Beauty for Ashes
“Reflections from a seamstress who needs His assurances daily…
Recently, as I was working in my sewing room, a vision came to my mind. Not that this is an unusual occurrence, (I think it’s the coffee that fuels my efforts there!) but the message of this vision was interesting. I was in the process of taking donated t-shirts apart and preparing them to be made into “new” clothing for children; undies, dresses for little girls, or shorts for little boys. The vision was a view of my life and how much it was like the t-shirts.
When we travel, I often buy t-shirts as souvenirs. They generally have beautiful scenes or a fancy logo on them, reminding me of our adventure later when we return to our “normal” lives (… understanding “normal” is a totally different meditation…for another day). How I love wearing my new shirts! Everything is perfect … no marks … no scars … no threads out-of-sorts … all is as its creator created it.
In my vision I saw me … back in the beginning … when I was born. God’s handiwork on display. A baby, untouched by this world, knit together with incredible precision … exactly as the Creator intended.
As I wear my souvenir t-shirt “life” begins to happen! A hole here… a rip there. Stitches break and ravel. Sometimes it even shrinks in the wash (obviously it’s not ME that’s changing size, right?!) My beautiful, perfect shirt eventually shows so much “life” that it ends up in my DISCARD pile. No longer lovely. No longer appearing to have much to offer. Like the t-shirt, my path through life has often lead me to situations that leave holes (in my heart by others or the hearts of those who’ve loved me due to my choices … I am a fallen creature, after all). Sometimes my path has lead me to places that left stains… big, impossible stains.
As I was there, working on that pile of t-shirts … cutting them apart … making piles of neckbands, sleeves, main body of the old shirts, I began to see how God had come alongside me in life. There were times where He mended those small rips, tied up some of my loose strings, and even washed away the stains left by others on my heart and stains I’d made on my own heart and the hearts of others. His mercies are new EVERY DAY.
The “new” vision, for me on that day, was how (in the very deepest parts of my sorrow) He came along with His “seam ripper” and painstakingly took me apart … piece-by-piece … kept all that was good, took away the rest (stains, rips, patches … all of it!) and then began to put me back together again … into a New Creation. I am a new creation in Christ! My creator never left me … even when I’d turned away, wondered off, got lost. He remained. He took my distress, my mourning, my sorrow and turned it all into Beauty. I think about His greatness as I sew (which, by the way, includes tearing-apart); of how He sees past our visual appearance and sees the promise in us … our potential … who He made us to be and can still become … if we are willing to allow Him to use His “seamripper,” His “sewing machine”, His abilities to make us new! He has promised us in Jeremiah 29:10-11: “…I will come to you and fulfill my good promise … to bring you back … for I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” I am blessed daily, in many ways, as I work on converting cast-off clothing into items that will be used by children who have a need … whether they are my neighbor or someone I will never meet before I move to heaven. I pray for the children. I pray for the hands that God has moved to come alongside me and help. I pray for those who’ve cast off the old clothes. I pray. I rejoice. I meet with God … right there … in my “creating/re-creating place” and listen.” – Linda Jacobson