a Broken Jacket & a Soft Song: Clothe Yourself with Gentleness

clothe-yourself-with-gentleness-pt-1

Clothe yourself in gentleness, the scripture says. (Colossians 3:12)

And so  I find a soft sweater or hoodie to wear, and I think back on a comforting memory.

One memory I return to is from my high school days at youth group.

On a Wednesday night, I can picture the white and black tile floor, the folding chairs, the simple room.

Leaders welcomed me with love, grace, and acceptance each week.

And what was a dirty, bare, plain space was rich with life and love.

Oh the hugs and the kindness, and the pizza at the end of the night.

I sat in the cold hard chair. It was after worship, and she sang a song with her husband playing the guitar.

Her voice was airy and light, lifting the weights of heaviness just by being herself, singing with softness.

Megan, several years older than me, led worship and volunteered in the youth group. She often invited me to come visit her at their little apartment by the river, where she would fix me soup and sandwiches.

When I think of her I think of gentleness; of disciplined strength. This was evident in the way she showed up with her husband to volunteer at church each week. Evident in her healthy lifestyle of running and exercising. Evident in the one or two intentional scriptures on her refrigerator. Evident in the way she listened well. Evident in how she offered her simple presence to others. Especially evident in the way her words were pure; careful, humble, and kind.

That night at youth group she sang about God holding us; and over ten years later the song and the essence of gentleness in that moment still comforts me.

Big Enough to Hold Me by Waterdeep

The space in my mind is too small for You
The space in my heart is too small for You too
And all of things of the earth that I know
Are too small for all of the greatness You’ve shown
But in all of this I’m still facing my needs
And I’m scared of how big they feel to me

I know You, You
You are big enough to hold me
I know You, You
You are big enough to hold me
I know You Lord, yeah You
Will carry me through

The space between stars is billions of miles
The space for the famous and millions of eyes
But not all of the stars in the Heavens and Earth
None can compare to Your infinite worth
And I still get lonely and wonder out loud
If anyone notices me in a crowd

I know You, You
You are big enough to hold me
I know You, You
You are big enough to hold me
I know You Lord, yeah You
Will carry me through

I know You, You
You are big enough to hold me
I know You, You
You are big enough to hold me
I know You Lord, yeah You
Will carry me through

How great, how high
How deep, how wide is Your love

The space in my mind is too small for You
The space in my heart is too small for You too
And all of things of the earth that I know
Are too small for all of the greatness You’ve shown
But in all of this I’m still facing my needs
And I’m scared of how big they feel to me

Nothing can separate from the love of Christ
All my doubts, He sees past and things to come


My best friend, Erin, had the same hoodie as Megan, which they wore a bunch. I remember them wearing it on Wednesday nights and on Fall retreats.

I met Erin my Senior year at youth group. We were in the same small group of Senior girls. Since then we have walked through hard times together, and then apart, and then together again; through heartache, chronic pain, and infertility, through reconciliation and miracles.

This jacket she wore all the time  began to fall apart. A broken zipper, frayed cuffed sleeves, fabric torn and worn. It happened during a time we were not as close. I think she was engaged. I hadn’t even met her fiancé yet, who is now my one of my husband’s best friends. She tells me at some point during that time, she had a bit of a melt down. Through tears she explained to her fiance’ that she missed me and her broken jacket reminded her of things that fall apart like our friendship. He encouraged her that things can be repaired.

Then he surprised her and had the zipper fixed. Her friends gave her some patches, and she found a needle and thread. I think this conversation may have prompted her to reach out and give me a call. I remember meeting with her that first time after quite awhile, it felt awkward, but it was a step forward.

The first stitch in mending a rift.

Erin gave me this jacket several years later, and when I wear it I am reminded of all we have been through; of deep pain, deep healing, and forgiveness prevailing. I am reminded also of Megan and the gentleness she showed to both Erin and I at youth group. I remember the song Megan sang that night about God being big enough to hold me, big enough to carry me through.

Sometimes we cannot control the harshness of our circumstances, but we can return to a gentle memory for comfort, and we can find our most comfy sweater or hoodie to wear as a reminder of God’s promise;

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

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2 thoughts on “a Broken Jacket & a Soft Song: Clothe Yourself with Gentleness

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