Friday, July 10, 2015

Why July 10th Can Be the Beginning of a Brand-New Life: What All of Us Need to Hear When We Feel Like Life is a Mess

January 1st seems so long ago, shrouded in fog and ice.
{Or in my case, covered in heat and dust!}
As one year partied loudly into the next, it was easy to believe that we had a chance to start over again.
Lists were drawn up, goals were set, plans were put in place, motivational quotes were pasted on refrigerator and computer, walls and mirrors.
This was the year to do it differently, to be everything we'd been wanting to become.
To finally get it right.

This was the year to read the whole Bible,
memorize Scripture,
lose that extra 10 pounds,
start exercising,
learn to sew,
write that novel,
start a business,
enjoy my kids more,
make it to Sunday School every week,
change every single thing that I didn't like about my life into something good.

And then we turn around and just half a year is left.
Six months have been flipped over, ripped off, x-ed through on the calendar.
If we can even find that goal list, we notice that many of those items haven't been thought about in months.
Read the whole Bible? Stuck in I Chronicles.
Memorize Scripture? Hmmmm, need to work on that one....I think I had some note cards somewhere.
Lose that extra 10 pounds? Make that 15 pounds now.
Exercising? Sewing? Writing? A business? I don't have time for any of those things....maybe when things calm down a bit.
Enjoy my kids more? How can I when all they do is fuss and whine?
Sunday School on time every week? But I'm so tired on Sunday year when the kids are older it will be easier.
Our goal list has become a guilt list.
Let's just toss it and hope for better next year.

Those of us who are list-writers will keep doing just that ~ writing lists.
We hope that by scratching our ideas onto a piece of paper or scrawling them across the top of a journal page, they'll magically come to life.
But writing a list doesn't equal a goal accomplished or a dream lived out.
Hopes can be smashed.
Dreams can fade.
I don't need more wrinkled old lists that get tossed in the trash during spring cleaning.
Truth is, I don't need more of anything......I need less.

My husband has long said that our job as Christians is not to try to "make ourselves," but to find out what God is working in us, and then let Him do it.
Throughout my growing up years, that was me.
Reading my Bible, praying, memorizing Scripture, meditating, witnessing, mentoring, serving.....the list was long and hard and I was constantly "messing up", forgetting, not doing enough.
My life was about a long list of what-I-should-do's and what-I-shouldn't-do's.
Oh, I heard lots of messages from godly men about how it was relationship and not rules, but I couldn't see how to get that relationship I wanted without doing all those things.
I was frantically trying to weave together the life I wanted, but my thread was constantly in knots.

In time, God moved me far, far away from everything that was loud and familiar and fast and driven to a land where things were a bit slower.
He put me in the heart of the Akan kindgdom, the weavers of Kente, and there he began his work upon the cloth of my life.
He unraveled the work of my hands, the tangles and snarls of thread, the rough, lumpy places.
My pattern was skewed, distorted.
The results were of cloth trying to weave itself.

He slowly chose new colors, mixing together hues that I would have never imagined to put together. He deftly placed each tiny thread in place, making sure each length was correct, the spacing consistent throughout.
He pulled the tension taut, applying just the pressure I needed.
After all those years of preparation, He began to weave.
Pulling with the feet,
the skillful hands sliding the weft threads back and forth,
pressing the threads together at the right moment,
minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day,
he was weaving the beautiful pattern he had intended to create in me all along:
the burdening of the Spirit, the book to guide my wondering mind, the Scripture opening before my eyes, the truth grabbing hold of my soul like never before.
As I've surrendered to the back and forth, the rhythm of the Weaver, he has woven my life full of truth and grace and beauty.
He has begun to work Himself into me.

While July 10th may not be December 31st, it can certainly be the beginning of a new year and a new me.
Each day I can try to push my way into the Weaver's chair.
I can snatch up those strands and soon make a mess of motherhood, ministry, homeschool, marriage, friendships, and cross-cultural living, or I can leave the seat open.
I can decide what needs to be done, what is going to happen next in my life and shove the threads together, or I can yield.
I can wait patiently for the Master Weaver to take His seat,
and let him weave His beauty into me, a tapestry for His glory.

*These are old photos from Bonwire, the home of traditional Kente weaving.
Just for fun ~ a short video of a man weaving Kente and a longer video telling a bit of the history of Kente cloth.


  1. Lovely. I've found there are seasons in peoples' lives. There certainly have been in mine! While our children were in the home, my life was different from now--the empty nest years. Now, I was able to write more, counsel more, do more in-depth Bible study, and I have some fun goals for future years. Loved these photos! I am a color freak, and these patterns and colors are beautiful!

  2. Beautiful!! It is so easy to make a list at the beginning of the year with good hopes and plans. I don't think I have ever carried mine out! I am learning that instead of lists I need to fill my life with God's grace and His truth.
    You wrote a beautiful post...filled with so much truth!