I work in a place that upcycles fabrics. Among other things, we make T-shirt quilts. These quilts are a way of taking people’s memorabilia and making a picture story. It is amazing what one can learn from cast off shirts. There are T’s from athletic events and favorite pastimes, an array of colors, schools, fraternities, and sororities. We see shirts documenting family reunions, vacations, church activities, and mission trips. Sometimes people bring items of loved ones who have passed away. We have even worked with military fatigues.
It is an honor to be trusted with people's treasures therefore, my boss and founder of the company takes this responsibility extremely serious. Before she allows anyone to work on one of these quilts she requires a great deal of training. For months I labored on other small projects. These projects allowed practice of various skills required in the quilt making process. I learned about different fabric weights, a myriad of stitches, how to navigate the sewing machine, and patience!
Recently, I was left with instructions to put a quilt together all by myself. I was so excited! But within minutes my excitement turned to panic. “What if I mess this up”, “can I really do this without Julie standing over me, instructing me step by step”? I started the process and as the project progressed all of the skills I had learned from other areas began to fall into place. Let me just get cheesy for a moment...It was like Mr Miyagi and Daniel son from Karate Kid! Wax on wax off, paint up paint down! (I apologize to those of you who have never seen Karate Kid. It is a famous movie from the early 80’s) My point is, everything Julie had required of me beforehand, prepared me for the job I had been waiting for. Not only had it prepared me, but it also equipped me with the skills I needed to do it with excellence!
Romans 5:3-5 says,“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Often, we don’t understand all we are having to endure. The sufferings and hardships seem pointless and cruel at times. As a matter of fact I have cried, prayed, and questioned GOD more this month than I have in quite a while. Yet, I am reminded of what a friend of mine once said, “Everything that touches our lives must be funneled through the hands of GOD first. So, if anything touches our lives it is either to cut away the things that aren’t needed or to add what we need”. We are being made into the best version of ourselves. “For we are GOD’s workmanship created in CHRIST JESUS to do the good works which HE prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10) We are being refined and equipped in order to do the job that GOD has created us for!
- Can you recall a time in your life when there was a time of training or preparation?
- List the steps that you had to go to in order to learn the trade or skill.
- If you skipped the training how would you have performed?
- Can you see how any of the events up to this time in your life may have prepared you for the present?
- Can you imagine how your present can help prepare you for the future?
Read 1 Peter 1:7, Phillipians 4:11-13, and James 1:2-4