“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19
It might have been 1975. My dress was navy blue with full, white sleeves. It’s hem rested above my knee and my new, white stockings looked sharp and fresh (although a bit wrinkly at the knees) all the way down to my Mary-Jane shoes.
I was proud to stand beside my three older sisters for the pre-church photo. To match, to look like, to be like them was my highest aspiration. The sun made our eyes squint as we smiled for Daddy to snap the picture of us colored in blue and white and ready for church.
My new dress, sewn by my mom, was also 100% wool.
I itched. I squirmed. I scratched. I wriggled. All through Sunday School.
By the end of the hymn-singing in Big Church, I was about insane.
My fair, sensitive skin became inflamed and I had raw, red abrasions at all the seam lines, under my arms, along my torso and back. I didn’t want to go to children’s church. I wanted to go home, and take a bath and put on soft, not-scratchy jammies.
So sad that my blue dress failed me, I insisted that I was allergic to wool. I ran my hand over the skirt as it lay on my bed and wondered how something that seemed so soft could be so painful, how something I wanted so badly could be so wrong for me.
How did other people wear wool without reaction? Why did I have to be allergic? I really was sad, deeply disappointed, gipped.
That itchy wool dress is the best way I can describe my relationship with the church. Not Jesus, but his bride. Not God, but the institution.
For the rest of my Spiritual Misfit story, click here to read it at Michelle DeRusha’s blog. Michelle’s memoir, Spiritual Misfit, came out earlier this summer. You would love her signature humor and voice as she tells her story about how she came to fit in with Jesus. I’m honored to have the opportunity to share my story there.