How Your Life Is Like a Tapestry

A few years ago, I had breakfast with an old college roommate. We hadn’t seen each other in twenty-two years. To my surprise—and delight—he looked almost exactly as he did the last time I saw him. The only difference was that his blond hair was mostly gray.

A Beautiful Tapestry - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/InCommunicado, Image #4413064

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/InCommunicado

We spent an hour or so eating and reminiscing. We talked. We laughed. And we listened.

I shared with him pictures of my family, both of us laughing at the fact that I was now a grandfather. I was amazed at how much we still had in common, even though both our lives had taken so many unexpected turns.

I was especially proud that my friend was still married, still in the ministry, and still growing as a person. He was no worse for the wear, but much wiser and, somehow, deeper and more thoughtful. I know that if we lived closer together, we would be good friends once again.

As he dropped me off at the airport and drove away, I teared up. I knew I would probably not see him again any time soon.

After all, he’s a busy pastor. I was, at the time, a busy CEO. We have our own lives, not to mention the fact that we live at opposite ends of the country. But, still, it made me sad and pensive.

But I think something resonated at an even deeper level.

As I was catching him up on the events of my life, I got another high-altitude panoramic look at my own life. I saw the beauty of my journey and how very much I have to be thankful for. I have had a rich and meaningful life. I am so grateful for every experience.

Not that it’s always been easy. Hardly. Frankly, there’s been a lot of pain. Bad decisions. Expensive mistakes. Words and actions that I regret. But, by the grace of God, I have made it this far. I have no complaints. And by the grace of God I will continue on.

It made me also think again how much life is like a tapestry. Corrie ten Boom originally introduced me to this metaphor.

As it unfolds in real time, it’s like viewing the backside of a tapestry. It appears to be nothing more than a jumble of thread—tangled, frayed, occasionally knotted, and seemingly random. Nothing really makes sense. It’s no wonder people lose heart, give up, and abandon their commitments.

But things are not always what they seem.

It’s only when you turn a tapestry over that you see the art: the rich colors, the texture, and the patterns that can make a tapestry a thing of astonishing beauty.

Likewise, occasionally God gives us a glimpse at what He is weaving into the fabric of our lives. That momentary peek at glory gives us the courage to soldier on, knowing that nothing happens by accident.

No thread of experience—good or bad—is wasted. When it appears to be that way, we just have to remind ourselves that we are simply looking at the backside of a tapestry. And the One weaving it together, knows precisely what He is doing.

When was the last time you got a glimpse of God’s side of the tapestry? How did it make you feel? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    Great post.  For better or for worse, we are who we are because of all those events, good and bad, that have occurred in our life.  Our attitude is what really makes it. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Agreed. Like so many things, it comes down to a matter of perspective.

    • mcgoughypamela

      Totally agree!

  • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

    I think we get just enough of a glance at the tapestry just often enough to be able to know there’s a bigger plan for our lives. Whether we catch it when we see it or not is the trick. The more you begin to catch the brief glimpses, the easier it is to see the next one.

    • http://www.leahadams.org/ Leah Adams

      I so agree, Jonathan. There is more, if we will only step out in faith with God. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I think God does this to spur us on when we’re starting to feel discouraged. He did that to my wife and I recently. Why do you think we get glimpses of the tapestry?

      • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

        Because we’re human and need reminders. How many times did the Israelites “forget” they were released from bondage, walked across the Red Sea AND the Jordan on dry ground, etc.
        The will of God never takes us where the Grace of God won’t cover us but from time to time we forget that.

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Exactly Jonathan. It’s crazy how often even the Israelites needed reminders.  I wonder what they thought of their tapestry when it was fully revealed. Most likely amazement!

  • Rebecca

    Oh, the mistakes and trials…the journey I am on and the path behind me…are full of God’s love, grace and sheer mercy.. While part of me would love to turn back time and stay in his grace through obedience…I see how He can use my mistakes to reach out to others.  It isn’t easy…being submissive and transparent….but the beauty of helping someone else…and reading our History in His word and how he used those…who were so NOT perfect…to be saved by the oNE who was…it’s truly a beautiful tapestry!  Thank you!

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I agree, Rebecca. It is a blessing that God includes those who are not perfect to achieve his work.

    • Jim Martin

      Rebecca, you make a good point.  It seems like God has a way of taking our imperfections/blunders/mistakes etc. and using these, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.  So grateful that the path behind us does not have to determine the destiny in front of us.  Thanks.  

  • http://chrisvonada.com chris vonada

    Wow, that is truly amazing. As I read this I realize how we sometimes mirror this tapestry… on the inside it is somewhat of a jumble, and on the outside it’s often picture perfect… who we let into our world of the backside of the tapestry… how we often get a glimpse of both sides… it sounds like your good friend was one that you would welcome into “your world” and share both sides. Inspiring!

  • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

    Years ago, I was getting my Master’s degree, and considering whether I should go for my PhD (would take about 5 years). After much deliberation, prayer, and counsel, I decided to not move away to pursue that degree. I would stay in the same town, and begin work.

