“Hey, mom, your embroidery looks weird from the back side.”
Lara has found my embroidery hoop. I left it next to my chair last night, and she’s looking at it from the reverse side. “I can sort of tell what it is, though,” she continued.
“This green section here is probably some grass, and that blue has got to be sky. There’s a pink shape in the middle that looks like a body, so you’re probably making a picture of a person, right?”
I told her that the picture was of a young girl in an orchard.
“Oh, so that’s why there’s so many of those little orange knots. Why do you make the oranges from knots?”
I tell her that those were called French knots. They make a little round, raised area on the front side. That makes shapes that look like real oranges.
Lara is delighted at the reverse side of my picture. She goes over its and tries to guess what the other areas could be. She has problems figuring some of them out. She laughs as she counts the number of uneven ends that stick out of the otherwise neat rows of stitches. Finally she turns it so that the front is facing her.
“Wow!” she says. “It’s so much clearer and more beautiful from this side, mom!”
And it is. I can clearly see the young girl in the orchard, and the oranges peeking out of their leaves. The girl’s pink dress is rippled by an unseen wind, and her chestnut curls are spilling over her shoulders. The silk-etched sky has delicate strands of white and gray clouds, and there’s a faint area of purple to indicate mountains in the background. Pale yellow sunshine streams downward through the sky and is reflected on the leaves.
My embroidered picture will look beautiful when it’s hanging on my wall - as long as I hang it with the correct side facing to the front After all, no one would want to hang the reverse side on a wall. The reverse side doesn’t show enough of what the picture is meant to be.
I once heard that we see our lives are like an embroidered picture. What we see of our own lives is like the reverse side of that picture: indistinct shapes, ungainly knots and uneven ends of threads. We can’t tell much about what God is doing with our lives from our own point of view. To us, what we’re going through looks unclear, ungainly or even messy. But God sees the front of our “embroidery” picture, because He’s looking at it from the Other Side. He sees the picture of our lives clearly, because He is the one who is designing it.
Row after row, stitch after stitch, our Lord puts the colors and shapes and textures of our lives into what will become our finished picture. The instrument He uses to fashion the picture can be as sharp as a needle, but it’s His hand that brings the colors and definition to our lives.
When we get home to heaven, and greet Him in person, He will let us look at the finished picture of our lives, and we will finally see the picture from His point of view. It’s only then that we’ll see His masterpiece.
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