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Lessons from a button box

buttons and thread

Photo: Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

It’s been a week of simplifying and downsizing my Mom’s apartment. I gently convinced her to give away her cabinet sewing machine to make more access for her walker.

With the contents of four drawers spilled across her table, I walked in as she was carefully sorting her two Tupperware boxes of thread and buttons. I saw her energy draining as she considered the piles: one for the person receiving her machine, one for me, one for grandchildren, and one for Goodwill.

“How’s it going, Mom?” I asked as I wrapped my arm around her drooping shoulders.

“It’s pretty hard to give away all these things,” she replied as she dug deep for courage.

I acknowledged the pain, remembering how she’d used her skills through the years making children’s pajamas, doll clothes, my wedding dress…

Then I reminded her that she hadn’t sewn in twenty years and though her tools would be gone, she still had the memories.

I began reflecting on how memories can be a blessing or how they can play havoc with our peace.

Take for example, the mistakes we’ve made in our lives: a regrettable purchase, a disappointing job choice, a hobby or habit that steals our time.

But there are also the big mistakes -- “sin” the Bible calls them. These are the ones that can deeply hurt others and our sense of closeness with the Lord that creates a deep trench hard to jump.

Thankfully, God gave us this beautiful picture of confessed sin:

As far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

PSALM 103:12

I wonder if we sometimes forget that the sin has been removed – instead keeping it like the button box tucked in the drawer but unused for twenty years.

Mom’s memories of sewing are precious to her. And I think we can also keep part of the memory of our step away from God and find meaning in it.

First, His amazing grace. Second, our lessons learned

Is there something you need to give away while maintaining the memory of how the Lord graciously redeemed it?

Pull up a chair and sit still

patchwork chair

Photo: by Pexels

Is it time to pause, to sit still long enough to imagine the situation differently, to re-frame it so it can fall gently on you rather than bind you to a guilt the Lord promised to carry half the earth away?


Thanks for sitting still with me today.

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