Remembering the Fabrics of My Life

The fabrics lie folded and stacked in my closet, next to the threads and the needles, and the unfinished projects. A lifetime of sewing is huddled there together, as a sort of memorial, stories interwoven through the warp and weft of my memories and the God-moments of my life. Some fabrics are rough, easily wrinkled and scratchy, while others drape and flow through my fingers like spun silk. 

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Matthew 9:16-17

Her name was Kathy, which means “pure and flawless” and in my memory I can see my friend’s flaxen glowing hair, her fair skin. While other girls were chasing boys, and attending dances, she and I were reading books and sitting in the branches of her giant willow tree. We sang at the top of our lungs, practicing harmony, and laughing at the way the old songs differed from our generation’s rock-n-roll. 

My Mom was a homemaker, her Mom left the house early each morning for her job. But each of us were given chores to finish before we could spend our summer afternoons together. Some afternoons were filled with swimming lessons, while other days we rode our bikes up and down our small neighborhood streets till our legs ached. But always we ended with long discussions about life. She knew I loved Jesus. She didn’t argue that, but she just couldn’t live the same lifestyle I thought was so important: every Sunday in Church, both morning and evening, and weeknight girls’ club classes as well.  I wanted her to ask Jesus “to come into her heart” but she wasn’t sure what that even meant, so we shelved the topic, and instead spent our discussions on every other subject imaginable. 

Into the light colored weft, a darker thread was being woven, filling the fabric with the warp of my flesh. I chose the path of the church, and she chose a different path. I had known it would come to this, I who was so set on my church commitments that I could not miss one Sunday to join her at her family’s weekly campground adventures. Not once. I thought I was choosing the better path.  It took many years for me to see what I had missed. 

In our pulling apart, the bonds of the fabric could easily have torn. We graduated, I was married. She chose a local college, I moved 600 miles away with my new husband. We wrote letters that kept us connected, and even though we were separated by miles, a deep bond was somehow still glimpsed by both of us. On one of my trips back home, she told of how thyroid cancer had struck her, and the months had been filled with harsh treatments and struggles. But her face was glowing as she eagerly told me the glorious news of finally seeing the beauty of surrendering her life to Jesus. We cried and we laughed that night, taking photos together of my pure and flawless friend holding my toddler son.

But the drifting apart wasn’t finished yet, as my life was plunged into testing involving a move to the other side of the country, a move back again, and years of living in other people’s homes. The letters to my golden haired friend slowed to a trickle, as I was at a loss to explain the confusion I felt during those years of breaking and reshaping. By the time we finally moved back close enough to rekindle our friendship, the cancer had returned to my friend, and she slipped into eternity the same fall that we moved back to our Midwestern roots.

And just as the fabrics of home were being re-folded and measured and cut, the dark threads of the fleshly warp were being marked with the colors of regret. Almost daily I thought of the times that I had neglected the friendship of one so dear.  It took years for the roughness of that churchy fabric to be washed and softened. But when the fabric had finally worn down enough, I was filled with sorrow over the way I had chosen an ideal instead of the love of one precious heart. “Jesus, will You please tell Kathy how sorry I am for the years I neglected her?” Again and again through the years, I heard myself uttering that prayer to Him.

The fabrics lie folded and stacked in the closet, and my heart remembers each project. The abilities for the old ways are gone. My arthritic hands can no longer follow the precision necessary to measure and cut and sew. The old has gone, and yet, the new is here. I can hear Jesus whispering:

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5

Jesus has taken the regret and filled it with colors so vibrant they cannot even compare to the old ways of seeing. And in the changing, the regret has been woven into a new warp and weft. That old warp of ugly dark shadows has now become a vivid setting to show forth new colors not seen before. “No apology is necessary any longer” He whispers to me. “I have preserved the threads of your friendship, and it’s woven together into a pure and flawless garment. You both are clothed in me now.”

I delight greatly in the Lord;

    my soul rejoices in my God.

