This section is entirely for encouragement. Who said that miracles don't happen in the 21st Century or that we're a world so consumed with ourselves that we don't step out beyond out own everyday concerns? I'm inviting you all to share the amazing things that God has done in your life, call it a "says what it does on the tin" moment; as God moves mysteriously and magnificently in the everyday. So to get the ball rolling my own little miracle.
Cinders Goes to the Ball
It was last summer and I was going through a particularly tough time. In fact, to say that I possessed direct experience of poor old Micawber's situation in David Copperfield would be more accurate. In the midst of this trying time a friend invited me to assist in an award's ceremony and attend said event. There was one small problem: I had nothing to wear. What compounded the problem was that I had nothing to spend on something to wear. Well not quite. I did have a contingency £20 that was kept back for 'emergency scenarios', but let's say despite my glass is half full mindset, the actual belief that something could be achieved with this sum ebbed away from me.
Helpless and reaching deadline zone (it was 10.45am on a Saturday and I was due at the venue at 6.00 the same evening), I got down on my knees and prayed a simple, entirely home made prayer that in all wardrobe crises since I have made my own:
"Lord, you know that I'll be out there representing you. Please help me find something that is appropriate for those purposes. Amen"
Buoyed up and with a Gospel medley blasting in my ears, I headed out into Portobello Road. As I went further up the road, beyond the Westway and further away from the tourist trail, I happened upon a second-hand shop (or vintage shop as we say in these post-fashionista times). I wasn't particularly encouraged as these shops have a habit of selling 1930's Fortuny gowns for more than anything one might find in a conventional "new clothes" shop. However, I stepped in an found a trio of super-friendly sales assistants. Hurrah (or should I say Amen!) I was already encouraged by the complete lack of snootiness. As I browsed, one of them approached and asked what I was looking for "Ask and you shall receive" popped into my head, so I told her my whole nightmare scenario, as you do when the clock is ticking and you are feeling a shade desperate.
"How about this?" she pointed out a black beaded floor length gown that had a high neckline and was scooped out at the back and flowed in an elegant column. In short, my dream dress. She took it down from its hook and I tried it on. It fit as if it had been made for me. Encouraged by the result, my very own guardian angel, rushed to the other side of the shop and the over-stuffed accessories cupboard:
"Try these and these." She said pulling out a pair of earrings and matching evening purse. By this time I was in paroxysms of excitement. Skipping around the shop, waving at other shoppers and generally practicing at being super-starlet cute. The lady helping me smiled and then said "So you're taking this lot then."
It was more a statement than a question. "How much is it?" I asked. The party was over I thought to myself, still at least I had fun trying things on.
"Let's call it £20 shall we?"
I almost fainted. "£20?" I repeated to make sure that this was not part of my wishful imagings.
"Yes" she said simply. "Enjoy your night it's going to be special."
And so it was. In my 1960's vintage dress. I looked like a latter-day Supreme complete with my chic chignon and my 'Stop! In the name of love' dance moves. I was complimented more times than I cared to remember and as I went home in my modern day motor-carriage (no pumpkin, this time round), way past midnight I leant back overwhelmed by how faithful and entirely to the point my Heavenly Father had been:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you."
Having more money would not have aided God's objective for the night - he had provided everything for me that night in that little shop - complete with my own stylist/angel with friendly price points. All I needed was the smallest measure of faith.