    It was 5 years later, on a Saturday morning that it hit me. I looked at my great life — married, 2 great kids, and I realized that my life was great. I know that if I had chosen to get my PhD, God would have still been with me. But at that point, I could easily say that I made a great choice. With that perspective, if I could go back 5 years, I would make the same choice all over again.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a great way to look at it. It is amazing how consequential our choices are.

      • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

         I like your use of consequential with a positive connotation. Too often we dwell on the negative aspects of consequences.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Great story, Joey.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Loved reading your encouraging story Joey!

      • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

         Thanks!

    • Jim Martin

      This is a very encouraging story, Joey.

      • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

         I hope it is encouraging to others.

    • JosephPote

      Beautiful story, Joey!

      You know, I’ve learned it works the other way, too.  I spent 17 years in an awful marriage that ultimately ended in divorce.  During that 17 years, I continually gave it my all…did all in my power to be the best husband and father I could be…spent countless hours in prayer and seeking wise counsel….

      It would be easy to look back, now, with regret for 17 years wasted on a relationship that ended in divorce.

      I don’t see it that way, though.  I see it as 17 years of living, daily, in God’s grace, walking in His strength.  I learned more of God from that experience than I ever could have from any seminary degree.  I learned grace for others that I would not have otherwise known.

      I am now married to a wonderful, godly woman.  Between the two of us, God has blessed us with six children and six grandchildren.

      No regrets!  God is good!

      • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

         Wow. Yeah, now THAT is an incredible Christ-centered perspective, to see how God redeemed that situation in your life.

        • JosephPote

          I had to smile at your choice of words…

          I named my blog “Redeemed!”

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    Beautiful post. How often we think we have everything all planned out, only to find out that there is a different, more perfect plan for us.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com/ Chris Jeub

    I read The Hiding Place aloud to my wife when she was recovering from an operation last month. Ten Boom’s book ventures into deep waters, showing how great life is even in the most lifeless of situations.

    I’d like to hear more deep thoughts like this, Michael. How-to’s are helpful, but the occasional “deep thought” keeps purpose alive.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Chris. I appreciate that.

  • Rajdeep Paulus

    This past Easter, I had a chance to attend a service at Andy Stanley’s church [my sister's family go there regularly,] and as the song lyrics boomed out across the audience, the words brought me back to exactly twenty one years ago when Jesus asked me to give him a chance, and in a personal experiment, known to no one, I stepped across an invisible line in search of one reliable friend. I found one! That Easter morning, the tears flowed ceaselessly as God sent me on a picture journey of where I came from and how far he’d walked with me, through many highs and lows, never leaving my side, and all I could think was, “Thank You. I can’t imagine my life without you!” 

    • http://www.leahadams.org/ Leah Adams

      What a beautiful testimony to the unfailing love and faithfulness of God, Rajdeep. Thank you for sharing.

      • Rajdeep Paulus

        Have you heard the song “All This Time” by Britt Nicole? I think this song sums up Michael’s blog well…reminding us that through it all, He is with us!  Love hearing and reading about individual journeys and where the person is heading…the stories refuel me to keep striving forward! 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Sounds like God has weaved a beautiful tapestry in your life Rajdeep. Bringing you from not knowing him personally to a loving relationship with him.

  • http://www.cindyfinley.com/ Cindy Finley

    Love this.  Like you, I am amazed at the richness of this life the Lord has given me.  At times He gives me a glimpse of the tapestry, and other times He simply asks me to trust Him that He is bringing beauty from ashes, or knots as it were.  Thank you, Michael!  

    • Jim Martin

      Cindy, you are so right about the simple trust.  So often, when we don’t have a sense for the tapestry, we asked to trust God through the disappointments and losses.  Thanks.

  • http://marleeward.com/ Marlee

    Hi Michael,

    You know what I love about this story…it validates how important it is for us to simply have child-like trust in God. One thing I’ve learned to embrace in life is hindsight.

    So often we want explanations, justifications, and blueprints for the experiences in our life because we think they will give us better understanding. We start living life from event to event instead of embracing the journey. We forget that life is not about an arrival, but arriving every day.

    I’ve found that if I simply believe that He does have a good plan for my life, and trust that every experience serves that plan, I always see how it fit together looking back. God always gives me perspective in hindsight. For me that has always been a source of confirmation the He is always working in my life (whether I like the way it was worked out or not).

    Every time I see a glimpse of God in the tapestry of my life, I rejoice. I rejoice because it reminds me He is always near. It reminds that trusting Him brings peace. It reminds me how blessed I am and grateful I should be.

    It’s not always easy to maintain this perspective when threads get tangle or frayed, but it’s knowing that a brilliant tapestry (as you put it here) is being formed that keeps me on track.

