A tent, a soul, a true valentine

“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

The kids are on their second play tent. These things get a lot of use as animal dens, castles, shelters, hideouts, etc. We lost the first one to severely bent stakes (I take responsibility for this, as I picked it up by the stakes not realizing that the den/castle/shelter/hideout was full of loot). This second one has been ripping at the base seam until at last the metal hoop that gives it its shape burst out onto the floor. And no, that didn’t really stop them from playing in it. But if not fixed, it would become unusable. Enter me with a needle and thread.

I’m no seamstress. I know how to sew. I can stitch a questionably straight stitch. But sewing repairs are not my strong suit. Still, they wanted their tent intact, and I wanted to make it so for them. Huddled on the floor, I fumbled my way through the repair.

Here’s the side that hasn’t ripped. Note how neat and tidy the machine stitch is.


Here’s the side I repaired. Note how crooked it is, how the stitches are neither straight nor the same length, how the color does not even remotely match.


But in the end, I was pleased with the repair, ugly though it may be. Because nothing is perfect, not even a machine stitched seam. Because it spoke of my affection for my children, that I would get on my hands and knees and work my way through the repair so that they would come home to the mend. And most importantly, because it worked–it would allow them to continue playing den/castle/shelter/hideout, at least until the next seam rips.

It also made me think about God. We have all been damaged by life. How lovingly our Father tends us when we submit our tattered edges to His service. And though I know that He made sewing–as well as everything else–and can fix things perfectly, I don’t always think that looks perfect. Our scars remind us where we’ve been and guide us to better decisions in the future. He isn’t out to make perfect; He’s out to make us useful. He’s out to tend us and mend us and send us onto the next big thing, speaking of His grace and mercy and tender loving care.

This tent will forever bear the mark of a mother who loved. I pray that my life can send the same message about my Father.


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