A Gift For You: Michelle Rae and the New Dress (‘Cause We’re All Kids at Heart.)

Happy 2016, Dear Readers! (Or Dear Reader…whatever the case may be. I’m trusting that at least my sister is reading this…I may have lost the rest of you…)

I still don’t have a new website up and running…ha, I barely have time to brush my teeth these days! But I do miss hearing from you and thought I’d return to the old site and leave you with a little gift.

A children’s story.

I don’t’ know about you, but I still love children’s stories.

 In fact, I’ve read “Click, Clack, Moo – Cows that Type” to my grandson a dozen times this week and I’m not tired of it yet.

And I purchased for myself Shel Silverstein’s  “Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back” this year because it so resonated with a particularly rough period for me. (But more about that in another post ;)  )

Anyway, this is a children’s story I wrote a decade or two ago but shared this year at a women’s retreat and then was asked to share at a tea for young women. Its message is a simple one, and yet one that we seem to have a difficult time grasping.  It is a game-changing message when we grab hold and don’t let go.

I really wish I could read it to you.  But since I can’t, you’ll have to do it yourself. Read it slowly, with a bit of twinkle in your eye and a whole lot of love in your heart. (’cause that’s how I would do it.)

Michelle Rae and the New Dress

Michelle Rae climbed on top of the dresser that was next to her closet. Standing on tiptoe she reached up and yanked at a box on the closet shelf. The box tumbled to the floor.

Michelle Rae was independent.

Her mom had said so.

Her dad had said so with a sigh.

Now she began digging through dresses and pants and winter sweaters until she found what she was looking for. White gloves. The white gloves she had worn for Easter. They would go perfectly with the white princess dress and jeweled crown that she had received for her birthday last year. She found a pair of her mother’s high heeled shoes and lipstick and looked at herself in the mirror. She smiled. Princess Michelle was ready for tea.

She went out to join Prince Chocolate and Prince Fire Dog (who looked suspiciously like her favorite stuffed animals) for royal cookies on the front porch. She was just about to take a sip of royal tea when Michelle Rae saw a little girl hurrying by. This girl had on the most beautiful, sparkling white gown that Michelle had ever seen.

Michelle Rae was curious.

Her mom had said so.

Her dad had said so with a sigh.

“Hey, my name is Michelle. Who are you? Where are you going?” she called out. 

“I’m Princess Rachel and I’m off to dine at the palace,” the little girl replied. Her face was shiny clean and not a hair was out of place.  In fact, this princess looked quite perfect and Michelle looked in dismay at her own dirty, wrinkly dress. There was a jelly stain on the front from her last tea party.  She rubbed at it with a napkin, but the stain remained. She watched as the Perfect Princess hurried off and was startled to see a huge palace at the end of the street. She had not noticed it before.

She shrugged and reached for a cookie when she saw another little girl scurrying down the street, singing as she went.  This little girl didn’t look anything like Rachel, but she wore a beautiful lacy white gown. 

Michelle Rae was bold.

Her mom had said so.

Her dad had said so with a sigh.

“Hey, stop!” Michelle shouted. “I like your dress. Want some tea?”

The little girl in the lacy white gown stopped singing. “Oh. Hi.” She said when she saw Michelle on the front porch. “I’m Princess Amanda and I can’t ’cause I’m going to the palace.” She hurried off.

“How rude,” grumbled Michelle and wiped cookie crumbs from her lap. She looked down the street and could see crowds of children around the palace, laughing and singing. They were all wearing beautiful white clothing, and a little boy in a white suit was practically running down the street. Michelle called out to him. “Are you going to the palace?”

The boy stopped and looked around.
“I said, are you going to the palace?” Michelle shouted a little louder.

“Oh. Hi. Yes. Yes, I am going to the palace. Would you like to come with me?”

“Um, is everyone wearing fancy white clothes?” Michelle asked.

“Why, yes, you have to have spotless white clothes to go through the gate. Wanna come?” He asked again.

Michelle Rae looked at her soiled white dress. She looked at the jelly stain. “Uh, maybe later,” she mumbled and the little boy hurried off. She began picking up her tea things. Suddenly she felt lonely. The tea party by herself just didn’t sound fun anymore. 

But Michelle Rae was determined.

Her mom had said so.

Her dad had said so with a sigh.

Michelle wanted to go to the palace and she had an idea.

