It’s been said that God doesn’t call the equipped — He equips the called. That’s what Young Life leader Kim Dybeck counted on as she entered a bedroom of freshman girls dressing for their first Pitman High School (New Jersey) homecoming dance. Dybeck only knew one of the girls in the feminine fest that she had walked into. “I wondered if I’d be considered an intruder in this high school memory,” said Dybeck, “but I hoped one of them could use a mother’s touch as she got ready for this special night.”
Dybeck noticed one girl, not yet in her formal dress, sitting quietly on the floor looking lost in the fluff and fuss. Dybeck approached her and offered to help curl her hair. With the girl’s enthusiastic assent, Dybeck, the mother of three grown sons, dove into the deep end of the estrogen pool and grabbed a curling iron. She twirled Lacie’s hair around the curling iron as the other girls deliberated on the right pair of shoes; eyeliner or not; necklace, bracelet or both? Eventually every fashion dilemma was resolved. Primped and polished, the group started for the stairs.
The procession halted with a cry from the stairway, “Lacie’s dress is too big!” Dybeck looked up at the object of the girls’ attention to see a petite Lacie dwarfed by a dress that was sizes too big. “Lacie was devastated. On a night that she should feel like a princess, she looked so sad. It broke my heart,” said Dybeck.
Someone said “Do something!” and moments later the homeowner handed Dybeck a roll of heavy-duty, double-sided tape. She looked at the tape and the satin dress draping Lacie. “Umm, I’m actually more of a sewing girl. Would you have a needle and thread?” Dybeck and Lacie returned to the dressing room while the homeowner unearthed an old tin box containing all manner of treasure.
Dybeck sifted through the box and uncovered one needle and a spool of thread — platinum-colored — in the exact shade of Lacie’s dress. While Lacie stood motionless, Dybeck whipstitched the dress bodice to her slight frame. “Periodically someone would yell, ‘The guys are here!’ or ‘It’s time for pictures!’ and the disappointment on Lacie’s face motivated me to sew even more quickly and carefully,” Dybeck recalled.
When Dybeck finished, Lacie thanked her and looked into the mirror. When she didn’t smile, Dybeck’s heart sank. “It’s just that … well … it’s so wrinkled,” Lacie said. And it was. An iron was dispatched to the room. But with no ironing board on hand, Dybeck kneeled on the hardwood floor to iron the satin skirt. The pain she felt from her recent knee surgery (to repair a meniscus she tore hurling a flour bomb across a field during Young Life camp that summer) reminded Dybeck that she was in the perfect position to pray.
While Dybeck prayed — and ironed — Lacie stood over her, waiting anxiously. “It takes a little time to look like a princess,” Dybeck said, and for the first time that night, Lacie broke into a wide smile. A short time later, Dybeck slid the smooth satin dress over Lacie’s head and tied its sash into a neat bow. Lacie was radiant in a dress tailor-made for her.
Lacie descended the steps to join her group leaving Dybeck to wonder at God’s provision. She’d been equipped with everything she’d needed: a needle and thread, an iron, and a mother’s touch — all to express the Father’s care for every detail that matters to a teenage princess of the kingdom.