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52 Stories to Strengthen Your Purpose, Faith & Relationship
By Tyndale House Publishers
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2016 Live Event Management, Inc
All rights reserved.
A TIME TO TEAR; A TIME TO MEND
* * *
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
As a newly single mom, overwhelmed by basic banking, I have been a very happy renter. Home ownership feels scary on my own, and one of my favorite people in the galaxy is my landlord, Sam, who is essentially what would happen if Santa and Pope Francis had a younger brother. I know it's time to be a big girl home owner, but I'm probably going to ask Sam and his wife to live with me and my kids.
Recently, I decided to attend the open house of a listing I'd been obsessing about. The real estate agent explained that the home was owned by an older gentleman who'd raised his family there since 1969. He'd recently lost his wife and would be moving out west to be closer to his adult children, who could help him navigate around his grief and a few less stairs.
While it had been immaculately maintained, the house had not been updated, ever. It was frozen in time. I half expected Carol Brady (or Alice, I guess) to come around the corner with a plate of warm cookies.
As good real estate agents do, they had encouraged the owner to "depersonalize" the house as much as possible. There were no family pictures. But I could see them anyway.
I could almost hear the sound of little feet in the hallway. The frustrated slamming of teenage doors. Piano lessons. The "Happy Birthday" song. And I could almost smell bread baking in the now vintage oven.
The last room I peeked in was the laundry room. There in the corner were spools and spools of colored thread, mounted on the wall above a humble little sewing table and chair, the only real evidence of the woman the homeowner had buried not long ago. Tears stung my eyes as I imagined him walking through the house with the agent, heavy and reluctant, tucking away her knickknacks and World's Greatest Grandma mugs, but ultimately refusing to put away her thread. I'm sorry. The sewing table stays.
I knew in an instant that she'd sewn every Halloween costume. Probably a wedding dress. She'd hemmed skirts. Replaced buttons. I knew this had been her life's work. Loving her family through the eye of a needle.
I went home making silly promises to myself that if I bought this house, I'd ask to leave the thread on the wall and learn how to use it. I'd continue her beautiful legacy. I'd update the Stone Age appliances, mind you, but I would be a seamstress. I would stitch together everything in my life that had fallen apart, like she could have. I'd make everything beautiful like she had.
When I was very small and my parents were on the tight budget of an Air Force family, my mom sewed all my clothes. She was very good at it, but I hated them. None of the other little girls had homemade clothes. I just wanted a regular JCPenney dress, like everyone else. I wore my clothing dutifully (because the only other real option was nudity), but I wasn't happy about it and made sure my mom knew.
One summer vacation, my suitcase, thought to be tied securely to the roof of our station wagon, went flying off somewhere around Albuquerque. My mom had spent months sewing culottes and matching shirts for me, and when we realized the suitcase was gone, I did such a happy touchdown dance inside. My former life as Laura Ingalls Wilder was strewn across some blessed interstate, and now there would be no choice but to hit the local mall. My dancing ended when I saw my mom's face in her hands and watched the tears come down.
It was not just the long hours at her sewing machine that were blowing across some field now, but her very heart. Every carefully chosen pattern, fabric, and stitch had been done out of love for me. I started to cry too. I wanted my dad to drive back so I could run across the highway and collect every itchy ruffled collar. I hated myself for not loving everything my mother had ever made me.
In typical fashion, my mom dried her tears and mine and dug deep to find some enthusiasm on our way to the mall. That was then. This is now. Lets get you some cute clothes.
In the second chapter of Mark's Gospel, Jesus is having yet another showdown with the Pharisees. They like things the old way. As part of a larger parable, Jesus offers a quick sewing lesson.
He wonders aloud, "Why would you try to patch up an old garment with a piece of new cloth? If the new cloth hasn't been treated properly (preshrunk), its fibers will be weakened. After a wash or two, it's going to tear away from the old. It's going to leave a bigger hole than the one you thought you were repairing. Don't attach me to old, comfortable things. I didn't come to fix holes.
"That was then. I'm the now.
"I'm the new."
There have been holes in my life, at times, begging for simple repair. It's harder, I think, to identify the times that beg for brand-new beginnings. When your suitcase flies off the car roof and you've got nothing left to wear. When the ghost of a woman at her sewing table (or anyone's ghost) makes you want to live her life and not your own. Trying to sew new cloth to old cloth, when you know it won't hold, because it wasn't meant to.
When the Pharisee in you says, "But, but, but ... what about the old things?" the Jesus in you says, "That was then.
"Behold, I am making all things new."
PRAYER FOR THIS WEEK ...
Lord, I cant reach out and take hold of the new life you offer if my hands are clenched around things I need to let go. I don't want my "then" to stand in the way of the "now" you have for me. Please help me determine what to hang on to and what to let fall away.
Excerpted from You Belong by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2016 Live Event Management, Inc. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
A Time to Tear; A Time to Mend Nichole Nordeman 1
Developing Close Friendships Pamela Havey Lau 7
Dreamstorming Kristen Welch 11
There's Always Something Nicole Unice 15
On Faith and Wind Shauna Niequist 19
When You Want to Be the Fixer Amber C. Haines 23
Paris Every Day Sarah Mae 27
When Life Feels like a Mess, There's Something We Can Do Rachel Macy Stafford 31
Get Rid of Things Regina Brett 35
I'm Still Learning to Forgive Corrie ten Boom 39
The Web Patsy Clairmont 43
The Age of Friends Sarah Zacharias Davis 47
Renewed Day by Day Rebecca S. Sandberg 51
Four Stages of Road Trip Management Jen Hatmaker 55
Like a Child Sarah Bessey 59
How to Scream for Help Heather Kopp 63
Me, Too Melanie Dale 69
Leading with Our Serve Patricia Raybon 73
The Truth about Perfectionism Alli Worthington 77
Getting Lost, Staying Found Nichole Nordeman 81
Hide Your Scars? Amy Potts 85
Pride Kathleen Norris 89
When You Aren't Sure What You're Supposed to Do Next Natalie Snapp 93
Throwing Candy Shauna Niequist 97
Bringing the Fish Kelly O'Dell Stanley 101
Who Am I Now? September Vaudrey 107
A Family Crisis Manifesto Jen Hatmaker 111
What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid? Sheryl Sandberg 117
When Survival Isn't Enough: A Better Way to Live (and Die) Leslie Leyland Fields 121
Pedal by Unknown 125
All Things New Lorilee Craker 129
Grace in Grief Lauren Dungy 133
Valentines Nichole Nordeman 137
Twenty-Six Activities of Great Substance That I Enjoyed in High School Sophie Hudson 141
The Discipline of Meditation Emilie Griffin 145
Worthy or Worthless Mary Southerland 149
The Bench Dwellers Emily P. Freeman 153
Made New Sharon Irving 157
Going Small Allison Allen 159
An Invitation to Grow Up into Grace Micha Boyett 163
The Extravagant Invitation We've All Been Waiting For Jennifer Dukes Lee 167
Use Your Words Shauna Niequist 171
Serving Communion Katie Savage 175
The Sleep That Nourishes Wisdom Patsy Clairmont 179
Emily Dickinson, May 15 Lauren F. Winner 183
Mastery? Connolly Gilliam 187
The Crazy Quilt Melody Carlson 191
Cinderella: Carpe Diem! (Carpe Pumpkin! Carpe That Shoe!) Ginger Kolbaba 195
Ain't No Party like a Wrapping Party Melanie Shankle 201
God's Voice Jen Hatmaker 205
Christmas Nuts Phyllis Tickle 209
Keep On Keeping On Patsy Clairmont 213
Topical Index 221