Dropping the teacups and saucers, she went into the house. She quickly pulled the dirty dress over her head and put on jeans and a tee shirt. “I’ll clean my dress and then I can go to the party! Oh boy!” She picked up the dress and noticed that she had gotten red lipstick on it when she pulled it over her head. She headed off to the garage where she knew her dad kept cleaning rags. She pulled one from a large bag and took it into the kitchen. She turned on the faucet and stuck the rag under the running water. Then she poured some liquid soap on it.

Michelle began rubbing with all of her might at the lipstick stain. But the more she rubbed, the bigger the stain became. She noticed too late that the cleaning rag had something black on it, and now her dress was dirtier than ever! She felt like crying.

“I’ll never get to go to the party now!” She wailed. 

But Michelle Rae was creative. 

Her mom had said so.

Her dad had said so with a sigh.

“Wait, maybe I can HIDE the stain!” She scurried off in search of her crayons. She dug through the huge bucket of Crayola Crayons until she found a white one that wasn’t broken. Michelle peeled off the paper and began coloring over the large reddish-pink stain on the front of her dress. After a couple of minutes, she held up the dress to look at it. She could still see the stain. She sighed. What could she do to get the dress clean?

Michelle was smart.

Her mom had said so.

Her dad had said so with a sigh.

“I’ve seen mom do laundry. I’ll toss my dress in the washer and it will be clean in no time and then I can go to the party!”  She said to no one in particular. “Oh, I do hope it’s not over before I’m done,” she said as she skipped off toward the laundry room. She peered over the dials on the washing machine and finally pushed some buttons. She grabbed the box of laundry soap and began to pour in a cup, just like she had seen her mom do.  Then she looked at her stained, rumpled dress.  “Hmmmm. The other girls had REALLY clean dresses – I better make sure mine is too.”  She dumped the entire box of soap into the machine, tossed in her dress, and closed the lid.  She went into the living room to wait.

A short time later, she heard a loud ker-thunk, ker-thunk, ker-thunk from the laundry room.  She went to investigate. “Oh no!” She exclaimed. Sudsy water was pouring from the washing machine. She splashed over to the noisy machine and turned it off. 

Then Michelle Rae began to cry.

She knew without a clean white dress she couldn’t go to the palace.

She so wanted to go!

Just then, the doorbell rang. Michelle wiped at her tears and went to see who it was. She peeked out the window and was surprised to see a man wearing a crown – a REAL crown – standing there. Wiping the last of her tears away, she opened the door. 

“Can I help you?” She asked.

“I’m Prince Jenrous and I invite you to come to the party at my father’s palace,” the royal looking gentleman said.

Michelle looked sadly at her jeans and tee shirt. “I’m sorry, but I have nothing to wear.”  Her lip quivered and she stared at her bare feet.
“My dear princess!  Didn’t anyone tell you?” the Prince asked. Then he reached down and handed her a beautifully wrapped box.  “This is for you. It is a gift from my father.”

“Michelle tore off the ribbon and opened the box.  She gasped as she looked at the shimmering white gown that lay within. “This is for me?” her eyes widened in surprise.

“Yes, it is a gift from the king. He has one for anyone who wants to come to the palace. Will you come?” the man asked with a smile.

“Oh yes!  Yes indeed!” Michelle smiled and hurried off to put on her new dress.

Michelle Rae was going to the palace.

The king had said so.

The prince had said so with a smile.

The End.

****************

You may think you know the message here and yes, yes it is true that the gift of eternal life is a free gift from a gracious and loving God, and that there is no amount of works or cleverness or creativity that can earn it for us.

But equally true, is the free gift of love that God has for us – so often we think it is something we need to earn or work for and our finite minds just can’t grasp the infinite depth and width and length and inconceivable greatness, the perpetual feast that is ours when we live out of that place of understanding that God just does.

Just does love us beyond anything we can fathom.

Just because it is who He is.

It’s a game changer.

It not only enables us to walk in freedom to be who we are created to be, but it frees us to love others right where they are.

It’s the one truth I want to cling to with all my being in 2016.

Rather than working on being more independent or curious or bold – which may or may not have caused my husband and children to sigh at times; rather than being clever or smart or determined or trying to scrub harder at my stains, I just want to rest in the unconditional love my Creator has for me.

And then let the power of that love flow out of me and into others.

Shall we pray Ephesians 3:17-19 for each other?

17 May Christ through your faith (actually) dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints (God’s devoted people, the experience of that love) what is breadth and length and height and depth (of it);

19 (that you may really come) to  know (practically, through experience for yourselves) the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience); that you may be filled (through all your being) unto all the fullness of God (may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself)!  Epehesians 3:17-19 Amplified Cross Reference

Grateful for this wonderful life,

Marie with a :)