My First Little Black Dress
"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
One day, when I was 15, my stepmom, Bernice, came into my room with a dress she had bought me. She knew I loved dresses. From the waist up, it was stretchy material, a tube top. From the waist down, the knee-length skirt portion was slightly flared with a mesh overlay which had tiny little colorful flowers sporadically placed throughout it. She was so excited to see it on me that she pulled me in front of my mirror and quickly helped me put it on. It was beautiful and it fit perfectly! I felt so sophisticated in it, but my excitement was short-lived. As I looked in the mirror, a sadness washed over me because the only thing I could think was, “Too bad it’s black. I can't wear black." The entire dress, except for the little flowers, was black. I had made it a point never to wear black because I wasn’t supposed to. My skin was too dark. Or so I believed. My face apparently showed my dissapointment because Bernice, who was still standing behind me with her hands on my shoulders, looked at me in the mirror and said, “What?” I didn’t know how to tell her I loved the dress, but I just couldn’t wear black. We never talked about such things. As I was trying to think of how to answer her, she slowly turned me around, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Are you thinking you can’t wear this dress because it’s black?” I couldn’t believe my ears! How did she know? I didn’t know what to say and I wanted to cry. Before I could speak, or cry, she slowly turned me back to the mirror and spoke firmly to me, both of us looking in the mirror. "Your skin color is beautiful", she said. She also told me how gorgeous I looked in the dress, and how I could wear any color I wanted, especially black. “Don’t EVER think you can’t wear black” she lovingly scolded me. I stood silent as she looked at me with her stern, yet loving eyes. She seemed determined not to leave that mirror until I saw what she saw, so I quietly said, "Ok". She hugged me and went downstairs, leaving me to admire my new dress and, my new truth.
Well, I wore that dress every chance I got, always receiving many compliments. I wore it with my head up, in confidence. I felt beautiful in it. My first little black dress. Her pouring into me for those few moments started a shift in my head, my thinking. I had a new attitude. I could actually wear black! It was so freeing! My shopping sprees took on a whole new meaning. (Hey...I was 15! Shopping was everything! Haha)
Truth vs. Lies
As I think back on that moment, I get teary. How in the world could I have believed that I couldn't wear whatever color I wanted to? That encounter has always stayed with me mainly because it really was so freeing. Only as an adult have I begun to realize and appreciate how God places people in our lives for seasons. Bernice had a huge heart and God allowed her to see something in me that only He knew (because I hadn't shared it with anyone) so she could speak truth into me. Not just to me, but into me because it truly penetrated my little broken soul. The enemy is always trying to feed us lies and loves it when we take a bite. I had taken many bites of his lie about the amount of melanin God specifically hand picked to make me. "You're too dark" he kept telling me, and I allowed it to become my truth. Well, thanks to Bernice, I could look at myself in my little black dress and say, defiantly, "Ha! Too dark for what?"
Do you know someone you can speak truth to? Do you need some lie shattering truth yourself? God's word is full of truth because "God is not a man, so he does not lie" (Numbers 23:19). I've learned that whatever we believe about ourselves, if it's anything less than "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14), it's a lie. We are handmade creations from the Creator.
I thank God for His truth (the Bible) and freedom, and I choose daily to be shaped by it and to drown out the lies of the enemy. I also thank Him for the people he continues to place in my life to speak life to me to help lead my deer's feet up my mountain called journey to Him.
"A person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook." Proverbs 18:4
(No. It's not me. But I love her fierceness!)
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