  • http://www.TheNarrowPassage.com/ Timothy Lynn Burchfield

    I am always amazed at how God takes those threads of color that do not seem to match and make a masterpiece.  We would all be better if we set out to see as much of the finished work in each other as we could.  Thanks for reminding me I am  filled with many colors which will make complete sense one day.
    Good word Michael!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      So true Timothy! All these random colored threads will one day form a beautiful tapestry. Even the points in our life when we thought we were at our worst will turn out to be part of the masterpiece.

  • http://twitter.com/sparkvoice D

    While enduring some of my hardest moments to date, I didn’t understand that I was being prepared for future opportunities – that without those dark days, I would not be ready for the encounters of today and tomorrow.

  • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

    It sure is easy to forget that our negative experiences have just as much or more impact on the overall outcome of our lives as our positive experiences do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      So true. I think the negative experiences are often more beneficial—not that I want to sign up for more!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Ain’t that the truth! I know I’ve experienced some painful moments in my life and wondered how they could be used for good. Yet 12 years later I can see how it’s worked together for my good.

  • http://www.daninfocus.com/ Dan Stratton

    Thank you, Michael. What a beautiful way to start my day. I have been focused on the backside of the tapestry lately and it has been weighing me down. Thank you for reminding me to turn it over.

    • Jim Martin

      Dan, I do the same thing at times (get focused on the backside of the tapestry).   It sure helps to look at the other side!

  • Declutterbugnc

    I was talking about this very thing the other day. Just seeing breakthrough after a long drought and the tapestry was brought to mind. When I look back through the dark days of those years I see His hand weaving, molding, knitting and shaping. Painful, difficult moments, yet He brings beauty from the ashes.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Isaiah 61, beauty from ashes, gladness from mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Thank you, Jesus.

  • Deborah M. Cofer

    OMG…I see it every day and I’m always amazed by His awesome and infinite Xpression of beauty!  And the more we see beauty, the more we are more easily able to see and define the ugliness that Xists all around us.  THIS IS A BLESSING because then, we are also able to steer clear of the pitfalls, potholes and politicing that’s done on every level by almost everyone with an agenda that reads “ME, MYSELF AND I.”  

  • Bill

    this post reminds me of the beautiful story about souls making tapestries of their lives. As made, it looked full of holes of trials and tribulations, but when held up to the light, the face of Jesus was shined through those gaps. God does carry us through the tough times if we turn it all over to him.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    Michael, to me,  this is one of your best posts ever. Your posts are always beneficial and informative, but this one produced such emotion. It is so true. It made me think of my best friend and all we have been through. (We are coming to SCORRE together!)  

    And it made me think of my life; so many knots and snags behind the tapestry, but God’s hand is ever present. He is the gold thread in my life, and I am thankful for him, and for all the blessings he has given me. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kelly. I appreciate that.

      I also look forward to meeting you at SCORRE. It will be an amazing time together.

  • RebeccaLivermore

    There are times when we can see, sooner rather than later, God’s hand on our lives. This was so clear to me just recently when God did things in such a way that He made it clear it was time for me to leave my job, which I loved, and move into self employment. Those times of clarity are wonderful, but the darker times, when all you can see is a jumble, are challenging, indeed.

    I created an image that shows how all of this unfolded for me and put it on the wall of my office so that in times when I wonder if being self employed is a mistake, I’ll remember how God moved to bring me to this place. 

  • http://www.leahadams.org/ Leah Adams

    How beautiful!  Each time I have the privilege of speaking and giving my testimony, I view the tapestry and God’s handiwork. He has done so much with so little and I know He desires to do more. Sure there are knots and stray threads and even a few things that look like  mistakes, but that is where the beauty of the patina of life is evidenced. That is also how others relate to us and see God’s work in us. 

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Working in youth ministry, so much of it seems a mash-up of this and that. The total chaos can seem overwhelming and random. But a couple of months ago one of our former youth students contacted me. She mentioned how my wife and I had sown into her life and that she was better for it.

    That gave me that high altitude view of what we’re doing. We’re not here for the short term but for the long term. Carefully leading and guiding students, even when we cannot see the results.

    • http://www.justcor.com/ Cor Chmieleski

      Hey Joe,

      KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! I connected with a guy when I was 18 as a freshmen in college (story here: http://www.justcor.com/?p=147). Just a couple months prior he was overseas and I was living for myself. Then he showed up and shared the greatest news ever. 

      The line I used in that post that I want to encourage you with is: My life changed forever when the man who had brought God into my dorm room left…but God stayed.

      You and your wife are doing that for students. You come in and out of their lives. But, praise God when he shows up and stays.

      Thanks for ministering and trusting him for the unseen results!

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        Hey Cor!

        Thanks for the encouragement. It’s just what I’ve been needing this week. Reading your story brought a smile to my face and reminded me that once I finish doing what I’m doing, it’s not the end. God has been left with them. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       After 16 years in Youth Ministry—true that!

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        Dude Barry, you made me literally laugh out loud… I’m pushing about 11-12 years and knowing that others have had these types of experiences is encouraging.

        The amazing thing is we have a great youth pastor. He’s been passionately teaching the students for 20+ years at the same church. He gets mad props from me!

