Avon Beautiful's Blog

July 9, 2012

Will you stand in the ugly usher dress?

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Sunday fashion ranges from the modest to the ostentatious. Somewhere in between is where most people probably fall. Nonetheless, there is a segment of Sunday fashion that is not meant to draw attention, but to serve as an uniform for a particular role within the Body of Christ. Choirs have their robes, nurses have their lab coats, and ushers have their usher dresses.

Usher-wear ranges, but there is a good segment of ushers who are suited up in very plain white cotton dresses that are typically to or over the knee. Again, the dresses are not the most fashionable, but it is meant to allow the congregation to identify the doorkeepers in the house of God. Ushers literally open the doors for those entering in the church, they give out fans, and guide the offering lines. In some churches the ushers take up the collection, tidy up the sanctuary, and they are always there to serve the congregation’s needs.

In my church, all the ushers are in uniform on Communion Sunday. We wear our uniforms for the Communion service and keep it on for the evening service as well. This past Communion Sunday, I had the opportunity to hang out with two of my favorite Christian teens, who happen to be on the usher board. I remember when they joined the usher board. They were about seven years old and so cute. The white dresses were a source of pride for them. They were finally big enough to serve the Lord as an usher. Fast forward about nine years and everything has grown and evolved, including their thoughts on the usher dress.

After church, their mother decided that we would go get ice cream by the mall. Sounds like a plan, right? It’s been a steamy July and ice cream sure would hit the spot. Now, I did mention that these are teen-agers, right? I did mention that the dresses are not the most fashionable, right? I did mention that the ice cream we were getting was by the mall, right? Do you see the dilemma? Yes they are “Christian,” but they are also teens-a key component in this tale of fashion meets fate.

My two young Christian friends are sisters and teen sister #1 is A-okay with being in her uniform. She’s a fashionista, but she seems to be handling the “ice cream by the mall in my usher dress” experience with a cool exterior. Teen sister #2 . . . not so much. That’s a bit of a different story. Her take on the experience is more like “OMG! People are going to see me.” Her mother, sister and I try to calm her down and play down the significance of being in the usher uniform.

“You just came from church!”

“Who care’s nobody’s looking at you.”

“Don’t be ashamed of being an usher.  Are you ashamed of God!”

As you may imagine, the last comment didn’t go over so well.

“I’m not ashamed of God, but I like to look good.

I don’t look good in this usher uniform. It’s ugly.”

I’m admittedly paraphrasing the conversation, but this is pretty much the gist. The funny thing about this whole experience is that God really does have unique, hand-crafted tests, just for us, at every level. For better or worse, He lets us know what is in us. When I tell you that this experience was hand-crafted, it couldn’t have fit my young embarrassed teen friend’s situation any tighter than Serena Williams infamous black catsuit at the U. S. Open.

During the course of our excursion, which first took us to the bookstore and then to the ice cream shop, these sisters saw four people they knew while wearing “the ugly usher dress.” One had a “Whatever!” attitude and the other was, dare I say, “freaking out.” It seemed like the more she freaked out, the more people she saw that she knew. She kept saying things like “Lord help me. . .” but I don’t know if she realized that He was. He was helping her to learn how to get over herself and stand as a representative for Him.

Every last one of us as Christians will have some kind of situation to experience to stamp out shame. We can’t be ashamed of who we are in Christ. We are Christians in church and because we don’t live in church, we are also Christians outside of the church. This young sister is a remarkably strong young person in Christ. God is using her now and be the Lord’s will, He will use her tremdously in the future, but God is such a marksman that He knows what areas need work.

It’s nice to get dressed up and represent the Lord, but every experience isn’t going to be a pretty experience. What if God wants us to roll up our sleeves and get dirty? Are we going to be worried about the way we look and who sees us? That’s a distraction and a hindrance to the work of Christ. So we all have to learn how to get over ourselves through our relationship with Christ. He will enable us to stand in that ugly usher dress (or insert your issue here) because bigger challenges are ahead.

November 9, 2011

I love New York…Fashion!

Filed under: fashion,Shoes — avonbeautiful @ 3:48 pm
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The City that never sleeps on fashion. Photo taken by Monica Johnson

I had the opportunity to spend my birthday weekend in New York. I’m originally from New York but moved in my teens, so coming back is always a homecoming experience for me. While bustling around the streets and riding on the subway, I was inspired.

I was inspired by so many things but two of the main reasons I was inspired was because I saw people who genuinely just followed their own sense of style. I’m talking about having a confidence to wear boots of feathers or natural manes or cultural garb. It was great to be at fashion’s center. I love New York fashion.

The second reason I was inspired was because of culture. Culture reigns supreme in New York, and after living in places where it’s just Neapolitan. New York  definitely has all 31 flavors. It’s every spectrum of the world represented and they are representing themselves in their own culture yet blending into the melting pot that is New York.