Bessie’s Dress

A while ago my sister-in-law asked me about a story she remembered Bessie telling about a dress. I had no recollection of the story, but I asked Jim (my father-in-law) about it later, and he filled me in. So here you go, Monica!

Back when Bessie was attending Prairie Bible Institute with her friend Dottie (she graduated in 1942), they both were in need of new dresses, and neither had the means to buy one. So they decided they should pray for new dresses. Dottie prayed for a beautiful dress, and Bessie prayed for a simple dress. Though I do not know the details of how their prayers were answered, I know that each received what she had prayed for: Dottie got a gorgeous new dress, and Bessie got a plain dress. Dottie’s exhortation to Bessie was something like, “See, Bessie, you need to ask God for big things, not just little things! You need more faith!” And so Dottie was right.  Bessie, like many of us, felt reluctant to ask for anything extravagant…just the bare minimum. But Dottie had a  faith big enough to enjoy God’s bountiful blessings.

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13 thoughts on “Bessie’s Dress

  1. Thank you, Nancy!! I just knew that I had heard that story from Bessie. And what a great reminder that God is happy to bestow bountiful blessings on us 😀

  2. All I ask for is a simple thing, the thing that many people take for granted….a healthy, breathing baby. It’s also the most extravangant, biggest thing I can think of, at the same time.

  3. That is challenging and so very good!! I think I’ll go do some some big asking. : ) Thank you.

  4. My quiet time this morning included a reminder that Jesus has more than enough power to go around… to answer the BIG prayers/concerns and our ‘little’ needs at the same time.
    The lesson was from the passage in Luke dealing with the woman who touched His garment in faith as He went to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead.
    Timely reminders all around…. Thank you!
    Blessings on the journey all~

  5. Reminds me of the widow in 2 Kings 4, filling jars to keep her sons from being taken into slavery. A wonderful illustration!

  6. Thank you, Mrs. Wilson! I love this! We had a similar experience. We never could seem to keep our heads about water. We have four little children. When we moved to Germany, we started with nothing. NOTHING. I prayed hard for a job — any job — for my husband for six months. We lived in cramped quarters and things were tough. I started praying for an apartment. I asked God sheepishly, “God, please . . . just give us one extra bedroom for guests. You don’t have to . . . I know it is a lot to ask . . . blah blah pious blah.” And God surprised us with a wonderful job and a beautiful house with . . . are you ready? THREE GUESTROOMS. I was humbled by His goodness and ashamed I asked for so little. Now, I’m asking for tons of guests — not just one or two. :) Megan

  7. Sometimes I’m afraid to ask for big things. What if I get what I asked for and it’s not such a good idea? How am I content with what I have, ask for big things, and hope that what I’m asking for is not foolishness, trusting if He gives it to me that His ways are best? Need to work this out…

  8. I have a similar question to Kat. Is it ok to pray for big things, but also tell God that I am content if He doesn’t give it? Or is that still not having the faith in asking for big things? Is it correct to say that sometimes God does say no when we ask for something, and it was b/c He knows what it wasn’t right for whatever reason, not because we didn’t have enough faith when we asked? B/c I love this post about asking for big things. I thought for so long that I wasn’t supposed to want big things! But at the same time, I want to be content, right? I remember Mrs. Wilson posting about spiders or bugs coming out of the bathtub and being content in that house. So maybe I need to better understand being content with present state while hoping for bigger things in future times? Thanks for your post.

  9. I really appreciate this post. I’ve heard similar thoughts before, but they’ve come more from a shallow, “God really wants Christians to be sensually happy and have a lot of stuff” perspective. I know you’re not coming from there.

    Like kat an Alison I have questions about exactly how this idea applies, but I know for sure it needs to be part of the mix when we think about what kinds of things we should be asking our Father for.

    One thing I’ve thought of before is that we don’t think our children foolish for asking for gifts or treats that we’re not prepared to give them (at least if their askings are not excessive or clearly inappropriate.) We gently explain why they we don’t think we can give them to them, but we don’t think ill of them for asking. And often, when we’re able and we believe it is for their good, we do give what’s requested. So would our Father be any more stingy either with the “stuff” or with the attitude of gently refusing if the request is not wise?

  10. Kat and Alison,
    My suggestion to you is this:don’t double-think it! We can turn our prayers into a tail-chasing event, checking our motives and preparing ourselves (again and again) in case the answer is no. Rather we should simply lay out our requests to God with joy, with gratitude for all He has already done, and with a heart that is living on the altar already. If He says no, well, He is God after all. But it is still good for us to ask and keep on asking. God seems to like it when we are persistent, hungry for blessings from His generous hand.

  11. Thank you for responding. I love how you said it can be a tail-chasing event! It made me laugh and described some of my prayers for certain. Your answer also made me rethink and remember times that I actually did ask God for big things, and how gracious He was to me in those times. It is good to remember the great things He has done for us. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and encouragement.

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