No one has ever accused me of being the crafty sort, especially not my kids. While other moms finger painted, pulled ideas from fully stocked craft closets, made homemade play dough, and otherwise provided hours of creative entertainment for their children, my kids were lucky to find a coloring book and crayons. I admire – yes, even envy – moms who take the time to gather ideas, stockpile supplies, oversee the making of monumental messes, and then happily clean it all up like June Ward. I don’t suffer from a complete lack of desire and skill. It’s more of a mental block: I can’t see where I’ll find the time or energy. In fact, the idea of attempting some of the cute ideas that flood the internet, and especially Pinterest plum wears me out, so I just don’t do it. The ironic thing is I enjoy fashioning beautiful things with my own hands when I take the time to do it. As I’ve learned new skills with my girls through our Keepers at Home group (www.keepersofthefaith.com), I’ve discovered the delight it brings to create something from nothing, to make gifts, and to acquire useful skills that can be used for my home and others.
Given my history, then, it will come as no surprise when I tell you it took me four years to complete “Miss Monica.” I remember the day I brought her to my mother-in-law’s senior sewing group at the local community center. The instructor actually laughed at my choice of Brazilian embroidery pattern. Perhaps a bit ambitious for a rooky. Never one to start small, however, I set to work, determined to show her I could do it.
Painstakingly formed one stitch at a time, with months between stitching sessions, her stamped pattern slowly transformed into the perfect southern belle and the personification of this girl’s desire to have lived at a time when corsets, petticoats, and ridiculously full, flowing gowns were worn at all times.
Imperfect stitches, coffee stains, and even spotted with a few drops of blood from a needle prick or two, Miss Monica awaits a good cleaning before taking up permanent residence on my wall. She is more than a skill mastered or a project conquered. She is a story. She is lazy weekends spent at my mother-in-law’s place in Galveston Bay complete with bike rides, shell hunts, lazy afternoons swinging in a hammock, go carts, golf carts, blow up pools, and seafood cookouts. She is car trips to escape for a few days, sometimes just with James, and other times the whole crew. She is plane rides blanketing family vacation. She is Friday afternoons stitching with daughters and friends. She is a summer sewing group with other moms and daughters, Jane Eyre on CD, and my mother-in-law sowing into us with her decades of teaching literature in public school. She is new friends and expanded horizons. She is time travel to the early 1800s when life was slow and women spent long afternoons sipping tea, working with their hands, and spending time together.
She is Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT):
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
I gaze at her, amazed that my fingers formed the flowers, stems, hems, sun hat, and parasol. I knit her delicate parts together. I chose the colors and details for each feature. When I take her in, I am amazed. Did my hands really do that? It makes me wonder: Is this how God sees us? Does God stare at us in wonder of what His hands knit together? As I admire her, does He admire me? Not because I’m admirable, but because I am His handiwork. Does He stand back and enjoy the work of His hands?
I see her imperfections. They don’t bother me. They’re part of her story. They make her uniquely mine. Different. Set apart. In the same way, God remembers we are dust. Our imperfections simply part of the story we tell of His perfection and redemption. His strength in our weakness.
I feel assured. I don’t have to be perfect, just His. Saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Humble. Willing. Ready. Obedient.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Our value isn’t in who we are to this world or how we measure up to its standards.
Our value is in the fact that He made us and completely changes and transforms us in Christ Jesus so that we have what He knows is required to make due use of the opportunities He prepared for us before He even saved us.
I don’t know that anyone appreciates “Miss Monica” the way I do. Perhaps the way God appreciates us because of what He put into us.
Lord, may be a beautiful display of Your glory as we become more wholly Yours today.