During the process of my coming out of the closet—literally coming out of my bathroom closet to dress and undress—I received a new assignment from my counselor. She encouraged me to go shopping for a new nightgown, one that did not hide who I was as a woman. At that time, I usually wore un-feminine sleepwear that covered me up and made me invisible. Honestly, I was very skeptical about this assignment and doubted that I would even be able to fulfill it.
But I got up my courage, and went to the mall, and found the lingerie department of a well-known chain store. (There was no way I could have visited Victoria’s Secret or a similar store. I was not far enough along my journey yet!) So I shopped around in the department store and found a nightgown that was modest, comfortable, and soft. But when I tried it on, I stayed inside the dressing room a long time, talking to myself. I was trying to convince myself to leave the dressing room, go to the checkout, buy the gown, and go home. Finally, I did just that.
However, once I got home, I stuffed the new nightgown, bag and all, into a dresser drawer. And I left it there. For weeks, I was at a stand-still. For days and days, I thought a lot about that nightgown in that bag in that drawer, and I even thought about opening the drawer, but I didn’t do it. Every day, I tried to rake up the courage to open the drawer but, alas, I always turned around and thought, “Maybe tomorrow.” Then tomorrow arrived, and I actually took the bag out of the drawer and looked at it…and put it right back into the dresser drawer. I had discovered that I really could open the drawer and take out the nightgown-in-the-bag, but it was a few more days until I opened the drawer again. But eventually, I did open the drawer again, I took the bag out of the drawer, and I laid it on the chair next to the bed. Whew! I had finally gotten the nightgown out of the drawer, so now I could start thinking about actually taking the nightgown out of the bag. It would take a couple more days of walking past the bag and thinking about it before I could move on to the next step. But I took that next step. I took the gown out of the shopping bag and laid it on the chair. Of course, I covered it up so that no one could see it. I alone knew that the nightgown was there on the chair. Finally, I tried it on and then hid it once more on the chair. Then, at last, I put on the gown and wore it to bed. This was not an easy task. There were many steps, and days would elapse in between the steps. The process was exhausting, emotionally exhausting.
Philippians 4:13 assures me, “I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me” (NAS). I was not able to put on that nightgown in my own strength, but God’s strength and encouragement through those weeks are what kept me on track. I CAN do all things. That is the message that God wants me to receive and understand. I had been working so hard for so long to make changes in my life, and I was feeling like such a failure in this area. But what does the book of Philippians tell us? We can accomplish all things, because He gives us the strength to do the hard things. He gave me the strength to go shopping, to buy a new feminine nightgown, and to wear it.
What hard thing is God asking you to do on your road to healing and wholeness? Does this task seem impossible? Let us remember the Truth that God has for us in His Word—that we can do all the things that are needed for our restoration, no matter how large and overwhelming or how small and insignificant they may seem. In verse 19, Paul continues, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Do you see that wondrous Truth? God strengthens us and then He supplies our needs richly.
What about you? Is there some difficult assignment that you must fulfill before you can move on to the next step on your road to recovery? Believe that, when you complete that step, He will help you with the next one, and then the next one, and so on until you find yourself basking in the riches that He wants to bestow upon us so freely and lovingly. My message to you is this: Do not give up! Keep on relying on His strength and help. Someday, in glory, we will finally be completely whole. Until that day comes, let us walk our road here on earth in His strength. Grab His hand. Let’s go.
Blessings – Lisa