  • lynne

     These words are so on par for me today!  Thank you for being a vessel for HIS use.  Encouraging as I walk today in the unknown!

  • Holly

    I don’t think of my life as a tapestry,. . .more like a mosaic.  At one point my life was completely broken and shattered.  But God has pieced it back together in a way that tells a beautiful, redeeming story.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a great metaphor as well. Thanks.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Holly,
      I really like Mosaic, too!

  • Tracy Thomas

    I read this statement once in a devotional book basked upon popular worship songs – “God never wastes our pain,” and goes on to say that God will use everything for His glory if we’ll just let Him.  That has always stuck with me.  Thanks for the reminder that all of life, the good and bad, the joys and the pain, are part of God’s tapestry.  

    • Jim Martin

      Tracy, years ago I was talking with a woman in her late 70′s who was dealing with cancer.  I asked her what was on her mind as she faced this challenge.  She said, “I really don’t want to waste this pain.  I believe that somehow God can work through this.”  

      • Tracy Thomas

        Now that’s what I’m talking about!

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      “God never wastes our pain” – the tests make our testimonies, don’t they?

      • Tracy Thomas

        I believe that with all my heart!

  • http://www.theemptyinbox.com/ Michael Hawkins

    Your posts continue to amaze me.  This one was a pleasant surprise.

    Many times, my ‘tapestry moments’ show up when I’m at church. — standing with a thousand other people, singing praise music.  For me, God is so present for those few minutes.

    As I’m singing, I get a little choked up as I reflect on what’s happened during the past week.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  I realize that everything happens for a reason.  And while I certainly don’t have a “perfect” life (far from it!) I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  :-)

    Thanks for such a beautiful post.  And may God bless all our tapestries.

  • Stephen

    Thank you Michael, I apprecited reading your blog this morning. Going through a time of difficulty myself today. I am encouraged by your experience and maturity of reflection. Stephen, Ireland 

  • Nlstudebaker

    Edith Schaeffer also wrote a book with this title, quite a few years ago, but i highly recommend it. Thank you for the reminder. Today, I woke up thinking about the back side of the tapestry.

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    You’ve probably read W. Clement Stone’s thoughts on E+R=O…events + RESPONSE = outcome. We are not in control of most of the events that occur in our lives, but we need to take 100 percent responsibility of our responses. Responding well is much easier when we realize God is sovereignly weaving our lives together for good according to his purpose and timing. 

    All that to say, this is a fantastic E+R=O post. Thanks!BTW, I speak to students all across the country at conferences for organizations like FBLA, FCCLA, and SkillsUSA (http://www.KentJulian.com). E+R=O is a core concept I share because it’s core to real success in life.  

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    Michael, rejoice in your friendship! You haven’t lost it and you are still friends. In fact, you are bound together in the Holy Spirit, one with each other and one with God. There thou shalt be happy, as the monk told Romeo.

    Every time I breathe in a sunset, or am confronted with this majestic world I see His side of the tapestry. To think we are smaller than an ant tucked into a corner of a galaxy which is an infinitesimal speck in the universe and I think He holds that in the palm of His hand. And the most amazing thing is that crimson thread that weaves it all together.

    Engraved in His palm,
    Gina
    http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com 

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Well said Gina.

  • Amyjoykells

    Thank you for your inspiring words Michael. And wow these comments are amazing to read, this is the first time I have read the comments in your blog they are just as encouraging as you are, wow!
    I think the great thing about Gods tapestry is his choice of change…..tapestries are made from many different colors and then those colors melt together into shapes, designs and style….as we walk through our journey God has created for us it is important to trust, and intentionally look for the glimps of the other side. Although we need to understand that a glimps might not give the clarity we as humans so desire, it is Gods tapestry and His understanding.

  • Cgarven

    Thanks I needed that today. I am in a transition in my life. Nice reminder to let God work.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    What a powerful metaphor, Michael. This is an insightful post and a different voice for you. I think this is one of the best posts you have ever done. For me, I had an experience on Poinsettia Hill a few years back that changed the way I remember my parents forever. I put up a post about it today… http://goals4u.us/IyUD38

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. I look forward to reading your post.

  • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

    This post made me think about all of the opportunities I miss to make my tapestry more beautiful. Everyday I’m faced with choices, particularly those that pertain to how I spend my time. An extra 15 minutes reading to my son, closing the laptop to hang out with my wife, or dedicating more time to serving others are all things that help me make my life’s tapestry ultimately more beautiful. 

    • Jim Martin

      Jason, I am grateful for your comment.  Your words made me think.  I want the same thing in my life.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       That is exactly what I was thinking, too.

  • zcochran88

    This one was really good.

  • Walt

    I like this piece. Long before reading it I had included the same analogy in a short memior. “It (our first date) did set in motion the events of a lifetime and the weaving of a complex tapestry of life. “

  • http://www.workyouenjoy.com Adam Rico

    About seven years ago I had this quarter life crisis moment. I hated my job so I quit, sold my house, and went on a search to find work that was in line with who I am. Thankfully I found a great job that has been a true blessing in my life.

