Grace Notes:Threads


Though pyjamas may frequently be my default mode of dress these days, I still retain a love of clothes (shoes, boots..) and the rare opportunity to dress up and go somewhere special.

As a child, fancy clothes didn’t feature much.

 My parents were of the school of thought that cheaper and two sizes too big was better to allow room for growth that rarely came before all wore out.

One thing alone stands out from my childhood wardrobe.

No shop could have held such an item as The Dress

Rarity enshrined it in memory while others faded.

Hands…that stole embraces mainly for their own comfort or pushed aside.
Eyes…that fired navy blue stones cut hard with disappointment.
Forehead….a pleated frown of disapproval.
Lips…caressing cigarettes, spoke harsh, ashed with irritability, scolds never far away.
Body….built for comfort, though it yielded little.
This Dress made all the difference. It spoke volumes

A mother who was far from motherly had crafted it
Hands….folding and holding
Eyes….poring and scanning
Forehead….creased with concentration
Lips….tutting, tense and pin-full
Body….aching stiff
 arched in supplication
over pattern and cloth
to wield instruments of magic

Family heirloom 
trusty Singer
commissioned to 
treadle and triumph 
Sew fine and sing
out a song 
a wheel of motion 
hastening the end

Hands that skilfully produced marvellous meals, delicious desserts and celebration cakes – for such was her gift – were now  employed in a project for a long-ignored daughter.

Once completed it was mine alone. No sisterly sharing. Just for me She had her own. I loved it.

Sadly, being a family short on albums, no image remains save that etched on my brain: 

Stand-out scarlet fine needle-cord, burgundy-bright tones for a child used to fading into shadow. Edged with white-laced collar. Party pretty. I felt like Sara, Princess and childhood heroine.

Years have passed and dresses galore have entered my life, each special in their own way.
But none like this – for despite all thoughts to the contrary – as far as I was concerned: Here Lay Proof.

Denied or disabled, yet her love ran through every stitch, like a scarlet thread bleeding into the fabric as it bled afresh in my heart – she cared – my mother did love me; I held the evidence before me. 

Years later, discovering her rejection from first implant of seed, attempts to remove our presence from her, seen as unwanted, treated as unloved, yet we came…twin girl companions to grieve her heart and soul as our arrival joined her in matrimony to a man she didn’t love or respect; doubts rose again.

What lay behind it all I will never know. She carried her private sorrows to the grave. Only that I was not enough to make her smie or cause her the joy she named me to be.


Long before I knew the love of God, He sent those threads of grace into my life to remind me that I am special and His love could thaw the coldest of hearts, breathe hope and life where all seemed lost, change darkness and despair into light, make a child dance in heart and hearth for joy of being loved.
And He still does.

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness..” ~ Isaiah 61:10
Many lessons have been learnt since then. 

Now I seek to dress differently. 
To clothe myself in His robe of righteousness instead of a garment of shame
To put on love as it has been put on me by His loving hands
To put greater store on my inner rather than outer appearance
To see myself as God sees me in Christ
“Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance..” ~ Isaiah 61:7
Jesus,
You bled scarlet for us
as you willingly hung on a cross. 
Threads of compassion
and love ran down,
flowing freely, unhindered,
so that we could be set free
from our shame, pain and disgrace 
and learn to live and love 
as you created us to.
Thank You for such love, 
such grace beyond compare
which is poured out for us
day by day
Amen.

I am linking here with Tanya and the ‘Concrete Words’ series

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May God’s love, grace and peace surround you until we meet again.

16 Comments

  1. I found this so moving. You capture the yearning heart of a child so well.

    This was my favourite paragraph, the heart of it all for me:
    "Denied or disabled, yet her love ran through every stitch, like a scarlet thread bleeding into the fabric as it bled afresh in my heart – she cared – my mother did love me; I held the evidence before me."

    Beautiful. Thanks for linking up.

    1. Thanks, Kimberly. That's a nice thought. Though it was actually a diminutive of her own name – with my sister having as close an approximation of our father's name as possible – and both given as he simply pointed at us randomly! But I take heart from it and the memory of the dress especially.

  2. I am so glad that you have here something concrete to show you that your mother loved you. That is sometimes hard to grasp when the negatives crowd in or the verbal/physcial demonstrations of love are missing.
    It is bittersweet, but it is beautiful.

    1. Exactly so, Jo. Those concrete expressions take on greater significance as we reflect back and desire to draw some positives from a negative experience. Thank you for your perceptive comment. 🙂

  3. Oh, Joy. This brought tears to my eyes. You have such a gift two write so poignantly, with such sadness and yearning, and yet with such a positive message. In my mind the child in the beautiful burgundy dress with the lace collar is dancing and twirling with her arms wide, smiling and laughing.
    Threads of grace… oh yes.
    Thank you.

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