“Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” — Proverbs 16:3
Most of my quilting creations are done for charitable causes or given as gifts. Therefore, I find it strange that in the process of having such heartfelt intentions, mistakes happen! If I’m working diligently toward helping to keep a baby warm or cheering up an elderly person, why would God not intervene to prevent my poor judgment or silly carelessness?
Maybe it’s the years of influence of my husband, the engineer, but I deeply believe God has a logical plan, and a big part of that plan is to just let things go wrong when we, of our own free choice, do the wrong thing, even when our intentions are good and our goals are worthy.
There have been times when I have made mistakes while quilting — not often, but it does happen. :) When the bobbin thread in my long-arm quilting machine becomes too loose, the stitching has an appearance we quilters call “eyelashes.” When I’m following the pattern, I’m not always paying close attention to the stitching. Too many times I have not realized I have been making eyelashes until I’ve stitched for several inches. “Puckering” happens when the backing is not taut enough. Puckers are very difficult, if not impossible, to repair. It’s very frustrating to have stitched beautifully on the top only to discover the back is puckered!
Sometimes the answer is to rip out what I have sewn and then redo my work. Other times, my mistakes ruined the fabric, such as when I’ve cut pieces wrong or spilled coffee on it. (Drinking coffee while quilting is a risk I’m willing to take.) You would not believe how many times I have not been able to purchase more of the identical fabric. Just like clothing styles, fabric patterns come and go. Most fabrics are around for a very short period of time and it’s impossible to get more. I have a knack for choosing fabric that is just about on its way out and since I often don’t work on the project for many months, short of contacting H.G. Wells, acquiring replacement fabric is out of the question.
These dilemmas force me back to the drawing board. I have to find a way to make what I
have produced to that point work. It might mean redesigning the pattern, or substituting a different fabric. Once, when my daughter, Laura, was in elementary school, I noticed she had put little pictures in or between sentences of a story she had written. When I asked what the pictures meant, she explained how she drew pictures over her mistakes. What a wonderful lesson to learn from my child! Many times I have covered my quilting mistakes with a fabric picture known as applique. I don’t recall a re-worked project that I wasn’t happy with in the end. As upset as I get when I’ve made the mistake, once I have calmed down, stepped back, redesigned and recreated, I feel pretty darn good.
God instilled in us the freedom to choose a direction. Along the way we make mistakes, causing us to stumble and fall. We feel regret for our mistake at which point we can choose to wallow in self pity, or we can think long and hard about what went wrong and what steps need to be taken to move forward. When we come up with a new and better plan, we become stronger for it. Sounds like a logical plan to me!
As I used to tell my daughters (and often myself, especially since playing Words with Friends), the game would not be fun if you won every time. What would be the challenge? How would you learn about fairness, strategy and competitive engagement if you already know the outcome is winning? Why bother play the game at all?
I don’t believe God has a reason to specifically make us go through a difficult
time, but when things go wrong, it’s up to us to make the most of it. Our mistakes add a great deal of experience to our skills and talents. Our suffering builds on our relationships and enhances our appreciation for life and for those we love. Our regrets deepen our faith in God and our life becomes richer for it. If all of that doesn’t happen right away, try just putting a picture over it!