The Little Black Sweater

It seems to me that every time I have a dramatic, life shifting season, I buy a new black sweater.

I have the overly large black sweater I bought after Ashden was born. The kind you pull over your head to cover the lingering baby tummy and nursing faux pas. Those were the years I was in the trenches. Two babies in 16 months; no Grandma help in sight. My life was taking a hard left into a season of hiding. I lessened my social engagements and volunteer-edness and stayed at home in the secret place of mommy hood.

The next black sweater was purchased online because by that time I had the hidden-ness down so well that I figured out online shopping. It was awesome. My first semi cashmere cardigan, petite and perfect. Except my life was far from perfect at the time. We were jobless, church-less, directionless & peniless. God revealed himself to me in such intimate ways during that season that I’m not sure I would have made it through without Him. A wilderness of sorts. He was busting me out of Egypt to abide with Him out under the starry sky to change our relationship: to change me.

In February, I bought a new black sweater. This one was a long, slim, open cut one. Mostly to cover my nervousness while I spoke at my Grandpa’s memorial service. 2013 has been another hard left turn in the road. My seasons are changing. I’m emerging from the trenches of mommy hood, no longer strapped to feeding schedules and diaper bags. My kids are not dependent on me. I’ve flown more this year that I think I have in the past 10 years and have weekly commitments that are pulling me from the rocking chair. The heart ache has been great, but so has the new found fascination with Heaven. Each day is one step closer toward home. The clock is ticking more loudly than ever before and I’m realizing I have a few numbered years left on this Earth. What will my legacy look like?

On Friday I wore that black sweater for the first time since the memorial. I wore it hoping to hide my nervousness because I was embarking on a new part of this life. As I left that evening God reminded me of everything I have been through. All of the milestones and moments marked by my little black sweaters. At once my heart responded with gratitude and worship because He truly does turn clay into something beautiful. Our mourning into joy, our pain into purpose and there is no One else I’d rather follow.

Nothing is wasted, nothing is wasted. In the hands of our Redeemer nothing is wasted. It’s from the deepest wounds, beauty finds a place to bloom. And you will see before the end, that every broken piece is gathered in the heart of Jesus, and what’s lost will be found again. From the ruins, from the ashes, beauty will rise. From the wreckage, from the darkness, glory will shine.                      -Jason Gray

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