Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How To Dress A Girl You Love

I knit it for her when she was still inside, feathery fingering weight yarn in purest magnolia-white that just seem to go on forever, thousands of tiny stitches spelling out love. On Saturday I sewed on the two vintage glass buttons my cousin gave me from her grandmother's collection. On Sunday, I slipped it over her downy head in the nursery at church, moments before the start of the service. She slept soundly, wrapped in merino wool on a Sunday in July.

Magnolia Grace joined the family of Christ on July 19th and when our pastor held her up like a prize for the whole congregation to see welcome, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Being a Mother is always about letting go, nudging forward, releasing. Being a girl is always a gamble. Even in a country without sex selective practices and cultural preference for boys, being a girl is a risk. A liability. A marginalized state. Even in a country where girls can attend college or procure employment, they are objectified, labeled and boxed in from day one.

I have four daughters, a fact that can bring me to my knees with anxiety. Not because I don't adore each of my precious girls, but because I do. Because I want more for them than this world, this country, this culture can offer them. The pastor holds my girl up and I breathe easier because I remember - she's in His hands now.

I loved my girl Maggie before I ever saw her dear little face, held her tightly to my breast and inhaled her magical baby smell. Before I saw her, I knew her - kicking deep inside me while I crafted her grace-garment. I think about God on a dark night and how He's made one for me, too, something I'll never grow out of, something that expands as I age, something that I can put on every single day and hold close each and every night.

It's the only way I can navigate this world, with all it's clamoring seductions and sadness. Slipping on that garment of grace the only way I can bear to live another moment as one sin-sick human loving others similarly afflicted.

Something big enough to hold me and those I come in contact with. Something that is never too small to cover all. Every stress, panic attack, fear, sin, failing. Every heartbreak. Each and every thing swaddles snugly within the grace garment He wove especially for me.

My Magnolia sleeps soundly on my bed and I seal up her special gown, tuck it away in the closet until she's ready to pass it on. That's how grace works. It's never just for us. It's always big enough to be given away and my little Grace, she'll give it away someday - to a daughter or a niece or a granddaughter. That's how it's made to work. It is handed down from one generation to the next and we pass it on to one another like a talisman to guide us through, a solid promise that He will always be enough - for me, for her, for everyone who we come in contact with.

Knowing He is ever present and she is always, always swathed in purest white grace that comes from only one place.

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