LIMITATIONS

 

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  Ephesians 3:20  (NLT)

 

Only those who were truly intimate knew the difficult circumstances of Ms. Edith’s marriage.  Her husband was demanding, often unreasonable, and extremely careful about money.  The grace-filled life that people saw from the outside was almost entirely due to Ms. Edith’s interior life.

 

She said she’d given her heart to Jesus when she was a little girl of five, and she had never taken it back.  He was her best Friend, and she learned to utilize difficulties as vehicles for spiritual growth.  The very discomforts that could have crushed a soul were transformed instead into parables for the many who sought her counsel and who turned to her for comfort in their own trials.

 

There was a grief, however, that burdened Ms. Edith for years:  She anguished at Christmas or birthdays or occasions for giving gifts.  The budget imposed on Ms. Edith didn’t permit her generous soul to give as she would have liked.

 

After years of agonizing over this seemingly impossible constraint, Ms. Edith did what she did so well.  She prayed.  She asked God somehow to allow her to give abundantly from her heart.  And then the idea came.  Ms. Edith thought of all the fabric scraps she had from years of sewing, and she began experimenting with making appliquéd pictures.  At first they were simple, but as her confidence grew, and her imagination was given free rein, her pictures became works of art.

 

Cleverly, Ms. Edith invited her husband to craft frames for her creations, and together their artistry became known and highly desired in their community.  Friends and family were all hopeful they would be among those receiving a Ms. Edith picture.  As her skills grew, Ms. Edith was invited to teach in a local specialty shop, and her pieces soon were bringing in fees that she could not have imagined.

 

The limitation that had initially brought so much grief to Ms. Edith was embraced and became the incentive for reaching inside to allow the inner beauty to be expressed through her fingers.  While few people knew the pain that had been the impetus of her gift, everyone delighted in the joy that she had wrung from her sorrow.

 

Loving Father, thank you for transforming sorrow and pain and suffering into things of beauty as we trust you to grace and fill and use us for your dear purposes.  May we, like the oyster, learn to embrace the irritants that they might become objects of beauty to your glory.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.

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