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God's Hemmings

I once saw a lady at a conference tacking up her loose him with strips of cellophane tape.  "Isn't she clever!" I said to a friend.  "I would never have thought to do that."  This woman knew what every classy lady knows -- a gal looks really tacky when her hem is dragging.

Young gilrs begin to learn the art of sewing by putting in a hem; it is basic to all garment sewing.  We hem sleeves and skirts; we face a shirt, blouse or jacket front; we bind or over-stitch seams inside a garment to keep the raw edges of especially soft material from fraying.

Psalm 139:5 (NIV) says that God, who knows how I was made, and is aware of all my weaknesses -- God "hems me in."  How does He do that?

God keeps me from unraveling.  To prevent fabric from wear, three thicknesses of fabric 'pad' places where a garment is particularly stressed, such as the bottom of a skirt or sleeve.  One thickness of fabric with a raw ege would soon fray away, thread by thread, leaving the dress looking untidy and tattered.

Every woman experiences stress.  She starts supper while she finishes the last of the ironing, separating two sqabbling siblings and mediating a truce between teeagers all in the same half-hour.  Why is it that the biggest crises of the day happen at the end of a woman's multi-tasking day, when she is the most tired?  If she works outside the home, her stress is increased.

A woman's day has many turnings.  One harried mother put BCKN4TH on her license plat -- back-and-forth, back-and-forth.  It helps to know that God is by my side to keep me from unraveling.

God protects me.  To "hem in" can also mean to confine or restrict.  When I hear this term, I think of frightened sheep, which, in their terror, want to dart out of the flock, actually exposing theselves to even greater danger.  We hold a frightened child's hand at the street-side, so that when a car whizzes by, he won't dart out into its path in alarm.  God protects us in the same way.  Psalm 91 tells us that we needn't fear diseases; "stones" in the path the Lord has set us on;  "lions" that roar to terrify; "cobras" with venom in their mouths. 

'"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him,"' (verses 14-16).  Deliverance and protection are God's gift to me today.

God beautifies me.  Ethiopian women hem their traditional white dresses with colorful woven borders.  Red, gold, orange, blue and green shine brightly on the hems of dresses and the filmy shawls that cover their heads and shoulders.  If they are short of funds, they may only border the front of the skirt, the back having a turned-under finish.  They prefer to border the whole skirt and shawl and the wider the border, the better; that way, no matter how they turn, the lovely borders enhance their striking beauty.  Knowing that God "hems me in -- behind and before" (Psalm 139:5b) allows His glory to beautify the physical and spiritual aspect of every woman who trusts in Him.

God wants to own me.  Store managers deliberately place their goods where shoppers will touch and handle them.  We touch the things we possess with gentle fingers because we cherish them.  In the fabric store, we touch the cloth that we wish we could own, letting it trail through our fingers as we pass by.  We're more likely to buy what we touch.  The selvage hem on the long side keeps the fabric intact.

The Psalmist said, ". . . you have laid your hand upon me," (Psalm 139:5c).  He wants to own each of us.  Does God own me by the inch, by the yard or by the bolt?

Will I allow myself to be blessed by God's Hemming?


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