Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Leaf

A few days ago my daughter finished embroidery of a leaf. It was her first embroidery and it took her some time to finish and she was so proud of it when she was done.

She was showing it to all of us and we all told her how good it was and how proud we were of her.

Then she went up to her Mom and turned it over to show the back and said, “It’s kind of messy in the back.” My wife assured her that it was OK. “When it make it into a pillow, no one is going to see the back.”

It got me thinking about our own lives and how God must see it.

We see things from the back of the embroidery and it can appear a little messy sometimes because we don’t see the picture in the end. For us, we see the needle and thread come in and out at random. The threads of our lives start and stops and takes different directions. Sometimes, we see the line and it is regular and predictable and then suddenly it stops. It is tied off and cut.

Will we get back to it? Sometimes. And sometimes not.

Then another line begins, our lives take an entirely new direction and it is alarming – where is this going? It may be a long run or a short run – we never know. Usually though it is cut off and tied too.

Worse of all, is when we think we know where our line is going and then suddenly it stops and the thread starts to get pulled out. What happened? What about all this work and why has it gone to waste? Sometimes it happens more than once. We make a line and it gets pulled out, we make a line and it gets pulled out, we make a line and it gets pulled out. This is madness! I am wasting my time! But if we stick with it, the new line sometimes stays…and then we move on to something else.

When we are in the moment, we can’t see the bigger picture; we can only see the thread going in and out. We go from day to day, from moment to moment. It is only much later that we can look back and see part of the pattern that has emerged from those lines of our life.

When I was first thinking about this, I was going to say that while our side may appear like a mess, when you turn it over to the front – you see the beautiful pattern that God the Master has created from our lives.

But then my wife corrected me. She said that when done right, the back of the embroidery should look like the front.

Hmmm, then why are our lives so messy? Does this analogy not work?

If God the Master is in charge of our lives, why aren’t our lives as neat and beautiful as God sees it?

Then it occurred to me – it’s because we have free will. We make choices about whether we want to follow God or to follow something else. We choose to sin and not repent. We choose to find misery in our situation rather than to accept our suffering to grow closer with God.

But God never gives up on us. Even if He has to help us tie off and cut off the parts that don’t work. Even if he has to have us re-do the part of our lives that aren’t right yet. He will keep working with us until we are as beautiful on the inside as He sees us from His side.

We just have to trust him.

Jeremiah 29:11-14
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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

When we seek God with all our heart and seek to do His will then our lives are transformed. God does not change from our prayers. Our prayers transform us. Instead of a mess, the pattern of our lives starts to match the beautiful pattern that God intends for us.

Perhaps the pattern of our lives will not look like my daughter’s embroidered leaf but I know it will be as beautiful.


  1. I think the part that is beautiful is this: just like an accomplished crafter, the more we practice our walk with God the better we get at following His path for our lives. When we do this, the leaf is indeed very beautiful.