Whose pattern are you following?

When I was about 10 years old, my mother took me with her to a popular craft store in the area that was having a massive sale. This store is still open and has this big clearance sale every summer. It was there that I was able to purchase, and get hooked on, a new hobby: cross-stitching.

Nowadays, it seems like an old-fashioned skill. It is a lost art. You walk into your local craft store, like Michaels, and there are not many options to chose from. You have to either shop online or create your own. I do both. I created one for my sister’s wedding and I bought a pattern online to do for my parents’ 50th anniversary. Last year for Valentine’s Day, I made one for my husband based on a saying I saw on Pinterest.

The point of cross-stitching is to create a beautiful picture to hang on the wall. We follow the patter given to us or the one we make for ourselves.

Sometimes I don’t like the pattern as is so I change it up a bit. For example, I am working on a project right now and I really like the design but not so much the colours for what (who) I wanted it for. The main colours in the original design were different shades of tea/aqua with blue, purple and peach flowers. I am making it so that the main colours are different shades of purple with pink and white flowers. I am about 1/4 of the way through and already it looks quite stunning. At least in my opinion.

Patterns are created for you to follow to make sure it turns out the way it is supposed to. But sometimes, or often (depending on how well I am paying attention) mistakes will be made. I miss a stitch or a row, I miscount or lose my place and mistakes happen. I am no longer following the pattern as it is laid out. I do my best to fix it, correct it, to get me back on track or at least make sure it still looks good.

That is a little like life. Society has patterns that we are to follow. There are some people who don’t want to follow these patterns; they want to make their own. When they do that, society looks at them weird and considers them outcasts. And no matter what pattern we are following, we make mistakes. Sometimes the mistake is simple and we can go back and easily correct it. Unfortunately, some of us make such life-changing mistakes that we feel we need to throw out the whole project. We want a do-over. We can do that with a craft but not with life. There are no do-overs with life.

God also has a pattern for our life – The Bible. The are guidelines in there for us to follow. Again, no matter who we are, we don’t a;ways follow the pattern and we certainly make mistakes. Some are easy mistakes and others are big, life-shattering ones. The good thing about God’s patter is we can always go back to the original and it will still look good. It is called forgiveness and mercy.

When you see a completed, framed cross-stitch, it looks very pretty and elaborate. But have you ever looked at the back of it? It is a mess and you would never be able to make out what it is supposed to be by looking at the back. The back has threads hanging loose and intertwined, knots at various locations, threads of different colours intersecting like streets. Depending on how intricate the pattern is and how many colours are used, the back might look very disorganized.

This is the back of my current project.

We are like that as well. On the surface, we show our pretty smiles, slight mistakes to the world and no one really knows what is going on in the background, or on the inside. If someone was to frame and hang a cross-stitch project with the back facing out, people might wonder what is wrong with the picture. We do the same thing with our lives. We do not want to show others the mess and disorganization that is happening on the inside. They will judge us and think something is seriously wrong with us.

But God sees it all. He sees the pretty picture we are trying to portray. He also sees the mess that is going on on the inside of us and still sees the beauty. He sees past the loose threads, knots and mishmash of colour going everywhere. He can interpret the disorganization and knows how the design is supposed to look. And He loves how it looks.

Many people feel that because of the mess and disorganization that they are not worthy of God’s love, that God cannot use them in any way. God can and will use each and every one of us, no matter the mess inside.

If we look at people like David and Paul, we see how God used them for His purpose.

David was the youngest boy in the family, a shepherd, who was chosen to fight the giant and save Israel. When he was king, he committed adultery then used murder to cover it up. In no way was David a perfect person. God used him anyway and went on to be the 14+ great-grandfather of Jesus. David also gave us the beautiful book of Psalms. David had great faith. This is obvious when we read the Psalms. He was also very troubled. By his own actions, his life was a mess. No matter what he did, he was still the chosen one of God.

Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

Acts 13:21-22

Paul is another great example. While known as Saul, he was a hunter of the new faith, the followers of Jesus. He hunted new Christians. Though he may have never pulled the trigger himself, he instigated the crowds enough for them to do it. He handed Jesus-followers into the hands of their prosecutors. But God had a plan for him. Saul was blinded by the sight of Jesus. It was one of Jesus’ followers that healed him. From that day on, he was Jesus’ biggest fan, a teacher and martyr of the faith. Paul called himself “the worst of all sinners”. Jesus did not.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—  the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures  regarding His Son, who as to His earthly life was a descendant of David,  and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 1:1-4

God loves you and has a purpose for you. You have been chosen specifically by God to do His work, whether you realize it or not. Do not think all of your mistakes and knots will put you out of the running. You are loved. You are worthy. And don’t be afraid to show people your messy side. They just might show you theirs!