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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

A Time to Mend

When something is broken,

hopelessly severed,

damaged beyond use; what does it take to mend it?

I can remember my mother coming to the end of her busy day, sitting with the family in front of the television, taking some garment missing a button or presenting a ripped seam and work to mend it. She would match the thread from the spools she hoarded from past sewing projects, force the defiant thread through the tiny eye of a needle, and separate the thread from its spool by biting it in two. She knotted the end of the thread by deftly by rolling it between her fingers and began the in and out rhythm of mending. My mother’s tiny, straight stitches always impressed me. They were as good as any machine could make and sometimes held longer. That’s the work of a good mender.

Unfortunately I did not take up this practice as priority. My mending work collects until it is more practical to throw the unwearable garment into the donation pile than mend it. What the garment could have given me is lost because of my negligence and procrastination.

A garment seems disposable. But what about a relationship? What in us believes that it is better to discard someone, build our not-my-fault case, wait for someone else to make the first move, and cast away what we should be gathering to mend?

Mending work is at the heart of God. He has always been about mending rifts and healing hearts. He took Jacob and Esau, two brothers hopelessly against each other, and drew them back together to forge a nation. He took a tax collector and a zealot, politically polar opposites, and put them on the same team on purpose. He has taken the pieces of a million plus dreams shattered to oblivion and created new dreams that satisfied even better. He would mend what separates us, what makes us give up, what keeps us farther from His mending work in our world.

He will always start with the most important rift, our separation from His heart. There is no complete and lasting wholeness without healing the lie that makes us believe in our own self-sufficiency. God wants to walk and talk with us like He did with Adam and Eve in the garden. He cringes at our fear of living with uncovered hearts before him. What in his loving nature, his reaching love, his unfailing persistence do we find so easy to reject?

We hold grudges too quickly. They sit in our hearts increasing our appetite for self-righteous complaint. They feed a victim mentality that disorders and destroys. God doesn’t heal grudges; he takes away our need for them. He lifts our sights to a purpose bigger than making someone else pay for our pain. He reminds us that someone has already carried that pain and bled for that wound. His mending needle was a nail and an eternal thread waits to mend what this world would tear apart.

Is there mending work you have shoved aside? Let God do His mending in your heart before you try to mend elsewhere. Otherwise you run the risk of inflicting more pain or widening the break. Something fresh happens in a heart God mends, something boldly reminiscent of the First Garden where God walked with unashamed people. We’ve lost that simple intimacy. But God would bring a mending to our hearts that recovers it. Then, He sends the mended to do same.

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