When Phil was deployed to Iraq a few years ago, I reacquainted myself with cross-stitching as a hobby. I remember learning how as a young girl, and my mom and I would often work on projects together. It’s one of my favorite ways to pass the time, especially if Phil has sports on TV. I like sports; I just have a hard time sitting through an entire broadcast of them without doing something else. Cross-stitch makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
As I finished up a project recently, I took notice of the back of the work. Frankly, it’s a mess — knots, end pieces, long strands stretched from one side to the other. If a person only saw this side of it, they’d have no idea what it was supposed to be. Maybe they’d get glimpses of the picture, but it wouldn’t be clear. Flip it over, though, and the picture comes to life and all the messy backwork makes sense.
Sometimes I feel like all I can see of my life is the backwork, and I wonder, “God, what in the world are You doing? This is a mess.” I guess that’s why one of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NASB)
When all I can see is a mess, God sees the whole picture and promises that someday it will be beautiful. As one of my favorite musicians is fond of saying, “It takes a lot of manure to grow a beautiful rose bush.”
Here’s to beautiful messes.