For he has clothed me with garments of salvation

    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,

as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,

    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

This memory piece was prepared for a writing course that I finished last summer. I had been holding onto it, since the purpose of the course was to eventually submit our writing “somewhere” for publishing. But as so often happens to me, I heard the conviction of my Lord nudging me to let go. HE has His own purposes for the releasing of where my words will spill. And He has His own plans for how my days will be walked out. The newness of life comes from Him.

Have you been holding onto old things that felt necessary to preserve?

Could it be that He is asking you to let go also?

I would love to pray with you on this first Monday of the New Year:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the NEWNESS of LIFE that You have won for us. We turn the calendar and get excited over a New Year, when all the while You are calling us to see the deep and glorious New Life that You call us to walk in each day. Help us to let go of those old things that have felt so vital. Help us to lay each one before You now. Would You open our eyes to see the wind of Your Spirit blowing Your breath upon us here? Thank You for the beauty as You lift away our old regrets. We bow our lives before You here.

In the name of Your son, Jesus, we pray,

Amen.

 

   

I am linking with:

#TellHisStory

36 thoughts on “Remembering the Fabrics of My Life

    1. Oh Dear Lorraine, thank you for your sweet and encouraging comments. I appreciate your sharing here, when I know it is such a hard time for you also. You are a such a blessing, dear friend. I pray that you will find moments of relief today.

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    1. Oh Amen, Lisa! Fresh Spirit breezes every day, that’s what I am longing for also. May we both let Him show us the old that is ready to be released, and the new that He is bringing. Blessings to you this New Year!

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    1. Dear Mandy, Yes, I pray that I will allow His searchlight to shine on those places where He wants to bring release in my heart. And to return to the ancient and good paths is such a wonderful place to be. I am praying for you and your husband in this new place where He is calling you now. Blessings and love to you dear friend!

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  1. Dear Bettie,
    This is such a beautiful weaving of memory and present time. Truly He is making all things new. We may not be where we thought we would be; we may have lost what we never thought we would; we may feel lost ourselves, but one look at Jesus and we know that we are not lost. He holds us by His faithful love and we will never be forgotten. May we see the beauty and light that He will shine through us as we yield to Him. Thank you for your beautiful prayer. Love, hugs and blessings to you, my dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo

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    1. Dear Gayl, Oh, you are so right that “He holds us by His faithful love and we will never be forgotten,” even when we are in those places that feel so lost. I appreciate so much your words of wisdom and comfort that you share dear friend. I see that light of His beauty shining through you in the hard path you are walking on now. May you be blessed so richly this New Year! Love and hugs to you dear poet/sister/friend! xoxo

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    1. Dear Melissa, I am so very thankful that the Lord touched you here today. Your words bring tears to my eyes. These places of letting go are not easy, but they are so filled with our dear Lord’s precious love. Blessings to you this New Year.

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  2. In tears here. What a beautiful story. I’ve separated from a close friend this past year, well, two years ago actually. I feel betrayed by her and she feels betrayed by me, though she had stopped talking to me a long time ago. I don’t see that we’ll ever have a friendship again, but I still love her, wish the best for her, and pray for her. She wasn’t always a Christian and this is one of the few times I can say I actually got along better with her when she wasn’t. Isn’t that just awful?! Sometimes people become pompous when they become saved and sometimes they remain pompous and maybe that is my issue…hmmmm…I have a lot of areas where God needs to work on me, don’t I? 😉

    Anyhow, so pleased to see you back at the writing because I needed your words today.

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    1. And now I have tears in my eyes, Lisa. I am so amazed at the timing of our Lord, and how He weaves our lives together at just the right moments. We see all of our weaknesses, and feel such a struggle to make things right, but He sees the eternal perspective. He is just so persistent and full of mercy towards us. I cannot fathom how deep that mercy goes, but I am so thankful for it. Thank you for the precious sharing that you give; you are a blessing to me. May the Lord bring you His great grace this New Year!

