The Colliding of Passion:
There is something that draws me towards textile, color and design. This combination stirs me deeply, allowing passion to collide with soulfulness and ultimately, igniting creativity.
A weekend trip into the mountains of Baguio, Philippines refreshed me, not only with cool, clean air; but all things uniquely designed.
I delighted in the view of rainbow painted houses, precariously perched on tiered mountain sides. My eyes took in jars and jars of freshly made strawberry jam with the sun igniting their ruby brightness. An endless array of handwoven head scarves, tapestry bags, knitted caps and colorful straw brooms; each, a harmony of color spilling over into a unique work of art.
Booth after booth of neatly stacked, fresh fruits and vegetables, an endless sea of in-season flowers, and a botanical delight of tropical plants were all waiting to be captured with just one-click through the lens of my I-Phone.
Picnickers rowing brightly painted boats through a nearby pond; with carved ornamentation of swans, dragons and dinosaurs leisurely cutting their way through the water. The view was picturesque; but what caught my eye was that each boat was painted with the same glossy red, orange, yellow, green and blue paint that I vividly remember as a young school girl.
As if the day couldn’t be enough – as night settled in around us, God showed up and showed off with the unexpected watercolor-wash across the sky. As the air cooled around me and the fog swept into the valley, I closed my eyes to a day of pure delight – full of textile, color and design!
Grieving comes with leaving:
Seven years ago, we packed up and sold our home in south eastern Pennsylvania, in response to what we sensed was God’s call to move overseas.
Besides family and loved ones, it was hard to say my goodbyes to our memory filled home, my husband had built. Our amazing Amish clothes line, whose roped-span could hold three loads of laundry. The five acres of Buck’s County countryside, a free-flowing creek in which we swam, fished and ice-skated, and each pine and fruit tree we had lovingly planted and nurtured to fruitfulness.
During this transition time there were many bouts of melancholy filled emotions. I soon began to realize that the hardest room to disconnect from, was my sewing room. This was the room in which my passion flowed without restraint. The room where my mind designed. The room where I dreamed. The room where my hands took to re-creating something new and useful – from something old and discarded.
After packing up every other room in our house, I sat on the floor of my sewing room. I was instantly filled with a deep, overwhelming sense that I couldn’t say good-bye to what I loved.
This room was where I breathed. This was where I lived freely out of my God-given design. This was where my soul had found it’s place to reflect and rest. A place where leather met design, and re-creation took place. A place where color and textile merged with the simple compositions sketched in my head and took shape and form right before my eyes. A place where I dreamed and breathed in…all – things – me!
I have often wondered at God’s timing of this move, as I was just on the verge of embarking on an on-line handbag business.
What had begun as simple cloth creations eventually moved to more timeless pieces, of one-of-a kind, leather handbags.
Endless hours of creating a business plan, researching just the right sewing machines, and finally purchasing one from a dear old man who sold me his once-treasured lively hood.
Filling journals of handbag sketches, going on the hunt for just the right leather coats, skirts or pants that would become a one-of-a kind Linda Jane handbag.
Each leather handbag was uniquely made: “Different by Design; stitched from reclaimed – repurposed leather. I felt like each handbag was a creative extension of myself.
I was yearning to move overseas in my twenties and thirties; but to be called in my fifties seemed like I was being torn away from so much more.
As I sat on my sewing room floor, I tearfully folded endless yards of fabric, rolled and boxed assorted pieces of cherished lace, organized threads into color themes, tucked away my leather for future use, and prepared to “sell-off” what my heart loved.
But when it came to my button collection, I found that I couldn’t part with – a – single – one! Taking one of my favorite blue canning jars, I reminiscently sorted through each button, one-by-one, as if each of them held a story of cherished memories. When I came across one of my favorite buttons I dropped it into the jar.
Reminders of who I am:
Today, this jar sits in my Philippines home. A simple reminder of what I love, what I have given up, and what I have been called to. A simple – yet profound reminder of God’s love to me as He is the Master Designer and He has chosen me, hand-picked me, and calls me His own.
This simple jar of buttons reminds me, that as women we are all uniquely designed with God’s amazing, colorful design. He calls out our uniqueness when He gives us an opportunity to be refreshed by doing what we were called to do. He calls out our uniqueness each time we share our passion with someone else, or when we gift them with a piece of ourselves. We have all been marked with the beauty of God’s stamp of approval and filled with His amazing love.
It is my desire that others will see the beauty of Christ in all I do. For me, this may be extended in sewing a unique leather handbag; but lately it comes in taking time to reflect and piece together words of encouragement, blending watercolors for a card that expresses my appreciation, joining fellow believers in singing worship songs, capturing a sweet piece of nature on my I-Phone, or finding the time to listen and pray for a sister in Christ; or even more, to extend God’s love in a culture that is not my own.
I realize that currently I may not be creating handbags, even though I have been known to quickly sketch a fresh idea most anywhere. But the theme is the same; I am Linda Jane: Different by Design. God’s design!
God has shown me that I will always live out of His unique design no matter where on this globe I call home.
I may have moved across the world from all things familiar and family, but I have not left behind who I am. God will continue to mold and remake me into a woman for His purposes and His pleasure if I yield myself to His great design and live freely out of who He created me to be.
For the time being I may have left behind my dream of going global with a leather handbag business; but for now, I am beginning to flourish in watching God show me my potential and purpose, in living out of my uniqueness, and embracing the women He created me to be.
How about you…
What ignites your heart?
What does it look like for you to allow others to see the beauty of Christ in you?
How do you use your passion to be a woman who is uniquely, created by God?
How can you show Christ love to others through what you enjoy doing?
In what ways can you gift your passions to others, and bless the world around you?
God, may I be like a tree planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water, bearing fruit in each season; whose leaves stay green, and prosper in all they do.
Guide me continually, giving me water when I am dry and restoring me with your perfect strength. May I be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
I pray that Christ will make His home in my heart as I place my trust in You, LORD. May my roots grow deep into Your amazing love, as I learn to build my life upon You; then my faith will grow strong in Your truth and I will overflow with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving.
Thank you, God, for giving me life and showing me Your unfailing love. My life is preserved by Your care. May the beauty of Jesus be seen in me today! In Jesus Name, Amen
All prayer scriptures are taken from the New Living Translation of the Bible. (Jeremiah 17:8; Psalm 1:3; Isaiah 58:11; Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 3:17-19; Job 10:12)
Photography by Linda Jane Dingeldein
Linda Jane Dingeldein celebrates the textile, color and design of Baguio City, Philippines