Last Updated on March 20, 2018

Last night I was cross-stitching a lovely pattern with an eagle in flight. It looked so simple. I was wrong. That dang eagle is all kinds of shades of brown – light brown, medium brown, dark brown, black brown, etc… and when you put them all together in those little tiny boxes of crosses, my eyes begin to cross. I’m very particular about the direction of my stitches, meaning I’d prefer they all go in the same direction.

It’s been over 10 years since I’ve done a cross stitch. And in those ten years everything has changed – including my eyesight. I stubbornly didn’t put on my reading glasses – I wasn’t reading. So tonight I took a minute to move a lamp closer to where I was on the sofa and looked at my cross stitched eagle. To my dismay, I discovered that it had stitches going in all different directions. And the back of my work was all knotty and messy and bumpy and ugly.

I’ve heard us described as beautiful pieces of artwork by God. Well, when my kids do an art project the mess that occurs in the process is astonishing. The final product is absolutely lovely but the process of getting to that completed picture of ninja warriors or pretty princesses is quite another story. The work behind anything beautiful is often tedious and messy.

In my case, the work on the front although beautiful from a distance is a little bit iffy up close. That, to some degree, is a mirror of my life. If you are watching me from a distance, you might be under the crazy impression that I have it all together. I’m giggling at that thought because it is so very far from the truth.

My life is not just a little messy, it is a lot messy. And like my cross-stitch, it’ll do, but it isn’t the best it could be. My attitude of “Eh….it’s good enough,” flies in the face of my desire to live my life excellently – neatly.

Lest I give the impression that I have any presumption that I will indeed be able to live a neat life, let me say that I know it’s a process. Once again, I’m reminded that it isn’t about me doing better; it’s about me being better. It isn’t about the work I do to make beautiful things in my life or out of my life – it’s about the final product – me!

So, I’m not going to pull out all the wonky stitches in my cross stitch – I’m going to pray that the person who receives it doesn’t look too closely . And I’m going to use my reading glasses next time .

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  1. You are SO right, Sue! Life is messy…but I think that's how God desires it to be. Because then we know we need Him to help us clean it up. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. Well, after spending a few days with you, I can say that all I saw was beauty!! But I love the truth in the post! God is so merciful to make us beautiful! Thank you!

  3. Kathy Lewis says:

    Hi Sue, Thanks for the post. Remember, we are His workmanship. Measuring up is not in our nature. He justifies like the word processing function justifies the ragged lines on a page. We are the ragged lines and always will be.

  4. I'm so thankful for transparency in the lives of the saints in my midst. When people seem to have it all together, I'm impressed by them and their accomplishments. When people are visibly leaning into God, I'm impressed by God's faithful care and provision.

  5. That cross stitch is awesome! 🙂 Great post~