I have been dreaming of sweet little woodland creatures in my mind for a while now. Not sure what brought them on, besides the fact that I love all things animal. I had seen some gorgeous lace like material a while back on clearance and bought it thinking it would be a pretty pillow, but I decided it would be perfect for some lacy little animals instead. Luckily it had wide, unprinted borders that I used to my advantage as a second fabric for contrast on these little loves.
I had so much fun sitting down, conjuring and creating, sketching and cutting. These four little animals are popular in décor and in our home right now. My daughter is in love with all things Llama (I despise Llamas due to an unfortunate spitting incident at a zoo last year). A fox, owl and deer are all right up my alley though! My boys love them too. I went ahead and made some patterns you can download and trace to make your own little woodland creatures if you want. They are at the bottom of the post waiting for you.They were simple to make once I decided on the pattern! I sketched a bit until I got the faces how I like them, but you are welcome to make them your own. Of course I glued all my critters, because sewing is not my favorite thing…this means anyone can make these! I stuffed them with foam filling, glued them shut with fabric glue and used acrylic craft paint to paint little faces on them. I don’t even know what I am going to do with them yet, so you will likely see them pop up in some décor down the road.
As I was working on this project I had to repeatedly go to the sink to clean the glue and paint off my hand. I am a mess with glue. and paint. Looking down at my hands, it brought back a picture that has been lingering on my mind the last few weeks. Last month I needed some quiet prayer time, so I went to a chapel here in town to sit with Jesus. As I sat in the quiet and looked up at the cross where Jesus hung it suddenly occurred to me how off this picture was. Not off in light of it’s truth but off in light of it’s detail.
I have seen this statue many times before, but never had this thought. Maybe I’m wrong, but if I picture in my head what the cross actually looked like when Jesus died, I don’t think it looked like this cross. I think it looked much dirtier. Jesus had walked a good way, forced to carry his cross, he’d been beaten, spat on and certainly under duress with a crown of thorns ripping his flesh. After having nails driven through his hands and feet he hung. Nothing about this was clean or pretty to the eye. Don’t you think there were lines streaking through the dirt on his face where his tears ran hot? Blood weeping through his wounds? Feet dirty and worn from the weight and length of his walk? I think it’s strange how “clean” the cross looks in most displays.
So often we want to see all the pretty and forget the mess that comes along in the process. Jesus’ death on the cross was the most beautiful thing we have ever been given, but it was hardly neat and tidy. I guess this lingers on my mind because of the stark contrast to the pretty the world demands and rewards and the truth of the mess in my life. If we will go to such lengths to clean up this life giving scene from history, how easy is it to gloss over the day to day stories of our lives? Society prefers beauty, but that isn’t real. Social media often paints a perfect picture, all neat and clean, no stress or disarray, pulling putrid thoughts of jealousy, insecurity and doubt from the depths of my being.
I forget that all the pretty surely had mess before it, likely even mess in the midst of it and probably mess still in the margins. No one’s life is sunshine and rainbows all the time. I understand not wanting to put all our garbage on display, I doubt many would want to check in to see that every day, but it’s so important to remember the mess. My sticky painted fingers are a sign of beautiful things being created. Behind all the sketches, mess ups and trials comes something wonderful. No perfect Instagram feed, blog post or project exists that didn’t come from a strong dose of chaos.
It’s important we don’t kid ourselves and stop trying to erase the mess instead of embracing the mess. We have to be more honest with others about our ugly truths, more grace giving with other’s trials and more welcoming to the fact that God is in the stickiest of situations. The mess of our lives is where he meets us.
Glorious perfection doesn’t exist this side of Heaven. Jesus went down in the midst of blood, sweat and tears only to rise clean on the other side. So we could do the same.
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. Matthew 28:3
I hope you will look at the mess in your life with grace and appreciation for the fact that God loves you so dearly, He is drawing you near and has beauty waiting on the other side for you. Spend some time today getting your hands dirty and your heart clean my sweet friends. You are loved.
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