faith has to be a one-size-fits-all endeavor? And if something doesn’t work just the way you want it to, or if it doesn’t feel comfortable at first, is your first reaction disappointment?
If the fit isn’t just right, do you want to give up?
Following Jesus and living a life of faith is not a “one way or the highway” journey. No two of us are the same—and that was His design because the Lord knows how to meet us exactly where we are. We need only to be open to the many ways He can reach us and teach us to learn all that we can from Him. And there are many methods to try, and more ways than we can fathom for the blessings of the Lord to fall on us.
A gift is a gift, and He knows how to give them.
And they are always a perfect fit.
Wilona Karimabadi takes care of KidsView, Adventist Review’s magazine for children. This article was published April 21, 2011.