Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh Those Tangled Things We Weave

                                     Crave God and run your guts out.”—Jennie Allen

I once bought a vacuum cleaner that boasted a tangle-proof cord, a claim I promptly disproved. There is no flexible thing longer than two feet that I can’t have in a knot within minutes. I wrap my hair dryer cord carefully around its handle and tuck it gently in the drawer, but it must be doing some knotty things at night because every morning there it is— all tangled up with the flat iron cord. (I heard that groan!)

And I’ve mentioned before how, as a kid, I got my hair in a wad by putting a wound up wind-up car next to my ear so I could listen to the whine. It took about one second for my hair to wrap around the spinning wheels. I walked around with a car hanging from my head until my mother cut the whole thing free.

Knots and tangles. I was thinking there wasn’t a good thing to say about them but then I remembered a time back in my crafty days when I learned how to macramĂ© and my house was filled with knotted plant holders suspended in front of every window.

So I’m thinking about those yards of beautifully patterned knots, and how so many of the poignant bits of life stories that emerged during a creative nonfiction workshop I led this weekend had beginnings in life-knots—circumstances that were difficult to see the pattern in at the time—and I’m beginning to appreciate the hidden beauty of knots.

Then, one thing led to another as one thing so often does: I picked up Jennie Allen’s book and Bible study, Restless: Because You were Made For More, and read, “Just as we see the threads of God’s purpose weaving through Joseph’s life, our goal is to lay out the threads running through our own [lives.]”

Finding purpose and patterns in tangled threads. “When we see how they weave together, we better understand ourselves.”-Allen

So since Allen so seamlessly wove herself into my morning musings, it seems a good time to brag on her Bible study (which I delayed reviewing because of my father-in-law’s death).

Through each of the eight video-based units, using the life of Joseph as a backdrop, Allen prods us to realize the people, places, circumstances and even sufferings in our lives are all material God uses to weave his purpose in us.

The older we get, the easier it is to see that the course of our life was not/is not random, but I appreciate how Jennie Allen chases after God’s purpose, how she challenges us to remember we already matter, that we’ve been given gifts for the
purpose of helping others. So let’s make our days count for the time we have been born to.

Her prayer for us is “that God and eternity would get bigger and more real in our lives, and as they do, we would feel more compelled to live for eternity and Jesus Christ than this short life.”

Yes and Amen! to that.

Previously I used Allen’s study Chase with a group of women meeting in a local cafĂ©. That study was well received because its design encouraged deep reflection and conversation. Although I am in between group studies right now, I have read the book Restless (can be purchased separately) and have reviewed these Bible study materials, which once again are beautiful, probing, and challenging.

They are designed for participation and personal application, and at the same time are anchored in Scripture. Check them out.

Something deep inside us is made to live for a story bigger than ourselves—the story of the one who made us.”—Jennie Allen, Restless

As we sneeze (here in the land of blossoming things) or snow-shovel (for those of you dear ones still sloshing through—I hate to even say it—snow—Blessings of abundant joy!


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