Thursday, November 20, 2014

For the Days When You Can't Make the Pieces Fit Together....

I once thought my life would be all put together when I became an adult.
And when I became an adult?
I decided that it would be all neatly fitted together when I got married....
when I got to the mission field......
when I became a mama......
when I learned the language.....
when the kids got a little older......

But instead I found out that no moment, no single day made me into what I was supposed to be.

I remember my call to the mission field.
It was a hard-fought battle, and thankfully, I lost.
I knew I wasn't ready to be a missionary, but I also knew that He who had called me would faithfully prepare me to go.
Somewhere along the way, though, that truth slipped from my grasp.
It started out well enough.....
"If I just learn _____________, I'll be ready and prepared to go serve the Lord anywhere!"

But each time I filled in the blank?
Well, then I thought of something else.
I needed to learn to teach children.
I needed to learn basic first aid.
I needed to learn how to teach English as a Second Language.
I needed to learn how to sew, kill a chicken, fix a car, paint a house, draw, knit, write, illustrate, translate.....
the list just continued to grow.

I wanted to cram it all in ~ every bit of knowledge I could ~ so I could be a good missionary.
But then one day, it was time to get on the plane......
and I wasn't ready.
I didn't know enough.

We got to the field, and we were young, and we didn't know enough.
In fact, we found out we didn't really know anything.....
nothing that would help us survive a brand new life in a foreign place.
A few hard months in, when every dream I had about being a missionary was shattered in pieces, and I was scared to walk out my front door, truth finally broke free in my soul.
I could never know enough or be enough.
I had to trust the One Who Was Already Enough to give me what I needed.

And so it began.
As I surrendered to the lessons, He taught me.
He wouldn't force anything on me.
It was my choice.
But as I chose to learn the hard things, He gave me what I needed.
One tiny thing at a time.

My life became a simple cord in the hands of the Master Jeweler.
It was His to string as He saw fit.
Some days the lesson beads of life have been beautiful, bold, vibrant.
Other times, they've been beads carved by trials and pressures.

Some of my lessons have been formed just like the glass beads ~
first the breaking, then scorching heat, melting to the point of destruction, and finally cooling time alone, before anything beautiful can be ascertained.

Spaced among these lessons have been gifts:  pendants of great beauty that I never expected, never dreamed could be a part of my life.
Yet, there they are ~ shining testimonies of the genius of the Artist.

Some days the strand doesn't seem enough.
Inadequate, I'm sure.
On those days, I must rest solely in my Designer.
He is stringing my life with the bead lessons I need, and when He is finished, it will be an ornament of His grace, a testimony to my Creator.
A life formed by the hand of the Master Craftsman.

*We had the amazing opportunity to visit the Bead Market in Koforidua last week. It's the largest bead market in West Africa and is held every Thursday at Jubilee Park.


  1. I cried my way through this post. Love it so much even though it convicted me deeply. Love from Jamaica

  2. Praising the Lord for this blog entry you've written! It is such an encouragement and a challenge to me. Thank you!

  3. Lovely, Patty! I loved the beads illustration--an allegory of true missionary life. I would have LOVED that market, too!

  4. Amen. Thank you for this. I needed this today.

  5. Great post, Patty! Thank you for sharing! It is so true. Sometimes, and normally a lot of times, in our lives we realize we truly know nothing in all our "wisdom" and need God to show us what to do and direct us. It is so much better when we give Him the reigns and let Him lead, isn't it? We can never know enough or do enough, but He can, and He can show us what is needful and when. ;) Love you and love your pictures. What a neat place, and what a great object lesson to boot! :D