Inside Out Transformations
The email was from retail icon, Lord + Taylor. The subject line simply said, “All Stores Closing…”. For most, this will not be a big deal. For me, it was a startling read because this is the place my father diligently worked as a tailor for over twenty years. This is where our family's bread and butter came from. And even though my father has been retired now for many years, it’s really an end of so many things that symbolize the work of his hands.
From an early age, I was surrounded by fabric. Physical fabric, but more importantly the fabric of hard work, the fabric of dedication, and the fabric of learning what quality looks like. So, when I saw the email from Lord + Taylor, my heart sank.
I took his skills for granted. When I shopped, I could buy an article of clothing that didn’t fit me properly, knowing with confidence he could transform it. Magically. And it did seem like magic because he would measure and fit me and within a few days, the altered garment was ready, beautifully fitted. I didn’t think twice about the outcome. He knew exactly how to alter whatever it was to fit my body. He could do this because he understood how clothing was constructed. He was able to tear something apart and put it back together so that it complimented me. Never mind that one of my arms is slightly longer than the other. He made me look like a million bucks. My tailor was my father and I had instant access to him.
Over the years, as a tailor’s daughter, I’ve learned lessons from the “fabric” of the life both my parents have given me. Where quality and construction mean something. Internally and externally. It was learned innately.
When my dad altered a garment for me, he had to start on the
inside. He dove into the construction of the way the fabric was sewn together, taking
out seams, and re-stitching them in such a way that would be fitting to my body. The
external product began with an internal change. Once I put on my altered item, I could feel the change as well as see it. I couldn’t have done this change myself. I needed his hands to do the work.
And this is how we are to know God. Internally and externally. We are built to know who created and crafted us. Oswald Chambers says, “Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.” He also says, “The Biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God himself.”
My dad’s declining vision has made it impossible for him to do any type of tailoring. This is such a contrast to how our Heavenly Father, who is able to work in our lives. God is still in the business of transforming us. We have instant access to Him. We can go to him with anything and it begins with prayer. It is in prayer where He begins to look at us on the inside. This is where His work begins, tearing apart the seams to be re-worked in a way that compliments His spirit in us. A transformation takes place during prayer, and Chambers says, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” Transformation begins on the inside and is displayed on the outside as we live our lives. Just a little side note, a tailor will use a seam ripper to tear apart the inside seams of a garment. It sounds like a painful process, but it’s not. The tearing of a seam is a gentle procedure. If it weren’t, the fabric would be ruined. God’s deconstruction process is like this, never with a violent tear. He will use a gentle tug to transform us. It is done with His love, grace, and mercy. He is the one that creates a change in us from the inside out.
Go to Him in prayer and watch how He begins to fit you into His image.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1