When I fell pregnant with my first baby, I wanted to give her a gift. I chose a very cute teddy bear cross-stitch pattern, bought the required threads, needles and accessories and began to stitch. By the end of my pregnancy, I had finished my project. What began as a few threads of tiny coloured crosses on my fabric, ended up to be just as the picture on the front of the pattern revealed. I proudly hung it in a timber frame above the cot that was awaiting the arrival of my baby girl.
With all good intentions, when I fell pregnant with my second baby, I also wanted to give him a gift. So off I went and found a very cute cross stitch, roughly the same size as the first, and bought all of the threads and accessories that I needed to complete the work.
What I didn’t realise however, was that feeding, changing nappies and washing had now filled in the time I used to have for ‘projects’, and this particular cross stitch is still, many years later, a work in progress.
Babies number three and four will receive a cross stitch at some point in their lives but it may be on the birth of their own children at this rate.
Shameful, I know, but as many mums out there can relate, once children enter the scene, ‘projects’ tend to wedge their way down the list of priorities.
Did I take on more than I could chew? Perhaps. Perhaps a smaller sized cross stitch would have made more sense. Or perhaps I got distracted. Nevertheless, I have seen the ‘big picture’ so to say, and I won’t give up until it is finished.
Ah, some of you wise readers out there have picked up that I may not be talking only about cross stitch now. Well you’re right.
In 1 Corinthians 9 verses 24-27, Paul talks about running a race to reach the prize, a prize that will last forever. Then in Hebrews the author speaks of Jesus, ‘the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God,’ (chapter 12 verse 2).
It is easier to begin something if you can see what the outcome will be. Life is rarely like that. Sometimes it is very difficult to see why certain things happen or what point they have. They are, if you like, similar to working one colour of a cross stitch. It just looks like thread on a fabric with no real design or shape. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 12 says, ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known,” (King James Version).
There is a bigger picture, one that makes sense and is beautiful to look at.
Although we don’t fully understand what each thread of our life looks like in the bigger picture, we can trust that God has a design that is more beautiful than anything we have ever seen or imagined and every thread counts. Without each colour sewn into the correct square, the picture makes no sense.
I’m so glad that when the picture of life seems to make little sense, there is a bigger picture that has been carefully designed by our Saviour.
So ‘let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up,’ (Galatians chapter 6 verse 9).
First published Christian Today Australia 17 April 2014 http://www.christiantoday.com.au/article/every.thread.counts/17194.htm