We knew (mostly) the "why" of this phenomenon. For the days in China, we decided to just let it ride. Her entire world was changing, and this ONE thing was all that she could control. Plus, she was grieving HARD for her "mama," and I think these clothes gave her comfort in her grief.
Once we arrived home, we hoped that she would embrace her new life with as much vigor as she grieved her old.
She kind of did.
But not with her clothes.
She clung to those things for days...and days...and weeks...and weeks.
My parents came to visit in early June...we'd been home for a few weeks by that point.
My mom said that Gladdie's Gotcha outfit was starting to look a little worn out. I totally agreed. And it brought to my mind again an idea that had been swirling around in there since China.
Her clinging to her worn out Gotcha outfit was like the new Christian who sometimes hangs on to her filthy rags even though, through her new life in Christ, she has access to beautiful robes of righteousness.
Why was Gladdie hanging onto her "filthy rags"? Control. Fear. Lack of trust. Sorrow. Anger. Comfort.
Why does the saint hang onto her "filthy rags"? For. The. Exact. Same. Reasons.
We feel the need to control our life still rather than turn it over to Him.
We fear that He will not take care of us.
We do not trust Him fully yet.
We mourn our old way of life to some degree.
We struggle with anger over having to relinquish what, in our finite vision, seems like SO much.
We find comfort in our old things because the new is scary and uncomfortable.
Back to my parents' visit in early June. They took us out to dinner and invited the kids to swim at the pool in their hotel. We were pretty sure that Gladdie would not swim, but I took her suit just in case.
Also with us (and back for the summer!) were Auntie Ruth and cousin Owen. So, the 3 Gs and Owen got in the pool. I kept showing Gladdie her suit and asking if she wanted to put it on. She kept shaking her head "no."
Then, Auntie Ruth rolled up her pant legs and stuck her toes in the hot tub. We asked Gladdie if she wanted to do the same. Here is her reply:
Then, I showed her the swimsuit again and asked if she wanted to put it on. Here is her reply:
And then, this:
The next day, she went right back to her Gotcha outfit. But, because of the progress she made the night before, I decided to be bold. Because the weather was so warm, I forbade her from wearing her hot nylon socks and plastic shoes. I pulled out a pair of sandals.
At first, she gave me the hand shake which means "NO." But then, I pulled out some toenail polish and showed her that we could paint her toenails a pretty color. I had her. Here was her reply:
The next day was Sunday. She went right back to her Gotcha outfit. But I was still feeling bold, so I gave her the sandals to put on. Also, I gave her a dress (all 4 Gs have the same dress, and the other 3 Gs were wearing it to church that day) to wear. I indicated that she could wear it over her Gotcha outfit. Here is her reply:
After church, it was SO hot outside, that I just knew it was time to get her out of her hot, heavy Gotcha pants. So when we got home, I pulled out a Strawberry Shortcake skirt that grandma and grandpa had purchased for her. Here is her reply:
The next day, she had to go with us to take Gia to get an MRI. We knew we'd be in the hospital all day. But we needed to keep the outfit ball rolling. Here is her reply:
Every day since that hospital day, Gladdie has worn a new outfit. She kept wearing her Gotcha undies for several days. But finally, we found some Disney ones that she liked, and now she doesn't even wear the old undies.
In fact, she often jumps for joy when I offer her new clothing choices each day. She says, herself, "pitty" when she's dressed and her hair is done.
And she is beautiful. In these new "robes," we can see not just the outward transformation, but the inward as well.
She is more comfortable. More trusting. Less fearful. More confident.
Oh, if only the saints would embrace the robes of righteousness offered by our Lord the way Gladdie has embraced her new wardrobe.
Let the old life go, Saints. Embrace all that your Father has for you.
He is good.
He loves you.
He will care for and protect you.
He knows your every need before you even ask it.
Let Him love you.
Take a lesson from Gladys Mae. Lay down the filthy rags. Put on the robes of righteousness.