Have you ever wanted to learn something but just couldn’t figure it out on your own? It’s happened to me a lot. A couple years ago I pinned a crocheted wrist cuff onto my Pinterest board – and attempted to crochet it by reading the rather encrypted online tutorial. It was supposed to look like this:
The technique is called “Broomstick Lace” and it’s done by crocheting over a larger hook or needle that serves as a modern day broomstick. Needless to say it was a tough learn and I didn’t know anyone I could ask for help at the time. After many futile attempts I set that project aside and figured it just wasn’t going to happen. In fact, I didn’t even crochet again until late last fall when I spotted another project, pinned it and decided to make my Atlanta girl Anthem this granny square afghan (since I really am her granny and all):
The success of that afghan project actually reignited a teeny weeny obsession with crocheting and so I decided to make a second blanket for Iowa Bea’s first birthday-
…and just like that I was on a roll. This week I finished and mailed off a little red riding hood sweater to Bea’s sister Amari – in her favorite colors:
So that brings us to late March. Crochet projects aside, we’re in the season of Lent and my deepest desire for this season has been to re-ENCOUNTER Jesus as if for the very first time. So, I decided to re-read a treasured book and journal through the process.
My Lenten journey has been varied and significant. It’s always difficult for me to put personal learnings into words and paragraphs – but here’s the gist of where I’m at today. Something is going on inside me and it has to do with the combination our weekend ENCOUNTER series messages, a chance Divine appointment with a hurting friend, a powerful message from Andy Stanley’s Why In the World series (www.northpointonline.tv), and my daily What’s So Amazing About Grace reading – all amidst the uproar among evangelicals ignited by the ill-fated World Vision decision just this week. This morning’s reading hit me hard. Philip Yancey quotes the Apostle Paul: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Jesus’ death, Yancey says, broke down the temple barriers, dismantling the dividing walls of hostility that had separated categories of people. Grace found a way.
The strangest thing is that I’ve read all this before – a lot of times. And I’ve heard the messages and trust me, I know the spiritual drill. Yet something about this season of Lent, my openness to fresh encounters and my own felt need to only be about the REAL DEAL has prepared me to hear it anew – as if for the very first time. Without the gift of AMAZING GRACE there really is no message – no story, no need for us to carry on with ministry or any sort of outreach. Our countries, our communities, families and even our closest interpersonal relationships have no real hope, no recourse for the inevitable failure and brokenness we experience. The gospel would have no guts. EVEN our service would have no purpose. And this incredible GRACE that finds us, pulls us out of the dirt and redeems us is for EVERYONE. God looks down at the earth and it’s pretty smooth from that heavenly vantage point. The beautiful and the broken – each one of us absolutely equally LOVED. Profound.
Ok, so back to my broomstick lace project. I picked it back up today and re-read the instructions again, as if for the very first time. Amazingly enough I’m getting it. Not perfectly – but before bedtime I’m going to have a lovely wearable cuff. I guess I was just ready to “get it” – buoyed with a new sense of confidence, or maybe just enough maturity to plow through and really figure it out. And hey, I’m going to wear that cuff and use it as a reminder that GRACE is here among us, flowing freely. And more than anything I want to remember to tap into GRACE’s beautiful, healing power.