Off the Hook

When I was a kid, my mom tried to teach me how to crochet. I was able to trail long strings of chain stitches from my hook, but I had trouble figuring out what to do from there in order to actually create fabric.

More than 10 years ago, now, when I couldn’t appreciate how blissfully simple my life was, I had the time and money to travel frequently. During one trip our plane out of Chicago was delayed about three times and each time our departure gate was changed, which meant the whole group of 50 or so passengers had to gather our things and head down yet another concourse to meet what we hoped would be our new plane.

After a few hours, I got to talking to an older woman who was crocheting while she waited. I mentioned that I’d learned to make chains as a kid, but never had progressed beyond that. She asked if I’d like to try now and helped me add a few stitches to the potholder she was making. Just a few minutes of instruction and I was hooked (no pun intended). When I arrived at my destination, I went out and bought a skein of yarn and a book of basic crochet instructions. I’ve been crocheting ever since.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

As I have become a more experienced crocheter, I find I tend more toward utilitarian than decorative crochet, making hats, toys, bags, and so forth, rather than doilies or pillow shams. Several years back, I joined Ravelry, an online community of knitters, crocheters, and other fiber enthusiasts. There crafters can share photos and notes with one another, showing off the patterns and projects we’ve created.  When I read this verse, I could just imagine that God would post photos of each of us–His creations–to show everyone how proud He is of His handiwork.

God,

You created me, and You are still refining the shape of me. Sometimes, I feel like I was just an accident or merely the result of physical interaction on the part of my parents, but You have always had plans for me. I was not simply a project to use up some extra bits and pieces in Your stash.

Thank You for taking the time and effort to make an individual me–not quite like anybody else. And thanks for continuing to work on me, to mold me and allow me to grow into the woman you created me to be.

Please help me to remember that You have always had a purpose in making me, and You still are leading me forward to fulfill it.

 

To Know Know Know You

I had a panic attack again the other night. My heart was racing and I couldn’t seem to stop shaking. As DH and I talked about it, he listened to my litany of all the areas of my life where I’m not in control and it scares me. He chuckled. Not cruelly, just as a preface to telling me it was no wonder I was panicking, what with all the space in my brain being so clogged up with worry over things I can’t do anything to change.

As I’ve thought about that the last couple of days, I came to a rather unsettling conclusion: I don’t want to have to trust God all the time.

That’s not very comfortable to admit. Yet it’s true.

Too many times, rather than making the effort to build an actual relationship with God, I tend to think of Him like tech support. He’s out there, doing His thing, but I wait to call until something has gone wrong. When CTRL+ALT+DEL hasn’t solved the problem, well, I guess it’s time to pray. Maybe I can get God reboot the system.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (II Peter 1:2, ESV)

I find it very easy to worry about what God is going to do or to allow to happen. God doesn’t seem to think the way I do (which is probably a great benefit to the rest of the world). But for me, it means that a good portion of the time, things are not going to go the way I wish. And I get to choose. I can either fuss and fume and fret that the road in front of me is not the way I would have chosen to go, or I can trust that God has a bigger, better plan for my life than I do.

Maybe, though, if I really allowed myself to spend time quality, quantity time with God, to get to know Him in that experiential way, maybe I wouldn’t waste so much time and energy worrying about what He’s about.

God,

Sometimes, it seems so much easier to do things the way I’ve always done it. Even when that’s the hard way. I don’t want to have to upgrade my system–even when that’s what tech support recommends. I don’t want to trust that … well, I guess I just don’t want to trust. What if You make me do something hard? What if You do something that hurts? What if I can’t live the life You want me to–what if I fail?

Or maybe that’s the whole point of the grace part. Because I will fail. Over and over and over again.

But You never will.

Thank You. Thanks for being patient with me as I trudge through the brambles alongside the narrow path. Thanks for blessing me, even when I’ve done nothing to deserve it. Thanks for loving me, no matter how unlovably I’ve been behaving.

Thank You for bringing me peace.