It is a balmy day and the wind blows bringing with it the dark clouds. I wonder if they will relinquish and give up the weight of their gift to our back yard or move on to a better location. This year I am giving myself up to learn to listen, truly listen. I wait to hear words, a nudge, a knowing. Without a doubt some of what I hear will blow in dark clouds, but I know His eternal plan means for all this to be for good. While counseling a client, I share how God does not give us a detailed blueprint for our lives with no surprises. But His plans will be better than anything we can imagine, even when we are looking at the dark side of a cloud. I do not mean to minimize anyone's painful journey, but from my own experience I have found He gives gifts in the darkness; He is there.
I came across this quote rereading Bob Benson's book, He Speaks Softly, “And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. And he replied: Go out into the darkness and put thine hand into the hand of God. That shall be to thee better than light and safer than a known way.” M. L. Haskins
I like to see where I am going – to know I am going to get there and to know the potential hazards along the way. There is something in me holding fist-tight to the idea that I can bypass the hard stuff if I plan well and carry a light for the darkness. I have come to realize something and truly believe it the more of life I experience: We don't get to see the complete blueprint. We are better off taking the hand of God in the dark.
I had a fun challenge stamp this on my heart: trust in the process, God is in it and good will come out of it. My daughter, Laura, requested I make a quilt as a gift for her college graduation. She found a picture of one she liked with no pattern to be found. The fabric layout was random and I had no clue how much yardage I would need. I have sewn a lot over the years but not without directions and measurements. I agreed to make it.
Laura and I shopped together for the main pieces of fabric, but the other random pieces and the layout was up to me. I have to admit I was a bit anxious without instructions. I worried I would invest time and money into something that would turn out to be a disappointment. And I wanted to please my daughter as well. I wanted her to have a sense, when she wrapped it around her, that love had been stitched into this randomly pieced, one of a kind quilt. I wanted to delight her.
So I took the risk and started sewing. It was a long process; I would get the courage to add a piece or two of fabric and then I would have to lay out other pieces and mull it over, deciding what piece belonged next to the other. The pieces weren't put together as a patchwork, sewn together then attached to batting and backing by quilting; they were attached directly to the batting and backing. It was scary. Bit by bit, more fabric chosen and purchased without her input, and finally after six months of waiting I was able to give her the quilt yesterday.
Waiting. A few days passed and the text I received said, “Love you and love love love my quilt!!! Ah, what a relief! Though I am overjoyed I have pleased her with a love gift created without instructions, the seriousness of this accomplishment was not as great as trusting the hand of God in the dark. But I do love these ordinary, earthly reminders when we step out in faith with only a Hand and not a plan we will eventually arrive at a delightful place. There are many areas of our lives in which we won't see the pattern all pieced together with purpose until the other side of this life, but He continues to graciously remind us the blueprint is in His hand and we need not be anxious, even in the dark.
P.S. Thanks to Laura for the photos!