Patchwork: a thing composed of many different elements so as to appear variegated. See also: My life.
I had it picked out. It was fluffy and clean and immaculately sewn together. The seams happily held hands and created smooth and crisp lines along the fabric. I called it: My plan. It was perfect, comfortable and warm and I was wrapping myself up in it, “snug as a bug” if you will.
And then I started to realize that one seam was beginning to fray, and then another became undone, and another and another. In my panic to keep it all together I fought it…I fought HARD. And it only made it worse. I cried when I saw threads popping and all of my plans for comfort and security beginning to spill out. I felt like Cinderella right after her stepsisters tore her ball gown apart. Devastated. Humiliated. I was so angry as I stewed in the fragments of my plan that I didn’t notice how someone else had begun stitching them all together. Slowly, purposefully, lovingly.
The torn pieces of my “Happily Ever After” are being fashioned into this haphazard tapestry of grace. As I open my tired eyes and more closely examine the ruins, I find beauty I could never have imagined. It’s the beauty that’s born of brokenness. Raw, radical, and unhindered, this beauty can never be found in perfect plans that only leave room for success and prosperity. It’s forged in the furnace of life. First consumed by struggle, and then refined by grace.
I’m still there, friends. Still sifting through the wreckage of all I had imagined. I had set expectations for myself and, on many accounts, I had failed. They didn’t seem far-fetched or unrealistic but they also didn’t include much risk, pain, or a fierce dependence on God. There are parts of me that still desperately ache for the ideal. Sometimes I look at the hodgepodge fabric of my life, all the changing colors and textures, all the unknowns and missing pieces, with skepticism and (on occasion) disgust.
But this is my life. It involves long days, short nights, Sabbath days, and 2 jobs. It’s kind of a mess, but it’s mine. And I’m starting to realize that it isn’t being thrown together by chance but is rather hand-stitched by the Maker of the universe. All of my mistakes, accomplishments, passions, and weaknesses collide to make me who I am. The moments that I feel threatened or disoriented, He is patient and present through all of it. When I am weak, He is strong. And when I give up, He just keeps tearing, stitching, breaking, healing.
I’m learning to wear this new patchwork life with joy. To rejoice in it’s crooked seams and praise God for His purposeful mending, redirecting, and salvaging. I’m learning that He delights to be my refuge and my only hope. He will stop at nothing to secure my affections. He will render from me a life that is focused on self and place in my hands this beautiful tapestry of sacrifice.
I’m learning that being faithful where I am isn’t the same thing as “biding my time” and waiting for something better to happen… it’s laying down my life at His feet and saying, “Yes, Lord. I will do it all again and I will give You the best I have.”