Last week as I prepared for the coming of a new year in my own life, I reflected on much. I always try to use my birthday as an opportunity to examine where I'm at, where I've been and where He is leading. This year was lovely as I realized that He had healed me from so much, that He allowed me to see beauty in areas that I had seen disfigurement in the past. I have a few extra pounds, a few more scars; more questions and unrest in areas that have lost the ability to be numb. Yet I can truly say I can see His fingerprint on each of those areas. The pounds include memories of rest rather than work, good meals and heard stories rather than long runs. The scars include memories of broken relationship, unmet understanding and removal in some circumstances, as well as physical scars due to my internal struggle. Each scar though represents an opportunity to seek His face; to long for His healing by returning feeling to entire chambers of my heart and they signify that the seeking has borne fruit and a harvest that can only come from Him.
However also with the unrest has come awareness. Awareness that causes me to feel like I don’t quite fit. God has given me gifts and blessings beyond anything I have ever or would have ever asked for. I don’t know how they quite fit within the church, how they fit within my life, how they fit within my gender and the rest of the world. Surprisingly enough, this is not a new feeling for me. I’ve lived most of life feeling as if I didn’t fit the mold. The shape of my very soul has felt wrong and misunderstood; as a result I have left myself on the fringe in an effort to self protect.
Through Jesus though and the truth of the gospel, I have learned something vastly different. Through the experiences of the last year and the testimony He has given me, I realize that in Him and how He created me, there is no mold. A mold would insinuate that we were made of something hard and impenetrable; that's breakable, unable to receive molding and kneading. We are not any of that. We were created in fiber, as is told to us in Psalm 139, "knit together". It is the knitting that brings us great hope.
I've learned that life brings us an infinite amount of choices, with pathways and roads; rivers and oceans full of ways to experience the world; to live out our free will and to perceive our existence. Through that there are times I have attempted to take my own set of needles to my fiber. Sometimes knitting complete rows just to have Him gently take them from my hands, go back and take out the stitches that did not match, replacing them with His own in a discipline that consisted of only mercy, grace and love.
In the last year my recognition of the fiber and the recognition of His blood within it has set me free. It has allowed me to realize that the mold signifies the lie of the world that promises false comfort. I am not a resemblance of a cheap McDonald's toy made for pennies in a factory, by human hands that place arms on backwards or obscenities in the place of nicety. I am not tossed aside when I lose an arm or even my sight. No, I was knit and continue to be knit by the hands of King who not only knows my previous experience and my current reality, but is knitting me in a way to prepare for my inheritance of a kingdom. A King who knows I will lose my way and anticipates my return. Who provides me with not only rescue but repair because that was what was intended for me from the beginning. Who doesn’t see me as broken, rather worth fixing.
This year, I stepped into a calling through an obedience to something that seemed given to me out of sheer love as well as knowledge; of not only the previous but what is to come. It was not only humbling but terrifying as once again, I felt as if I was stepping outside of that mold. As a woman, I have never pictured myself to be preaching the gospel in front of anyone of large capacity, given a platform, words and freedom to love in and out of the authority given to me through the blood of the Savior. My living room is the place in which I do that; the throne room in our own home where I am protected and surrounded by the Spirit. I understand the calling of our home and the domesticity of it. My role fits the mold of what a Christian woman has looked like for me up until this point, how I am to operate within the kingdom. I find no put down in that description or oppression in the title or role of “housewife”. In fact I speak to that, barefoot and in the kitchen was what I personally was made for, not by any persons telling of me but out a feeling in my very soul. However, God shed light and gave vision to something different this year. I didn’t know how that would work. I didn’t know how I felt about all of the gender roles, the man's role, the role of women within the body who have been given the gift of preaching. Can I call it preaching? And so, I let Him hold the needles. I waited for the stitches to begin and take shape before I followed the row. And never in my life have I felt so incredibly made for something, never have I felt like I had been prepared specifically for something. Through that has come a new understanding of what my role looks like in the kingdom as a female disciple, a disciple does not hold roll of women or man, but human. What I have been called to isn’t all that different from the woman next to me, I have just been given a different way to experience and live it out. I suppose this will always come with some discomfort, experiences past and present have a way of clouding the picture, providing question for what is and that which is to come. The discomfort is where I find my need for Him to guide me and shape my understanding.
That a calling could also be used as a source of healing from the one who made me, who allowed me to experience not only joy but pain and sorrow too; using what He called me to in order heal me but those around me, is generous beyond compare. I was never meant to fit a mold and I was't made from one. There is no one here on this earth that can determine what the knitting will turn out to be; sweater or sock, it is necessary and holds purpose within the kingdom as He sees the fit.
Through that this last year of 33 held revelation. I spoke of story that hadn’t seen the light of day. Out of a grace that was extended to me, I spoke of story that was not just intended for me but for others as the kingdom is nothing but inclusive. We have much to learn from one another's fiber. Each tear and missed stitch can be fixed with His hand, within His knowledge of the pattern and the end result. Each row holds story that is worthy within His sight. Through His sight I have been given back my own. My view of myself is no longer shadowed by a mold but comfortable with what looks like to me an unfinished pattern, to Him I am seen as worthy and valued. He already knows how this unfinished pattern will turn out in the end. Within in that I am safe. And so, I continue to follow the row as it is laid out, as not to make a hole in the pattern. Without impatience for what lies ahead but praying for contentedness in the here and now, for there is plenty of value in the waiting. His face is here now and it will meet me up ahead as well. Everything I have ever wanted I have found within the hands that hold those needles.