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  3. You know I don’t usually respond here also, to spare your hands. But somehow I felt prompted to share this bit here. I felt drawn to the fabrics you talked of being folded and put away in the cupboard due to your arthritis. I had read in my Bible study this morning that “clear” eyes that fill our body with light, means “unfolded” vision. And light means “describing the revelation”. The fabrics in your cupboard will speak of God’s heart (the revelation) in their unfolding and bringing into the light of His Word (His sure and steadfast Promises). I don’t think He’s done with those fabrics yet. There’s new projects to come in the sharing, as you give freely of all you’ve been giving. I see Him unfolding and stitching a patchwork quilt of memories, of stories of His faithfulness in the past and the stories of His faithfulness to come.

    Love you so much. I wept so much through the prayer. God took the intercession deeper for each breaking I have walked through these past years. Releasing and pouring His love. So thankful for you. xxx

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    1. Oh Dear Anna, these are such precious thoughts. Yes, I have not been able to get rid of the fabrics, even when I have felt so much regret over just keeping them folded and stacked there. But I love that picture of the unfolding of vision, describing the revelation. I believe He does have more there, that I am lifting up to Him now. Lord, have YOUR way in this, in the sharing, in the releasing. Thank you so much for sharing from your heart, my dear friend. I am so blessed at the way the Lord continues to take His Word and His intercession deeper into your heart through the releasing as well. Love you so much. xo

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      1. He is so good to safeguard that which He plans to unfold in us in HIS timing. He knows us so much better than we know ourselves. The more we get to know Him, the more the core of who we are in Him is revealed also. Like a flower coming to bloom and a butterfly leaving its cocoon: it takes time and patience, hiddenness, warmth and watering. Oh how good He is to us. So so thankful for your friendship and God’s gift of wisdom and grace through you.

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        1. Oh, amen, He is so good to shower us with His patience, warmth, watering, all within His hiding place. I am so thankful for your friendship and prayers also, dear Anna. May the Lord continue His unfolding in our lives. xo

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  4. This is so beautiful. I’ve had a similar coming to a place of friends being in different places this year. Not friends who are no longer friends, just living lives of their own. Your words helped to understand the lesson, it is time for me to be able to fly on my own, with those who I needed not necessary to my flying, only cheering me on.

    Thank you!

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    1. Dear Lisa,
      Isn’t our Lord so perfect in His timing? We may not understand the ways that our lives weave in and out of the paths of others, but He always has His purposes. I pray that I would trust Him more, and listen more clearly for those nudgings to “fly” when He calls. Thank you for your comments dear friend. You are an encouragement to me!

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  5. So enjoyed this….and regrets are often the hardest to let go. Regrets that we have no way to “correct or mend” but God can – if we will release them to Him. Thanks for sharing your story!

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    1. Dear Jennifer,
      Oh, you are so right about those regrets. What a blessed thought to trust Him for the mending that we cannot repair! He is so trustworthy. Blessings to you this New Year!

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  6. Thank you for this beautiful story, Bettie. This really resonated – “I had chosen an ideal instead of the love of one precious heart.” There are so many ways in which we choose something else over the love of one precious heart, isn’t there? I want to let go of my obsession that if I don’t post every week, I have somehow failed or disappointed God or someone else. I put far too much pressure on myself to “do” instead of leaning into my Savior and taking one step at a time in God’s will and way. Thank you for this encouragement that Jesus takes away the regret and fills it with colors so vibrant they cannot even compare to our old ways of seeing. Love and blessings of strength in every way to you!

