Monday, May 6, 2013

Stitch By Stitch

Much like an old friend, I can lose touch with it for a season. Other things take precedence, and it sits waiting in the back of my heart. In time I begin to feel a gentle tug, a calling to come aside and get reacquainted. There is a restlessness - a something missing. I pick up the threads of connection, and it is just as if no time has passed at all.

It may seem a rather overblown idea - this equating of knitting and friendship - but in some ways knitting has been that way for me. I find my comfortable chair, brew a cup of tea, and settle in. The gentle crisscrossing of needles through yarn brings a sense of peace. 

Before I sit, I spend time looking at patterns. (I have deep admiration for those who design them. It is a beautiful art.)  When I find the one I want, I quickly scan through the instructions. If I'm not careful, I am apt to get discouraged before I begin. They can be quite complicated, and I begin to doubt my ability to understand and follow them. Looking too far ahead is not a good idea.

 I have learned, over the years, that it is better to simply take one step at a time. Cast on the stitches; follow the instructions for the first row and then the second. It is hard to imagine anything good coming from the strange abbreviations and numbers scattered over the page, but the designer knew what she was doing. Every stitch has a purpose. If I follow the instructions just as they're written, I begin to see something taking shape.

 Sometimes I drop a stitch, or make a mistake in the counting and have to rip out some of my work to correct it. It's always painful. There have also been times when I didn't see the mistake until I was far along in the project. It isn't easy for this recovering perfectionist to overlook a wrong stitch, but I have learned that it's okay. I give myself grace and just keep knitting.

 In time, stitch by stitch, row by row, the dream becomes a reality. There are no shortcuts. Every little stitch is a necessary part of the whole.

As I knit I often think about the way the Father has knit each of us together while we were in our mothers' wombs. I then imagine Him handing the needles over to us along with the instructions for stitching together a whole life. We hold His words in our hands and wonder how we can ever do it. It all seems so complicated and hard.

He asks that we take it one small stitch at a time. He fills us with His Spirit and begins to guide us row by row. There are tiny mistakes and huge gaps, but there is mercy. There are times we just want to give up  and do it our own way, but there is grace. It takes a long time - a lifetime really - but He works it all together for good.

It will look different for each of us. We are all a unique design. But in the end, it will be beautiful.

" For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11