    It was a painful experience but I can now see how that experience shaped my heart to be able to serve others going through a similar circumstance.

    It truly is amazing how God never wastes a painful experience.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Adam,
      Do you realize your decision, in the moment, was going to be as impact-full as it has been?

      • http://www.workyouenjoy.com Adam Rico

        Barry,
        I did not know at the time how much that decision would shape my life in the coming years. At the time I felt like a failure, but that period in my life provided me with a new direction and a new passion. I wouldn’t have found those things had I not “failed”.

  • http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/ Sally Ferguson

    Corrie’s tapestry has helped me on many occassions when I wanted to give up.  God’s view is the one I want to adopt!

  • http://www.saltandsparkle.com/ Nics Cahill

    Michael, what a stunningly beautiful post.  Your words are so heartfelt.

    It amazes me constantly how what seems like a mess, from our perspective, is actually something of great beauty from his, each strand weaving together, to create beauty.

    Thank you, for your words today.

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    When I read your line about tearing up when you were dropped off at the airport, I was reminded of a book by C. S.Lewis called Surprised By Joy.  Seems to me that’s what hit you at that moment.

    I know that the older I get the more sentimental I get.  I miss the friendships that are no longer as close as they once were, perhaps due to distance, perhaps to death, and, sadly, too many to simple neglect (on my part).

    A tapestry is the perfect illustration of life.  Thanks for reminding me of that Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am definitely getting more sentimental and, I hope, more thoughtful. I realize what a gift every moment is.

    • Jim Martin

      Thad, I relate very much to what you said about the friendships you miss.  So true!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Yes! The older I get I definitely become more sentimental and emotional! I understand some of the raw emotions that I saw my grandfather communicate as he drew closer to his passing.

  • Dean Dorman

    I love the metaphor. Keep your blogs coming they are very insightful.

  • Nick Bell

    This guy has the tapestry sewn up!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2eUw0CUuMc

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I just watched this video and wept. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Powerful!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Oh wow. What a courageous and beautiful way to embrace death. Incredible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gini.woodward Gini Woodward

    Your message reminds me of a huge knot that our family encountered in our tapestry when our beautiful, brilliant, talented 18 year old daughter became psychotic which would lead to a lifetime challenge of coping with schizophrenia. That was twenty four years ago. Her adult path has been riddled with broken threads, knots, and dissapointments. I am constantly amazed at her unwavering faith as she crochets blankets for charity on her better days. I learned and am still learning and am now a facilitator for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family to Family classes and other advocacy issues, a path I never would have embarked on, but am now grateful for.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Gini,
      Thank you for sharing your daughter’s journey. I am sure that your experiences have been a huge ministry to the people who come through the doors ay NAMI. 

  • Ju

    I was totally blessed by your article.  God showed me the front of the   tapestry through my son Jabari.  He has a stroke at 19 and God used that experience to show us that He has great plans for Jabari.  He is now working in New York City with a Senator and is planning to attend London School of Economics in the fall.  God is awsome and worthy to be praised. 

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Amazing! As long as we have a single breath, we have divinely appointed purpose. Thanks for sharing Jabari’s story with us!

  • Mark Goodrich

    I met Corrie 40
    years ago, I heard this metaphor that night, and much more… I was 17. I needed to
    be reminded of it today. Thanks!  I have been walking with Christ for 40 years
    and I have had more tiume spent looking at the backside, which is easy..  The complexity and vastness of each tread when seen form the back is and
    can be limiting for any Christ follower.  Thus the need for His word and others.

    To see the front side i go to the word and I live in community. His word/ as well as others ( you) can be the reminders that there is
    a front side…

    Today Michael /you were that reminder of the front side for me! Thanks.  My friends will be reminded by me today of the
    front side… We need this from His word and from each other , regularly….

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Wow. Thanks for sharing the 40 year perspective, Mark.

  • http://themarriagechecklist.com/ Dr. Ann

    This is a beautiful reminder to be grateful, thankful for all the moments God has given me.  Thanks for helping me remember to slow down and be praiseful today!

  • Sarah Crisp

    I love the metaphor! It reminds me of watching my Nana cross-stitch. Sitting in front of her watching the back side unfold. A mess of colors intersecting and often strays of thread dangling from a knot. Still beautiful I thought.

    But sitting at her side watching the design unfold, seeing her decide on colors of thread, I watched the creator at work. I saw things from her point of view. And the final product was always remarkable.

    God truly does hold the needle and His color choices are always purposeful and make the final product something unimaginable.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       I can picture your Nana with you looking on. Such a sweet picture, Sarah. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

    God has entrusted me with a few massive moves.  I have learned, especially when saying goodbye to deep, meaningful relationships, “life is short and heaven is forever”. My life has to be about investing in relationships that will allow us to worship Him in eternity. I often add, ” we can catch up then”, but maybe it won’t really matter.  
    A current circumstance, which God is so obviously in, has me curious about the front of the tapestry. I have learned that it is good and can eagerly lean in and expect His glory to shine now and later. Thrilling to trust and give thanks.
    I finally started blogging this week. You and Jeff G inspired. I thought all these amazing circumstances in my life were just for me. Even if so, I need to document. The process reads, “God is here, do you see Him?”.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       It is “thrilling to trust and give thanks.” Not easy, but your reminder is a good one.

