A few weeks back, a friend approached me about helping to put her thoughts down onto paper. She was trying to compose an encouraging letter for her daughter, praising her for working so hard at turning her life around. She had been working for weeks to get this letter to convey the emotions she was feeling. My friend explained how she had worked diligently on a quilt for her daughter and toward the end, she realized it had a mistake. It wasn't something that she could fix. God showed her how that's reflective of our lives, but definitely like what her daughter had gone through.
Around 4:30am, I was wide awake. I'm more of a 7am kind of girl, so this was unexpected. The words for the letter started pouring through my mind. I did NOT want to get out of bed in order to write. I had a full day ahead of me and I hadn't planned on starting it by writing. I tried desperately to just go back to sleep, but the ideas wouldn't stop pestering me. I felt like God was urging me to get it done right away. He was, as always, right. If I waited until later I would have found other activities to fill my time and it wouldn't be uninterrupted either. So, I obeyed, laughed a little because God is funny and went to work. After I sent the email with the letter, my friend immediately called me back. She was sobbing. She thanked me profusely for putting into words what she had been trying for three weeks to say. We both realized that those were from God because there was no way I could have known her mind. She suggested I share this letter because she wanted others to be encouraged too. So, here it is... the letter to the Overcomer:
I am so proud of all the hard work you have put into healing your broken heart. It takes an incredible amount of introspection and diligence to climb out of the darkness. You are priceless and treasured.
While working on this quilt, I have prayed for your future and thought back on sweet memories we’ve shared. May you feel safe and loved each time you use this. I hope you feel covered in prayers of protection, peace and love. Hopefully it warms both your body and your heart.
Despite the time and effort I have put into this, meticulously stitching, it is not perfect. There is a mistake. At first, I was a little disappointed, but then I realized it makes it unique. No one who follows the pattern will make one like yours. It is as original and irreplaceable as you! The Amish are known to throw in mistakes on purpose as a reminder that no one, aside from Christ, is perfect. The Japanese practice Kintsugi, the art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — a metaphor for embracing your flaws and imperfections.
The Lord has brought you through many tough battles. If you were a soldier, you would be praised, patted on the back and thanked for your service. Strangers might even pay for your meals in restaurants! However, the kind of war you’ve fought doesn’t garner a lot of accolades. Instead, those of us who have walked through heart-wrenching atrocities, end up carrying massive amounts of guilt and shame for having waded through the devastating journey. Take heart, my love, you are in good company!
-King David was anointed and called God’s chosen. All these millennia later, the story of him killing a giant with a stone is still one of the favorites in children’s churches all over the world. Yet, he was an adulterer and murderer. He let his flesh overtake him and in the process, he absolutely decimated a family. Thankfully, when his sin was brought to his attention, he cried out in his repentance and did everything within his power to make it right. Even though he did something seemingly unforgivable, people still focus on what he did well. They saw his heart reroute back toward God. God used him despite his inadequacies to make an impact on the world for generations to come.
-Moses, another one of the characters of the Bible we tend to lift on a pedestal, was also a murderer and was even held back from entering the Promised Land because full of pride and anger, He disobeyed God’s command at the Desert of Zin. These alone are enough to condemn a man, but he is still revered for the many times he boldly obeyed God even when he felt unqualified. Yet he is considered a hero, someone to be admired!
-Paul, who wrote a large portion of the New Testament, was not only a serial killer, but also known for ordering torture for those putting their faith in Jesus Christ. He was a religious scholar and teacher and thought he was doing the right thing until Jesus met him on a road and blinded him for a few days, effectively giving him the world’s most extreme “time-out.” Then God used him to be a pillar of the Christian faith.
-Sweet, sweet Rahab. She was not a bring-home-to-mom type of gal. She had a checkered past to say the least. Yet, she helped a couple of Israelite spies. She was generous and kind. Do you know, she changed her life around? She became a Jew and raised one of the most Christ-like men of the Old Testament, Boaz. Not only that, she is the great-great-great (do that 26 times) grandmother of Jesus!!! Can you imagine?!? Jesus had a former prostitute in his bloodline.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that we are not the only ones that have overcome difficult scenarios? We are not special in that way. We are special in the story we curate after we give ourselves over fully to salvation through Christ. Yes, we will continue to have missteps, but the tough stuff, the ugliness of our stories we want to hide, can be used for good. Your story can bring God glory. You, my darling one, are beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). God did not make a mistake when He designed you. When you look at the mistake in this quilt, let it be a reminder to you that your scars from your mistakes are not imperfections, they are beautiful. You worked hard to heal deep wounds. Your perseverance has paid off. You are priceless!!