Threads of GRACE

After collecting an excessive amount of running tee-shirts from years of races, I finally put some of them to good use!

Sorting through my unique collection, I chose some that stood out to me  and had them turned into a beautiful tee-shirt quilt.

It turned out better than I expected!

Each piece of fabric brought back memories from a particular race. Some had happy memories attached to them while others emitted feelings of misery and disgust.

This shirt represents my first 5K. The race I thought was on flat pavement turned out to be a difficult trail run through the woods. I really felt like quitting! 

This one was a half-marathon through pouring rain the entire time. The kind of rain where you’re literally soaked to the bone and you can hardly see in front of you through the water gushing down your face.

This race was actually an obstacle course–A TOUGH MUDDER– I vowed years before I would NEVER do. After some prompting from my brother, I decided to do it anyway. Muddy from head to toe, I truly did not recognize myself in pictures from this insane mud run.

But other shirts on this same quilt have happier, more positive feelings attached to them.

This was my first half marathon! I can still conjure up those feelings of elation from crossing the finish line.

This race was a fun 5K my family did together. No pressure. Just a fun race where lots of unexpected prizes were given out at the finish line party.

Ah yes! This one represents the best time I ever had for a half marathon. Perfect conditions. Best pace ever. (And no injuries!)

I looked at each shirt, traveling back in time to relive each of these races. The good, the bad and the ugly. But then I stepped back and looked at the quilt as a whole.

Yes, when all these shirts were weaved together, it symbolized my entire running journey. It was beautiful!

But as I continued looking at the quilt, I saw something much more powerful….

This quilt is a beautiful picture of what God does with US!

Hang with me here, and please don’t miss this!

God is a master at weaving the seasons of our lives together–the good, the bad and the ugly–and He knits them together with threads of grace. And over time, He takes these individual moments of our lives and turns them into a beautiful tapestry of glory!

The 5K I ran where I wanted to quit? That’s like the seasons of life when we are ready to give up because we’re disappointed or our expectations weren’t met.

Running a race in pouring rain? It paints a picture of those times we’re trying to survive the storms of life.

Ha! And the Tough Mudder where I was a crazy-muddy-mess? Don’t we all have seasons like that? Where we are such an absolute mess we don’t even recognize ourselves. Life knocks us to the ground and we wonder how we’ll ever get up to keep going.

But we also have those seasons of happiness. The times we are living in our sweet spot, using our gifts and talents for God’s glory.

And we have those moments when life is just good. Our families are thriving. We have unexpected blessings heaped upon us when we least expect it.

And I’ll bet you can think back to moments in your life when you felt so successful. You accomplished something you’d dreamed about. Something you worked really hard for.

So just like this quilt represents the good and not-so-good moments of my running journey, in the same way,

God is continually weaving the moments of your life together for a greater purpose of displaying His glory.

So we have to be patient and we have to trust Him. Maybe you feel stuck in a season of wanting to quit and you can’t see beyond the difficulties.

Maybe you’re stuck in a muddy mess and you don’t see a way out. But I can assure you there is a clear path up ahead if you’ll just hang on. Because God is already taking the fragile threads you’re grasping on and is weaving them into something strong and beautiful.

It’s easy to get hung up on the current set of circumstances we’re in if that’s all we’re focusing on.

But when we take a step back and look at the big picture, we can see how God is weaving everything together for our good and His glory.

Which seasons of your life stand out to you–the good, bad and even the ugly–where God held you together with His threads of grace?

Blessings to you today!

Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth is in the TREES!

After surviving the sub-zero temps of winter and trudging through mounds of snow, we’re anxious for spring! All winter long, many trees around us have been in a dormant stage….as a means of survival. Before we know it, the once-barren branches of winter will gradually blossom with budding leaves. Leaves that will pop with vibrant shades of GREEN. These are the trees we anxiously await for signs of change.

The official name for this kind of tree is deciduous.

These types of trees were designed by our creator to shed their leaves for part of the year. In our area of the country, these trees lose their leaves in the winter and re-grow them in the spring.  This re-growth process is the evidence that spring has arrived! But before we know it, these same leaves will slowly change. They’ll be splashed with bright autumn colors of red, orange and yellow. Then they’ll fade and wither to the ground again.

Deciduous trees are always changing. They never stay the same.

These deciduous trees are a symbol of US! We are constantly changing. Life is changing all around us with each passing season. We too have seasons where we’re thriving. Flourishing. Our fruit blooms vividly. Life is good. No complaints. But then the season changes. We barely survive the barrenness of a drought. Some seasons are mundane and we’re just surviving. Just when we grow comfortable with life as it is, things change. Again. And again.

But there’s another kind of tree we observe. The evergreen. Unlike the deciduous trees, the evergreens keep their leaves ALL YEAR LONG. Even through the most freezing temps and harsh winds of winter, these trees stay the same. Even in the heat of summer, they stay the same. They always keep their leaves!

The Evergreen trees are symbolic of our amazing God!  He. Never. Changes.

Our God is the same yesterday, today and always. Throughout every season of our life, He remains the same. Through the good, the bad and the ugly. He never changes. Even when life is swirling out of control before our very eyes? Even when the unthinkable happens? Even when we feel most unworthy and unlovable? Yes. You can count on it.

It gets even better. Don’t miss this!! Do you notice that the evergreen trees aren’t just contained in one place away from the deciduous trees? Look again…..

mixed trees              mixedtrees2

 

The evergreen trees are spread out among the deciduous trees. Mixed in with the barren trees of winter. I don’t think for a minute that this is random. It’s not an accident they are placed like this.

These trees point to a powerful truth:

GOD      IS       WITH       US!

If you look closely, this beautiful picture is all around us. Screaming silently for us to open our eyes and see this powerful symbol of how our incredible God is not watching us from afar in a distant land. He’s not planted in a separate location afraid to come in contact with us. He is truly WITH us.

Dead_tree

This picture is a powerful symbol of how we feel sometimes when life appears hopeless. Barren. No sign of life. No visible fruit. Yet surrounding this lifeless tree you see evergreens! Too many to count. Looks like they go on and on. Forever.

How can we look past this and not see the personification of God speaking loud and clear through His creation? This picture above is shouting for all to hear, “I see you. I am with you.” 

Once God opened my eyes to His truth through the 2 kinds of trees, I can’t keep it to myself. It’s hard to even express it completely with words. (I’ve almost driven off the road a few times gazing at these trees!)

I pray He will open your eyes too, dear friend.

Look all around you and never forget that no matter what season of life you are in, whether it’s thriving or barren, God is with you.

Hebrews 13:8  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Matthew 1:23  “….and they will call him Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’ “

 

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett