“I hope you wanted a purple dress,” Dad said.
Dad was always calling to check in and would usually have some funny story to share with me. I couldn’t wait to hear what story he might have about some purple dress. I knew that he certainly had not gone shopping to buy me one. Shopping was not his thing, unless he was buying the newest electronic gadget.
The purple dress had belonged to my Grandma Pell. It was her favorite color, thus, her favorite dress. She had worn it to have her picture taken in 1977 for her 80th birthday.
Dad told me that Grandma’s dress had been found in my aunt’s closet after her death. My aunt’s family thought I might like to have it.
Why did they think I would want a nearly forty year old dress?
I knew why, and I was absolutely thrilled that they had thought of me.
Grandma holds a very special place in my heart. She was a Godly woman who taught by example. My family lived with her for nearly a year when I was just five years old. I can see how her wise and faithful obedience affected a very impressionable little girl – me.
Every evening she would let me have a bowl of ice cream, but the rule was that I had to sit at the table to eat it. While I was enjoying the ice cream, she would sit with me reading her Bible, and then she would pray. She would pray for each of her nine children and twenty-four grandchildren and anyone else who came to her mind. I witnessed this pattern night after night.
Grandma would take me to church with her and also to Ladies Aid. The Ladies Aid would meet at the church and spend the day quilting. They would let me pull the needle up and down through the layers of colorful fabrics. With Grandma, I always felt special.
Purple is the primary color of the Immanuel Quilt. I try to wear purple whenever I travel about to share His Story in this unique quilt. How could my cousins have known this? They had not been to a presentation. They could not have known I mention the influence that Grandma has made in my life every time I speak.
The idea to make the Immanuel Quilt did not start with a dream. God delivered it in a dream. It was quite clear that He wanted me to have a “traveling” ministry. Yet, He knows I have a severe fear of traveling. He was asking for my trusting, radical obedience.
Accepting this call would leave a legacy of truth for my grandchildren, like Grandma had left for me, as to what God can do through the obedience of the faithful. I was encouraged to move forward in obedience at the remembrance of Grandma’s own faith and trust.
The purple dress turned out to be the perfect color of purple – that of the quilt.
The purple dress turned out to be the perfect size – my size.
The purple dress, however, was not the perfect style. It looked old and I looked like an old lady in it.
Nevertheless, I really wanted to wear Grandma’s dress when sharing the quilt. It would be like she was with me, and she would have loved it. But there was no way I was wearing a dress that made me look older! Surely, Grandma would understand. So…I refashioned, up-styled, and tweaked it a bit.
The purple dress has been transformed, made into something new
Dad never got to see me in his mother’s purple dress. He died shortly after it was given to me. He has now been transformed and made new. In his last hours I asked that when he got to heaven, he let Grandma know I would be wearing her purple dress. I believe they are both pleased, looking down and smiling.
I will be honored to wear Grandma’s purple dress to Immanuel Quilt presentations. It is a way for me to thank her for the role she had in helping transform me into the person I have become.
My first day out wearing my newly, restyled purple dress was to the hair salon. I removed my coat and the stylist said, “What an adorable dress!”
“You like the dress? Well…do I have a story for you!”
And so, Grandma’s legacy and the story of her purple dress continues.