  • http://www.nginaotiende.blogspot.com Ngina Otiende

    What a powerful post Michael.

    Love this statement – “It’s only when you turn the tapestry over that you see the art” 

    Am blessed that He loves me enough to turn the tapestry for me. Sometimes am caught up behind the scenes, working and loosing my joy. 

    When He steps in and asks me to step back (and around) to see what He’s doing, I get  refreshed and re-energized.  

    Awesome post!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      When He steps in and I step back … A beautiful way to put it, Ngina.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    Whenever someone asks me to name a personal hero, Corrie ten Boom is always at the top of my list. She changed my life when I read her book in Junior High, and did it again last year when I re-read both the Hiding Place and Tramp for the Lord. Her tapestry metaphor is one of my favorites. Beautiful and inspiring post, Michael. 

  • Kaye

    I don’t remember how I first came across your blog a few months ago, a link from another one I think, but I have read every post since and I have to tell you this was a perfect reminder for me today.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great. I am so glad. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • http://bbcjc.com/ Randy Dignan

    Great post!!  Reminds me of the chocolate chip cookie analogy of life…  Life brings single circumstances that are not too favorable!  Flour alone, nasty!  Salt alone, gross!  Butter by itself, not too good!  But, mix them all together, throw in some chocolate chip cookies, apply some HEAT, and voila!  Chocolate Chip Cookies!  I often say to my wife and those that look to me for leadership…  “This is the flour part…  Hang in there!  God’s baking up some cookies!  Glory!!”  When I get to tatse the sweetness of one of His cookies…  That is when I get to see His side of the tapestry!  Thank you so much for the read!  God bless!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       I love it when chocolate chip cookies make the perfect illustration. :)

  • Cindie

    Yesterday…I work at a local Crisis Pregnancy Center and we had ministered to a young girl who was a crack addict and pregnant. She was supposed to put her baby up for adoption, but her own adoptive mother stepped in and has taken custody of the baby. This girl has been clean from drugs for 7 weeks and desperately wants her baby back. My heart broke as I listened to her story…a story that we thought was over and that we were done playing a part in…but God, oh he had other plans.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Beautiful example, Cindie. So much hope in this!

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    I love this metaphor. I do not look at God’s side near as often as I should!

  • https://turnerbethany.wordpress.com/ turner_bethany

    I had a very similar experience in getting to see God’s tapestry. I got married this last summer, and my husband and I moved 600 miles away from home. So when we come to visit we have lots of people to see. One of my coffee dates this last Christmas was my best friend from high school. She and I did keep in touch after graduating from high school. But this particular time hit me because of the depth we were talking about life. The way we conversed about our churches was awesome. It struck me how much we had grown up and matured since our senior year.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    As an author, I know it’s the painful moments in life that deepen the writing experience and add credibility to any story I write. I appreciate the difficulties and rejoice all the more in the blessings.

  • Dawnette Muir

    I don’t know if you are referring to the following poem but I have always loved it. Thanks for refreshing the memory of it for me.  Dawnette

    The Weaver

    My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and Me.
    I may draw the colors,
    He worketh skillfully.
    Full oft’ He chooses sorrow
    And I, in foolish pride,
    Forget He sees the upper
    And I, the under side.                                           
                                        – Author Unknown

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Thanks for sharing the poem, Dawnette.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I was not familiar with his poem, but it is beautiful. Thanks.

  • Kate

    “My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue. An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view. A wondrous woven magic, in bits of blue and gold. A tapestry to  feel and see, impossible to hold.” Carole King. I used that quote in my high graduation speech and still remember it. And to think I applied that to my first 18 years of life. Now that I’m… a few years past 18, I really appreciate it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that song. I had totally forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://twitter.com/martyn_j Martyn J Wood

    For me the last time I saw God’s side  of the tapestry was when my friend sent a picture of his newborn grandchild. She was so tiny and yet still such a living, breathing, miracle my response was awe and wonder at Father’s artistry once more on display a masterpiece on it’s own.  

  • http://www.christopherneiger.com/ Chris Neiger

    Just what I needed to read today. Thanks.

  • http://www.thisjourneyourlife.com/ Rachel

    Thank you for sharing this! You put into words so many of the thoughts that have been running through my mind lately. Although I love to write, I am struggling with even being able to adequately express all that the Lord is so lovingly and patiently teaching me right now on my life journey.

    Recently, I did see a glimpse of God’s side of the tapestry that He is weaving together in my life.  Just over this past weekend, I attended a conference for parents/caretakers, educators, and ministry leaders who have a vested interest in children with special needs. (I am the mother of a beautiful 7 year old girl who happens to be visually impaired and struggles with some additional developmental delays.)

