But what about threads in our lives? It's not a new concept, this idea of threads that weave in and out of our life, shaping and influencing us into who we are or who we're becoming. And what would these so-called threads be?
I believe they include the experiences of events and people both good and not so good, or bad, that have made their way into our life's journey. They are the past and the present. The hurt and the joy.
But I believe there is more than this though, that is weaved into our lives.
It's been a year now, last April 2019, since I had the opportunity to share at our church's women's event and again a few weeks later for Mother's Day Sunday morning service. My friend Lisa and I worked together creating the theme of the women's event based on this idea that had been on my heart. We called it, Behind the Tapestry.
The Tapestry is the threads of our lives. It's the telling of our story, both sides coexisting- one is of all the threads woven throughout our lives, an intermingling of hope, joy, struggle and pain, how it's effected us and how we've responded to it, while the other presents only a glimpse of the picture- that of how God has and is working in and through us right alongside all the threads that make up each of our stories.
I won't retell the whole talk here, however you can check it out and listen to the one from Mother's Day if you'd like- Watch it at this link.
But I do want to share what's on my heart now and revisit a few key statements from that message.
"It’s not only about what makes up the pieces [or threads] of our story,
but it’s what we do with our stories. It's how we respond."
"It's the surrendered heart that finds peace because it chooses to believe...
And if not- He is still good."
"Even without all of the answers, even when it can’t make any sense of any of it all-
it, the heart, believes…"
Reflecting on this truth has caused me to think hard about what threads exist in my own story. Threads of rejection, bullying, loneliness, coercion, sexual abuse, exposure, sin-drug abuse, smoking, drinking, lying, physical inappropriateness, struggle with weight and self loathing of my body- years of yo-yo dieting, self hate and lack of confidence and perfectionism, loss of parents, worry that we did enough, loved enough parenting the boys we raised and teaching them the importance of faith, ....depression, a season of suicidal thoughts... BUT...
...then there's also the joys and blessings- two incredible sons I am so proud of and daughter-in-laws I love dearly, grandchildren that I'm beside myself over, a marriage of 37 years (we're sticking with it ya'll!) to my best friend and love of my life, so many God-provisions, the jobs I've enjoyed (and the ones I haven't!), the churches we've been and currently a part of, the friends I've enjoyed over the years, the friends I have now, my faith that I struggle daily to hold, (even in the struggles I still have my faith), forgiveness and grace I've received, forgiveness I've learned to give, and so much more... but Jesus- AND JESUS, the person and promise and presence I need and long for so terribly...
These are the threads of my life plus so many more unmentioned. I see this side. I often give too much attention to this side, the side I see and know. The one I'm awfully familiar with. But how much do I pay attention to the flip-side? the underside. The side that I don't always see or notice. The side that reveals how God has used all of it to grow me, where I learned to forgive and give grace, the same given to me. The side that exposes sin and moves me to obey. The side where I chose to believe and trust God for my salvation. Where He's at work when I choose to let Him teach me and heal me.
What's happening on this other side, is what shapes us into who we're meant to be. Where He makes us whole and not only gives us hope but strengthens our hope. Hope is the anchor of our soul. His name is Jesus. He is our Anchor. (Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 6:16-20)
There are various threads of our tapestry, woven in our story, that are mingled together. If you watch my message you'll see that I used an illustration with a scrap piece of tapestry and various colors of yarn needled on the back. These strands are messy but as I've just pointed out, there is so much more happening here on this messy, tangled backside. And what's most important to remember, is that God is right here with us. As believers, we're promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. Promises throughout scripture tell us that God is with us.
(Isaiah 41:10 & 13)
And He's not just beside us or looking from a distance, He's right there with us in EVERY aspect of our lives, good and bad, holding our hand. And He sees. He sees all of it. And He knows.
Reflecting on all that is going on in our world and then remembering the truth of this principle, I realized that many were already experiencing hard things in life before the covid-19 pandemic hit so swiftly and unexpected. So no matter what you may have already been experiencing and now while we're also walking through these uncertain, strange times of "safer at home", we can still be confident that Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, is with us. When we practice turning our minds on Him we'll find peace and strength in the storm to get through the storm. (Hebrews 12:2; Isaiah 26:3-4)
Let the truth of these next statements sink in. This is where we will find the peace and strength that we need, giving us the ability to live out our faith and trust God for our futures:
(2 Peter 1:3)
"It’s in the believing God is With Us even in the midst of life’s best and worst."
"It’s in the believing God is Still Good even when life is handing us its worst."
As you know, this Sunday is Easter. It's been exciting to watch- from a distance, the hope people are holding onto during this time. Not necessarily hope that's wishing away this pandemic though there's every good and right reason to pray for God's mercy, protection and healing. But a hope that we are confident of. The living hope of Christ, because He sacrificed His life for us and defeated death!
So in the midst of so much sickness, death and sadness on this earth, let's remember that we can still rejoice and celebrate the Living Hope we've been given through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the One who gives us the promised inheritance. An inheritance kept in heaven for us that will never spoil or fade; the salvation of our souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
May you be encouraged.