Greatest Hits: That Dress.

on July 19, 2012 in Greatest Hits with 6 comments by

From January of this year, this post about my New Year’s Eve dress reminds me all the time of how God has rescued me from who I used to be.

. . . . .

If you have read my book, you know this already.

I used to hate me. 

As a teenager, I was my own worst enemy. The only thing that was worse than looking in the mirror was looking in the mirror while trying on new clothes. It was horrible. I spent many a high school shopping trips wiping away tears in a dressing room.

I didn’t buy nice clothes. It felt like a waste. I didn’t wear pretty things. What was the point?

My heart breaks for that Annie. She missed so many chances to be beautiful.

God has taken the last decade and a half and done a mighty work in my heart and mind. He has changed me from the inside out. Though I still have to fight the lies in my head, it is minimal compared to what used to rage between my ears.

Hence the reason I want to blog about the most beautiful dress I have ever bought. Because it is a redemptive thing, you see.

There was a fun New Year’s Eve party this weekend, swanky stuff, cocktail attire. My plan was to wear a new bridesmaid dress [that is also, luckily, gorgeous] but I decided to pop up to the mall just for fun. I had a little Christmas cash that I was willing to drop on a new dress.

I entered the department store and encountered a very kind lady. She asked my size, the occasion, and then her eyebrows raised. “How do you feel about sequins?”

See, here’s another thing. When God changed my heart and mind to be able to see myself more the way He sees me, a lot of things changed. I started to genuinely love some girly things that I didn’t before … namely, SPARKLE / GLITTER / SEQUINS.

So when she offered sequins, my eyes said it all. But I still answered, “yes and yes and yes please.”

She reached through a line of dresses hung on a rack to the very back. She said, “we only have one of these and it is in your size.” And then she pulled out a navy blue one shoulder number, covered from top to bottom with blue and black sequins.

I had a few other dresses in my hand, but it was useless. My heart beat always and only for that blue sequin piece of beauty.

I tried it on. I sent a picture from the dressing room to the fashion decision makers in my life. We all agreed.

It was beautiful.

I loved every minute that I got to wear it. And I’m going to wear it as often as possible in the future. To lunch? Maybe, if you ask nicely. To your birthday party? Or your wedding? Or to buy groceries? Probably. Because I love that dress.

(Me and Nichole and Lyndsay)

Why tell this story? It seems weird to spend a whole post talking about a dress.

I’m writing this in honor of that fifteen year old Annie, that girl who didn’t know she was pretty. I’m writing this because I would give anything to sit down with her. She needed to hear that when you look good, you feel good. That a beautiful dress can change the way you look AND feel. She needed to know that she was prettier than she heard in her head.

I didn’t know then. But I know now. And I am so glad to have seen, first hand, that God can take the lies away and replace them with truth.

And that He has made everything beautiful in its time.

[Will you share this story with a young woman in your life who needs to read it? Or a friend who needs to know that there is hope for her sad heart? Maybe she will listen better than I did. Maybe she will find a beautiful dress sooner than I did.]

Also. Just for kicks. I got my nails painted with tiny confetti sequined nail polish. Do you love or do you love? Try it sometime. You’ll be glad you did.

. . . . .

Do you have a piece of clothing that you LOVE? Tell me about it!


  1. Alexis
    posted on Jul 19, 2012 at 9:42 AM  |  reply

    I used to hate me too. I believed all the lies people (outside of family who always thought I was beautiful) told me growing up– “ugly”, “fat blob” to name a few– and it wasn’t until I found friends who spoke words of positivity into my life and then in college when even strangers would comment on my beauty, that I finally received the truth– that what the bullies told me growing up was a lie.

    More importantly, God told me I was beautiful in His eyes, and He showed me that truth when he transformed me from the inside out. Ironically, it happened through me getting sick at 16 but God used that event to reveal Himself to me and make a change from my mind (that believed all the lies) to my emotions (which were shipwrecked) to my outlook on life (which was dire) and once He changed me, I started to realize the value of me and I started to see other people how Jesus sees them– with compassion, something only GOD can do within you because no matter how perfect you have worked to become only a heart changed by God results in that kind of vision.

    So yes, Annie, I know exactly where you’re coming from in that reflective post and I write this to encourage you to keep on pressing forward in your faith journey with Jesus Christ and trust Him to reveal to you ALL He has planned for beautiful Annie Downs! 🙂

    *Jeremiah 29:11*

  2. Madi
    posted on Jul 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM  |  reply

    I cried the first time you posted this, and I’m crying again. It took getting pregnant for me to fall in love with my body, and now that I’m pregnant again, I just dread what my body will look like post baby #2. Thanks for the beautiful reminder Annie.

  3. posted on Jul 19, 2012 at 1:34 PM  |  reply

    Annie, I think I loved this post even more the second time. I hated me then too. But God, in His grace, has done so much in my heart, and continues to do so much. Thanks for reminding me. I may need to buy me a dress to celebrate!

  4. posted on Jul 19, 2012 at 10:21 PM  |  reply

    I love this post. Lots.

    • Amanda Williams
      posted on Jul 19, 2012 at 10:34 PM  |  reply


  5. Devyn
    posted on Jul 22, 2012 at 2:24 AM  |  reply

    I needed to see this today <3 this may be one of my favorites! the girl you described in the beginning .. thats me now and thats what i spent my day today doing .. wiping away tears in a dressing room. i am that sixteen year old you cant look in a mirror. but every time i see you write stuff like this is changes me and makes me see myself for the better .. a little bit everytime <3 thanks for being inspiring. i hope i can be a beautiful strong woman like you are when i grow up.

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get a sneak peek of Annie’s latest book! Click the link to download two free chapters of Let’s All Be Brave.