Take up

your Cross and follow me.

Then he [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily* and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9: 23 – 27

*Face Palm* I coulda had a V8!

It always comes back to this, “take up your cross and follow me”, it’s followed by “peace be with you” and “Peace-I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14

Be not afraid were the first words of John Paul II in his first public address after his election to the Chair of Peter.

“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'”

Reminders exist because we already have the answer in some way. Sometimes that face palm moment isn’t one of frustration, but rather realization of that truth. And the truth is, as exemplified by our Lord and his Mom, that hardship exists, and yet there is peace. I’d be fairly certain that it wasn’t easy to feel to Egypt under the threat of death with an infant for either Mary, or Joseph. Uh, just no.

Over an over again in the Scriptures as a whole we are reminded that there is no promise of having it easy. A look at Adam and Eve, Job, Moses, the Israelite’s, Jacob, Joseph – sent to Egypt, Mary, Peter, Paul, Thomas over and over again there are struggles. To paraphrase Brene Brown, “we’re hard wired for it”. Just before I married my dad and I had a conversation where he wished that life hadn’t been so difficult; my response included that it was these struggles who made me who I am in this moment. This conversation held more that I’m now working through. Faith wise in that moment that nail was driven in, in one shot. Our struggles give us opportunity after opportunity to slough off those things in our self that aren’t in line with God’s Love and Mercy.

Over time it’s been so easy to buy into the popular notion that the things that would make me the happiest, freest, successful, flush with cash are the things that most look like Blessings from God. And because these things that I think would change everything are the only things that are blessings it’s been easy to think that God doesn’t love me, that I’m not worthy, that somehow I’m not good enough.

One of my besties has a very rare autoimmune disease. Does she think God loves her less? Nope. Not in the very least. Did she grieve because the plan for her life had to shift? Yes, absolutely. Did she rail at God for this? Not sure however I wouldn’t be surprised. What do I see? She has an autoimmune that makes every moment she has precious, and she’s made the decision to do as much as she can with the time that she has. Her faith has allowed her to make this decision, and cling to it. Is it easy? No, because there are days when the pain from the autoimmune brings her to her knees, or makes her stay in bed, either way ya go.

While using my seam ripper and taking this moment away isn’t possible I’m choosing to own it, embrace it, and be grateful.

sewbatik kings puzzle seam ripper

When I talk about my quilts there is often a discussion of “this one is my favorite, please don’t tell the others, they’ll get jealous.” I love each and every one of my quilts, each holding a memory that makes it my favorite. The interesting thing: those things that make the quilts my favorite are the moments of struggle, the hardships. Those are the things that I tell my students because those struggles are the things that bring us closer together as quilters, it is our kinship, as we see each other struggle we can commiserate, offer words of wisdom, swear with each other, and support each other. If we don’t know the answer, perhaps someone else does.

back of Moon Over Manhattan

As a quilter I’ve learned a lot on my own. I’ve shared more Bang. Head. Here! moments on my other blog in part because their hilarious, but in part so that you know you’re not alone in the struggle to figure this out. No matter what style of quilt making you do there is someone, a group, a community to support you. By asking my community I’ve figured out as much of what I don’t like as what I do like. In a way I just needed to hear the choices.

What’s been the turn around?
The reminders from the books I’ve been reading.
Teaching. Walking with students through their struggles is such a gift.
Praying. Going ahead and pouring my heart out to God.
Listening at prayer. Communication is a two-way street, and the answers and reminders have been in the books, blogs, and podcasts.
Holding my husbands hand and listening to his words, and watching how his actions directly reflect on that.
Quilting again, like really quilting. Quilting with my whole person – heart (coeur), mind, hands, feet, with great purpose, embracing the hard stuff.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His Mercy endures forever.

God bless,

Teri

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