Hello friends! I am delighted to share with you a new outfit I just recently added to my wardrobe! These overalls are my new best friend. Nope! I didn’t make them, I found them while I was out shopping with Mom and Charlotte one fine Summer afternoon. We were in Old Navy, a store we used to frequent when we were little, but have not visited since. I was looking around for a knee length skirt there when I espied the overalls casually hanging on a rack. I hopped right over to check them out and said to myself, “Oh darling things! What fun!” I pulled them on in the fitting room, and fell. in. love. These overalls had Jessica written all over! Mom and Charlotte had to agree. I feel like a farmer girl in them! When its not too stifling outside, you can be sure these are the first thing I select in the morning now-a-days. Just like that Band and Bolos Flexi Clip I reviewed recently, these overalls express a newness in my life that I have begun to cultivate and pursue. Before I get into that though, I need to tell you the back story that got me there.
“Wow!” That’s the word I keep saying in my head. Each month, each week, each day, new emotions–heartbreak, healing, anger, joy–come flooding into my life, spinning it around like a whirling dervish. Each time it leaves my head reeling, heart thumping, and I hope fervently that wherever I have landed, peace is around somewhere nearby. This is what the process of letting go of my sister Brigid–my very best friend and confidant–has felt like until just recently. To say it has been a love/hate relationship is an understatement. Loving Gabe has turned Brigi’s head and heart in a new direction, leaving me with a throbbing heart. I wished her back again and again, until I realized the old Brigi I once knew had been forever changed the day Gabe came to ask if he could court her. “Is that change good?” I would ask myself. “Where do I fit in now? What is our relationship going to look like from now on?” Besides getting used to this new Brigid, I have had to battle even harder questions: “Why does she get to experience true love first?” and, “I never went through all the wonderful things Gabe is doing to Brigi, in my relationship. Why her first?” Numbing questions, every one. These questions grew into a maze inside my head, and before I knew it I was panicking for answers–a way out of the maze.
The answers came after many weeks of pleading to Jesus, my Savior of my life. The Prince of Peace came near me and touched my mind and heart in ways that make me cry every time I think about those moments. Relief is what came in those moments, but it wasn’t relief from a source I supposed was the cause of my pain. I thought the source was from the people who had brought so much change into my life (change I didn’t want to accept). From the moment I knew Gabe wanted to pursue Brigid, I knew there would be trouble ahead for me. At that point, I could actually see in my mind storm clouds looming ahead in the distance. From that view, I grew afraid, so I prayed for guidance, peace, and acceptance of what was to come. I knew full well my prayer was heard, but I didn’t know that the Lord wanted me to learn a few lessons about myself before I could listen to His guiding truths, and find my peace and acceptance in His Will in my family’s life.
The source of my pain was not caused by anyone. It was not caused by Brigi, or Gabe. It was caused by me. A fissure deep within my heart which had lain dormant for years, now broke with a fury. It was pride. Dear friends, I don’t mind sharing because we are all fallen, we all battle sin, we may deny it at times, but that is why I need to share, to encourage you to never overlook your sins, though you may be saved, we still battle temptations, and we can stray off the path of righteousness. The root of all deep indwelling pain is pride. You see, from my very early years of childhood, I looked at my sisters with love, but also with suspicion. Who’s Prince Charming would show up first? Who would fly into the sunset first? As firstborn, I wanted it to be me. I think I must have fought for it in my heart for years without even knowing it. Sin has a way of hiding itself very well, until one day the Lord says enough! When my relationship came, I thought, “Oh my! Perhaps it will be me after all!”. When it died, I was so torn up and wounded I didn’t even want to consider that relationship as a relationship at all. So I continued to ignore that feeling of wanting to be first. I didn’t have the strength to think of it. As I began to heal from that relationship, and I began to be rubbed raw by Brigi and Gabe’s own love, I couldn’t help but feel a bitterness inside me that wouldn’t go away. “Why do they get so much happiness?” I would selfishly ask.
The questions festered. They stung. But all the while I kept trying to figure out why, I denied in my heart that it was because I was not going to be the first to fall in love, and be loved back in the same way. Brigid is. I felt it was my right to have that position. I was the eldest, I need to go first!
Do you girls see how potent and powerful that feeling of having a right to something can make you feel? All my life I have known the truth that we have no right to anything, accept through Christ. But I didn’t realize that my childish pride had stuck with me all these years, and it had grown almost insurmountable. By the time I realized it was my pride, I didn’t want to ask for forgiveness. I liked the way it felt, even though I knew how dangerous that was.
