Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blessings of a Bracelet

A few years ago Karl and I went to a Couple’s Retreat in southern Oregon. We were able to spend a few days away from our three children where we fellowshipped with other couples. We also learned a lot from our pastor about loving each other and learning from one another.

We mainly learned about looking to Jesus as not only the author and perfecter of our faith, but He is the author and perfecter of our marriage as well.

He is to be the center of our marriage. He is the strong main cord which my husband and I are to wind ourselves and our marriage around creating that very strong three-fold cord.

A three-fold cord is not easily broken. Neither is a marriage easily broken that has Jesus at it's center.

A good friend and her husband were also at this retreat. She loves to make jewelry for other people. She blesses those around her with her talents, of which there are many. She knew I was wearing a dress on our last day of the retreat and wanted to make earrings and a matching bracelet for my outfit.

I quickly accepted her offer but she wanted me to pick out the beads. Well, it is very safe to say, jewelry making is not a talent of mine. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not being self-deprecating in some attempt at a false humility.

The Lord has blessed me with many gifts and talents that I am so grateful for. But, making beautiful jewelry is not one of them. This is merely a statement of fact.

But my friend was not easily deterred. She pulled out her organizer, two of them in fact, and wanted me to choose the beads that I liked best. There is only one word that I can use to describe my thoughts and emotions as I gazed at the vast array of beads, doodads, and assorted hardware-- 

overwhelmed.

There were too many choices, too many potential outcomes. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around any of it.

I knew what she was capable of so I trusted her to make the choices and decisions for me.
I knew I would love it and I knew it for two reasons.

First, I’ve seen other things she’s made and they were lovely.
I trusted her from past experience.

Secondly, she was making them for me, not because I was asking her to and paying her to do it. She was making it for me because she wanted to, because she is my friend and has a very generous heart and because she loves me.

I trusted her because it was a gift motivated by love.

I was thinking about my very beautiful bracelet this morning as I was cleaning the kitchen. I know the two things don’t seem to go together but be patient I’ll get there soon enough.

So like I said, I was cleaning the kitchen, which was quite messy after cooking breakfast. It felt so good to put everything away. It was satisfying to clean what was dirty. I had peace seeing something that was once in disorder now be in order.

Oh, that was when it hit me...

My friend could take a jumble of beads, varying shapes and sizes and colors that were thrown into a container, and make something very beautiful and orderly of it. All of my life experiences are like a bead.

I have a blue bead of sorrow when my grandparents died. I have a red trinket of shame when I’ve lost my temper with my children. I have fun yellow doodads when I’ve laughed with my husband.

In my container, I have silly pink beads of dancing in the kitchen for my children right next to black beads of a painful past. I look at the container of my life and I am overwhelmed.

What do I keep? What can be used? I have no idea.

There are too many choices and too many potential outcomes.

What do I do?

Do I live with a container full of seemingly random experiences all jumbled together in chaos? No.

There is a much better choice. Surrender my “beads” of life to the Perfect Artist who has shown me time and time again that He can take disorder and create order.

“In the beginning...” there wasn’t and then there was. He can turn despair into joy. In His expert hands He can turn random and haphazard into order and beauty. Our God does this everyday.

I heard it at the dining tables at that retreat. There was story after story of how the Lord took what looked liked unsalvageable pieces of peoples lives and from those ashes created a thing of beauty.

Our marriages were each different looking, just as each bracelet my friend made that weekend were different. But they were all beautiful in their own unique way. Some of us had similar beads just as some of us have similar life experiences. But no two lives are identical so no two outcomes are identical. But there was a commonality, the center of the bracelet.

The core of a person or marriage was same. In order to make sense of all those beads, they needed to be placed onto a common thread. All of our lives were being strung onto the common thread of Jesus Christ. He is the beginning and the end. He is the knot holding it all together. His masterful hand picks through the beads of our life and chooses, if we let Him, what to keep and what not to keep. He then takes the useful things, both good and bad, in our life and arranges them in stunning order and breath-taking beauty.

How many times however do we try to tell Him our choices and our opinions?

We’ve seen His handiwork before.
We know His heart is generous and loving and yet we don’t trust Him to recreate us.

We want to pick what we think will be best. But let the truth be told- we have no idea! Not one clue.

But He does. He knows all the outcomes. He knows what will be best.

He has shown us time and time again His wonderful gift and His loving heart.

In the same way, I could trust my friend to make my bracelet, the Lord wants us to trust Him to make our life a thing of beauty and order. I am relived to know I don’t have to know. I don’t have to choose and then fear that I chose unwisely. I can instead trust and surrender to His masterful hand.

It is only then that I can be delighted with the surprise of the life He has given me. Delighted with it’s beauty and surprised that it surpassed all of my expectation.

The bracelet of my life is not yet finished, but even now I can see that it is more wonderful then I could have ever imagined. It is more beautiful that I can describe. And most of all, it fits me perfectly.

***

(This is a bracelet made by another friend, Jennifer, at Yellow Girl designs.)

3 comments:

Kim said...

What a beautiful picture! Thank you for sharing:-)

Kelsey said...

Great post. So encouraging and true. I am so relieved to not be in charge of beading my life bracelet myself. :-) Thanks for sharing.

(and that bracelet in the picture is beautiful!)

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

I am so thankful that God doesn't leave the order and content of my life up to me. His vision is so much... MORE in every way!

Love you and love your insights, Lainie!

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