Leftover fabric overflows at my mom’s house. She hoards fabric like I do junk. We all have our vices. 😉 Mom recently cleaned out her fabric supply and I lucked out! She brought a bag of remnants to my house for me to go through and I ended up with some gorgeous pillows.
It’s amazing what you can make out of leftovers and it really got me thinking about the good that is left when things get boiled down. It’s easy to look at the leftovers as trash, extra or not enough. It’s true when you start with a nice new big piece of fabric the options are endless. It’s clean and easy to get what you want out of it. Making something new is fun and feels good with fresh supplies.
But what about those leftovers. The tattered edges, odd shape snips and pieces that seem too thin for good. Me? I think those can be the best.
When life is big and clean, fresh opportunity at your feet, it’s easy to make something good happen. It takes work to recognize the beauty in the remnants. Trials of life usually feel like someone is taking sharp scissors to the fabric of our being. Giant swaths of our heart can feel like they are getting cut out, piece by piece and as events pass and hurt rages on we feel like there is nothing left. At least not enough. Our heart is in pieces. Our self esteem in shreds. Maybe your body is literally torn or your pride has taken a gut wrenching blow.
When you step back and look, your life is in tiny remnants much like my mom’s fabric closet. Nothing seems to fit, there is no giant chunk of you left to work with and the energy needed to piecemeal things together just seems overwhelming. You want the truth? Those remnants are the good stuff.
When your life gets refined through trials the extra gets burnt away. Shed like snake skin. The threads left standing, barely hanging on are the strongest parts. The scissors that cut are simply taking away the things we depend on in THIS world. Boiling us down to the core of what matters in God’s kingdom. Separating the fluff from the essentials.
He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Malachi 3:3
In the book of Daniel, chapter 3, we read an interesting story about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago. When pressed to worship another God they vehemently refuse and tell of the confidence they have that their God will save them from the fire they have been threatened to be thrown into, stating even if he doesn’t spare them they will still not bow down to another. King Nebuchadnezzar orders them to be tossed in the furnace. The blaze is so hot it kills the guards tossing them yet they can be seen walking around in the fire. Well, them plus one other. Amazed, the King calls them out of the fire where they return unscathed. Not a burn to their clothes or bodies. You can read in Daniel chapter 3 the entire story and what comes of this event, but I want to talk about what is left of these three men.
Clearly their faith was strong on the front end of this trial, strong enough to accept death over rebuking the Lord. But can your faith ever be strong enough? No! Even their faith was refined in this fire. As they walked around in certain death can you imagine the thoughts in their head? What would be going through yours? I would probably wonder if I was really going to be saved, how long till I burnt up, why was taking God so long, what was going to happen next. But these three. They walked with God in that fire. I wonder if they could see God in there with them or if only the King and his men could? The scripture doesn’t say. I have to wonder this because while God is always with us we don’t always see him. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago walked out of that fire with less than they went in with. They came out whole and unharmed physically, but don’t you know any weakness in their faith got melted into those ashes. The remnant left of their heart was STRONG FAITH. Stronger than before.
We can’t be whole without the remnant. The pieces left when we fully rely on the Lord, when we are stripped of worldly comfort and drawn one step closer to Godly refinement. The more we lose the more we gain and a beautiful tapestry is pieced together with God selecting the pieces that get to stay.
Friend, if you feel like stringy scraps are all you have hanging instead look at what you’ve gained. If your trial didn’t draw you closer to God I hope you will pray for wisdom to see his hand in your midst. God is a relentless pursuer of our heart and the lengths he will go to get our attention is incredible. Your remnant pieces will only come together when you allow God to sew them up. If you inspect what’s left of you I’m betting you will find that you have come through the fire stronger than you thought you were, braver than you ever imagined, less dependent on man, more dependent on God and overflowing with praise in a way you didn’t know was possible. You now have a story to tell, a pillow to show, a work of art unto the Lord. Blessings to you and all your tiny pieces.
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