Once pride comes, then comes a mess of things. I felt rebellion for the first time in years, I felt pain, I felt all sorts of things, and they all made me want to feel sorry for myself. I prayed for forgiveness, but I still hadn’t given it up. So the battle went on and I fought on the wrong side. Everyone could see it in my face, no matter how much I hid it. I would make the excuse that “It was so hard letting Brigi go, and seeing her so changed.” But that wasn’t the whole truth. They could see I was troubled. It got to the point where I couldn’t even look Brigi or Gabe in the eye. “It’s their fault.” I would console myself. But that was a lie.
Blouse: Thrifted / Overalls: Old Navy / Brooch: A Reader’s Gift / Flexi Clip: c/o Lilla Rose / Lip color: L’Oreal in Peony
All the while this wickedness was festering in my heart, I walked through my normal daily routines of chores, exercise, summer reading, even Bible study, but that seemed to be turning into a fake effort. The thing that gave me any kind of peace was being outside. I have loved God’s creation ever since the mud pies, big rhododendron bushes, and tiny leaf hoppers of my childhood. Moving to our new house and finding so much of our yard overgrown with weeds and honeysuckle, I threw myself into battling the overgrowth, while at the same time I wrestled with God. For a few hours a day, I could forget my troubles, and envelope myself in learning all I could about my beautiful surroundings. I’ve always wanted to be a farmer girl, but I’m not, and so working hard, cultivating green things, and having a caring spirit for God’s creatures have made up for that instead. Do you see why I love my overalls so much now? They’re so me! Outdoorsy, with a vintage flare. I found them at a good time. For a while they too were a distraction from the matters of my heart. But not for long.
I was about to go out for a run one day when I had to stop at the end of our driveway, for a tiny, juvenile bird, had broken its poor neck and was flopping helplessly around in the grass. For hours that day I sat with the little creature, giving it water one drop at a time every few hours, trying to rectify its sorry state, and giving it a place of rest in my cupped hands when it was too tired of stumbling around in the grass. I watched it, trying not to fall in love, because I knew I would have to let nature take its course with this poor little life. I prayed for it, and come evening I let it go. I didn’t see it the next day, nor ever shall again. It was so strange… For the next two days I puzzled over why God would send that little bird into my life. It was at the point in its young life when it was just learning how to fend for itself, and learn how to be an adult. Why did its neck have to be broken? Why did it have to flop around, disoriented by the unnatural position of its head? But more importantly, why did God let me find it?
The little bird was His answer to my prayers. He has always spoken to me through His creation, whenever I have been at my lowest. It was while I was feeling sorry for myself that I remembered the little bird, and I compared its disoriented state to my own outlook on life at that time, and it was with that very thought that I heard my Savior tell me that it was time. I had fought Him long enough, I needed to let go of the pride that I had held onto with tight gripped hands since childhood, letting Him show me the beauty of dying to self, and finding life in Him. God works in mysterious ways and I knew then and there that He had performed a miracle in my life through the little bird. Just as I looked upon the little bird with a merciful heart, so was He upon my own life (Matthew 10:29-31). He showed me what He was seeing, and how pitiful I looked, wallowing in my pride, disillusioned in thinking that those feelings I was allowing were acceptable, just as the little bird was disillusioned in thinking that it could fly with a broken neck. In that moment I wept. For many things I wept, but most importantly I wept for the broken relationship I caused between myself, Brigid and Gabriel. And all of a sudden, joy sprung up in my heart! Joy! The thing I had not known in so long was in my heart at last! Christ had conquered, life was at hand. I could be joyful for Brigid and Gabe, I could actually laugh at all the things that used to sting me, and look them in the eye with love and happiness. The break was mended. Pride was gone, in its place peace and joy reigned.
There is my story, and this is my song, that joy will be found after you bring your hurts and sins to the Cross. At its foot you will find the Lord standing there with open arms, and the gift of life and peace. He gives it in plenty, and He gives it liberally. Let us rejoice and be glad, for Jesus Christ reigns, and He will not let sin and death conquer anymore! Just as I am weeding out the snares from the beautiful surroundings of our abode, I am weeding out the snares of my spiritual life, storing up treasures in Heaven instead. 🙂
Can you relate to my story?
Has God revealed to you a wonderful truth in a mysterious way?
What do you think of my new overalls?
Soli Deo Gloria!
Jessica, the Eldest Sister & Singer