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.

Giant Lessons From a Little One

Last Sunday on the way home from church, Lillyann and I had the following conversation:

Me: What did you learn about today?

Lillyann: God

Me: What was the story about?

Lillyann: God

Me: Who was in the story?

Lillyann: God!

Me: What did God do in the story?

Lillyann: He picked up three rocks and killed a giant.

Me: Oh, you heard how David killed Goliath

Lillyann: No, God did it!

Lessons from little ones are the most profound, and I needed the message God delivered through little Lillyann. It’s been a week of trying to slay giants on my own, but God reminded me that He had put a very wise little minister in the path before the onslaught. If I had heeded His message on Sunday, my week would have been much easier. Instead, I decided to face fear, guilt, and jealousy on my own and found myself face down on the ground before I remembered Lillyann’s little lesson.

Lillyann knew the story of David and Goliath before Sunday, but she got the greater meaning on Sunday. I knew the greater meaning behind the story, but God reminded of it this week. I have always tried to slay giants and dragons on my own because I preferred to have God watch and then say, “Good girl!!” Lillyann and Mylah both insist on doing things on their own, and I appreciate their desire for independence. I have the same desire myself. It’s great to learn new skills and be independent, but it’s also wonderful to remember that it is God who is working through me. The greatest lesson in independence is knowing that I am totally dependent upon God. That is freeing, and that is at the heart of independence.

The nonsense in Washington and all around this country reminds me of what happens when slaying giants becomes all about getting credit and being right. The left and right have one thing in common. They are killing the country with their agendas. I’m not a red person, and I’m not a blue person. I’m a purple person living in the middle of the mess. The country is being bruised by the rocks flying from both directions, and I’m tired of the folks on both sides claiming to be heros.

David didn’t see himself as a hero. He was simply letting God work through him. That is what a true hero does, and I pray I will remember that. God will take care of the giants in my path if I will let Him do what He does best. I don’t suppose those in Washington will solve their differences until they are able to let go of the need to be right. It is the way of this world to wage war, but the collateral damage is always played out in the lives of those in the middle who are trying to live and love in an imperfect world. God becomes lost in the battle He has already won.

Agendas are like rocks, and they’re flying all around as the country tries to find its balance. I pray we’ll trust God, as did David, to slay those giants looming in the distance. Working together and remembering what is truly important are the smooth stones that will kill those giants.


Bringing in the Sheaves:)

Psalm 126 is the perfect song for Thanksgiving, and so is the hymn it inspired. “Bringing in the Sheaves” was written in 1874 by Knowles Shawl. His words were set to George Minor’s music in 1880, and a wonderful hymn was born. I marvel at the ways God’s Word sprouts and spreads. I haven’t sung the old hymn in many years, but I was reminded of it as I read Psalm 126 last night.

Psalm 126:5-6 says “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” People have been replaced by machines in the field, but the message in Psalm 126 and the hymn remind me that God’s harvest is still personal and requires His children working together to bring the sweet news of salvation to the world.

Sowing is the hard part of the harvest and involves weeping, but reaping brings great joy. Tears water the seeds. Growth is painful and never gets easier, but I must continue to grow as long as I am in this world. Age both helps and hurts the growth process. Maturity shows me the necessity of growth, but age stiffens more than my muscles when it comes to sowing, growing, and reaping as God desires.

I’ve been stiff lately, and I know it is due to a lack of yielding.  I’ve come to a place of deciding if I’m going to go to the next level or stay where I am. The choice is mine. I’ve seen what happens when growing stops; dying begins. Joy departs, and rotting replaces reaping. “Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.” I prefer reaping to rotting, so I plan to keep growing.

I can’t go into God’s field picking and choosing what to reap or worrying about what happened to my seeds. God’s field is ripe for harvest, and that is all that matters. The song and the psalm use “we” and “those,” both plural. The harvest is best done together. It is God’s field, and He deserves all the credit and the glory. I am here to bring in sheaves with joy and glorify God in the process.

Planting a seed is important, but there are many factors which contribute to a seed’s growth. That is especially true in God’s field.  The only thing that matters is to  “lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” John 4:35 NASB Growing impatient while waiting for the harvest, wondering if the seed I planted is part of the harvest, and worrying about who’s in the field next to me get in way of the harvest and take joy away from bringing in God’s sheaves.

It’s easy to become weary, but it helps if I grow while I wait. If I simply sit back, settle, and become complacent, I will miss the beauty of the process God has in mind for my growth. Seeds take time to mature, and that’s why there is so much joy in reaping. The growing season mirrors the season of my own heart’s growing. There is a time to sow, a time to nurture, a time to wait, and a time to reap. Resting and quitting are very different ways to wait. I love this line from the poem “Don’t quit” by an unknown author. “When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.” 

Growing disciples is a beautiful process that requires deep personal connections in order for roots to reach deeply into Christ’s love. His love feeds and flows beautifully if I open my heart and develop relationships that allow me to walk in His kingdom and help with His harvest. Christ’s precious love makes me come rejoicing as I bring in the sheaves. Sharing it with others is what the harvest is all about:)

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