    I met one mother whose son’s story and and needs were so similar to what my daughter’s are–even down to a specific situation we are both currently facing concerning our children’s educational needs–that only God could have ordained our encounter!  Because there were hundreds of other parents in attendance whose children’s special needs spanned a wide range, so it is beyond incredible that our paths crossed and the Lord saw fit to include her among the handful of other parents I met in the two short days of the conference!

    It made me feel overwhelmingly joyful and at peace. I find comfort in knowing that God sees me, loves me and knows my needs. He is leading and directing in my life in specific ways and His grace enables me  to make the best decisions regarding my daughters needs and care of them.

    Thank you again for this wonderful post, so beautifully written.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Great story, Rachel! 

  • http://www.CharlesSpecht.com/ Charles Specht

    Beautiful article, Michael.

  • http://lauriewallin.com/ Laurie Wallin

    I didn’t realized Corri TenBoom was the one who came up with that metaphor. Makes perfect sense – she had quite the jumble of threads through all God brought her through! I get God-side views when my special needs kids are with other families on an outing and the parents comment to me how well they handled it – that all the work we put into life skills is making a difference.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Laurie, I also have a special needs child.  In moments like that I thank God that I had the opportunity to share in an extraordinary child’s super-achievement.  If my child didn’t have special needs, the ordinary  achievement just wouldn’t be as meaningful.  

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  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    I’m glad you mentioned Corrie Ten Boom! This is my favorite stanza of her poem about the tapestry:

    The dark threads are as needful
    In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned. 

    It really helps me with perspective during the hard times.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      “The dark threads are as needful…”   Great perspective!

  • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

    Every now and then I see a glimpse of God’s tapestry and I. AM. OVERWHELMED. And that is just a glimpse. I think if I were to see it I wouldn’t even begin to believe it honestly. 

  • http://twitter.com/zephaniah_c Zephaniah Chukwudum

    Love this.
    All our negative moments will be used to make our testimonies greater!
    God bless you more!

  • http://twitter.com/drew_myers Drew Myers

    Great post: My favorite part: Likewise, occasionally God gives us a glimpse at what He is weaving into the fabric of our lives. That momentary peek at glory gives us the courage to soldier on, knowing that nothing happens by accident.

  • soulstops

    Encouraging post! The tapestry analogy by Corrie Ten Boom means a lot because she survived being in a Nazi concentration camp. Journeying through the Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius this year with a small group helped me to see a little more of the tapestry that God is weaving in my life. Grateful.

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  • Nigell

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been highly discouraged as of lately and I really needed to read this. 

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    Love this post, Michael! When I look back at my life journey, I can see God’s side, His weaving together of odds and ends to make a beautiful picture. The here and now is the knotted side (backside) of the tapestry. I think we get a tiny peek at the Weaver’s hands at work when we choose to thank and praise Him in each day’s events.

  • Dian

    A friend shared this on FB this morning.  I needed to read it.  I was reminded of how a greade school friend & I reconnected about three years ago, after no contact for 40 years.  We were best friends in grade school &  high school — somehow brought together by the commonality of an unhappy home life & parents who ultimately divorced.

    At age 17 we both became pregnant, but due to changes in our locations, neither knew the other one was with child.  I was unable to have the baby & the only choice seemed abortion, which was illegal in my home state.  I contacted her & she flew with me to New York.  I didn’t know that she was also pregnant, out-of-wedlock.  I found out afterwards.

    Life continued for both of us, and we lost contact again.  During those 40 years I married, had two children, divorced, struggled with alcohol addiction, re-married, had a second bout with addiction, and retired from a government job after 30 years.  During that time she moved 38 times, married, had another child, divorced, worked as head of a radiology department, pastored & started several churches, did missionary work in So. America, and almost died.

    Her parents were alcoholic and I became one.

    Last year she asked me if I would accompany her on a journey to move from one end of the country to the other.  I lived mid-point, and it would be a 4 day drive from my home.  One of my daughters lived within two hours of her destination.  I could not see how that could happen.  I mean, sure, we were friends 40 years ago, but occasional phone conversations are different than a 4-day trip by automobile.  But I had been retired for a year & my husband said ‘go for it’. 

    And what a trip it was.  The years fell away, and the four days passed quickly.  I feel that I received much for from her than I gave to her.  But on the other hand, both of our lives had been, and continue to resemble the tapestry of which you speak.  I know God is at work in both of our lives, similarly, yet so different.  I am grateful for each & every thread — both the golden, strong & brightly colored ones, and the worn & frayed bits.

    Today, she is instrumental in a non-profit organization that provides assistance and  free housing, for a limited amount of time, for individuals in recovery from drug & alcohol addiction, whose family unit includes one or more children.

    I am still retired, but I participate in a twelve step program and assist women in their journey of recovery, one day at a time.

    I have always loved Carole King’s song “Tapestry”.  Thank you for sharing your writing on this.  Today, and for many days, I continue to be grateful & amazed at how God can work in my life if I continue to seek him on a daily basis.

