My mother named me Lacey. She wanted my name to be a guide for the type of woman Iíd become. I spent most of my childhood trying to prove her wrong.
I preferred being a tomboy. Iíd rather have spent an hour catching tadpoles than playing dress-up. Mom kept buying me lacey dresses. She told me: ďyou have to live up to your name.Ē She bought me a Barbie. I saved up my allowance to buy Barbie an outfit. My mom was thrilled - until she saw that it was a GI Joe outfit. I thought Barbie looked great in it. Mom didnít.
When I hit my teens, Mom predicted a single life if I continued my tomboy ways. She was convinced that that would be the worst thing in the world. I just couldnít see it as a big threat.
When I was thirteen, I decided to join our church. At the new member class, I was told that I had to do service for the church as an usherette. For this I needed training from Miss Bliss.
Iíve never met a more inaccurately named person. She looked as if a smile would never even dare to cross her face. She singled me out for her wrath. She told me I had a bad attitude and that I dressed like a lumberjack. She told me if I wanted to serve the church, I had to ďdress like a lady.Ē
I thought long and hard. I wanted to be true to myself, but I also wanted to serve the Lord. To become an usherette, I needed to do what mom had been urging me to do: dress like a lady.
When I told Mom, she lit up like a kid at Christmas. And if Iíd thought her choice of dresses had been frilly before, the new one she bought topped them all. It was lacy, with pink bows and puffy sleeves. I took one look at it and ran out the back door to the creek.
But my first day as an usherette did come, and I did put on The Dress. Mom was thrilled. However, as I headed out to the car she realized I wasnít wearing a slip. She refused to let me go without one, so she handed me one of hers. I said it was too big. She gave me The Look. So, I tucked the slip into the waistband of my underwear and clomped out to the car.
As we drove to church, I made up my mind to follow Miss Blissí rules:
1. Look straight ahead, no matter what.
2. Hold the offering plates straight in front of you. When you pass the plate to the congregants, smile politely but do not talk.
3. Keep walking up the aisle to the minister - no matter what distractions occur in the congregation.
I got through the beginning of the service, and then came my turn to pass the offering plates. As I did, I began to feel the flowering of my latent womanhood, and its feminine spirit began to inspire me.
I carried the plates daintily up the aisle to the minister. As I did, I became aware of a silken sensation sneaking slowly down my legs. Momís slip was escaping from my underwear and inching down my calves. I knew I had to follow Miss Blissí rules: donít stop or bend down. I tried to elbow the slip up my hips and tuck it back into my underwear.
As the slip hit my ankles, my inner tomboy broke out of its girly disguise. I flicked my ankle to the right, kicked the slip up onto my shoulder and kept on walking. As I reached Reverend Jensen, I saw him biting down a smile.
I returned to my seat, as red as the hymnals. I yanked the slip off my shoulder and handed it to Mom. She didnít say a word, but her face was as red as mine.
When I got home, I threw the dress on the bottom of my closet, put on my jeans and tee shirt and ran outside.
Forty years later, Iíve never regained that girly moment and am still more comfortable in jeans. But because of that day, I have come to believe that the Lord can use me just as I am Ė and I donít necessarily need a slip to accomplish His purpose for my life.
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