Just A Jacket

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It arrived many years ago in a brown grocery paper bag with a string tied around the bulky package. My mom had found the winter jacket at a garage sale and thought of me. It was an extravagant gift. My mom didn’t have much money during that period in her life and had stopped buying gifts.

The jacket is worn out now with a tattered lining. I was at least the second owner and it is obvious that the jacket was loved and worn, even before my time. The jacket has outlived its purpose, yet it hangs in my closet taking up valuable space.

I know the reason why I keep it. It was unique. Whenever I wore that jacket, I could count on at least one stranger complimenting it. As soon as I arrived home from running errands, I would tell my husband that another person liked the jacket. It was a long-running joke between us because I loved everything about the jacket, the fabric, design and color, whereas my husband never cared for it.

I know the real reason why I keep it. It is a jacket that my mom lovingly picked out, touched, and sent to me as a surprise of her love. My mom has been gone for four years now. That jacket is still a connection to my mom in the flesh. I imagine my mom spying the jacket at a garage sale and remarking, “I know my daughter will love this!”

As we downsized houses and sorted through too much stuff, the subject of getting rid of the jacket came up over and over. I would put it in the donate pile one day and take it out the next day. My husband finally told me to keep it. We would make room for the jacket. Something as ordinary as a coat captured my heart.

The prophet Isaiah speaks of the ordinary and then reminds us of the extraordinary beauty of Jesus Christ that captures our hearts.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:2). But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5).

The ordinary became the eternal definition of love expressed. The unique gift from our Father in heaven is a garment of salvation that always looks beautiful and never becomes tattered in the hearts of His children.

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10.)

Jesus cloaks us with God’s extravagant love that transforms the ordinary and changes hearts with the extraordinary. We wear God’s love as a garment that holds us in His loving arms and never lets go. Make room. You are loved!

 

 

 

 

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My Happy, Happy, Happy!

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Jumbled memories that define the start of my cancer journey. A lump that should have been nothing to worry about. My doctor was reassuring as she handed me a lab request for follow-up work. A room full of people. More than I thought necessary to inform me that the lump was benign.

My introduction to the word cancer. “It is 50-50 cancer and I’m leaning towards cancer.” The radiologist was blunt. All of a sudden, I felt very alone. Hearing the statistics for five year survival rate based on the type and stage of my cancer. It wasn’t as high as I figured it would be. Cancer is scary stuff.

The first tears. The oncologist informed me that if the breast cancer returned as a metastasis, I would die. Okay, he didn’t use those exact words, but I understood the implication for the first time. Cancer is serious business.

My husband’s birthday. We were hoping and praying for a celebration. We sat in the surgeon’s office awaiting the pathology report on the breast cancer. I scanned the mumbo jumbo of the lab summary for any sign of good news.

Relief and profound gratitude. Hope and resiliency anew. The cancer was caught early. My journey of healing had begun. Thank you, God for my happy, happy, happy!

NOTE: For the 50 word version of this post and my response to a writing challenge, check out the Holistic Wayfarer, (www.holisticwayfarer.com) and look for the post, “It’s Happy Hour.”  Parenting, family, poetry…all good stuff over on Diana’s blog.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.