When I got married the first time, I had one of those pretty big, fancy weddings most brides have these days. I was never really one of those “it’s my day – I must have my way” kind of brides, but I was pretty insistent on my dress. As soon as I got engaged (like, that night), I went to Wal-Mart, bought a magazine, and picked it out. The dress. A few months later I went with my mom and Grandma to David’s Bridal, tried it on, and it fit perfectly. I did not need a single alteration. It was meant to be. I seriously loved that dress. But alas, a wedding lasts only a day, and all to soon the day was over and the dress was put into storage. I thought for a while like most moms that maybe I would save it for Daughter P to wear, but once my first marriage ended in divorce, I just felt weird keeping it around. It wasn’t really the symbol of marriage that I want for her to wear on her wedding day. It doesn’t represent what it should. And, let’s be honest, styles will be totally different by then, and she will probably hate it.
So I opted to keep my “crown” that I wore for her instead, but I could never figure out what do with the dress. I tried to sell it at a few garage sales, but no one bought it. I thought about having it turned into a quilt, but I never had it done. I just couldn’t bear to give it to Goodwill, so it’s sat in my garage for almost 9 years.
Today, a friend of mine shared a local newspaper article on Facebook about two infants without any family buried in a joint ceremony given by members of the community (source The Indy Star). As a mother of four, I was deeply affected, as a always am, not only by the deaths of these precious babies, but by the fact that they died and were buried without any loved ones around them. Although I know they now rest in the arms of their Heavenly Father, the world is just so cruel and unfair sometimes.
And yet in the midst of these tragedies, my old wedding gown, with it’s own reminders of betrayals and sin, I find can now be repurposed for good. Little Angel Gowns is a non-profit organization takes donations of not only wedding gowns, but all formal dresses (hello hideous bridesmaid gowns!) and first communion dresses, and makes them into burial gowns for infants who either have no family or whose families cannot afford to bury them. They then work with other local companies to provide all the components for a complete burial for these children.
I looked up their website (they are also on Facebook), and I will be donating my dress this week at a drop-off center in my town. Although I live in Indiana, they have sites in Alabama, California and Iowa as well. If there is not a location in your state, perhaps there is a similar organization.
I am overwhelmed once again at how God continues to take the dirt and sin and mistakes from my first marriage and provides the grace to transform them into something redeemable and useful for something else. Truly nothing is too broken for Him!