Just a few years back now, I felt flat-lined. I mean, I was emotionally. As a usually joyful and happy person my new friend had no idea who I really was. But, she had chosen to befriend me, taking me out on her boat, to lunch, etcetera.
I felt embarrassed to be in that state. Grief is a necessity but it’s a drag and a bore which seems to knock one down at any given moment. I disdain the fact that I know grief. The only good thing about grief is it reminds me of some amazing and significant people whom I love but no longer live upon this earth.
I felt sorry for friends I acquired in the next years after my husband had died. I wasn’t free to be me, whomever “me” was. There were moments in most every day, or sometimes for a full one, where my spark and spunk were nowhere to be found. It feels horrible to be squelched by it but it is part of the deal of living and loving. Thankfully the depth of it lightens but during the process it sure is nice to have good people around.
My new-to-me friend Dianna Graff decided to help me live—and do it in style. (Hence the photo of me in the mink coat. I will get back to it.)
Friends who had known me previously had an idea of who I was, that I liked to laugh, I had some personality, skills, etcetera; but new friends only saw the shadow of who I was. Yet, they came into my life anyway.
In this particular blog I want to do a bit of an “Ode to Dianna” because she has shown up and again and again in my life in ways which shout, “You will make it and you will do it well!” It has only been in the last couple of years she has even figured out who in the world I really am. And in all actuality, I am very much a new person today anyway.
And may I pause from this “ode” to say I have a batch of completely stellar friends. I am not kidding. I am blessed beyond. They have loved me and stood with me through thick and thin and I adore them—probably YOU reading this are one. I love you!
But I share Dianna today for two reasons. Yes, I want to honor her but also, in telling this little story I get to honor God. And, I would say that is the point of both of our lives; so here I go.
I can’t tell you how many times she has shown up in incredible ways with an attitude of “Let’s make something happen” or “I got your back and so has God: watch this!” Oh the stories I could tell.
However the other day while in conversation about something, I mentioned clothing. Now I love clothes but if I were to claim a budget, it would have a limited amount in it for clothing right now and for a while into my past. But clothes with nice design, sewn well, good fabrics, detail, etcetera are something I have always appreciated. I also live by “godliness with contentment is great gain” and try to maintain thankfulness for what I do have and just shoot for good hair days.
Dianna takes love of design and clothes to another level—actually several levels above anything I have even gotten close to. She is a woman of style and…many closets.
As I have been hiking and walking my daily-doubles the last few months my clothing size has changed and with a plentiful wardrobe, cast in a few sizes (like most woman, the sizes) Dianna decided to invite me over to see what she might have. I went to see my friend.
Outside of her main closets I stood. She would go into her closet and shut the door behind her, come out with things in colors and styles I had never considered trying previously. But I everything was perfect! As the process repeated itself time and again, I tried on one amazing piece of clothing after another! In mid-process she told me she had been going in and asking God which items to bring out for me—praying in her closet on how best to bless and outfit me.
This adventure was surreal. I was in a fog, a daze of blessing. Out came designer label jackets, sweaters, dresses, skirts, shirts, night wear, coats, purses…beautiful clothing which looked new—or was new. It would be a chore to count how many items came home with me.
She delighted. I was the one receiving and being overwhelmed with blessing and she was claiming the joy as the giver! She even had the servant attitude of a dressing attendant. I was more than humbled. When I put on these clothes I felt like a million bucks, exceptional style, fit, etcetera.
I was like, “Really, God?”
After countless items were rolled and placed in shopping bags or hung in a garment bag, I was going to get on my way. Then Dianna said, “Wait!” and went back into her closet, again shutting the door behind her and then opening it again with a beautiful fur coat.
I immediately said that there is no way I would take her fur coat—really I did! I repeated it.
She said, “Try it on.”
It fit and felt amazing! But no way would I take a mink coat!
She said, “Do you like it?” Which I told her again that I wasn’t taking her mink.
She repeated the same question two more times, “Do you like it?”
I had to admit that of course I do.
She said, “Then take it!”
Oh my goodness!
Like I said, it was a surreal experience. I kept thinking, God your goodness through Dianna and this experience is too much! And I kept wondering, “Where am I going, or what am I going to do to need and use this abundance of beautiful clothes?”
I also thought of how our God likes to give good gifts and sometimes we push them back or thwart things because they seem too good!
And I thought about God’s timing. I wouldn’t have fit into those crazy-cool checked pants just a bit ago. But probably I didn’t need to have this full wardrobe any sooner either. My question or rather anticipation now is knowing what’s on the horizon. I am equipped and completely blessed by the provision, more than I would have even considered.
And back to Dianna. I am not the only person that she has invested in. She does this kind of thing often, in one way or another—she is a giver and acts as a blessing to many–directly and indirectly, all the time. Even when she has a lot to juggle or injuries that would suggest she stop and lay down, she finds a way.
She has learned to flow in her giftings and I have been on the receiving end time and again.
Most every day we have things which could suggest that we “lay down” and not function in our giftings. Time is always nipping at us but so are many other things. Sometimes questions like “Who are you to think you could or should do this or that?” arise. They come out of insecurities and inevitably the pit. They restrain us and cause us to refrain from living to the fullest. Investing quietly or overtly in our gifts, abilities, and our unique creativity and ways of doing life allows us to experience fulfillment as well as fills outstanding needs for others, whether practical, esthetic, or what have you.
We have to find ways to stay fluid in our pouring out. Even the smallest contributions to others gives them water to drink, to bathe in, to reflect upon.
You have gifts. You have things to give out. Maybe you don’t have a mink to give, or should give, but what words, deeds, or creativity do you have to share?
Comparably there are millions of people that can write better than I can but I know I am to use words to flow out of me. When I do, peace comes, purposes highlighted, and I am in my groove. Then releasing them takes a step of courage from which I have to let go of the outcome. The outcomes are risky but learning to release is key; we just walk and grow in our roles and gifts.
Let me be perfectly bossy here: USE YOUR GIFTS!
Thank you Dianna for trusting me with my words and allowing me to expose your generosity, using you as a subject as I seam together words I hope contribute to the hearts and minds of others and cast honor upon God in the process. And thank you for the mink!