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    1. Dear Trudy,
      Yes, you are so right–how easy it is to choose that ideal instead of loving one heart. I sure understand that way that we have of putting so much pressure on ourselves to not fail our Lord or His people. But He really does want us to lean into Him and trust Him to fulfill what we cannot. I so appreciate your open heart, dear friend. You are such an encouragement to me as we walk this pathway of listening and watching for our Lord’s leading. Love and blessings to you this New Year! xo

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  7. Such a lovely and poignant story. My best friend since I was 14 passed away this last year, and I felt her absence so deeply on New Year’s Day, when I couldn’t call her. All the times i missed calling seemed so wasted. :Wonderful prayer. Just so beautiful!

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    1. Oh Regina, I am so sorry about the loss of your dear friend this year. That ache of missing a friend resides in such a deep place of our heart. I pray that the Lord will bring such peace to you as He calls you forward into the new that He has for you this year also.

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  8. I am so sorry to read of the loss of your dear friend. Somehow, I think she knew how much you loved her. We all make mistakes in the name of doing something “better,” only to find out later that we overlooked “best” in the process. God bless you, sweet friend, in this new and different season of your life.

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    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Oh thank you so much for your sweet and gentle comfort that you offer here. I am overwhelmed by the mercy that Jesus offers to us through all of the learning process of our mistakes and failures. He is so good to keep shining HIS love in the midst of it all. Your prayers are so precious to me dear friend. May you and your family be blessed in this New Year also.

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  9. I am so blessed that you published your personal essay here, Bettie. Beautifully written. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. The threads of hope are never cut when we have Jesus in our life. Thank you for that encouragement today.

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    1. Dear Lynn,
      Thank you so much for your encouragement. I love this statement: “The threads of hope are never cut when we have Jesus in our life.” Such a precious thought! I am praying blessing and healing over you too this New Year!

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  10. Dear Bettie, this is breathtakingly beautiful and moving. You’ve woven a wonderful true story of God’s redemptive healing grace and peace. I think this is a stunning devotional and one of the best things I’ve read from you. I loved it when you shared it with me via email and I adore it all over again on a second reading, especially with your gracious prayer to conclude it! Maybe one day your collected devotional posts will find another, wider public home. But for now we are the grateful recipients.
    You have such a tender way of writing that gently pierces soul deep. And a sweet way of asking us to look inside our hearts. I’m doing just that as I remember past friendships that have become distant, broken or strained as we drifted away when following separate paths. The art of reaching out takes holy courage and faith but God fully equips us with both. I’m hoping to achieve that in the months ahead with God’s wisdom and grace. Thank you for inspiring me, dear friend! Blessings and love to you. xoxo ❤

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    1. Dear Joy,
      Thank you, my sweet friend for all of your encouragement. Your support through this writing process has been such a gift from God! I pray that the Lord will continue to help us as He uncovers those soul-deep places. He is so gracious to keep persisting, even when the process is long. And in His persistence with us, He reaches out to us, and teaches us how to keep reaching out with His own dear love for others too. I am so thankful that we can pray for each other on these journeys. May you be blessed this New Year, and filled to the brim with His grace and love! Love you! xoxo

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  11. Dear Bettie, the tears are falling. Falling for your story sounds all too familiar and it cuts to my heart. Falling for our Savior who bled to heal such heart-wounds. Falling for the redemption of all things He has already brought. Falling for the beauty of your words. Falling for your hands that can no longer sew. Falling for the pain you endure. Falling for the shimmering radiance of faith you have woven into my life, though we have never met. My gifted and lovely sister, may God bless you until the threads of your heart are embroidered into patterns of heavenly beauty beyond your imagining. Tears, love, more tears and blessings, my sweet friend. Melissa

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    1. Dear Melissa,
      Oh and now my tears are falling also. Thank you for your very sweet comments and precious prayers. You are such an encouragement to me. And what an amazing prayer here: “may God bless you until the threads of your heart are embroidered into patterns of heavenly beauty beyond your imagining.” I will treasure and cling to the promise in that prayer, as embroidery was another craft I used to enjoy as well. All of these physical blessings are painting a picture of the deeper spiritual blessings that He has been bringing through this season. May the Lord bless you with such deep beauty and blessings this New Year my friend.

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