Monday, February 23, 2009

Shrinking Jeans

I started off this year with an eye to simplifying. My daughters inspired me to donate the clothes and shoes I don’t wear to Orphan Grain Train. Of course, this effort turned into cleaning out not just my closet, but a few drawers as well. In the end, I’ve realized it’s not as painful as I thought it would be.

What I didn’t expect, however, was my husband pitching in to help. My husband threw my jeans in warm water with some of his stuff and then into the dryer! The surprise came this morning when I grabbed my favorite jeans, which are now a size I haven’t seen in the mirror for decades. These are jeans I debated over purchasing; they were pricey -- way too pricey and not at all on sale. I worried they looked too much like jeans my daughters would wear and that there was no way I could pull them off. But my Hannah was with me on that mission to find the right jeans, and she convinced me they were perfect and that I’d wear them out.

She was so right! My decision to get the jeans was reinforced many times, and I loved how I felt when I wore them. They gave me a look I could always count on -- for a while, anyway. After dozens of washings and a few more years, I find the jeans don’t quite fit. Hannah tells me I can wash them in cold water and stretch them as they dry on the line. I’ve thought of stuffing them with several of those foam noodles you play with in the pool, or possibly inner tubes. Or maybe I could refrain from desserts for a while and think, “shrink,” really hard until the pants fit again.

This morning, as I looked at those jeans and rethought all of these ideas, my husband came in and asked me if I was donating them. I was taken aback -- give away my favorite jeans? He had to be kidding! But, as I thought about it, I realized that pants shrink, and I was placing too much importance and putting too much energy into this one pair of jeans.

You know me. I think of a spiritual application to just about everything. So this morning, I remembered that wonderful hymn from the 1800s. The first verse says, “Oh for a faith that will not shrink, tho pressed by many a foe; that will not tremble on the brink of poverty or woe.” And the last verse adds, “Lord, give us such a faith as this and then whate’er may come, we’ll taste e’en now the hallowed bliss of an eternal home.” Don’t you love it? Let’s enjoy the everlasting love our heavenly Father lavishes on us: His forgiveness of our past, and His hope for our tomorrows. It’s how He grows our faith.

Our jeans will downsize, but God nurtures in us a faith that will not shrink. Now that’s something to feel good about!

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