In my spare time, I love to cross-stitch. When my four sisters and I were growing up, my mom taught us how to achieve this basic stitch. And even today, my grandparents and parents have countless samplers hanging around their houses.
But for those unfamiliar with this type of embroidery, allow me to explain the process. To complete this simple stitch, all that is needed is a pattern, Aida cloth, a hoop, floss, a needle, and a whole lot of patience. Once all of those tools have been obtained, the embroiders next step is to make an X out of thread on the cloth. And that is all there is to it!
I have attempted other types of stitches, but this one is my favorite. Something about the repetitiveness of this stitch calms me on my most anxious days. However, there is another thing necessary regarding these cross-stitch masterpieces – time.
Last year alone, I spent six months on one project. That is just a dent in what some do! Nevertheless, when it was complete, I couldn’t help but marvel at my handiwork. This year, I’ve been working on my next big project. Like the last one, this new piece is for someone who means a lot to me. And as I worked through the pattern this week, Jesus taught me a thing or two.
After completing an extensive section of stitches, I sat back, proud of my work. Seeing it one step closer to completion made me want to dance. But as I flipped the cloth over, I saw a jumbled mess of red, white, and maroon string. While the front looked picture-perfect, the back looked like a child was trying to learn how to tie knots for the first time. It was covered in an assortment of string, knots, and mistakes not shown on the front.
“This is gross,” I said aloud to my husband. “It’s a good thing no one will ever see this side of things. Look at how messy it is!”
No sooner than the words came out of my mouth did I hear the Spirit say, “Just like your life?”
In this age we’re living in, the world sees all of our good parts – myself included. Facebook “friends” see glammed-up family photo shoots. While other social media “followers” see dreamy kitchens, well-behaved children, perfect marriages, and expensive cars. As a culture, we’ve made it our mission to broadcast life’s beauty, not magnify its brokenness. After all, who wants to look at something so messy?
He went to a cross – on a hill called Calvary – specifically to help us mend what we couldn’t on our own. He didn’t stop, stare, and say, “Well this is just too much for me to handle today.” No, He suffered and died knowing what our life looked like without Him. In fact, He even died for the ones who might never accept Him.
Yet, here we are! Pretending everything is under control while our lives are falling apart. We forget that everyone lives in a fallen world. We also forget that we are dreadful, awful, no good, wretched sinners in the eyes of the spotless Lamb who knows everything about us. But even so, He still thought we were worth dying for.
And today? While you’re standing in the middle of a mess but don’t know who to trust, He is standing with His arms open wide. He wants to fix your brokenness.
If our lives really were picture-perfect, we wouldn’t need a Savior. Thanks to His grace, it’s okay to make (and learn from) mistakes, but it’s also okay to know that we can run to the One who makes all things new – even when things don’t look pretty.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”(1 Samuel 16:7).