When I was about 11 years old I had a dilemma. It was a real “David and Goliath” moment and it changed the course of my sixth grade experience. My predicament was I had a mother who had a deep desire to sew, yet she lacked the skill, and I was a preteen who was looking toward Middle School with the hopes of wearing the latest fashion trends of every other girl.
Now I am sure learning to sew had a great impact on my mom, a sense of accomplishment and pride as she saw her two youngest run about in her tailored creations. Unfortunately, there was one little girl’s self-esteem that was also being affected. I was definitely her unwilling muse.
Now some of you may have very fond memories of your mom-made items, perhaps you have some as keepsakes. But hear me out; my mom’s material was always chosen from the clearance rack. It was itchy, thin, usually brightly colored and always somewhat transparent.
My mother made the most out of her purchases, so I would usually have capris, hair ties, and a matching vest while my little brother would have the complementing tank top and shorts. We were quite the pair standing at the bus stop. Thankfully because of the low quality material and questionable sewing, the clothes never lasted too long and by God’s grace we were a good two hours away from any discount fabric store.
Yet every trip to Bakersfield entailed a stop at Beverly’s and with it any self-worth my little eleven-year-old heart contained. I silently endured my mother’s sadistic ensembles until one faithful day it was time for a change and very soon my mother’s Martha Stewart moment would come to an abrupt end.
So here’s how it went down: Because I lived in a secluded gated community, it would take us about an hour riding on a bus from school to home. On this day, seats were limited. I scanned the bus and the only spot I saw available was in the far back where all the cool kids hung out. As I navigated to the back I found an available aisle seat. I unloaded my backpack and bent down to place my lunch pail underneath my seat. It’s at that moment I heard the most dreaded sound…
Yes, it finally happened; I ripped the loathsome seam on my mom-made capris. I was mortified. How was I supposed to walk down the bus aisle (the aisle of shame) with my Sunday underwear on for all to see?
For 45 minutes, hysteria set in. I contemplated just missing my bus stop and waiting until everyone had exited, then only my bus driver would see my indignity. I wondered if the little vest my mother made could be used as a cover, but when I tried wrapping it around my waist it simply became a thick belt.
Then it hit me, ”What about my books?” I could simply hold a book on my backside and nonchalantly walk through the bus, run to my house and no one would be the wiser! I scrambled to grab my backpack in search of the biggest book I could find and at the very bottom I discovered the “holy grail.”
The sweater I wore two weeks ago was still inside my backpack. I almost cried out of sheer joy. I wrapped my sweater around my waist and as soon I as sensed the bus brakes, I darted down the aisle. Once my feet hit the pavement I began my 100-meter dash home. I ran through the door, went straight to my mother and began bawling my eyes out. I told her exactly what happened and then and there I took my stand. I swore to her that never again would I wear her clothing. Her time of torture was over. I ran to my room and fearfully waited for her rebuttal, but I heard nothing more on the incident. When morning came, for the first time in eleven years my clothes weren’t laid out for me. I chose my own wardrobe from that day on and my mother never sewed another thing for me again; the time for change had come.
Times of change come in various forms. It could be a change in career, change in lifestyle, a change in health, a job promotion, a layoff, a birth, or a death. Change can be very uncomfortable and sometimes a painful process. But it can also be an exciting time for one chapter in our lives to close and another to begin. So what does God’s Word teach us about change and the cycle in seasons of life?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14: Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God had made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
Ecclesiastes 12:13: The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Here are a few things I’ve gleaned from the beautiful little book of Ecclesiastes:
The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that times of change come throughout every stage of our lives and without God as our anchor “all is vanity, a striving after wind, and there is nothing to be gained under the sun.” But with our eyes set above the horizon, when God is our center even the dimmest hour of our lives is filled with His hope, His love and the promise of His return. An old preacher used this quote during one of his sermons, “The old cycles are forever renewed and it is no mystery that he who would advance can never cling too close to the past. The thing that has been is the thing that will be again. If we realize that, we may avoid many of the disillusions, miseries, insanities that forever accompany the throws of new birth. Set your shoulder joyously to the world’s wheel: but beforehand you may spare yourself some unhappiness if, you slip the Book of Ecclesiastes beneath your arm.”