I am being woven.
It’s been nine months since being back in the US, and I haven’t revisited my blog since. It’s been hard to gather my thoughts in my mind, let alone on paper. The monotony of life now seems to pale in comparison to the constant challenge of life in Bolivia. But I’m learning slowly that even the dull, confusing days are part of the bigger story.
In Bolivia, I picked up the hobby of knitting. Though frustrating at first, knitting became an escape for me that year. If you have ever knit before, you probably understand me when I say it is a monotonous, repetitive task in which – once your hands memorize the movements – you can think about absolutely nothing and let your mind, heart and soul truly relax. Everything can be still but your hands. And you repeat the same pattern over and over and over again until slowly, surely something beautiful, creative and useful begins to take shape.
Flash forward a year and a half later when I’m told to bring in an “Ebenezer” to share with my team at our quarterly retreat. At the time, I didn’t know what an Ebenezer was, but I learned it literally means “stone of help” and is a physical reminder that reminds us of what the Lord has done for us. Our Ebenezer was supposed to be an object that represented 2016 for us. I struggled the night before the retreat to pick an object that was my “stone of help”, my tangible reminder of all the Lord had done for me the past year. I wanted it to be about Bolivia, but maybe more than the usual llama keychain or something. My eyes fell on the knitting needles on my closet shelf, untouched since the day I unpacked them after coming home from La Paz. They even had a headband half completed left hanging off them. Knitting truly was for my year in Bolivia alone; it helped me bond with the women in the office who were determined to help me overcome my level of basic knitting knowledge; it gave me an outlet to let my mind go blank at the end of long, draining days at work; it connected me to home as I picked out colors and designs to make gifts for people I was missing at home. It became an unexpected, wonderful gift my year in Bolivia that I haven’t picked back up since.
But more than just a hobby, knitting took on another meaning for me in the recent months. I am the yarn in the skillful, quick hands of the Lord, and strand by strand, He is delicately and deliberately weaving my story and my purpose. In the days of monotony, of feeling purposeless and unsure of my place, He is patiently and repeatedly weaving together something that I cannot see fully yet. Every new pattern, every new hook or wrap counts and is necessary to this creation.
Coming back from Bolivia, I felt a loss of purpose. I felt like what I was doing was no longer exciting or significant. But it is another row in the mysterious pattern of my life as it is woven by the One who already has a vision of what the final product will be.
A few days ago, I revisited this idea and sat down to write for the first time in too long. This day, I felt particularly confused about the direction in which I was headed and my purpose overall. I chose to write down my thoughts and cling to the imagery of a beautiful tapestry being woven row by row. As I headed home from work that day, I was reading in a metro car I had nearly missed when the elderly lady beside me accidentally bumped into me. She apologized, and I turned to tell her everything was fine – but I couldn’t find the words when I saw what had caused her to bump me. I immediately recognized the concentration and the movements, the quick, skillful, precise movements of aged hands knitting a beautiful scarf. I felt a wave of peace wash over me as I sat back and relaxed into this timely, magnificent reminder that I am indeed being woven, strand by strand, row by row. And all I have to do is succumb and let myself be pliable and useful to the One who skillfully and tenderly holds the needles and can be trusted to finish what He has started.
“And I am sure of this – that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” ~Philippians 1:6~