“Ouch!” My husband squeals, bolting off the couch.
“Oh no,” I sigh, dashing to his rescue. Removing an embroidery needle from his trousers, I apologize. “Sorry dear. Should have been more careful.”
I see a lecture coming from his annoyed “#869 hazel brown” eyes and realize he’s married to an addict.
Yep, I confess. I am an addict, powerless over needles. Only they’re knitting, quilting, and embroidery needles (not to mention DMC embroidery floss.)
At a party last night I almost blurted out I love your new “#959 sea green” carpet. Then going home we took “exit 310” and I thought, get off at “black”. At church last week the pastor says, “Turn to hymn #321, and I pictured “Christmas red”. I suppose when every number suggests a DMC embroidery floss color it’s time to check into a 12-step SA (“Stitchers’ Anonymous”) program and get “clean.”
But before I commit to any program, think I’ll take a stroll through my house. Just for the memories…
My tour begins in the foyer with my crewel embroidery of an old red farmhouse. I began this project twelve years ago while praying for my father who was dying of pneumonia. Finishing it after he died was therapy for my grieving heart. As I did the final backstitching, I thought of praying friends who held my hands during a tough time. Just as the backstitching, the prayers of others also reinforced my faith of an afterlife and the assurance that I’d see Dad again.
I then turn to the “Old Rugged Cross” cross-stitch that hangs on the fireplace mantle and remember how I started it when I was praying for a troubled loved one. With this project I discovered the of secret of gridding. A technique used to divide fabric into 10 x 10 sections matching a cross-stitch chart, gridding helps me keep my place. Before gridding, I’d never finished even the simplest charts as I always got lost and never finished. Just as gridding guided my way through a large project, prayer guided my lost loved one back to the “old rugged cross.”
It’s the same with my Christian walk. If I insist, “I will never fail for the rest of my life”, I’m fooling myself. Being human, I wil sin; I will fall down. But if I follow Christ “one day at a time” I can do it. And if I do mess up, I can easily get back on track before I create a larger mess and have to rip out all my “stitching,” a nightmare known to us compulsive stitchers as frogging (“rip it, rip it”).
As my gaze moves to the log cabin picture in the den, I praise God that I still have my mom. It was ten years ago when I started this needlework project. I stitched most of it sitting by my Mom’s bedside as she battled ovarian cancer. Thankfully, after six chemotherapy treatments, she survived and is still cancer free. As I stitched I thought about how I needed to stretch the canvas when it was finished. This makes me think about how my mom’s ordeal also stretched my faith as I saw God’s intervention.
The knitted rose colored afghan draped over my rocker brings me back to the fall of 1999 when I turned fifty. Alone in a strange new town, I took up my knitting needles that dreary October evening. I finished it only because I finally broke down and signed up for a knitting class after trying (and failing) to teach myself. When I do it the right way (God’s way) I do finish the race just as I finished the afghan. But when I do it my way I give up and don’t finish.
I end my tour in the guest bedroom where my first quilt, a New England lighthouse, covers a bed. Started the end of September, 2001, it helped me heal from the trauma of 9/11. Just as batting is sandwiched between the front and the backing, so should be my approach to those in need of Godly correction. First, affirm with a positive (the front of the quilt), then the batting (the meat), and finally, reaffirm with more positive encouragement. Then quilt together in love.
Am I addicted?
Maybe so, but happily (and gratefully) so. Nope, I’m not ready for a 12-step program…
But I am thankful (and ready) for more of God’s lessons, his precious “needle nuggets” along the way.
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