I remember her asking me, "Will you REALLY wear it to school??" To which of course I replied, "YES!"
And I did. For a while.
Two months into seventh grade, my dad was offered a promotion with the company he worked for, so we moved 100 miles away from the little farm town I'd grown up in to a much larger city than what I was used to.
The new junior high that I went to was "double-shifting" at that time - two junior highs sharing one building. One went to school in the morning, one went in the afternoon. My junior high had the afternoon shift (which meant I didn't get home from school until after 6 every day...it was a bummer).
On my first day of school at the new junior high, I was assigned a locker. When I opened it, it was obvious someone else was in this locker. The student showing it to me said that up to four people shared lockers so it was okay to put my things in.
I'd worn my beautiful purple coat that day (it was a "courage giving" item of clothing...much needed on that day) so carefully hung it up in the locker and went to class, which happened to be right next to the locker.
When the bell rang, I stepped out of the class into a sea of junior highers rushing through the hall...all trampling on my beautiful purple coat. The girl whose locker I'd been assigned to, was apparently not happy to see someone else's belongings in her locker.
She was standing there with the locker door open, having thrown the coat on the floor, waiting for the owner to return. In not so pleasant words (I can hear her saying them to this day) she told me I was not welcome in her locker and to get that ugly coat and my other things out of there...which I did.
Another 7th grade girl who'd been in the class with me, saw my predicament and offered to let me share her locker. We became good friends and I was even the maid of honor at her wedding years later!
But the purple coat, for me, was ruined. Oh...it was nothing that a good cleaning couldn't have taken care of. But it was more than that. It'd been violated.
I never wore the coat again.
And I've never had a purple coat since then...just one of those things that stuck with me. Caleb would call it one of my "issues"!
However...redemption was in the wings all those years. A mere 37 years later.
When Tyler and I were at the mall with my friend and her son, we had about a half hour alone to wander. In a store...one of my favorite stores!...Tyler was unknowingly the bearer of redemption.
He found the purple coat for me...on sale, no less!! He didn't know my purple coat story...he just saw a beautiful coat he thought would be pretty on me. That's a sweet son!
So...without much wondering whether I should or not...I bought it. Honestly, I felt like it was one of those "meant to be" stories from the Lord, to remind me about what's available from Him - Redemption! Of all sorts!
I'll wear my beautiful purple coat as a gift from Him...from a wonderful Father who cared about a 7th grade girl who once had another beautiful purple coat that was ruined, and yet now has been redeemed.
Ahh, redemption! It's the greatest gift of all.