A Fussy Cut Life

Fussy cutting a carrot
Fussy cutting a carrot (Photo credit: DanaK~WaterPenny)

To the quilter, a fussy cut is a deliberate isolation of a motif within the fabric print by cutting. For example, you might love the teddy bears in your fabric to be used for your next baby quilt. You want only the purple bears to be showcased in your project. You decide to use a tool, a clear acrylic template with in center mark, to place over your purple bear. A few strokes of your rotary cutter and you have a patch with your desired bear to be sewn into your quilt top. As the Master Designer, the quilter can do it if she desires. (Men quilt, too. I know.)

What remains is a Swiss cheese-like remnant of fabric. Sometimes, the remaining pieces in between the fussy cuts are large enough to use for another project. Many times, the leftovers are thin scraps which can only be used in the scrapiest of projects. Uh oh. Spellcheck doesn’t recognize that word but quilters understand “scrapiest.” Did you know we are crazy enough to save even our selvages for projects? Nothing, absolutely nothing, is wasted.

I thought about how the Lord has fussy cut the fabric of my life, leaving gaping holes connected by mere threads. Many times I thought what remained of the fabric was useless, and tried as I did to be resourceful, I was so tempted to toss it all and start over.The Master Designer does this on occasion, if He desires. Yet, I hang on to those mere shreds knowing He has something beautiful in mind.

Just as I, the quilter, know the eventual pattern to be made with the fussy cuts,  Our Lord knows what is to be done with those gaps in our lives. He allows a job to be deleted, a relationship to end, our health to deteriorate, assets to be lost, or cuts out with the greatest precision those things that don’t match the plan He has for us.

When I was a young woman, I spent far too much time asking Him why and what for. Now, that I’ve walked with Him 45 years, I still may not like what He’s doing; but I have the utmost confidence that He is designing something to bring Himself glory and for my greater good. I still ask what I am to do with these holes in my life: relationships lost, loved ones gone, possessions no longer with me, and a change in ministry that I held to for the majority of my life. There’s also the hole of changes in attitudes, gaps left by hobbies no longer necessary, and even the inability to eat foods I’ve loved most of my life. If I focus on the holes, life can seem flat, useless, and ruined. But, if I hold it up to the light of the Son, He shines through every hole in the fabric of my life and gives more beauty to the scarred life than I could ever have known had it been untouched by the blades of cutting.

The selvage of fabric is the actual edge of the material. Usually, you will see the name of the designer, the pattern, and the printing company. There’s a lot of selvages cut from the millions of yards of fabric cut by quilters around the world each year! The good news for believers is that the name of the designer and the pattern of your life are actually stamped on the selvage of your life through the company of creation. The Holy Spirit‘s presence in our life is like a selvage, indicating ownership and pointing to the designer. Like quilters, we have the choice to honor those selvages by stretching our faith to see new projects from the fabric of our lives.

If the purple teddy bear were to complain: “Ouch! I don’t want to leave! Don’t put me in your quilt!”,  most quilters would keeping cutting; they have their project in mind to be made to bless someone or to express themselves. I think Our Heavenly Father must be a quilter because He just keeps cutting in my life, listening to me fuss and complain, knowing He has a plan to bless someone through my life and to express His glory and holiness through all of His creation.

If you are being fussy cut, know with confidence that the Lord has a plan to use all those gaps, holes, and shreds of your life. Look to Him through every hole, ask away, and know you are destined for beauty in His eyes. One good thing  about saving the selvage is that if you ever want more of the fabric, the information is there to help to locate another piece. Our selvage of life is just as good; if you find yourself run out, refresh your memory with the Designer and the company of creation. You are a unique pattern in God‘s stash, and He never forgets the name of your pattern.


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