Tag Archives: dread

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More than Enough

As a quilter, I am both proud of my fabric stash and also a little embarrassed by it. A fabric stash, by definition, is a pile of cloth for which you have no planned use. You may have bought it with a use in mind but, for some reason it remains unused. Maybe you bought too much for a project and had some left-over. Maybe you never got around to making the planned project. Maybe someone gave you some fabric and  you haven’t figured out what to do with it yet.  Or maybe you just liked the fabric and bought it on a whim without a plan. Whatever the reason, you have a cache of fabric from which to draw inspiration. Above is a picture of my stash.  I keep it in what was once a deep television cabinet, now converted to my stash cabinet.  Aren’t those fabrics gorgeous?

 

Whenever I am planning a  new quilt I start with my stash. I pull out those textiles and run my hand across them and imagine how they will look when combined with others. Before long I have piles of my “favorites” all over the floor and I have to start eliminating!  About once a year I sort them, iron them, and refold them so they look neat and tidy. I do like to play with fabric!

 

And then there are my scraps. Scraps are different from stash. Stash fabrics, according to my rule, must be at least a quarter of a yard in size. Anything smaller is a scrap. I used to have scrap bins labeled Light, Medium, and Dark. At the end of a quilt project I would simply toss the small leavings into the appropriate bin.  But those bins began to overflow because it was too hard to find anything usable in them. I added to them with each finished project but never used them.  I either needed to throw them away or get them into some kind of usable order.  So, earlier this year, I cut all my scraps into usable squares and strips. It took a couple of weeks but here is a picture of my scrap collection. IMG_1484Long strips are hung from the closet rod and squares are sorted by size into the boxes on the shelf. I  have an abundance of fabric! Isn’t it beautiful?

 

I have resolved this year not to buy fabric but to use my stash and scraps instead. So far, I have done pretty well. I’ve had to buy some fabric for backing, but I have even learned to piece my backings, making the quilt reversible. Cool!

 

The strange thing is, the more I use up my cache of fabric, the more fabric-wealthy I feel.  The more the pile of fabric shrinks, the richer I perceive myself to be. I am not afraid I will run out of fabric! I am enjoying the use of such an abundance.

 

Jesus said that He came to give us an abundance of LIFE (John 10:10). He said He was able to do “exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).  Yet, sometimes we act as though the blessing of God was in short supply, as though His goodness would run out.

 

I saw a young woman approach the prayer line at church and then hold back. I asked her why she didn’t go on forward to get prayer. She said she wanted to give others a chance. Did she think God didn’t have enough to go around?

 

Another woman I counseled with struggled with feelings of unworthiness and condemnation. She knew in her head that God forgives and cleanses sin but she could not feel forgiven. She had read the promise of God to “abundantly pardon” but did not feel worthy to experience the forgiveness God had already provided for her on the cross.  Finally I asked her, “Do you really think your sins surpass the power of God? Are you truly the one person who is too dirty for God to cleanse?”

 

Perhaps you are living in fear and dread of the future, as if God’s promised grace will not be sufficient when you get there. The enemy throws all kinds of fears at us but behind each one is the accusation that God is not sufficient for our need. He is such a liar!

 

Everything in God is abundant — forgiveness, redemption, grace, mercy, love, even life itself. Abundance means “a great supply; more than sufficient quantity” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). We have more than we need of God! God is not chintzy with Himself. He gives of Himself freely and without measure, “exceeding abundantly more than we ask or think.” We have more than enough, more of Him and His grace than we can ever use. Perhaps we should quit putting it in storage and use it. Receive forgiveness. Ask boldly. Trust God. He is supernatural, you know!

Here is my cart, lovely fabrics to be sure but only a pittance compared to the offering!

Here is my cart, lovely fabrics to be sure but only a pittance compared to the offering!

Here I am at Hancock's of Paducah, quilter's heaven! The fabric store is 6 times bigger than you see here!

Here I am at Hancock’s of Paducah, quilter’s heaven! The fabric store is actually 6 times bigger than you see here!

worry-not

Worry, An Insidious Enemy

Human beings are natural worriers. In fact, not to worry is downright supernatural! We are attracted to worry like bees to honey. The only thing is, honey is sweet while worry is bitter indeed.

Worry is an insidious enemy. If it gains a foothold in our thinking it will worm its way into every nook and cranny, poisoning our outlook on life, disrupting peaceful sleep, eating away at our joy. Eventually it can give us a sense of dread about the future and cause us to live life in panic mode.

As Christians, we know the Bible says “be anxious for nothing” and “do not be worried about your life.” Even a cursory reading of the New Testament makes it clear that fear is never an appropriate response for a Christian. So now we are not only worried, we are worried about worrying!

So how do we quit worrying? The answer lies in the other half of the verses just quoted.

Matthew 6:25-33: “… do not be worried about your life as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on … for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

When I am worried I need to remember that God loves me. He really loves me! He cares about all the things that are concerning me.  As an action point, I can again choose to put Him first in my life, obey Him in the smallest detail, and renounce the things in my life that displease Him.

Philippians 4, the chapter from which the other quote comes, gives us lots of good, practical advice for living godly lives, but about worry, verses 6-7 give us the key.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Instead of worrying, I can take my concerns to God. I learned long ago that thanksgiving drives out a heart of despair, so I present my concerns to God with thanksgiving, knowing that I am leaving these worries in His capable hands. No matter the outcome of my worrisome situation, I can trust my sovereign God to have wisdom and love greater than mine!

The supernatural promise of these verses is that when I give my concerns to God, His totally irrational and unreasonable peace takes over my heart and mind. The dread and panic leave and I can stop striving and rest in Him. What I could not do in my own effort, stop worrying, God does for me.  The peace of God is supernatural and overcomes my natural tendency to worry.

 

The root problem in all these worry issues is unbelief. Yes, worry is a faith issue. Fear is faith in the wrong thing: faith that something bigger than God is going to happen. Dread is fear that God’s grace will not be sufficient if  this or that happens. Worry says, “I have to fix this because God might not.” It is always so much easier to do something than to trust God.

My worry will be in direct proportion to my lack of faith in God, His love, His power, His goodness. That makes worry pretty serious, doesn’t it? No wonder the New Testament talks about it so much! But the remedy is also clear:

  1. Repent for my unbelief.
  2. Put God first in my life
  3. Give thanks and pray.
  4. Receive forgiveness and peace.

May you receive the sufficiency of God’s grace and and the keeping power of His peace today.