The very first gift my husband bought me as newlyweds was a new Bible, and the second gift was a silver cross.
That Bible, affectionately known by Blossom as my 'fast-flickin' Bible because it's so worn and full of notes that I can find any passage very quickly, is falling apart from years of love and use.
The silver cross, a relatively plain but not small cross, never left my neck for more than a decade and it too became battered and bruised through years of wear.
But one day I looked on the cross with different eyes, letting the horror of Christ's crucifixion, the agony and pain and betrayal it signified, wash away my desire to wear that silver cross and so I took it off and packed it away. I no longer wanted to carry the symbol of an instrument of torture on my body.
Many years followed and each time we moved house, town or state, I'd look once more upon that battered silver cross and ponder what it stood for before replacing it with my other jewellery and packing it up in a moving box.
Then one day something changed. One move brought a change. Again we were moving house, and I held that silver cross in the palm of my hand and cried. The emotions I'd once felt washed away and all I saw in it was LOVE.
The greatest LOVE.
The battered and neglected silver cross was placed back on a chain and as it rested on my chest I felt a surge of love and gratitude that filled me from head to toe.
Satan can turn any beautiful thing into a source of discouragement, despair, rejection and pain. He relished the cross as it stood high on Calvary and he delighted in the agony of my Lord as he hung, clinging to life, bleeding, battered, disfigured from extreme physical torture. Satan stood ready to glory in his own victory as Jesus laboured with each final breath.
But that's not the end of the story. The life which slipped away from Jesus as he offered up His Spirit to the Father was not an end, not a victory for the powers of darkness...no, not at all!
In dying Christ destroyed the enemy's hold, snatching back the keys to the Kingdom, and in rising from the dead He stood triumphant over satan and opened wide the way back into the arms of God, a way marked out in His own blood shed for us.
What satan meant for evil, God meant for good.
What satan devised in pure hatred, God required for the fulfilment of pure LOVE.
So for me, the cross today is a testament to LOVE, a LOVE that no man can be, no man can give, no man can create.
This LOVE was paid for with Sovereign blood, and when the stone was rolled away that blood washed away satan's power...it washed over me, it washed over you, it cleans and repairs and renews and refreshes and instead of taking life it gives life. Life eternal. A LOVE life. A love gift that will never lose it's power to redeem the lost.
I first drew up this design in a simpler style just after I had that revelation of LOVE for the cross and shared it on my blog when I was just dipping my toes into the world of pattern design.
It was given to a friend who had just come to know Jesus and I've wanted to stitch it again ever since.
Last week I refined it, giving it more LOVE, a reflection of the increasing LOVE I have for Jesus with each passing day of my life.
If you would like to stitch "The Greatest Love" please accept this as very small gift of love from me, flowing from the LOVE of our Saviour who gives the greatest gifts of all.
Your sister in Christ,