Don’t worry, I’m writing in metaphors. I don’t really think God is a real life seamstress, and nor do I think that if you don’t wear dresses or don’t visit seamstresses then you are unloved by God – promise! But I do think there’s something to be learnt from this likeness. Bear with me while I explain.
I’m a bridesmaid for my brother’s wedding and I ordered my dress online from an American retailer. When it arrived, it was a couple of sizes too big, but it was too late to return it. And so, I called a seamstress. She is wonderful. She looked at my dress with her head on the side, rummaged in her bag, and extracted her box of pins. Then, within a few short minutes, she had pulled and pinned the dress so that it looked like it had been made for me.
From a dress that swamped me in all possible ways – hips, chest, waist, length – had come a dress that fitted me in a way I didn’t think possible. It glided over the lumps and bumps and hugged the curves, gently skimming the ground and making me look elegant and sophisticated.
God is a seamstress and His love is a dress. We need only to look to John’s gospel to see the truth of this. The way in which He loves the disciples as a whole — a dress, available to the whole world – is inclusive, powerful and beautiful. It’s the same for everyone, unchanging in its type, style, colour and design. That is the love that John’s gospel references as John writes about how Jesus calls his disciples ‘friends’ in chapter 15, as he shows Jesus laying down his life for his friends and sacrificing himself on their behalf.
But when you look closer into Jesus’ relationships with individuals, you see how God is a seamstress. How he pins and moulds his love – this love which is available to the whole world, unchanging in its type and design – to fit each person perfectly. How it hugs the shape, the quirks, the intricacies of each human being.
Look to his love for Peter. Peter, with his incessant questions and his cowardly denial. Look how he loves Peter through patient answers and true reconciliation. Look how he chooses to build his Church on Peter, the one who denied him and ran away.
Then look to his love for the Beloved Disciple. The Beloved Disciple, who reclines on his chest, and writes a gospel documenting his faithfulness. Look how Jesus loves him by entrusting his mother to his disciple’s care as he hangs naked on a cross.
And then, look to his love for Mary Magdalene. Mary, from whom he had cast out seven demons, who had been rejected by so many. Look how Jesus utters her name with deep love and respect. Look how he loves her by choosing her, a woman, to be the bearer of the precious news of his resurrection, at a time when female testimony was not valid in a court of law.
God is a seamstress and His love is a dress. It’s available for all, in every shape and size. But it is also tailored specifically for you. It fits your character, it loves your quirks and your talents, it knows what you need and it fills those gaps. It fits perfectly into each curve, hugging close and holding tight.
God’s love fits us like a custom-made dress. He knows us so intimately and so completely that He loves us in the best way possible for us. His love for me looks and manifests itself differently to His love for you. It is not that God’s love for one person is lesser than for another – it’s all the same dress, same design, same price. His love is the same for all, but tailored individually too. It looks different, depending on who you are, on who He made you to be.
For me, that seems both an incredible challenge and a wonderful gift. Custom-made love is an honour and a privilege, but also a lesson to be learnt. It teaches me not to covet the talents and shape of others, but to look in the mirror and see how God’s love – His dress – fits me perfectly, because He made me to be who I am. He loves me generally as a disciple, but specifically as His daughter. We are differently sized, personally fitted, but we are all clothed in His custom-made love.