i began hand stitching another garment this past week, a project that is most dear to my heart that a close friend introduced me to a couple of year ago. we work on crafting our pieces both together and apart from each other when we return to our respective homes.
these labors of love continue to teach me a lot about myself. with each stitch of needle and thread, i begin to take note of where my mind wanders when left to it’s own creativity. what i have come to realize is that in my everyday ‘real’ life my mind tends to turn toward things of fear and negativity, the what ifs of the future and the mournful regrets of the past. even those, i am learning to untether myself from through much prayer, inner reflection and personal work like journaling, being in nature, and sharing out loud with a few close friends my deepest fears as well as dreams alike. these are often the realities of the human condition, the falling and the rising, in hopes that the falling lessens and the risings multiply in number and strength.
what amazes me, is observing my mind when i lose myself in a craft. it’s as if the landscape of my brain is completely altered, finding myself lost in dreamy thoughts about future plans of goodness and adventure, while also residing in the present with each stitch taking hard concentration and execution. there is a method to this hand sewing we love by a talented woman named Natalie Chanin, who has built a fashion empire by the simple act of ‘loving the tread’. This means that one sends intention through her hands while smoothing and soothing out the thread before embarking on the journey of putting needle through fabric. It’s a sacredness that brings love to a garment, not like the ones often mass produced in today’s society which are spit out at an lightning speed, because time is money after all.
but this is not the way things work when i embark. time slows down, things get clearer, dreams grow brighter. the love and intention with each stitch turn into a crafted prayer of sorts, sometimes with each stitch signifying an unspoken prayer in my heart, for my life or of someone close to me. i am taken to a time where women sat in circles and shared their hearts and their lives while working with their hands. preparing dinner or basketweaving, it did not and still does not matter to this day, it’s the act of getting together and breaking bread so to speak.
one of my best friends was going through a bit of a rough patch this last week, wondering what in the world God is up to and how all of these seemingly messy circumstances could be both authored and used by him. as i sat reading her text at my office desk, i stopped and closed my eyes, breathed a deep and lingering breath and immediately got a vision for her. it was of this beautiful, breathtaking tapestry being hung out in the sunshine on a hill, blowing in the wind. it wove the most life giving colors together in a most intricate way, a sight to behold in the eye of it’s viewer.
however, when one viewed the backside of this work of art, it was not perfect, all knotty and messy, lines crossing each other to get where they needed to go, so the final outcome would be pleasing to the maker. i picked up my phone and responded that yes indeed, God is one crazy weaver of stories! you can never anticipate his next move, nor the way in which he chooses to work. but MAN doesn’t the tapestry turn out gorgeous?
reminded me of the dress i am working so hard on and loving creating. i am still somewhat new to this kind of sewing and crafting, so the underside is less than the perfect garments that others make. there are some messy knots and wayward stitches. to the trained eye, you might even say t was ugly, but when you flip that baby over it takes my breath away, and i see how all of the stitches and lines file into order, producing magnificent beauty and a pattern that is pleasing to the eye.
i find it so challenging to ‘love the thread’ of God that he is crafting and using on the fabric of my life. He is making plans and stringing the events of my adventure together in the most intentional ways, and yet i yell at him, accusing him of messy knots and misguided stitches. he must smile at me, as he softens my heart and reminds me that i can only see the backside at the moment, and one day he will take me by the hand and invite me to around and take large steps back to get a better view. then and only then, in retrospect, can i even begin to image the innermost workings of the hand of God in my life.
i am attempting to relinquish control and just learn to ‘love the thread.’