“You hem me in, behind and before, and You lay your hand upon me. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderful made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:5 & 13

In 5th grade my class learned how to cross-stitch. Can you picture 20 something 11 year olds with embroidery hoops and thread, learning about good old fashioned colonial entertainment? Talk about creative chaos in all the best elementary school ways! Call it crazy, but my teacher knew what she was doing. Looking back, I remember how much my class loved it — even the rowdiest boys were mesmerized with the rhythm of needle and thread. Now 12 years later, picking up an embroidery hoop feels like riding a bike again. I feel the same familiar rhythm as a heartbeat.

As I started my pattern of up, pull it through, down, repeat…I slowly watched the progress of my creation unfold one thread at a time. I started thinking about how our lives mirror the woven work on an embroidery hoop. You see, most of the time we only see half the story. Most of us see the outward facing, best stitch forward, “pretty side” version of others. We don’t see the work behind the scenes that goes into it. The front looks intentionally done and well put together, but the back tells the real story — the true threads, knots, loops, and sometimes tangles that weave the masterpiece into completion. Many threads crossed paths to make up this this exact creation — this exact moment. Even here and now, can you trace the threads that brought you to read these words? Think about it — whether you were scrolling through Instagram or clicked on a link from a friend. One way or another, you’re here. And I’m glad.

God’s thread of faithfulness weaves us together. Our souls are sewn into His goodness. He is always at work behind the scenes — hemming and weaving. He takes our tangled threads and makes them into His beautiful masterpiece. All the while bringing us closer to Him. Some threads might be cut loose and the needle could poke us in the process. Even if all we see is a tangled mess, He is faithfully at work for His glory and our good.

Every stitch is unique from one to the next. None are exactly the same, but they work together with common purpose. Each thread contributes to the beauty, functionality, and completion of the masterpiece. Each piece matters and helps tell the story. The threads that make up our lives are the same. And when we zoom out even more, we can see that we are threads woven into God’s story. Threads as expansive as the stars! Too many to count, yet God knows all by name. You matter. You help tell the story. Your threads are flecks of starry light reflecting God’s image.

Every stitch marks where we’ve been. Little ebenezers tracing out a path trailing behind us. We are not defined by our past nor can we change it, but we can remember where we’ve been and look ahead to our next right stitch. Looking back unveils stitches of old that connect us to places perhaps we never expected to be. All the while, we press on and trust the Lord with every detail. Every thread is part of the greater story He weaves through us. He takes us, knots and all, and makes beauty in His time. We don’t need to see the finished product to receive His grace, goodness, peace, and provision. He hems us in — He surrounds us — is always with us right where we are. We can rest and take our current thread as joy, with all the cross-stitched hope of Jesus!

What threads can you see today? Don’t be afraid to share the backstory of your embroidery hoop more than once in a while — for the true beauty often is found in the tangled realness of our everyday lives.

O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold Your gracious hand in all Your works; that, rejoicing in Your whole creation, we may learn to serve You with gladness; for the sake of Him through all things were made, Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. -The Book of Common Prayer


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