A little history: I was in a terrible auto accident a long time ago. At the time I was an active wife and mother of four, playing co-ed softball, women’s power volleyball, biking, jogging, inline skating, walking, and hiking. After the accident I thought I would heal and things would go back to normal but one morning I woke in debilitating pain which incapacitated me for several years. I became an inactive wife and mother of four! As a result I gained weight and felt uncomfortable in my own skin.
Fast forward a few years: At this point our family had walked through some really dark times physically, emotionally, and spiritually. However, the faithfulness of God astounded us daily. I started feeling a bit more “normal” physically so was more active. We were in a new ministry situation where I had opportunity to teach and even preach on occasion (a new thing for me). My husband wanted to buy me a nice “outfit” for those times and we wound up at Macy’s! Looking through the racks of clothes he found a “Matrix” suit (as we affectionately call it) and we were sold. When I put it on, I felt pretty “cool” and “matrixy”! (You’ve got to see the movie “Matrix” to know what I mean) I LOVED its uniqueness even though it was WAY out of my comfort zone.
Fast forward another couple of years: God had done an amazing healing work in my body and mind. I was leading a fairly active lifestyle and teaching large group bible studies regularly. So, I was dressing up more, in fact had added an entire array of dress suits (Goodwill, not Macy’s) to my wardrobe! But…I still loved the matrix suit. The problem was I started noticing how much bigger it looked and felt on me…too big in fact. This was strange because I didn’t think I had lost THAT much weight. The pants came down without un-zippering them and that’s a problem when you dance before the Lord…you could lose your drawers pretty easily. Time for alterations!
Never had I taken clothes in for altering but I’m telling you, this matrix suit is special! (I’m not really this petty or materialistic but I did and do really like the suit) After the pants were taken in, I thought I was good to go again. But the suit coat seemed to look more ridiculous every time I put it on. Now I KNEW a few things: I KNEW I wasn’t shrinking THAT much; I KNEW my weight loss couldn’t have been more than ten to twenty pounds; I KNEW I was more active which maybe meant I had more muscular (you know the saying “Muscle weighs more than fat”? WHATEVER!); I KNEW I was older so maybe this was the new older me, just changing shape or something. Though I KNEW all these things, I still THOUGHT there was a chance I would “grow” into the suit again so I left it hanging in the closet.
Fast forward AGAIN: I got tired of the matrix suit staring me in the face, hoping it would suddenly “fit”. I thought to give it away but couldn’t! (ordinarily that might signal a problem with loving something too much) So one day I rolled it up in a ball, put it in a plastic bag, and tucked it away in the downstairs closet. If I couldn’t bring myself to give it away, at least maybe not seeing it for a while would lessen my liking to it and one day, FAR in the future, I would find it again and give it away!
Well, that might have worked if God didn’t have another plan! Now it’s the strangest thing: the matrix suit seemed to be alive, as though it spoke to me, wooing me back to it time and time again. (I know, that’s weird or sick or something) Because it was downstairs though, I could ignore it most of the time. But when I went looking for something in that closet, I would see this plastic bag and wonder what was inside; leading me to look and AAAHHHHH…there it was… my matrix suit begging to come out and be worn.
These closet episodes were getting old! I felt like I HAD to do something with that matrix suit – but what? I determined the sizing issue wasn’t about my “weight” as much as it was about “shape” or “age”! This getting older thing with shifting body fat wasn’t really working for me OR my matrix suit but it was still happening… so…maybe the suit needed to shift with me! But even that decision took time!
Fast forward at least another year to present day: If you’ve ever gotten an unction, a prompting from Holy Spirit to DO something you can relate to what happened next. We’re getting our house ready to put on the market AGAIN… UNEXPECTEDLY! (Side note: God is into “suddenlies”! We were in the midst of remodeling when SUDDENLY we shifted gears and were in the midst of selling. Are you kidding me?) Anyway, I was putting up a curtain to “hide” the menagerie of junk in the closet (to properly “stage” our house for the showings you know) and what do you think spoke to me from a plastic bag crumpled up in a corner of the closet? You got it – my matrix suit!
I immediately knew “It was time” to resurrect the suit, to make it shift with my shifting body! You might not think Holy Spirit is into little things like our clothing, but He is totally into timing and teaching! I listened to the unction and found myself the next day, standing in my oversized suit in front of a mirror while my little tailor lady pinned away! She just kept smiling as she pulled, tucked, and pinned making the jacket and pants fit perfectly.
I picked up the altered suit a week later, put it on at home and YES, I was back in action in my matrix suit! The Sunday came when I was preaching, and as I put the suit on, I was praying for the worship service, the people coming, and that my words to the people would be acceptable to God. Suddenly, the Lord interrupted my monologue, reminding me prayer is dialogue. Whoops! He surprised me by speaking to me about the matrix suit. Now some people might think that is kind of strange but the Lord often speaks in very simple, every-day occurrences of life.
It might also seem kind of odd to some of you that I have spent this much time talking about a piece of clothing. It’s pretty unusual for me too! But if you keep reading you’ll find it isn’t the matrix suit that’s important at all! It is what God taught me through it that matters!
Of course, this story has been about a suit in my life, but if the suit fits wear it; in other words if the spiritual truths fit, apply them to your life. After all, that’s why I’m writing this – for you… otherwise I would have just journaled it for myself! (Smile!) I’ll give you the first two lessons the Lord taught and save the others for another blog!
Lesson 1 – Be aware that change happens on the inside! The matrix suit was changed – AND it all happened on the inside! It looks exactly the same today on the outside as it did the day I bought it! In fact, I tried to find the tailor’s alterations but there is nothing to see. She does such fine work on the inside it keeps the outside looking spiffy! So…the suit itself didn’t change in appearance, just the shape of it changed! It needed to be altered to fit the changes in my body.
God does that too! He looks inside! 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then He changes us on the inside while we are still the same person, just changed! Psalm 51:7,10 “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
People often look at the outside appearance to see what God has done but there isn’t anything to see. He works from the inside out and Holy Spirit does such fine work on the inside, in our hearts, it keeps the outside looking spiffy! When God works in us, we don’t become suddenly unrecognizable to others; but we do change from the inside out! We change as God fits us to Himself! 2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This leads right into the next lesson God taught through the matrix suit.
Lesson 2 – Understand Transformation Happens! As true as it is that we are changed from the inside out, and we may or may not look different on the outside, the transformation is still a complete one! The matrix suit was transformed! Though it’s the same suit and it literally looks the same, it is also completely different from when I bought it. (Sounds like a riddle huh?)The pants are smaller in the waist, inseam and length. The jacket was brought in on both sides, full length. It has been transformed into a completely new suit, yet it is still completely the “Matrix” suit its designer originally intended.
God is into transformation! He is interested in completely and continuously transforming us into His image – from glory to glory! He takes us in, stretches us out, and fixes us up! He transforms us into new creations yet…we are still completely “us”, the same people He originally created in our mother’s wombs, the same persons He intended us to be! Isn’t that the neatest thing ever? 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Well, I have a few more lessons to share coming out of a matrix suit. Tune in next time!