When they were young, my daughters loved playing “dress-up.” They’d put on their mom’s shoes, fill up a grown-up purse with crayons and pretend grown-up scenarios. For the moment, they wanted to be just like mom.
Don’t we do the same? We look at ourselves, with our immaturity, our sinfulness, and we want to clothe ourselves in something better. We want to be just like Jesus. This seems like an impossible goal until we accept one simple truth: God will help us. He loves us. Not only does God love each of us exactly as we are, but he wants us, little by little, to become like him. Why? Because he wants us to have a heart like his.
Need to hear that message a few more times? Don’t we all? God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way! He wants you to be just like Jesus!
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26).
From Just Like Jesus
I also loved playing dress up as a tiny tot. I would put on my beautiful mother’s clothes, shoes, and hats trying to look and be like her. My parents’ love affair lasted the forty-three years of their marriage. I wanted to grow up to be like my mother and have a till-death-do-us-part marriage.
At age 3, I attended my first wedding . In fact, it may be the most elaborate nuptials I ever attended. My father served as a groomsman. The pagentry of the ostentatious wedding enamored me! From that time on, my dress up play focused on weddings and acting the bride. I donned my mother’s long robes, hats with netting, and high heeled shoes to play bride. Then I walked down the staircase to have my train drag behind me. Sometimes, I did the hesitation step in the aisles of my mother’s peony and rose garden. I carried flowers from her garden and did double duty too, playing bride and flowergirl, as I scattering petals on the path. By the time I reached high school, I had started a file of ideas I wanted for my wedding. During my college years, as secretary to the college chaplain, I typed up many a wedding service for him. I copied the sections which I particularly liked. Using my notes, I wrote our own wedding ceremony. With many pastors within our circle of friends and relatives, some asked for a copy of our ceremony to use with their parishioners. My wedding folder contained a story about a Karen and a Steve who desired to have a God-sanctioned marriage. When my daughter Karin began planning her wedding to Steve, I showed her that story from my file. She loved the coincidence of names, and used it in her Bride’s speech at her reception.
At the age of 4, while listening to my mother practice her flannelgraph stories for Sunday School, I responded to her practicing inviting her students to ask Jesus into their hearts.
Aside from God, family stood as the most important thing to me throughout my life. As the family genealogist, I attended every family function possible. Some call me the glue that bonds the family together. Never did I think God would take my family away from me, but He did. First, I lost my daughter to cancer. Initially, I declared it an act of Satan; God would not have allowed her to die. As I worked through my grief, I realized God had provided in advance for her passing. Our grieving seemed under His control. Then I learned my husband had left our marriage, and his family excommunicated me as well. Impossible! How could that happen?
God came to Job in a whirlwind saying, “Dress for action like a man.” (Job 38:3 ESV) God wants us to “dress” to represent Him, not just in clothing, but in actions and attitude. As God allowed Job to be broken for a purpose – to be an example for us, God has allowed me to be grieved for a reason. He wants to make me a better person, a stronger Christian, one who can console others who are grieving. As God restored everything Job’s heart desired back to him, I know God cares for me and is honing me to be of use for His kingdom. I love my new clothes!