Sewing Lessons

I’m making another dress.

I’m not the fastest dressmaker. If it’s a costume to be worn once or twice I can improvise and make-do something fast, but a proper item of clothing to be worn not as part of a performance or any kind of joke takes a bit more time and care. I read and re-read the instructions, stress about my measuring and dress size, layout the pattern on the fabric, check I’ve done it right (again), cut and then read the instructions about how to put it together several times for each step in the process.

I love it none the less. Just as with baking, it’s an activity that ends up with a finished article. A result. An, ‘I made this!’ moment.

One time I put a tailored dress together so wrong that it looked like a sack. Everything went the opposite way to how it should. The next time I was in a fabric store I mentioned my disaster with a particular make of pattern and the assistant asked whether I’d run up a muslin one beforehand. I looked at her in horror. It’s obviously what the sensible people do – make one out of cheap fabric before they cut and possibly mess up the expensive stuff. Me? I don’t have time for that! As a result I do have one or two unfinished dresses. Disasters. Though I’m slow I am a little impatient. Once I’ve decided to make a garment, I’m looking forward to the moment of wearing the finished item, I have no time for practice runs.

In one set of instructions it said that following the directions in the pattern can seem ‘counter-intuitive’. This is true. Sometimes I’m sewing two pieces together thinking, ‘this just can’t be right, these instructions are misprinted, surely’. However, I do what it says, turn the garment the right side out and, whad’ya-know, it works as piece by piece the dress fits together to mould to the correct body shape. It’s such a satisfying feeling when everything fits in the end. It makes me glad that I trusted the instructions and not my own growing, but still limited knowledge.

Therein the little Holy Spirit nudge.

My life is just like this in general! Following Jesus can seem a little counter-intuitive – even offensive to my worldly knowledge. Right from the start, exchanging my self-sufficiency for an acknowledgment that I need a Saviour. It’s offensive to my nature that wants to do it my own way. Learning from his word, following the leading of His Holy Spirit, sometimes at first it seems like it doesn’t make sense, but then as I follow, as I obey, it does.

For my family moving to Canada was one of those things. Why move away from family and everything we’ve known…for the church? Some people voice their offence at us being able to leave our family in England, let alone our own struggles with that. Yet we trust God which sometimes goes against the grain of our egocentric, limited and faulted human understanding.

The thing with our lives is that we don’t get the pattern from start to finish – only God can see that. He gives us the next step and often waits for us to step out in faith before we see the next one to take. For an impatient person like me, this is a struggle. I like to know how it will all turn out, what the finished garment will look like, and what exactly my part in that is.

Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense for a long time. A. Long. Time. Sometimes it looks like things are going wrong and all I can do is trust that He has the plan.

Then something will happen that fits. Another piece comes along. Often the piece is in the form of relationships. I see that, yes God is working in my life, but as a piece that is also being sewn into the amazing fabric of Jesus’ body here on earth, the church. This is how He chooses to show himself to the world, through many people, from many different backgrounds sewn together with His love, moulded to be like Him.

Of course, we’re far from perfect which is why we need His pattern to follow…this project isn’t done yet, but He does know the end result.

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