She woke up early. She always does. I think she enjoys being the first one downstairs. She sat beside me on the couch and tried to look over my shoulder as I read God’s word on the iPad. Today, a particularly unpleasant scent interfered with our quiet time together.
“Sweetheart, were you hot last night? I think you need to take a shower. You don’t smell very good.” (You see, polyester, multi-layered princess nightgowns don’t breathe. So, if you get a little warm during the night under your fifteen blankets, let’s just say, they don’t give you any grace for that.)
She reluctantly got in the shower. The house felt cold though, so getting her out was an even tougher sell than getting her in. It was Sunday morning and my window of opportunity to clean-up without an audience was closing quickly. I spoke with a little bit more force.
“You need to get out now, Girlie. Come on. Here’s your towel.”
She wrapped her tiny body in the big blue terrycloth and sat down. Right in front of the shower door.
“Yeah, that won’t work. You can’t sit there. Your clothes are on the bed. Go out there and get dressed.” I said, pointing to our bedroom, adjacent to the bath. I pushed her towards the door.
With sunken head and shoulders, she slowly moved in to the other room. I closed and locked the door as fast as I could, then hopped in the shower.
Ten minutes or so later (Don’t judge…if no one’s interrupting me there’s really no reason to rush, is there?). I find a little red haired girl huddled into a ball, sitting on the floor hugging her knees. That big blue towel covered all but her face.
“Are you cold?” I asked.
I disappeared into the bedroom closet to put on my robe. Emerging a few seconds later, I asked her if she planned to stay there all day. She shrugged her shoulders and mumbled, “Maybe.”
I returned to the bathroom, fiddled with my face for a second, and then it hit me. I visited the closet once again to grab my lighter weight, old black robe. I hold it out to her and say, “Hey, do you want to wear a robe too?”
And something surprising happened…
Never before has any face ever lit up at the sight of a well-worn, stretched out from pregnancies, decade-old black bathrobe. (Of this I am certain.) She jumped to her feet and nodded with excitement. The belt looped her waist three times, with plenty of string still hanging down even after I tied it off. It hung below her calves and took some extra effort to keep closed in front of her chest. But, she didn’t care one bit. She was wearing my robe. To her, this was supremely exciting.
My shrunken violet felt no cold as she shed her navy towel. Her identity transformed as she danced and pranced in front of the full length mirror to see herself in that bathrobe from every angle. She smiled and posed, beaming with satisfaction.
I smiled too.
As I continued my morning routine, I thought about that old robe and how it changed her so quickly. And, He reminded me…
This is what he wants me to do. Every day.
He has a robe that he wants me to wear in order to be transformed. According to Isaiah 61:10, “He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” Unlike an old, black bathrobe, it’s a magnificent garment that makes me new.
But, I forget this sometimes. Instead, I stand in the mirror and scrutinize myself, uncovered. I knit-pick the extra flesh here or the new stretch marks there and focus on my imperfections, comparing myself to the unbiblical and unreasonable standard of beauty presented to me dozens of times a day.
I stress about which of the actual garments hanging in my closet I’ll use to cover this imperfect body and forget that he offers me the clothing of royalty.
His robe covers it all. He says to put on and become new.
Wearing his robe, I am warmed by the blanket of the acceptance it offers. All of my flaws are covered by his righteousness. I can look in the mirror and smile because what I see in my reflection is no longer a woman whose body falls short of some cultural standard but rather a woman cloaked in his radiant love.
It took my daughter’s experience with my robe to help me see how His robe should transform us, daily. How about you? Is it difficult for you to remember to put on his robe, too?
**This post was originally published in 2014**