A few weeks ago I received this beautiful artwork on my arm courtesy of the talented Lauren Miller. Several months ago, I fell in love with this simple illustration by Morgan Hale: a boat shuttle holding a spool of linen yarn with flax flowers blooming from the yarn ends. It's such a beautiful representation of the fiber art process: starting as a seed, growing into a flower-covered plant, and being spun into a yarn that is woven into cloth.
As a weaver, I have so much appreciation for the details that go into the whole process of weaving. So much deliberateness, thoughtfulness, and care goes into every step of the process.
"You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb."
Psalm 139:15 NLT
I recently went through an incredibly painful season in my life that left me feeling heartbroken and overwhelmingly alone.
I've experienced plenty of pain and loss before, but this was a deeper pain than I ever thought possible. Grief drove itself into my heart and the pain was heavy. Too heavy.
I felt shaken- like I couldn't trust the very ground I stood on. It was like a storm had blown through and what used to be my home and place of safety was now a pile of bricks on the ground.
In my mind I had two choices of how to deal with the excruciating pain. Option one: just die. I don't think I ever voiced to anyone how much I seriously considered this option, but with all the pain I was feeling, I just wanted it to end. I couldn't endure another day- another MINUTE. The grief was too much.
Option two: Surrender to Jesus. This definitely didn't feel like the easy option... In my experience, Jesus generally doesn't just wave a magic wand to un-do all the destruction of a storm. Instead he waits for us to let Him in so He can gently rebuild what was lost, slathering his love and grace in between each new brick. Well, I chose option two. So it was time to let Him in.
The Lord tends to talk to me in pictures and feelings rather than words.
For example, during a time of conversation with Him last year, He showed me a picture of what He wanted to do in my heart. I saw deep, dark stab wounds all over my body filled with black gunk. God asked me to give all the wounds to Him. So one by one, I pulled out all the black gunk and laid each "wound" in His open hands. Eventually His hands were filled with dark stab wounds. He knelt down at a nearby stream, put His hands in the water, and the wounds were washed away. My body was still covered in holes where the wounds used to be. God turned back to me and hugged me tight until all the holes were filled with glowing "globs" of Him. The more He squeezes, the more I'm filled- like a jelly donut!
At a later time, God continued to speak healing to my lonely heart as I was reading Psalm 139. Verse 15 says, "You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb." Although I had read that passage countless times before, this was the first time I got a real revelation from those words, like the Words were written specifically FOR ME. I sensed so strongly that He truly sees me. He saw me from the very beginning. He values me. He wove together EVERY DETAIL of me. He is EXCITED about every detail of me- similar to the way I get excited about a new weaving. Every imperfect part is woven with intention and care. He is proud of me, He is proud to be seen with me.
This tattoo is ultimately a reminder to me of what Father God spoke to my heart during those times of seclusion and darkness. I am His. He sees me. He loves me. He is pleased with me.
To conclude, I want to share some lyrics from the song "Pieces" by Amanda Cook. It's such a beautiful song, especially to those who have been heartbroken. If you're in that boat (like most humans), I encourage you to listen to the full song below and let the Lord fill you with His love.
"Your love’s not fractured
It’s not a troubled mind
It isn’t anxious, it’s not the restless kind
Your love’s not passive
It’s never disengaged
It’s always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises, it keeps its word
It honors what’s sacred, cause its vows are good
Your love’s not broken
It’s not insecure
Your love’s not selfish, Your love is pure.
You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us"