Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life Lessons by a Seamstress

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." (Isaiah 61:10)

When you look at a sewing pattern, it's all packaged up neat and tidy. It's perfectly folded and waiting to be used. But is it finished yet? The obvious answer is no, because it has not served it's purpose yet! But is it useful? Yes! The seamstress can use it to make a beautiful dress. But first it must be opened up and taken apart, cut out to the right shapes and size.
A pattern is then set on a solid piece of fabric and pinned on or weighted down. The seamstress carefully cuts around each pattern piece and ends up with a neat pile of material. Is it finished yet? NO! You can't wear a pile of fabric! But is it useful? Yes, to someone who reads the directions provided and takes the fabric to the sewing machine to be manipulated into a beautiful dress!

The seamstress carefully sews it together using their machines and scissors to trim away extra fabric, making all the seams co-operate with the shape of the dress to be. It can be tried on, pinned to size and length and zippers or buttons placed on maybe even embellished with embroidery or lace.
Is it finished yet? It's wearable, it was made to fit. But with all that handling it has creases and wrinkles. It should be ironed with a hot iron to be made crisp and straight. To lay the seams down flat so there are no puckers. But the iron must not be too hot, the seamstress must know her fabric so that she does not burn the fabric and ruin the dress.Is it done yet? It could be. You can wear it with pride, everything looks to be in the right place.

But sometimes the seamstress decides that something is missing, small details need to be added.
And one by one she carefully applies small crystals to the skirt, or the bodice, that makes the dress sparkle when the light touches it. A special detail to make the intended wearer shine above the others around them.
It is done, ready for the big day! The wedding goes on as planned and the day is filled with happy family and friends and a thousand pictures are taken in the garden.

The Garden. Grass. The dress is long, and the grass is damp. And even though we sometimes remember to lift the dress as we walk, all the moving and positioning of the dress during photo's moves the dress carelessly over the grass and stains the underskirts and the hems. Some brides carry white chalk with them to rub over the stains, but it is only a temporary fix. The stains are only masked over for the time being, but they are still there.
Is the dress ruined? If you put no value in the dress, you may say it's ruined and toss it away. But to a bride this was her perfect dress for her perfect day. She will take it to a cleaners and have the stains from that day removed professionally. And then the traditional bride will ask them to box it up carefully for storage, hoping that someday she might have a daughter who she might pass the dress on to.

Now, think of God as our seamstress and our lives as the pattern and fabric.
We come into this life as babies, perfectly folded and sweet. But we are expected to grow, to blossom and experience life. Most of the time we go through life and we are content with where we are . But when strife comes, we question our abilities or our positions or our relationships. And we wonder what we are here for. But God isn't finished with us yet! He still has more to do, situations that will make us grow,instances that will humble us, reasons to show us His love. When we read life's directions from the Bible, we can be more willing to be His fabric and be changed and shaped into something beautiful.
We may feel cut up, pinned or weighted down or feel the heat of hot irons in our life. But that does not mean that God is not in control. Sometimes we put ourselves into those situations because of our free choice to make (bad?) decisions. And sometimes God puts us in those paths, but he knows our fabric and knows how much heat it would take to burn us. God does not desire to ruin us, that is not a part of his plan. He can use those situations to shape us, to iron out order in our lives. He can embellish us, make our lives shine for Him, displaying the light of His Son in this life and allowing us to leave a legacy for our children. But even if we walk faithfully with the Lord, that does not mean our lives will be trouble free. The sinful world will still affect us and even leave stains on us. But when we remain faithful through all these things our reward is with God in Heaven, where we will be perfect in His eyes, "grass stains" and all will be cleaned away, completely gone!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

c CEJTM 2009

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