Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Going to the Ball

I have a friend who has the gift of faith. She has taken to heart that biblical directive to pray about everything. Once, as we were setting up a ladies’ luncheon, she tugged on my shirt.

“I can’t find my keys. I’ve looked everywhere. I need to get into my car.”

Taking a breath, I was just about to launch into that all-too-frequent Baby Boomer exercise, “Now when did you last have your keys?” You know, we’d trace her steps mentally in an attempt to prime her memory.

My friend, beating me to the punch, froze, closed her eyes, and prayed that God would help her find her keys. I stared at her until she was finished. She opened her eyes, smiled, and started to look around. And, wouldn’t you know, we found them on the shelf under the podium. Her keys were tucked into a corner.

Now here’s the thing. I struggle with taking all my needs to God. I tend to forget that He’s not like me, that He actually does have unlimited attention and energy and can handle all requests, big and small. My take on lost keys would have been that God really expects us to keep track of our stuff and if we lose it, we pay the consequence. So this pilgrim would root around, maybe not find the keys and then have to call someone, walk, cry, worry, and so forth.

I know I miss a lot of blessings with my misconceptions; few things bring more joy that to realize that the God of the universe has heard and answered your prayer. He has placed several Christian sisters in my life who regularly remind me that He can handle the small things as well as the gigantic. I remain a slow learner.

Coming up soon, I get to travel to Dallas for a special event. Our brother-in-law, Steve Amerson ( is being honored by National Medal of Honor Foundation at a dinner at the Westin Galleria. We received an invitation for the October 10 event.

As this is concert weekend, I knew that Mike could not go. However, as I would love to go, I ran it by the hub and he said, “Sure. You should do that.”

So I arranged air transportation, reserved a room and started googling Dallas. I’ll have some time to see the sights; my sister Kris, aka Mrs. Amerson, will be joining us and it will be just pure fun. I’ll get back in time to catch the concert so it looks about perfect.

But there is the matter of proper attire. The invitation states “Black Tie Optional.” Ok. I ran with ‘optional.’ That means you can dress up or not. Great, I thought. I have a nice knee-length black dress that I can doll up a bit and that will be just fine. And then I slept on it.

In the next morning, I mulled. Military guests, and there will be many, will be in full dress uniform; most other men will be in tuxes. And most of their companions will be in ball gowns. Will I look like the rube from the cornfields in my all purpose short dress? Yes, I will.

Now those of you who know me also know that I don’t get all fixated on wardrobe although I do think one should dress for the occasion. Flip flops at the White House? I don’t think so. So the formal dress thing began to eat at me.

I began looking for something appropriate. I checked locally and on line at the better stores in Indianapolis. This is what I found: there just isn’t much out there for women of a certain age. Most gowns are cut low, cut thin, strapless or spaghetti strapped. One thing worse than looking like a rube would be looking like an aging prom queen. There are parts of a vintage woman’s frame that should remain a mystery.

There were some dresses with boleros: boxy, mother-of-the-bride things that struck even me as dowdy. What to do? What to do?

I sorted through my stuff and brought forth a really nice white blouse. Then the solution formed in my brain. I would get a plain, black, long skirt to wear with this.

Perfect. It should not be too expensive and really, really, I could wear it again, unlike all those legions of bridesmaids’ dresses that most brides justified with, “You can wear it again.” Yes, sure. Take that big bow off the back and you'll wear that puffy sleeved fuchsia every day.


So how hard is it to find a plain black skirt? Well, just about impossible. I mean it. The vision was that it would go to the ground. I found mid calf, high ankle, those handkerchief bohemian things but nothing like what I was looking for. I even searched bizarre sites on line after checking out all stores. Nothing.

Ok. Fixer that I am, I went to the local fabric store and found a pattern, a 6 gore job that would have to be made longer but it would work. I just needed a seamstress. I contacted every number I had. Alas, as it is prom season around here, no one could get it done on time.

Sigh. Look, I know there are big things in my life that are lots more important than this. I did not bring this need to God as I considered it waaaaay down on the importance list, and a bit vain on my part.

Last weekend, on our way to southern Indiana, I asked Mike to stop at Nordstrom’s so I could try on one of those prom dress things to see if it looked as hideous on me as I thought it would.

It did.

I left the fitting room, handing the dress to the clerk.

“You look disappointed. Did it not fit?”

I laughed. “I’m a bit old for this one. I just haven’t been able to find what I was really looking for.”

“And what’s that?”

I made an incredulous face. “I have been looking for a plain, black, floor length skirt.”

She smiled and turned to a rack. Two black skirts lurked in the shadow. She pulled one out and said, “Like this?”

“Oh my.” It was the same as the pattern I had found.

“Hmmmm. It’s a size 0.”

Oh good. Two of those and I could have long slacks.

The other one was my size. Really. And it fit, like it was made just for me. And its length was perfect, no small trick on my tall frame. I snapped it up and we were off on the highway.

I’m also slow to process. About 50 miles south it dawned on me that God had given me a little kiss on the forehead. The perfect skirt, the thing I felt I needed for my fun weekend. He orchestrated all my desire, frustration, and reward because He loves me and wants me to seek Him, in big things and small.

Sister Kris likes to remind me (us) that “we are God’s favorites. We are children of the King.” And, I’m feeling like Cinderella, except at midnight on Saturday, if I’m still up, I don’t have to worry about the pumpkin thing.


  1. Great story, Lynne, and great lesson! I have noticed that God likes to fix things for me when every other possibility has been exhausted and the situation appears hopeless. I think that is so I have no question that God is there and in control. I can't take the credit or give the thanks to anyone else when I've already tried everything else and failed. I then know it had to be God!

  2. " One thing worse than looking like a rube would be looking like an aging prom queen." A+ ;-)

  3. You make me laugh. Love this story from your life. You know the words to the hymn... "...what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer." Now, if we could just remember to do so! Hope you have a GREAT time tonight!

  4. Thank you for joining us in Dallas, Lynne. Just love that the "Creator of the Universe" the GREAT I AM who hung the stars in place, cares about the "smaller" details of our lives. Lots of Love, Kristine PS: YOU were stunning in the black skirt!