Recently, one of our pups ripped almost all the stuffing out of one of the many toys we bought him, making the floor of my home office look as if it had snowed in July! He gets bored, wants more attention and finds the endless supply of stuffing fascinating! Little is he aware that when he is not looking, we just simply replace all that had been lost in the last 'snowstorm'. Either way, it keeps him entertained and we have come to realize that we can waste far more energy telling him 'NO!' (only to be ignored anyway), then to simply just let him have his fun and try to rebuild his toy.
Aside from the obvious wear and tear to the toy's fabric, the hole that he creates gets bigger and bigger with each playtime and at some point, we have to determine if we should just call it a loss and toss the thing or grab a sewing kit and try to repair it. Since we love our adorable pup, we seldom just give up on the toy, believing in our hearts that somehow it will emotionally scar him. (Yes, I said it - Emotionally scar him! Insert giggle here!) So, that leaves us with dragging out the sewing kit that I have had for over 25 years, matching as close as we can to the color of thread and settle in somewhere out of sight to sew the gaping wound quickly. Securely, but quickly!
This toy is one that he sleeps with at times, so it does have a special place in his heart. (Go ahead, giggle again.... I’ll wait...) Anyway, it is shaped like a half-moon, about 24" in length and used to belong to my late Mom. So, I guess it has a special place in my heart too. Watching him tote around this stuffed moon makes him exceptionally cute, ok? Seeing him snuggle with it, well, you guessed it- EVEN CUTER!
Anyway, the moon is torn, we have ‘snow’ all over the floor and almost a two-decade old sewing kit is sprawled out on the dining room table. As my sweet hubby threaded the needle and began the delicate surgery on the toy, I began riffling through the contents of the sewing kit. The department store stamp on the needle package must have been back from the late 70's and there were dozens of little bags with random buttons and small bundles of matching thread inside. I decided that the unkept mess in the sewing kit was quite the oxymoron as we were, after all, sewing together something that has left its share of litter throughout the WHOLE house! So, I grabbed a small jar and began dumping the random buttons inside, one by one.
As I did that, I began to recognize that many of these buttons were from a time past. I had one, for instance, from a black/white, double-breasted, high-shoulder business jacket that I just adored! This was back in early 90's! Then, there was one from an ivory, long-sleeved, chiffon blouse with gold tone buttons. These buttons had a unique filigree pattern on them. That blouse was a blouse my mother gave me back in the 90's as well. Seeing that button brought me back to a time that I was a single mom and working a job over 45 hours a week to make ends meet. My son and I made the most of our time together back then as I struggled to give him the life I knew he deserved. The blouse was a gift for my new job that would help me spend even more time with him. Back then, it was best to lean more to a conservative style in business, so my mother insisted that I wear something this delicate. (Oh, how I wish I could find something even remotely as delicate now!)
A big red button, one with red thread still laced up in the middle fell towards me the fastest. I caught it and let it slide back to the group of other buttons. The jacket that housed this button for years was one of a series of jackets that I had when I ran a small call center back in my hometown in the late 90's. Times were certainly different then. I was married to my second husband, filing for divorce since the marriage was a big mistake for both of us and I was in the planning stages of moving across the state. I had given up on Jesus during that season and lived a very dark lifestyle. I knew that with time, I would find my way out of that area and begin again. The very thought of that life made me cringe.
As I dug deeper into the buttons, I began to think of how several of them looked familiar. Others, though, I had not a clue where they came from! Snaps, small barrel-type buttons, cloth-covered, gold tone, silver tone and many more. Just old buttons, I thought. The reminiscing and traveling back in my memory of a life once lived made me sad. Suddenly, I felt the Spirit of God say that these buttons all represent stages of my life where, much like we are doing right now, God quickly, but securely placed back together for me! Wow! Yes, He had sewn in strength, perseverance, kindness, protection, mercy, resiliency and a great love. He diligently stood by me while I tore up the inner parts of my life and scattered them across the floor! My mess was there for Him to come along and place the pieces back together. Although I was a single mom, he gave me a Mom and Dad to help me through that season, many times placing food on my table when it was necessary. I had a desire for a career and although the path He chose for me wasn't one in the secular world in the long run, I learned a GREAT deal and now am in a position where I can leverage those skills to foster growth within the Kingdom of God!
Like my pup, I had life to live. I had dreams, aspirations, a wild spirit that wanted to have fun, but also a gentle soul that unfortunately did end up scarred. But unlike this toy, my wounds are not just sewn together until the next time I am pulled apart by life; they, instead are healed by the saving grace of Jesus. Sure, there are still battle scars deep on the inside, but outwardly, hopefully all you can see is a woman dying each day to her flesh and walking in the restorative power of a loving, faithful God! I don't have any buttons that need replacing and quite frankly, there may never be a need to use these old buttons. But I will keep them stored up in an old button jar as a reminder that God carried me through 5 decades of SELF, never gave up on me, puts me back together often and lovingly restores what was broken – one simple thread of grace at a time!
The moon gets handed back to the pup and with an innocent joy, he grabs it gently and runs off. We smile at him and commit to not remember that this may have been the tenth time we have sewn something back together this year for him! Instead, much like God does, we only see our silly pup and our hearts swell with love all over again! Forgiveness is never ending, unconditional and has no memory. Aren’t we all to be as joyful? Our Heavenly Father loves us with that same level of forgiveness, hands us back our lives once He puts it back together and watches us run off in abandon!
Funny how just some old buttons made me remember just how MUCH I am loved, accepted and that I am His! Thank You Holy Spirit!