Mark 2:21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.
Seriously?! I know I say this all the time, but GOD IS AMAZING!!
Ok. A little background for those of you who were not at my friend Emily’s baby shower on Tuesday. After the delicious food and the oooohing and ahhhhing over the adorable baby girl stuff, we were discussing sewing. Earlier this year, I learned how to sew. A few awesome ladies in my church taught me how one afternoon. Pretty much the first thing they told me was that after you bring home your cloth, you have to wash all your fabric and then iron it. Before you ever get to sew anything, comes the initial wash and iron. I was sharing this information with my girlfriends who (rightly so) were very turned off of “sewing” because of the labor intensive wash/iron before ever getting to use a needle. “But” I explained, “It’s totally necessary to do that because otherwise, you’ll sew new fabric together and when you wash it the first time it will shrink and your seams will all come apart.”
So I say again — seriously? I mean, just re-read that verse from Mark. How perfect is God? Wow. Obviously my recent conversation about sewing is why this passage jumped out at me from my devotional reading today. After the initial “that is so cool” wore off a bit, I realized there is a really important principle here. One that totally fits my continued relational struggles.
Let’s think about people as individual pieces of cloth. We have our families and friends, various pieces of fabric that weave together the tunic of our lives. Everyone gets worn a little differently in life. Some people come from broken homes, some were bullied in school, others had sheltered lives pretty free from worry – but thru messing up, growing and learning, all of our fabric gets naturally worn. Piece by piece, we start to form one garment from many different fabrics. Work friends, friends from church, or family, we sew together parts of our life. And we mesh, we become comfortable. We become one solid piece of clothing.
Inevitably though, we get new fabric introduced. And sometimes, the fade on this new piece of denim doesn’t match up with what we’re currently wearing. It’s too new. It doesn’t fit. We could try to just sew it on anyway. Force it to find a place. We’re not really sure what role it can fill, we just assign it something. But what happens then? The first trials of life that hit, the conflict, the yuck of relationships – and the new fabric doesn’t bend the same way as the old stuff. The seams start to pull as the new fabric gets worn. There’s no room for change because the cloth is already pinned down into the expected role it has to fill. So, with nothing else it can do, the fabric rips. It separates from the whole because it is not ready for the seam it was forced into. It causes destruction to the entire garment of our lives.
God has a better way. Take new cloth, and allow it to pre-wash. Run it thru the Whirlpool of relationships. Do life together a while before making decisions about where people fit. Allow the true nature of individual threads to shine thru. Wait to do any sewing until you’ve finished letting God wash and iron out all the fabric. Then you’ll be able to get a nice tight seam – that will withstand any pulling and tugging life can throw at it.