by Sharon Tubbs
I remember the cold winter nights growing up in Indiana. My sister and I would snuggle together beneath the covers. We needed a sheet, a bedspread and one of my grandmother’s quilts. Big Mama—that’s what we called my grandmother—she’d sit in her rocking chair in Uniontown, Alabama, with scraps from old worn-out clothes. She cut the scraps, shaping them just-so, and sewed them together to make a beautiful one-of-a-kind tapestry for the front of a quilt.
I speak of Big Mama’s quilt because the tapestries she created resemble what God wants to do with our lives. We each have our own scraps, life’s scraps. They’re those things that we’ve done or that were done to us that make us ashamed or afraid—adultery, poverty, divorce, rejection, bitterness, teenage motherhood, abortion, sexual abuse…
The thing is, we don’t like to talk about our scraps—not out loud, and especially not at church.
Yet women have always had scraps, even those in the Bible. In the Old Testament, Naomi lived in bitterness because her husband and two sons died, leaving her a poor widow. For food, her daughter-in-law Ruth picked up barley grains that fell from the sacks of harvesters in the fields. Today, we might liken it to rummaging in the garbage for good food that others have thrown away. Rahab was another “scrappy” woman in the Bible. She lived in the enemy territory of Jericho but helped hide the Israelites on a spy mission there. Throughout town, she was also known prostitute.
Here’s the good part about their stories. As Ruth gleaned in the fields she was noticed by Boaz, who eventually became her husband and provided for her and Naomi. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed, who fathered Jesse, who father the great King David, who was the ancestor of Jesus Christ. Talk about a life turnaround! Speaking of Boaz, guess who is mother was? Rahab—the prostitute. As it turns out, the Israelites spared her life when they conquered Jericho. She married and had a son of her own. Today, you’ll find Rahab’s name mentioned in the New Testament in the ancestral line of Jesus.
These women’s stories are so uplifting because the Bible shows us, not only the good that sprang forth from them, but also the tarnished scraps of their pasts. We get to see how far God brought them from—how far He can bring us! He took Rahab from harlot to heroine. He took Ruth and once-bitter Naomi from poverty to prosperity. He took life circumstances that seemed to be useless, that these women likely wished had never happened, and like Big Mama’s scraps, he sewed them into a greater patchwork. God’s patchwork included His love, power, and deliverance. Left alone, their scraps might have brought condemnation. In God’s hands, scraps become tools of restoration.
What are the scraps of your life? What secrets are you holding onto, hoping that others don’t find out? Through God’s power, you can overcome all of those negative emotions and feelings.
- Don’t pretend like your scraps don’t exist. They do, and you won’t forget them. If you don’t acknowledge your scraps, the devil will use them to make you feel ashamed, unworthy, incapable, fearful, or doubtful. He’ll stop you from reaching God’s full potential for your life.
- Seek counsel and support from trusted loved ones, from a group, or counselor.
- Trust in God’s Word. He can redeem you—if you surrender and let Him. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. –Psalm 107:1-2
- Make your scraps part of your “quilt,” your story, as God leads you. This doesn’t mean telling your business to the world. It simply means using wisdom and not being afraid to let God use you to help others with similar hurts and pains.
When you give your scraps to God, you’ll see that He has a great purpose for your life—and you have a wonderful testimony!
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.” –Revelation 12:11
Sharon Tubbs is an inspirational speaker, freelance editor and writer, and a Christian author whose work includes the novel “Living in the Pink,” the self-help book “Milk & Honey: 10 Principles to Embracing Your Promised Land,” and various magazine articles and devotionals. A journalist by trade, she worked as a professional newspaper editor and reporter in the Tampa Bay area for 16 years before recently shifting her focus to self-employment. Sharon is a member of Grace Family Church where she has participated in the Women’s Ministry, leading small groups and teaching God’s Word. As she continually strives to reach her potential in Christ, Sharon’s joy comes from inspiring others to do the same by truly seeking and knowing Him.