  • Jamie Chavez

    Mike, this is a fantastic post! I also have friends made in my youth that I still feel kinship with and with whom I have kept in touch. But (thanks to social media) I have learned some of the threads in my tapestry—threads I wasn’t paying much attention to, let’s say—continue on in the lives of others I had not kept touch with. I’ve been told stories of things I said or did that I’d long since forgotten, and this has blessed me as well. Our threads intersect with those of everyone we come in contact with; it’s only now I appreciate the enormity of that.

  • http://www.theworld4realz.com/ Andi-Roo

    What a lovely analogy! I’ve always believed that things works themselves out for the best, & I do try & retain a “seek the silver lining” mentality, but these are methods of viewing tragedy or chaos AFTER the fact. Your tapestry example is a wonderful perspective in actively maintaining calm IN THE MOMENT, something at which I’m not always skilled. This will be a great reminder to repeat to myself during a trial, when I feel most lost at sea. Thank you!

    Andi-Roo
    /// @theworld4realz

    http://www.theworld4realz.com/

    theworldforrealz@gmail.com

  • Pauline Logan

    Thanks, Michael, for reminding us all that God is the Master Weaver and He knows what He is doing.
     
    Yesterday I visited my local food bank. The woman I sat next to struck up a conversation with me as we waited our turns. At first we talked about the facial features of a little boy seated near us, and whether he resembled his mother or his father more. Somehow the conversation turned to spiritual matters. She freely expressed her doubts that the Bible is true. She doesn’t believe in the Trinity, or that God is a person–and not a nameless force in nature.  I shared with her that God became “personal” for me when I accepted that He sent His Son in human form to save me from my sins.

    I left the food bank grateful for a chance–however small it was–to share my faith and love for the Lord. I’m grateful that God uses unexpected encounters to manifest Himself–even through us. That conversation will likely be one of the brighter threads in my life’s tapestry!  

  • JAM

    I Recive in my boss side massage and he request our all team for
    pray his wife during in hospital

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  • Darrell Wolfe

    There is a man who I’ve taken on to work with, disciple if you will. As he talks and tells me about his life, fears, worries, etc… he reminds me SO much of myself years ago, before I got serious about my walk with Jesus. As I try to unravel the messes he has himself in I find that nearly all of them are a direct result of wrong thinking, leading to wrong action, leading to re-enforced wrong thinking… leading to a downward spiral to nonsense. 

    But what is really surprising is that I then find, as I go home to share my worries and concerns with my wife, I am dealing with the same “stinking thinking” that is causing his issues. I’ve had my mind renewed by the Word of God to a higher degree than he has. So my problems don’t look as bad from the outside. But I still find this “old man” in there. 

    I am simultaneously grateful for how far I’ve come, and reminded of what I did to get here and that I need to keep doing it (in some cases go back to doing it) in order to keep moving forward in the plan of God for my life. 

    These glimpses are amazing. It’s too bad that I can’t download all my years of experience into this other person and give him instantly what it took me years to get, but with the Grace of God He’ll learn it faster because I can give him the tools he needs and give him all the resources it took me years to find. 

    Thank you for this article, it’s helped me process these recent events!

    Darrell G. Wolfe http://n2gs.blogspot.com/

  • Heman Smith

    Michael, what a richly expressed reminder of the wonder of the Lord’s weaving.  He knows, and guides our path.  I agree that it is a gift to see on occasion, the bigger, eternal picture.  I very much am grateful for it, and humbled by it.  I find it encouraging, and enlivening to see what He knows I can become and do, not just what I so often focus on too intently - the intensity of the day.

    Thanks again for the breath of fresh perspective.

  • Phil

    This reminds me of a verse that surprised me a couple of weeks ago as I was reading in my morning devotions:  
    He existed before anything else, and he holds all
    creation together. Colossians 1:17. Even when my life seems to be falling apart, Jesus is still holding the world together. Eyes on him and it’s going to work out.

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  • Njugunajoel

    Its so true..

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  • TroyD

    Thank you Michael for this post, I can’t tell you how many times I have come back to read it over and over.  My family has been having a tough year, but it is writings like these that keep us strong and full of hope.  Blessings to you for the work you do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Troy. I do too. I mostly write about things I want to remind myself about.

  • mcgoughypamela@yahoo.com

    At first it feel as though God has forgotten about me until he shows me a glimpse of what he’s up to. At that moment, I become become speechless or thinking Ahh!
    This is what you want me to know! The moment becomes so golden that somehow it seem to intertwine, Which gives me a feeling of Grace & Hope!
    Pam M

  • Writerohit

    Michael, you rock! :) 

  • jeff youngblood

    I am living that kind of moment now.

  • Lindsay

    My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. (Psalm 139:15 AMP)

  • AMOR

    God almighty knew us before the foundation of time and the course is no surprise to Him…Thankful for all those He has placed in my life and are all a part of my tapersty. I am becoming who I already am in Him.