Patch job

Last week, holes suddenly appeared in the knees of three of Jackson’s jeans. Knowing our budget and his propensity for rough play, buying new pairs didn’t seem like the wisest decision. So, I decided I would patch them myself.

I scoured the aisles at Walmart, trying to find the best iron-on patch to extend the life of Jackson’s pants. I don’t sew, and don’t really want to acquire that particular skill, so I thought I would give the iron-on patches a shot.

Once home, I carefully cut circle-like shapes out of the jean fabric to cover the holes. Then, I cleared the cobwebs off the ironing board, since, like sewing, ironing is something I also try to avoid (which is why we are huge wrinkle-free fabric fans). I followed the directions, ironed on the patch, and wal-lah: pants without holes!

Thankfully Jackson thought his new jeans were “awesome” (that was his interpretation), and chose the next day to make their debut at preschool.

By evening, half the patch was already worn off.

Wanting to give it another try, I let Jackson put on another patch-y pant the next day. Those didn’t even last half the day before the patch began pulling back from the jeans.

Jackson's patch is already peeling and it hasn't even been on a day!

Those patched jeans have felt so much like my heart this last week.

For the last week, old wounds that I thought had healed seemed to have been opened again, just like the patch pulling from the fabric to expose the hole. These feelings were unprompted and unexpected, and I wasn’t sure exactly how to deal with them again.

In Matthew chapter 9 (as well as Mark 2 and Luke 5), Jesus told this parable:

No one patches an old garment with unshrunk cloth, because the patch pulls away from the garment and makes the tear worse. And no one puts new wine into wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.

I believe many of us have had feelings of pain, rejection, sorrow, grief or guilt that creep up on us well after that event happened. Maybe we have even asked for forgiveness or for healing, and Jesus has brought comfort and peace. Suddenly, the scab has been scraped off, and we are right back to that place of pain.

I wonder if sometimes when we experience severe wounds, Jesus temporarily patches that place in our hearts to begin the healing process to the point where we are physically, emotionally and spiritually ready for the needle of His love to sew together the pieces. The result still is ragged, but the process reinforces that there is nothing that can or will separate us from the love of Christ.

It is Jesus alone who will see us through the healing process, until we reach heaven and receive new glorious clothes of white, with no patches, whether ironed on or sewed tight.

I greatly rejoice in the Lord, I exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

– Isaiah 61:10

For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give Him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and His bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.

– Revelation 19:6b-8a

Daily Checklist

To do lists never end.

As much pleasure as it gives me to cross out every item on my task list, there will always be more. It’s like laundry: I could do a load every day and there will still be more that needs to be done.

Some items on the list, I get done right away. Others I need to schedule for the optimal time to do them, whether that day or a future date.

There are some tasks that continue to get pushed back further and further, until I choose to just take them off the list so I don’t feel bad about the perpetual postponement.

After reading Acts chapter 5 today, I want to become more intentional about keeping myself accountable, not with my daily chores but in sharing the Gospel.

For those coming to know Christ and forming the church in those days after Jesus ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit came, sharing with others about how Jesus was transforming their lives was not just another item on their daily checklist. It was the entire list. Instead of fitting Jesus in, He was everything. He received priority over everything else.

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

Acts 5:42

Every single day, the apostles continued to tell how Jesus changed their lives. They would not stop, no matter the increasing persecution. They went to where people gathered in the temple, and proclaimed Jesus to the crowds. They spent time in their own homes and from house to house, leading people to find real life and hope and peace in Jesus. When they woke up, their aim that day was to share Jesus.

What if my focus was the same? What if instead of allowing my daily checklist to consume me, I allow Christ to consume me? How would my day be different if my one focus was doing everything for the opportunity to share Jesus’ love and message? The day would no longer be about what I could accomplish, but rather on what Jesus has already accomplished.

For many, this sounds great, but they are so buried by the responsibilities and commitments in their daily lives, there is no room to breathe. Jesus was buried three days to give you a new life and freedom. Turn to Him, and give Him control of all of those things you really don’t have control of but have been clinging to anyway. Cry out to Jesus in prayer, and ask Him to reprioritize your life. Reach out to a Christian friend, and ask them to pray with you. Jesus wants you to live, not just survive. And the only way you will truly live is to live in Christ.

To do lists never end. Neither does Christ’s love for me and for you. When I shift my focus to Him and Him alone, the purpose for my day takes shape: to share Jesus.