I’m a seamstress— have been nearly as far back as I can recall. My mother started me out hand sewing little quilts for my dolls. I still own the teddy bear upon which I performed ‘surgery’ that displays the child-like stitches I used to suture his wound.
By early adolescence I had purchased a machine of my own —an old Singer pedestal— and transformed the tiny walk-in closet in my bedroom into a sewing nook.
A trip to the fabric store is an absolute treat for me. Browsing hundreds of bolts of color and texture, all oozing the potential to become a masterpiece— I am overcome with the irresistible urge to create that inevitably leads to a receipt inches longer than planned.
There is something indescribably satisfying in seeing complex form take shape from flat folds of fabric, thread coiled on spools and a sewing needle.
However years behind the machine have taught me that sewing is not all inspiration and artistic expression. Every seamstress knows the utilitarian side of sewing; including the least appealing task of all —making an alteration.
The process of altering a garment is tedious, time-consuming and nearly devoid of the creative process. However alterations are not only unavoidable; they are an essential aspect of sewing.
Last night I re-watched the old movie “Bride Wars” to occupy myself while my two daughters served as bridesmaids in a friend’s wedding. If you’ve read many of my posts, you’ve probably figured out that God often reveals spiritual truth to me in unexpected ways. True to form, God used this unlikely medium to speak to my heart.
There is a stand-out line in the movie, delivered by a persnickety bridal shop attendant assisting ‘Liv’ in selecting her designer wedding gown and cautioning her to guard against pre-wedding weight gain.
— “You don’t alter Vera to fit you. You alter yourself to fit Vera.” —
That line is loaded with implications —at the very least a reminder who is really the power player in the relationship. If there is an issue with the fit, a gown is only going to budge so much. Any significant alteration will have to happen on the bride-side of the relationship.
A great many things in life are open to negotiation. I can alter a recipe to my heart’s content. I can redecorate or remodel my home, or even relocate. I can change up my routine, change my hair or change careers if I want to. Choices, preferences and even whims are part of self-expression.
Though many things in life are under my control some things, whether or not I choose to accept it, are non-negotiable. Some things lie beyond my power to change them. Sooner or later I come face-to-face with something (or someone) immovable.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13
There is One who is forever immutable — the Lord God Jehovah. Scripture tells us that the One true God is beyond the influence of any external force. He is the Ancient of Days, complete and perfect in and of Himself, and does not change. God’s unchanging nature is the very reason we can trust Him.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
The One true God does not conform to our ideas, sensibilities, cultural proclivities or political correctness. He cannot be altered to fit our preferences or to make our relationship with Him more comfortable. Where God’s character and righteousness are at odds with ours, it is the Bride side of the relationship that must undergo alteration.
The entire purpose of our redemption is change. Christ died so that we would not remain who we were in our sin nature, alienated for all eternity from our Creator. His atonement made it possible for us to be reconciled with God and to overcome the limits of our flesh—to be transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit. To be a true Christ follower requires that WE are altered to become more like Him.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
God has a specific term for His brand of alteration. It’s called “sanctification” —and it is neither a simple nor easy process. It is tedious and time-consuming. Submitting to it means allowing God to do it His way, not ours. It means allowing God’s vision for our lives and who we become to override our own idea. He is the designer, the maker, and the One who gets the glory for the outcome.
We do have a choice. Our life and our person can be a creation of our own making. God will not fight us on that. But if we refuse to allow God control, the finished product will never brandish the designer label of the Most High.
We will never become all that we are meant to be unless we allow the One who had a vision for our life before we were conceived, the One who wrote the days of our lives even before He laid the foundations of the world, to make us into the work of art He intended us to be.
Why not entrust your life to the hands of the One who will remain seated on His throne when all else is shaken?
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.
Written June 15, 2014