Hemmed In On Every Side

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
(Psalm 139:5, ESV)
On Saturday, my daughter and I made a quilted kite. In the past, Rachel has made smaller and quicker projects such as pillows and pillowcases. However, this was her first quilted project and her first major project. Here are the steps she learned:
1.      Select fabric
2.      Iron
3.      Cut fabric into a 2.5 inch square (60 squares total)
4.      Sew two squares together with seam allowance, right sides together
5.      Iron again
6.      Repeat steps 4 & 5 until each square is sewn to another, creating strips
7.      Iron again (sigh)
8.      Sew strips together
9.      Iron (double sigh)
10.  Attach batting and backing material
11.  Select, cut, iron, and sew binding
12.  Finish binding by hand stitching with a blind stitch
Time passed quickly, and we watched the entire first season of the Cosby Show while sewing. Rachel’s desire for the project began to waiver when I taught her how to finish the binding by using a blind stitch.  A blind stitch is a hand stitch, where you place the needle under the binding fabric, behind the previous stitch, and sew a small almost invisible stitch.


As I demonstrated the blind stitch, the Psalmist’s words flowed through my mind: “You hem me in behind and before, and lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5, ESV). Seven and a half hours later we proudly displayed our finished artwork.  
Each time I gaze upon our kites, I think about being “hemmed in behind and before” according to Psalm 139:5. This Psalm details God’s intimate knowledge of our being, because He hand knit us together.
I believe we are blind to most of the hemming God does in our lives. We are unaware of all the ways He protects us on every side.


This morning God brought the concept of being “hemmed in” full circle in my personal life. My Bible study reading today included Psalm 139:5! “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”
Last week, I shared about feeling stretched thin during a time of great trial in our lives. I felt hard pressed on every side (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).  God reminded me to look up to Him for strength. God showed me that He has a panoramic view of our circumstances. (See post titled Taffy Generation and Panoramic View).
But today, God brought it all full circle! I love the way God works! I love watching how He uses our real life trials, His Holy Word, and quilted kites to teach me a life lesson.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV)
Today’s Bible study reminded me of my secure position in Christ. While, I might feel hard pressed on every side, the truth is I am surrounded by God on every side. Look at these treasures:
·         The Lord took care of them on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, NIV)
·         I made you, I will carry you, I will sustain you, and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)
·         You are all around me on every side; You protect me with your power. (Psalm 139:5, GNT)
·         The Lord encamps around those who fear Him. (Psalm 34:7, NIV)
·         The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him. (Psalm 32:10, NIV)
This morning, I studied 2 Chronicles 32:22 in different translations. Here are a few of my favorites of what God does on every side.
·         Guided them on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, NASB)
·         Gave them rest on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, HCSB)
·         Protected them on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, Darby)
·         Gave them treasures on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, DRA)
 Dear friend, I do not know what you are up against. Do you feel hard pressed on every side? Do you feel surrounded by difficult circumstances on every side? If you are a child of God, rest in the treasure of protection because God has you hemmed in and surrounded on every side. 
Hebrews 6:19



Rachel’s place mat

“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)


Frayed cuffs and thread bare knees are all that remain of my children’s denim jeans. I carefully slipped the blade of the seam ripper under the thread and lifted the blade. After cutting the stitches, I removed a back pocket from a pair of blue jeans.  During this project, I repurposed the worn out jeans into funky denim place mats. Any salvageable part was cut away and assembled into something new. What once was a back pocket is now a utensil and napkin holder.

From the tattered jeans, I created four distinct place mats. Each denim place mat has a unique backing and binding fabric to represent the personalities of our family members. On my daughter’s place mat I repositioned a crocheted pocket and covered the back with pink and red heart and star material. As I reworked the fabric, Genesis 50:20 came to mind: “But God intended it for good.” 

As the youngest in the family, Joseph was teased and despised by his older brothers. Their hatred for Joseph was so great, they sold him into slavery. Decades later, Joseph held a prominent place in the king’s court. The same brothers, who sold him off, later stood before Joseph begging for assistance. Joseph had every right to turn them away. Instead he said, “You planned evil against me, but God used those same plans for good” (Genesis 50:20, MSG).

I love the phrase “but God used those same plans for good.” Those same plans, not different plans, the very same plans—for good! I stopped sewing to offer praise! I began to examine those areas of my life that once were painful. Now I can see God was using those same plans for good. Praise God that He is the ultimate recycler! He was reducing, reusing, and recycling long before our generation. He wants to reduce our burdens, reuse our trials to help others, and recycle areas to bring us good and to bring Him glory!

~April Dawn White
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These words of encouragement as better than flannel pajamas and fuzzy socks on a cold Winter’s Day. 

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