Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Psalm 139:13 - The 31 Day Challenge

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."
                 Psalm 139:13

Oh,  I love this verse.  I have loved this one for along time, long before God started speaking the whole Psalm to me.  God created me, every single little part of me.  He put it there by design on purpose for a purpose.  He has given me all the pieces of the puzzle.  All I have to do is put it together in ways that glorify Him.

He knit me together in my mother's womb.  Even before my mother knew about me, God knew me.  He was creating me with loving care.  I love the imagery of knitting me together.  I can just picture the Almighty God on his throne with some knitting needles and a ball of sinew fashioning out unique, perfect babies.  All right, I know.  He doesn't actually need knitting needles or sinew or anything else; He can just speak and they are formed.  But the particular image of knitting resonates with me.  

As someone who spends a lot of time working with yarn, I know that projects take planning, attention to detail, and time.  God did not just pick me off a stock shelf where everything looks just like the next one.  No, he created me with a plan and a purpose, down to the most minute, intimate, even secret detail.  Nothing about the way I am is an accident.

Would you permit me some liberty with this verse?  Sometimes I like to imagine that maybe-- just maybe-- God did not knit me together.  Perhaps he crocheted me together in my mother's womb.  For those of you who are are not "yarnies," (Yes, I think I just made that word up) there are differences between knitting and crocheting.  Primarily, it comes down to the tools.  Knitting uses two needles or hooks, and crochet uses only one.  This allows for the yarn to come together in different ways for distinct stitches and therefore patterns.  Experienced "yarnies" like myself can look at a piece and discern whether it was knit or crocheted.  Whether or not you personally can tell the difference does not matter, but it matters to the crafter.  The one who created the piece.

Something from Nothing

I love looking at at pattern and visualizing what colors I would use for that.  I love seeing a pattern and immediately knowing who might enjoy something like that.  I have a list of projects that I want to complete that is longer than a New York marathon.  I have books, magazines, computer print offs, websites, and downloads for futuristic projects--all for things that I want to do.

Over the summer, I tackled my yarn closet and reorganized it all into neat, color-categorized spaces.  So much yarn.  Sometimes, I am walking through a store, and. I see something that would be perfect for someone I know.  Something about those particular colors reminds me of that person, and I want to do something with it.

My favorite part is taking a skein of yarn and my hook and getting started.  It brings me great joy when I start on a new project.  The foundation row is the most important.  That has to be without mistake, or the rest of the project will be flawed.  Nothing about it will look right if that foundation row is off.  Just like when you build a house, the foundation needs to be right.

The more I work, the more the project takes shape.  Sometimes I can visualize the finished project from the beginning.  I have made enough hoodies that I know exactly how it turns out.  Sometimes I cannot see how the steps I am doing right now are going to look like the picture when I am finished.  

The moment of completion.  Yes!  It looks like it is supposed to.  I love the colors and feel of the fabric I have crocheted.  I am proud of my work.  Another finished project.

I have made something out of nothing.  It was just a ball of yarn, and now it is a baby hat or a mermaid afghan or shark socks.  That is a cool feeling.  But how much more would God the Creator feel this?  First of all, I start with a pattern and yarn and a crochet hook.  But He started with nothing.  No one gave Him a pattern for the world or the people in it.  He didn't look on Pinterest or etsy or YouTube or Ravelry to see what was popular right now.  He had a very specific purpose and vision for me, and He did it.  He has made me into something when I used to be nothing.

Make it Count

I have some self-diagnosed O.C.D. Tendencies.  (Not the cleaning part of that--no way is that me!  I will own up to that now before my husband has a chance to make a comment!). But I like things to be structured and patterned and repetitious.  I find comfort in routine and stability.  

Life does not always provide those things.  In fact, life frequently does not provide me with routine, stability, or structure.  For me, crocheting is a way to create those spaces in my life where they may not exist otherwise.  I find beauty in going through the same type of motions over and over in a repetitive way as the yarn flies through my fingers.  And I like to count things.  In this case, I count stitches and rows to make sure. I am on the right track.  It has a calming effect for me to count.   Even if I am in the middle of a conversation as I crochet, there is a section of my brain that is still going "One, two, three, four, five, six...twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine..."

When I have not had time to crochet or not taken the time to crochet for a few days, I will begin to notice my levels of anxiety creeping up.  I find myself counting things that don't need to be counted or rehearsing things that don't need to be rehearsed.  I may time myself how long it takes to fold a basket of clothes or notice the number of red cars I have passed that day.  When I feel particularly fretful, my mind may suddenly jump to mentally rehearsing an old dance routine or my flute solo from my senior year of high school.

I have no idea why I do that; I just know that I do.

The Work of My Hands

But God has given me a way to keep most of that anxiety at bay.  Not only does the repetitive nature and the need to count things get fulfilled through crocheting, but He has given me a way to bless others.

I very rarely keep anything that I have made.  I give most everything away as wedding shower gifts or presents for new babies.  Sometimes I make something for someone just because I felt led to.  Last year I saw some orange and white yarn that reminded me of my dear friend Cherri and her passion for the Tennessee Volunteers.  I bought the yarn and made her a scarf.  Just because.  Seeing someone open something that I made brings me great joy.  Greater still when I see my handiwork being worn in public.  That tells me that you actually liked it enough to wear it.

If you receive a gift from me, please know that means there is something about you that I love and am drawn to.  I have wandered through Hobby Lobby and looked at two or more yarn catalogs to choose the one that "speaks" to me about you.  I have thoughtfully chosen what to make.  I have prayed over you, your family, and your circumstances asking for God to bless you as I work on your gift.  I have lovingly spent hours working on something that I hope brings a smile to your face.  

The Fruit of My Labor

I have reached a point where I have a small hobby business with crocheting.  I feel blessed that people like things I have done enough to want to pay me for my talents now.  I love it when someone sends me a picture and wants to know if I will make that item for them.  Most often, these projects are something that I have never done before and are often complex and challenging.  They stretch my expertise, and I learn new skills.

Although I receive compensation, I still use this as a way to bless others.  Last year, God laid it on my heart to use the talents He has given me to make a commitment to our church's building fund campaign.  This commitment is above and beyond what my husband and I made together.  He pushed me to go further.  I have committed to giving the income from my crochet skills back to my church.  God has blessed this endeavor.  He brings me the people and the projects; I couldn't ask for a better Marketing Director than I have.  

Deuteronomy 2:7 says, "The LORD has blessed the work of my hands."  I know this is true.  I see it every day.  He gave me a talent, a gift with my hands, and He has called me to use it for others.  God made me this way; he crafted me together down to the tiniest little detail.

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