This Little Light of Mine

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 … let your light shine … – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 5:16 NIV

I remember the moment clearly. A spanking new student teacher, I stood in front of a classroom for the first time. Perhaps I was a bit nervous. I don’t remember. What I do remember is, at that moment, a light went on inside me—and has never gone out.

I’d found my calling—the purpose for which I was created—and joy flooded my soul.

The road to that moment wasn’t easy. Growing up in the shadow of a gifted and popular older sister, I struggled with self-confidence and wormed my way through an identity crisis before the term was even coined. It didn’t help that I looked and sounded like my older sister Judy (I didn’t think so, but everyone else did).

In school, teachers wondered why I didn’t get the grades Judy did. And I wondered why my classmates didn’t like me as much her classmates liked her. Mine mockingly called me “Miss Popularity.” When we got older and the boys started coming around—not for me, of course—I found it to my advantage that our voices sounded alike over the phone.

It wasn’t until college—and nearly a hundred miles from my hometown, where no one knew Judy existed—that I finally found myself. I didn’t have to bask in anyone else’s light. I was free to shine my own.

But old habits die hard. In the let’s-mock-Michele years, I’d learned it was better to hide in a corner than risk attention if I let my light shine too brightly. People have a way of putting you in what they think is your place—and it isn’t to outshine them. I found that if I was too good at what I did, people would get envious and not like me. And I wanted to be liked. Besides, I thought hiding in a corner, not letting my light shine, was being humble.

Is that why God created me? Or you? To hide in a corner? Has He not given each person at least a seed of talent that we are to develop and use for Him (Matthew 25:14–30)? And hasn’t He given each of us a special place in His kingdom? A unique job to do? And hasn’t He given us what we need to accomplish that job? (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:7-13)

“You are the light of the world,” He said.

Wait a minute—isn’t Jesus the Light of the World? Yes, He is. But His physical presence is no longer on this earth. Instead, He shines through each of His followers, who are to take His light to a world where moral decay and selfish lifestyles create an ever-increasing darkness.

We are not to hide the light He has put in us under busyness (the jar/vessel in Luke 8:16 represents work) or beneath idleness (the bed). Nor are we to bury the special abilities He has planted in us.

So don’t be afraid to let your light shine, Child of God. That’s why He created you.

Dear God, let Your light shine in and through me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 5:14–16.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Grandma’s Quilts

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I received my first patchwork quilt as a Christmas gift from my husband’s grandmother over forty years ago.

Grandma loved to make quilts. She’d spend the year gathering discarded clothing, cutting the square patches, then piecing together a mix-match of colors, patterns, and fabrics. Over the years everyone in the family had received at least one of her patchwork quilts. And none of the quilts was the same. Each was one of a kind.

Grandma’s quilts weren’t masterpieces to be displayed at fairs, bought for a high price, only to hang on someone’s quilt rack, unused, because they were too beautiful for daily wear and tear, the countless washing and drying that would leave them faded and worn.

No, Grandma’s quilts were made to be used. We used ours—as both bedspread and blanket in both our home and our camper. They served as warm wrappers at early spring baseball games and as seat cushions on hard, sometimes rough bleachers. And when they were beginning to show wear and tear, they still had plenty of use left in them as picnic or beach blankets.

Grandma’s quilts weren’t delicate, falling apart after only a few years of use. After forty years, I still have a few around, and they’re still in good condition. My grandchildren use them for sleepovers.

But Grandma’s quilts serve more than a physical need. They’re a symbol of life itself.

First, they remind me that recycling is an important part of life. And not just recycling of paper and glass and cans. But of plans and hopes and dreams. Very few things in life turn out the way we plan. But we can go on because we can take those discards and reshape and rearrange them for a new purpose.

Second, the patchwork reminds me that an all-light canvas has no contrast, no depth. The dark times in our lives teach us compassion, humility, and persistence, and strengthen faith and trust. Without pain and trouble, we would be shallow persons indeed.

Third, the quilts remind me that it’s okay to be “common.” I’d rather be an everyday vessel in the hand of God than a treasure of beauty set on a shelf, admired but unused.

Finally, just as each quilt is unique, each life is unique, planned and pieced together with threads of love woven and designed by the Master, God Himself.

Dear God, thank you for being the Master Quiltsman of my life. Thank you for the way You piece together dark and light, rough and smooth, solid and patterned, plain and showy, for a unique creation to be used for Your glory. Amen.

 Read and meditate on Lamentations 3:21–26.

(c) 2008 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.