God’s Tapestry

Matthew 1:18-25 weaves a beautiful tapestry.

The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for ‘God is with us’).

Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus. (The Message)

The lessons this week were powerful ones that left me feeling more connected than ever. I’ve been home alone for a week because my son and his family are on vacation in Florida. I lived alone for over a decade before moving in with the kids, and I was reminded of the pros and cons of solitude while home this week on my own. I told Tyler yesterday that I would be happy to hear those little squealing girls when they got home.

I’ve had the privilege of working with and helping others every day this week. That’s been a blessing that left me feeling part of something bigger than myself. My heart has been touched deeply by the power of joining with others to make a difference. I have the tendency to shy away from getting involved, but this week reminded me of how amazing it is when hearts connect.

God’s loom is love, and our lives are the threads He uses to weave His tapestry. Christ’s precious love is the shuttle that carries and connects my life to the lives of those in my path. When I go where God leads and obey without hesitating or questioning, I find sweet joy that comes with obedience. Occasionally, God gives me a glimpse of His tapestry. It takes my breath away as I forget about what I want and trust His agenda.

When I insist on my plans, I break away from the shuttle. That causes unraveling, and loose ends result. Mary let God weave her into the tapestry He created long before she was born. Joseph did the same, and the result was Immanuel right in the center of God’s beautiful weaving. Each of us must decide whether we will let Christ weave us into His body or follow our own agendas. The choice has always been mine, and it always will be. I look forward to Christ’s precious love weaving me into His story as I share my story with others and hear their hearts.

Individual threads are lost as they form God's tapestry.
Individual threads are lost as they form God’s tapestry.

Sickness and Witness

The girls were sick today, and it just broke my heart. I’d so much rather be sick than see them sick. That was true with my son, and it’s doubly true for them. It breaks my heart when they aren’t well. I know God feels the same way when I am hurting, and Christ went to the cross with a love that couldn’t bear to see us suffer. He died so I could live. That’s sacrificial love.

I know I can’t keep the girls from getting sick, but I really hate it when they catch something from me. It is what happens when we love and live together. Making close connections means sharing what we have, and that’s better than not connecting and not getting anything. I’m sure we will all be better in a few days, but that doesn’t make me feel any less guilty for exposing them to this nasty cold.

Witnessing is also about exposing others to what I have, but what I spread when telling the good news about Christ changes lives and lasts an eternity. Unlike my cold, I want to spread the gospel with those in my path. When I find myself hesitant to share Christ with others, I remember to reserve that attitude for contagious conditions not worth sharing.

There’s a time to be open and a time to hold back. When I have a cold, I need to stay back and not share the germs. When I have the opportunity to spread the good news, I need to share it with abandon. Living and loving involve sharing the good and the bad, and sometimes I can’t avoid sharing those nasty germs. I have the choice when it comes to sharing God’s love. The best news is that God’s love spreads even faster and more effectively than cold germs. Sickness and witness are similar in that they are about spreading what I have, but the results are very different;)

Listening is Relative:)

When it comes to listening, there is nothing better than a soundboard. Bing’s definition is “a board to increase resonance: a thin sheet of wood placed under or above the strings of a musical instrument to increase resonance. On a violin it is the top of the instrument” I love that definition. I’m also intrigued by the list of synonyms Bing offers: friend, soul mate, alter ego, sister, brother, amigo, intimate, best friend.

A listener can be a sponge, a marble slab, a baseball bat, or a sound board. I had to smile when I saw the synonyms because they were not at all what I expected, but they do make perfect sense if you are or have a sound board in your life.

A sponge takes everything in and gives no feedback. They are heavy-laden as they leave because they absorbed it all, but they offer nothing in return. I’m left as empty as they are full, and that isn’t a good feeling for either of us. It is the most unhealthy type of listening.

A marble slab is beautiful but isn’t absorbing a thing. A set smile or a look of concern gives an impression of sincerity where there is none. It’s more about let’s get this over with so I can move on. The experience leaves me empty and them completely unaffected. There is no real interaction, so I’m left feeling worse than before.

A baseball bat immediately takes a swing at the information. Whack! They know exactly how I feel because they’ve been there and done that. In fact, it was much worse for them. They know exactly what I should do, offer a simple solution, and walk off feeling as though they just hit a home run! I’m left wondering what just happened as they strut off the field.

A sound board, according to Bing,  creates “amplification of a sound, e.g. that of an instrument or the human voice, caused by sympathetic vibration in a chamber such as an auditorium or a singer’s chest.” That sounds a lot like love to me:)  If you are or ever have been a sound board, you know that love is the sympathetic vibration in the heart that makes listening a truly powerful connection.

Being a sound board is not as easy as being that slab of marble or as fun as whacking that ball out of the park, but it is the most beautiful feeling in the world when someone hears my heart and understands it. It’s just as good when I do the same for them. It is rare to find a sound board in this world because it takes time and means connecting at a deep level. Several years ago, a dear friend told me I was a wonderful sound board. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I could tell by the tone that it was a good thing. I know now just what it means and consider it the best compliment ever:)

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