I learned to cross-stitch when I was 17 years old. A woman in my church taught me, using the gifts the Lord had given her to share. I doubt she knew how many years of joy I would receive from her generosity.
Its been almost 10 years ago that I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. There have been lots of ups and downs since then. There have been days when I could hardly walk and other days when I was so happy to be feeling good that I felt like I was walking on air. Many days, my hands won't move at my command and it can be a great frustration. Treatments started with pills and moved on to shots and then to IV infusions. Through it all, I have managed to keep stitching, although at a bit slower pace these days.
There is much joy in seeing the work of your hands. Oh, I have cooked casseroles and folded laundry and vacuumed floors. I have nursed babies (even two at a time!), changed diapers, picked up toys and I've done my fair share of hosting birthday parties (complete with homemade renditions of Batman cakes and Princess cakes) and gluing countless sequins on science posters at 1 am (just hours before the project is due)! All those things are "works" of my hands but those duties are soon gone. Needlework is some type of tangible proof that weeks, years, and even decades ago, someone spent their time wisely.
When I first started stitching, I hated to look at the backside of my work. It was a tangled mess! But somehow, the front side looked pretty good. But as the years have gone by and I have honed my skills, the backside of the work is fairly neat. Sometimes I study the backside of my work. I now know that if the backside is smooth and knot-free, the front side will yield a better result.
I can't help but think that this is how our spiritual lives are also. When we begin, we have lots of rough edges and well, lots of backside tangles and knots. But as we allow the Holy Spirit to work with us and as we bend to His power and guidance, the image we yield...both inside and out....will be lovely.
"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us--
yes, establish the work of our hands."
~Psalm 90: 17