(Better know as thirsty Thursday). Let me warn: This is a long testimony but 100% worth the read!
In 2013, my relationship with God forever changed. It all started when I was working alone one weekday at the bridal salon. It was a rather slow day until…SHE walked in! Two beautiful twins came into the store, both engaged, both shopping for dresses but definitely not both enthused. Right away, I noticed Amber more so. She was dainty, quiet and seemingly fearful of the experience. Her twin, Stacy, couldn’t be more different- energetic, thrilled and ready to try on dresses. As I politely asked both of them their wedding dates, ideas and what types of dresses they had in mind, Amber would hardly tell me any information. I could see that between the two girls, Stacy had a lot of thoughts, ideas about her wedding but Amber, not so much. I didn’t push though. I proceed with Stacy; asking her to point out the dresses she liked and going through the motions but ultimately, I was mesmerized by Amber. Once Stacy was done trying on dresses and had found her favorites, we both naturally turned it over to Amber. Slowly, Amber let out small pieces of information that would make up the puzzle which was her. Piece by piece and jag by jag, I found out that Amber had gotten a double mastectomy, gotten over thyroid cancer, had a baby, all while having a life threatening celiac disease that only made each of these early issues more problematic. Trying not to scare her off by my questions and sadness that I felt for her, she let out that she was afraid of not making it to her wedding and that she was so confident that she would die before reaching this date that was a year away. Trying to change the mood slightly, I challenged her to try on one dress, just one, to see how it would make her feel. She obliged to her twin Stacy as well as the polite bridal salon employee.
When Amber came out of that dressing room, wearing that wedding dress, she took our breath away! She looked stunning. Once Amber turned to the mirror and saw herself, she couldn’t help but feel the same. For the first time, Amber was twirling, smiling, saying that she felt beautiful and actually had confidence in her wedding. Quickly though, the devil swooped in to say that she would never make it to her wedding date. After only mere minutes of her confessing that she loved the gown and seeing a light within her, she took it off and went back to her timid self. Thankfully though, we spent a few more hours learning about each other and I quickly found out that Amber was having a benefit in one month to help with her medical costs. For some reason, Amber and Stacy invited me and I promised that I would attend.
Later that night, I had the hardest time sleeping. I tossed and turned as I prayed to God asking, “Lord, why did we cross paths?” and “what could I possibly do to help her?” After a long nights rest (no one said it was a good nights rest), I woke up with what felt like a lighting bulb over my head. Instantly, I knew what I was being told to do! I called my mom to tell her: “Mom, I know what I’m suppose to do for Amber. I’m suppose to buy her that wedding dress that she loved and bring it to her benefit.” Of course, this might have seemed crazy from an outside perspective with the dress costing $3200, the benefit being a month away, being a broke college student and not knowing Amber well enough (as said by my mom and friends.) But I didn’t care. I so strongly had this placed on my heart that no matter how far fetched it seemed, I knew nothing was crazy with God in the plan. So that same day, I got to work. I told my bosses that I was going to buy that dress off the rack for Amber and asked that they wouldn’t sell it during the month. I took the rest of the month to create a Facebook page asking for donations for the cause, going door-to-door telling the story, going business-to-business to plead with business owners, I talked with my bridal connections to see if we could make deals when it came to alterations, florists, photographers and other servicers and I used my own tax return money to ensure that the dress would become Amber’s.
Praise our Holy God who can make all things happen in His name! As Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Through His power, I raised $3200 within a month, bought Amber’s dress, had a packet full of discounts and freebies from wedding vendors and I was ready to show up to Amber’s benefit with all of this in tow. Now, keep in mind that at this point, Amber knew NOTHING!! However, Stacy and their mom knew what I was up to because I wanted to make sure they would be okay with it. Story back on. I showed up to Ambers benefit more nervous than I had ever been! When Amber saw me, she was so happy that I actually came and of course being oblivious what my full intentions were. At a certain part in the evening, Stacy had told Amber that she wanted to speak privately with her outside. Meanwhile, word had spread of what was going to happen and a small crowd followed outside. Once Amber was in location and was wondering what in God’s name was going on, she made eye contact with me. I headed toward her with a binder in my hand and a dress bag on my side and started telling her that I had something for her. Amber starting crying as we embraced in a hug, wondering what was going on. Clear as day, I said, “I’m here to tell you that you will make it to your wedding day and here is the proof.” And as 100% that I’m a girl, 100% that those words were not mine. We both shed tears and I explained that I had gotten her this dress because I knew finances were hard and she has been through a lot but God knows and wants you to have this.
This was the strongest experience that has ever happen to me in God. The greatest lesson I was shown from this is that the gifts and passions that each one of us is given ,was given from God and when He needs to use those things, He will call upon you. And also, trusting in the Lord. I feel so happy that through this experience, not once did I question His vision. Many times Satan was telling me that it was impossible or stupid but I never listened. God will always win.
Friends, open your heart. Realize that each and every talent, passion, skill you have was purposely selected for you to have; But not without a cost. When He calls upon you, be ready to use it! It’s a great honor to be used in that way and really, it is our duty!
On the flip side of all of this is Ambers experience. Amber made her way back to Christ!! Can I get an Amen?! Through everything she was going through, she lost her faith. She couldn’t see God through the pain and suffering but the date of her benefit came and God reinstated her faith! He said, “Amber, I’m here. I’ve been here. Don’t give up because I haven’t.” And just like that, I (a very small piece) was used in the much larger picture of restoring a faith or many faiths that day and God gets all the glory!!!
Like I said, I know it was a long story but I appreciate you reading it until the end! I hope that something about this touches your heart and who knows, maybe will reinstate your faith!