Rags and Ribbons

I’m fortunate to live in a part of the country that has lots of small towns and pretty villages. At this Maypole-Dancetime of the year country fetes and spring shows are popping up all around.

Painful Memories

One such event is the May Day festival. The highlight of which is a quaint tradition of local school children dancing round a colourful maypole; twisting and turning, heads bobbing up and down as they weave their colourful display. It’s certainly an idyllic looking sight but one that brings back some painful memories for me. As a child I was taught to dance around the maypole at school. I use the term dance loosely of course as in reality it was more of a stomp. Dancing was and never has been my forte. Neither am I particularly co- ordinated. So, combine an inability to dance with an inability to work out my left foot from my right – whilst holding onto a brightly coloured ribbon – and you have some idea of the ‘car crash’ that inevitably happened each time. All the other ribbons would be generally in the right ‘order’. Then there was mine. Like a streak of bird poo on a freshly washed car…my ribbon would stand out. Spoiling the effect, ruining the picture. Messing up the entire dance.

Fresh Start…

Start again. So whenever I see a maypole dance a little bit of shame creeps up and taps me on the shoulder and says hello again. A maypole dance demands perfection. Any mistakes are visible for all to see. I couldn’t achieve the standard it demanded. As I watched this particular class of children dancing nimbly round the maypole and watching the beautiful ribbons form their colourful canopy it reminded me of God’s love. God doesn’t demand perfection from us. He knows we are flawed. He knows our limitations. He knows our past mistakes and the mistakes we will undoubtedly make in the future. Even though he knows and sees them he still loves us with an unending love.

Possibly my favourite verse in the Bible is this….

…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 1 Corinthians 1:27

What an incredible truth! That God can use a flawed, weak person like me and shame the strong! God can even take our mistakes, our ‘rags’ – those areas of our lives where we have messed up – and weave them into something beautiful. Those times you or I would rather forget about – God has used them to bring glory to His name.

Beat Shame

Take a moment to let that really sink in! Do you feel right now that you’ve messed up or that you can’t seem to get things right? Well think again. God can take your mess and your failures and make them – make you into something beautiful today. Just ask Him. When shame taps you on the shoulder and tries to make you feel bad again, turn your face to Jesus and ask Him to take it away. Thank Him that your shame can be turned into something beautiful and that it has no power over you anymore.

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