The Fabric Of Our LIves

Move over cotton.
The fabric of our lives is not something you can touch.
It’s not something you can outright see.
You can’t put it on and take off.
It is not always comfortable, either.
The fabric of our lives is woven into each of us, strand by strand.
By every experience.
Every encounter.
These are the things our fabric is made of.

I’m praising God today for three special artisans who have contributed to the fabric of my life:

Artisan One

When I was just a toddler, you made sure I went to church.  You pulled me into your family, and the wood-panelled station wagon, for many trips to Sunday school and church services.  You never treated me like an outsider, instead, creating in me a sense of self-worth and purpose.  Because of your influence, I never doubted that God existed.  Ever.  Jesus was a part of every day, just like the buttered toast with jelly I had for breakfast so many mornings growing up in your kitchen next door.  I will never forget the scanner that lived on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen.  I knew by heart what the calls meant, and would sit by the table chair in the kitchen and watch you lace up your boots before you left for a fire.  I always felt so safe, knowing that you were always listening for calls of distress – always willing to help when there was a need.  You took me in when I needed a place to stay.  And even though at that point in my life I was resistant to following you to church, you made sure I knew the invitation was always open to join you, and I have no doubt that you prayed for me ferociously during those years.  The dinners you brought me home from Wednesday nights at church were so good!  I always figured it must be because they were delivered by you, but now that I eat those dinners at church every Wednesday night, I know it’s because of all of the angels preparing and serving the food (you were one of those angels, too).  We shared similar experiences with head on collisions, just months apart from each other.  Even in that situation, I learned from your forgiving nature and love towards others – all others.   You’d beep your horn every time you pass by my house – you in your infamous black pickup.  And in the last few years we had together, you continued to show me – and the world! – what it meant to truly be a servant.  I would get a kick out of seeing all the boys and girls, my own boys included, look forward to a “give me five – ahhh too slow”, followed by a piece of that golden candy.  I admit, I looked forward to this ritual, too.  And in our 42 year history, when your time on this earth was coming to an end, you continued to challenge and inspire me.  In the very last conversation we had, which was a typical brief exchange by the door to the Young Hall, you asked me if I figured out my testimony yet.  “You know, Toot, you have a story, too.”  The fabric of my life has certainly been framed by you, and I’m so thankful for my parents who bought a house next door to you before I was born.

Artisan Two

I first met you twenty years ago.  “Bestill my heart!”  I had no idea what love was until I held you in my arms.  You and I saw the world together for the first time from sets of eyes that were so willing to see goodness all around us.  My love for you, and newfound protective nature, awakened in me a thirst to teach you all about life and to show you God’s beauty in people and in places.  You had an insatiable need for touch and human connection from the time you were born until…well, you still have that!  You recognized at an early age the importance of relationships – including the most important relationship with Jesus Christ.  Looking back on it now, I see you teaching me far more than I have ever taught you.  You challenge me, you encourage me, you pray for and with me.  You show me daily what it means to live Luke 9:23.  I have seen God’s blessings poured out on you, as you humbly press forth in building His kingdom.  I’ve seen you hurt.  I’ve seen you broken.  And I’ve seen you weak.  And through all of these, I’ve seen you never losing faith.  I’ve been awed by your response to the world.  It’s no wonder I have to wear glasses now.  Somewhere along the lines, my vision stalled, where yours has never lost focus.  You are definitely a thread woven throughout the entire fabric of my life, and I’m so blessed, so honored, to know you.

Artisan Three

We first met about seven years ago, even though I didn’t know your name.  You were that nice guy, with the nice wife, who I would pass by as I left my neighborhood.  You were always smiling.  I mean, always.  To the point that I would wonder, “what is he always smiling about?”.  In time, I got to know you, and your name, as well as your wife and children and their names.  As a matter of fact, I got to where I was spending a lot of time around you, as I was with my oldest son who was spending a lot of time around you, and I figured out why you were smiling all the time.    Never before have I met someone who was completely, unashamedly, sold out for Jesus Christ and passionate about introducing Him to everyone  — that’s you!  That’s your smile.  You don’t just preach it, you live it.  It is through your walk, your honesty and your willingness to be open with every last fiber of your own fabric that anyone who crosses paths with you can’t help but see Jesus’s love.  You have been a positive role model for my sons, and have willingly gone out of your way to reach not just my kids, but all of the youth in our church, with a life that is evident of salvation.  No, let me rephrase that.  You have gone out of your way to reach all in our church, not just the youth.  And to this very day, you’re teaching us what it means to live obediently and in God’s will.  I will miss you being down the street, but I know that the thread you’ve added to the fabric of my life will be forever a part of who I am.  Thank you so much, my friend, my mentor, my brother in Christ.

God is so good.  So, so good, always.  And as a good friend of mine says all the time, “Doesn’t God just blow your mind?”.  You see, years ago, when my parents chose to buy a house in Florence, God already had set a plan in motion for my life.  I wasn’t even “expected” at the time they settled in Florence.  But God knew that in order for me to be where I am today in my relationship with Him, I had to have all three of these artisans create important pieces of the fabric of my life.  See, if my parents didn’t buy that little house on Hobart Drive back in the 60’s, I never would have lived next door to Mr. Phillip.  And if I never lived next door to Mr. Phillip, chances are I might not have been exposed to Jesus in the same way.  And if I wasn’t exposed to Jesus back then, I probably wouldn’t have had the same influence on my oldest son or desires to share about God’s creation with him.   I probably wouldn’t live in a house down the street from a youth pastor named Justin, who would minster to my oldest son, and upon receiving a phone call from Mr. Phillip, be the transportation for my son back and forth to church for so long.  And I probably wouldn’t have been sitting in the parking lot of my church, after dropping off my kids for their Wednesday activities,  on the night that I felt the Holy Spirit invite me inside to find a chair in an adult  Bible study group.  God’s plan is perfect, and holy, and I’m so thankful that I can see evidence of this perfection woven throughout the fabric of my life.  It’s made up of lots of threads, contributed by lots of artisans…and this is only the beginning.

What’s the fabric of your life made of?

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