"Thankfulness is a thread that can bind together all the patchwork of our lives. Difficult times, happy days, seasons of sickness, hours of bliss--all can be sewn together into something lovely with the thread of thankfulness."--Adele Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook On the wall of our home is an apple quilt that I pieced together when we first moved down to California. (I will have to say that is the only quilt that I have finished, so I am by no means a quilter! I just have to try a new challenge at least once.)
I enjoyed the process of picking the fabrics (oh the choices!), looking at the colors, patterns and seeing how they would come together. On the bolts, I just couldn't see how they could work, so I went conservative and chose very simple, low-contrast prints. I cut the pieces out (with a rotary cutter---I'm not that good!) and stacked them into little piles. It looked even less like a quilt then.
Then came the fun part, putting all the pieces together. At first, they didn't look like much, but little by little triangles stitched to squares made funny shapes, then strips, then whole objects! I was hooked! This was great!
But in between all those little steps was the tedious job of pressing the seams. And there were lots of them! One by one, I had to apply the iron to those connections so that the quilting step would not have lots of unsightly bumps and bulges.
I still wasn't finished yet! I had finally gotten the entire quilt top put together, but the raw edges still needed binding. I faithfully consulted my instructions and put the batting, backing and edges on the quilt. Ahhh! Finally finished, right?
Nope. The last step was going back and doing the actual quilting of all those layers so that they held together in one piece. For me, that was the hardest part of all. All the other steps resulted in things I could see. I was tempted to skip it. It looked good enough already, right?
For those of you who are quiltmakers, don't worry. I didn't skip that step. I did use the machine, but I did it. And you know what? It looks so much better than before. Now, I couldn't imagine not doing it. Even though the thread I used was invisible, I can see that it really finished the piece. It made all the hard work I had done beforehand even better.
And so it is with our lives. There are days in our lives when we are making decisions about what is to come. Right now, we are continuing to this journey towards selling our home. On Saturday, we actually received an offer...but it was a bit lower than our already reduced selling price. My husband and I are now in the stage of not just deciding what to do with that offer (which we had been waiting for!), but what God wants for us to do in the big picture, at this time of the year, at this stage in the adoption process. Just as it was in the fabric store, all these options and choices don't all make sense right now. What does He want us to do? Does He want us to step out in faith? Or is it wiser to play it conservative? Questions, questions!
The good thing about the Lord is that He is able to take all these little pieces and stitch them together. What Adele Calhoun says is true. God is able to stitch together the bits and pieces of our lives and sew them together into something beautiful. The thread He uses? Our thanksgiving and gratitude.
And so that is what I am committed to doing. I want to keep thanking Him, regardless of what is going on in our lives right now. Even with all the regular chores and duties of life and homeschooling to keep up with. Even with all the unknowns. Even with all the unfinished business with my urine test.
It has been about a week since I have started seriously cultivating my "gratitude muscle." And already, I can see how God is using the discipline to shape how I see all these disjointed pieces of my life. I can't wait to see what He is going to do in the days to come. It's gonna be a masterpiece beyond imagining!