Sometimes, you just need a little reminder to smile up at the sun and choose faith and joy instead of fear and anxiety.
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There's a book that was written back in the 1950s by a woman named Hannah Hurnard called Hinds' Feet on High Places. If you are of the Evangelical Christian tradition and have been for awhile, you may have heard of this little book; you may have even read it. This book is an allegory, much like the more commonly recognized volume, Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.
Hinds' Feet on High Places is the story of poor, deformed Much-Afraid's faith-journey from the Valley of Humiliation to the High Places of the Good Shepherd. The title of the book is a Biblical reference to Habakkuk 3:19 which says: "The Lord God is my Strength, and He makes my feet like the feet of the deer, and He makes me walk upon mine high places." This is poignant in the context of Much-Afraid's story because she is timid, weak, and disabled-- not at all strong and bold like a mountain goat. In a Biblical context, the book of Habakkuk is the story of a prophet who picked a bone with God big time, and realized that, regardless of his immediate circumstances, his faith in God was bigger than his fear.
So, what the flip do a girl named Much-Afraid and a guy with a name like a bad sneeze have to do with quilting?
This month's Modern Sewcialites block is called Bloom Where You're Planted, and it made me think of a little flower in Hinds' Feet on High Places and reflect on the journey of our human experience. Along her journey, Much-Afraid finds herself in a desert. The desert is lonely, overwhelming, and so dry that it seems to suck the life out of any living thing that wanders into it. And, yet, in the midst of this endlessly discouraging place, Much-Afraid looks down, and is astounded to see a flower poking through a crack in the ground. The little yellow flower was called Acceptance-with-Joy, and it taught Much-Afraid two valuable lessons: sometimes we can't see the full picture of our present circumstances and sometimes the most blighted of times can grow into something beautiful.
What is your desert? You may not be in it right now, but you've been there. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe you've been there briefly in the midst of an ill-fated quilting project, or maybe it's been a long-lasting battle against depression or through grief. Whatever your desert, whether you embrace a Biblical narrative for your life or you think all religion is hogwash, we all make a choice each morning: Today, will I walk by faith or fear?
Fear likes to keep you stuck and small and doing the same ol' same ol'. Fear keeps you doing the thing that is not working, the thing that is draining and discouraging you, because it is familiar. Faith, however, is full of hope and fresh air, and, perhaps most surprisingly and most importantly-- grit.
Whatever you're facing today that has you a little (or a lot) nervous, choose faith. Choose grit. Choose joy. Bloom there, you beautiful flower. Stand up straight and tall, turn your face toward the sun (or the stars if you're in a long, dark night), and take some deep breaths. It may not feel okay right now, but it will get better. In the meanwhile, go make this lovely quilt block to remind you of the power of choosing faith over fear (and don't forget to tag #modernsewcialitesbom on Insta!)