A simple five letter word that bears and holds so much. Trust. In Matthew 14: 22 to 33 we read part of the Scripture where Jesus asks Peter and the disciples to trust. Peter most specifically in that, it is Peter who steps out in great faith to walk on water out to Jesus. And Peter who is the first to trust, immediately doubts his own trust in Jesus. O, ye of little faith…diminished faith? Jesus asks him to step out, to risk, to trust. And Peter does! Oh Peter how you set that example! Your trust in that moment is without borders, without limits, without. That trust exceeds the boundaries of your human limits.
There are moments where I’d love to know what stopped Peter from fully trusting Jesus and just totally walking out to him. In all reality that doesn’t matter so much because I could, without hesitation, give a litany of thoughts that push their way to the surface that give a clue. The hesitation in trusting may have come from one of the other guys in the boat. Yep, we all have heard or said those things.
My sweetie and I usually get to the Church about 30 minutes before Mass to pray, read and settle in. I’ve been reading the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. This is one of those books that is read slowly (at least for me) as I pause to reflect and think. What I read tonight spoke to my heart so deeply that it feels like God’s timing. I’ve been seeking signs – when trusting was necessary. I’ve been seeking relief from a very, very painful situation – when trust and mercy were necessary. I’ve been wondering what to do and where to look – where . . . trust and mercy. God’s mercy. Contemplating my response to God’s Mercy, really beginning to see that God’s Mercy and Grace are there in spite of my acknowledgement or lack thereof. It’s easy to acknowledge and respond to Mercy when there is some kind of visible or tangible sign or consolation. God loves us no matter what. God’s mercy is available no matter what. I just have to simply say, “yes Lord, I need you. I make mistakes but I trust that your Mercy is there.” Truth be told I have no concept of Perfection so I have no idea what standard I’m going for. I don’t know how that standard and ideal came to be, it’s just been there. When I let go of that standard of Perfection I can move forward towards trusting God’s Mercy, embracing it and letting Mercy lead. (yes, that’s a Rich Mullins reference) When Mercy leads there is freedom to accept myself for who I am in God – his creation and well loved child. I can accept others as the same. By extending mercy I can let them be who they are with all their flaws.
As a quilter I have forever had a tendency to point out the flaws in my quilts. (I originally said my flaws but corrected myself.) The moment that changed was in the first machine quilting class I took. The teacher made she we knew something important, that we point out what we did, not the mistakes. Most people won’t see them anyway and those that do, should have wisdom enough to keep their comments to themselves. There is a huge difference between constructive criticism and being mean.
I’ve tried to take this through into teaching, doing my best to help students see how well they did. This worked and that worked. We need to see our flaws to help us grow, however we can not wallow in them. Mistakes in life and in quilting are an opportunity for growth. For discovering more of who we are as quilters.
On April 1st, the anniversary of my dads death, I had a beautiful experience as I shared quilts from 20+ years of quilting. I could see something beautiful happening, something changing in my piecing and quilting. I could see risks I took along the way that helped me become who I am as a quilter now. And it is this kind of risk taking that I want to instill in my students. That I want to hold onto more of myself.
It was in giving myself permission to make mistakes that I can see the most growth. It is in giving my students permission to make mistakes that I see the greatest growth. These are acts of mercy.
You might be wondering how a post on Trust leads to a post on Mercy. There is an interconnectedness. God is Trust and Mercy and Grace all in One we understand different components, like we understand components of garment making and making quilts. The different pieces are stitched together to form something beautiful and perhaps useful.
Be merciful. Be Full of Mercy. Trust in God’s Mercy