Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hidden Potential

Practically every night, my eleven year old son begs me to tell him a bed time story as I tuck him into bed. Sometimes I decline because the hour is late, but since we had had a busy day, he was actually hitting the hay a bit earlier than usual.

When he made his nightly request for a bedtime story, looking at me with those big, blue eyes and poking his bottom lip out for sentimental effect, I decided to oblige and agreed to give my creative imagination a workout.

I began skimming the contents of his room, searching for a glimpse of any item that might quickly plant a story idea into my head, and then I glanced down at his little gray sock monkey.

Yes. He has a sock monkey. Go figure. But anyway.....

I began weaving together a tale about a little gray piece of cloth that had lived on a shelf in a fabric store for many years, all the while going unnoticed by shoppers.

The story seemed to easily unfold in my imagination, and my son sat in a wide eyed stare, intently listening to all the details.

As I finished the story, and kissed my son goodnight, I felt a gentle whisper into my spirit..... reminding me... that I was once just like that little gray piece of fabric, but God had transformed me into something new.

You see, I had begun the story by explaining how this little dull, gray piece of fabric would sit quietly on the shelf each day, desperately longing for someone to notice him. But in his heart, he knew that he paled in comparison to all of the other fabrics in the store, and he could never compete with them.

From his place on the dusty old shelf, he had a bird's eye view of all the beautiful fabrics, much unlike him, many of which were made in bold colors of soft, shiny satin that caught the light as people passed by.

He could see the fabrics covered with vibrant orange and pink polkadots that would one day be transformed into a frilly, toddler dress; the fabrics with elegant stripes that would make fine draperies for an beautiful home; many fabrics with fun tassles and shimmering coins dangling from their edges; and a myriad of fun fabrics with colorful cartoon characters adorning their every inch.

But he was just a boring old piece of gray fabric.

Nothing special. Nothing elegant. Nothing valuable. Old. Outdated. Worthless.

Certainly nothing worthy of being transformed into anything wonderful.

But then one day, an older woman wandered into the store. The gray piece of fabric had never seen her there before, but he could tell she was a seamstress by the wrinkled tape measure around her neck and the rusty thimble on her finger.

The old woman meandered around the store for quite some time, while a few strands of scraggly white hair whisped across her face. She appeared to be searching for just the perfect piece of cloth for her masterpiece, when suddenly, her eyes fell upon the little piece of gray fabric tucked away in the corner.

He dared to think that maybe, just maybe, she would see something valuable in him.

But as she walked closer, his heartbeat began to beat faster and faster. She gently picked up the gray fabric, and a few other buttons, fabric scraps, and thread, paid for her purchase and headed home.

To make a long story short - the old lady turned the piece of gray fabric into an adorable little sock monkey, which was hugged and loved by her grandson for years, before being passed down to her great grandchildren as well.

One little piece of gray fabric made a difference in the hearts of children for generations and generations.

One little piece of gray fabric who never knew he had any value, until someone else saw his hidden potential, and helped him to see it as well, through love.

I used to feel much like that little piece of gray fabric, when he was sitting on the shelf feel overlooked and unimportant, paling in comparison to all the people saw around me. In fact, there are many days when I still feel like that.

But I have to wonder, if maybe God helped my imagination soar so that I would remember that I have been transformed, and been made beautiful; and so that I would remember that even though I could not see my own potential for most of my life, God always had a plan for me.

God used a little child's request for a bedtime story, to prick my heart with His love, and remind me of who I am in Christ.

You know, I sort of felt like God had told me a bedtime story, and even kissed me goodnight. I fell asleep with sweet thoughts of how I have been transformed, from my old self, to my new self.

You and I truly are a new creation - just like that little piece of gray fabric who was transformed into a beloved stuffed toy for children to hug for years and years.

Want to have some sweet dreams tonight? Remember that God sees your potential, long before we can see it ourselves, and that in Him, we are made new, so that we can fulfill those plans He destined us for.

How has God opened your eyes to see the plan He had for your life?

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (NIV)

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Anonymous said...

Beautiful story, Tracie, with a wonderfully true meaning. And I couldn't help but think about your Grandmama Winstead, all the stories she made up to tell us and our children over the years (and every one of them with a moral), and all the sock monkeys she made! Love you.
Aunt Gay

Wendy Pope said...

love this story!

SusanT said...

What a BEAUTIFUL story. This truly describes the work in our lives that the Lord can do-- just like a potter takes clay and molds us into something pleasing.

Tracey said...

That's a great story. I wish I had that kind of imagination. Very wise and inspirational.

Anonymous said...

What am amazing story--your son had to love it. I know I did and I am sixty years young. I hope you don't mind, but I would love to use this story for my children's moment in church.
Thank you-- it help me to realize God does love us all.

Anonymous said...

What can I say! A truly amazing story that reflects who we are in Christ Jesus.

Anonymous said...

What an inspirational story, Tracie! My 9 1/2 year old son still requests bedtime stories, and I think he would thoroughly enjoy yours! Thanks so much for sharing!
Natalie :o)

bendedspoon said...

This touched my heart so much because I am struggling to accept that I am more than a piece of gray fabric...

Thank you so much for this great story. My kiddos will hear this :)