Welcome to day 13 of
30Days-30Pics: Defining Short-Term Missions.
Remember when you were a kids & learning to tie your laces (pre-velcro) and you wound up with a knot? Or are you a knitter and you’ve ever found yourself at the end of a ball of yarn and it gets into a grand knot? Or what about you ladies who brush long locks and your brush hits a knot?
Your reaction? …. a frustration-laced eye-roll perhaps?
Today we’re talking knots!
Knots & Beauty… it’s complicated
Years ago, a 92 year old lady in Quebec introduced me to shuttle tatting- where you use a tiny shuttle to form two halves of a knot between your fingers (for knitters, it would be similar to “knit” & “pearl”). She showed me the most basic stitch, gave me my first shuttle and sent me on my way.
“There’s a trick.” she said, “but if you keep trying, you’ll get it.”
I did get the trick, and when Sophie was 9, I tatted & lined this little purse for her. It’s a beautiful little hand-made item to look at, but it’s nothing more than a series of knots.
We see & experience knots every day. It can be as simple as a bus being late, taking an wrong turn or walking up to the printer, only to find it offline. A knot is something that’s not going as smoothly as we’d like it to, or as smoothly as we’ve become accustomed to.
In short-term missions, a knot could be different.
- Perhaps your overall partner-support has dipped this month.
- Perhaps that family with whom you had a breakthrough last month has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth this month.
- Perhaps visa issues mean that you have to change countries.
- Perhaps government corruption in your country leaves you constantly guessing and jumping administrative hurdles.
It may feel like there’s more at stake, because you’re in an overseas country, you’re not operating in your native culture and maybe you have less on-the-ground support. All of those things may amplify the feeling of knotted-ness but in essence they remain knots.
There are two ways to deal with knots – knitters, weavers, embroiderers, etc. know this. You either cut the thread (which necessitates other work of rejoining a new thread) or you sit down with a good cup of coffee and a healthy dose of patience, an you deal with the knot… unraveling it bit by bit.
When all is said & done, however, and you can step back far enough… you may see that all of those knots had a pattern and a purpose… one might even say a design. Know that if you experience knots along your short-term missions journey – whether getting to the field, or while you’re there – take it in stride, grab a good cup of coffee, pray, keep taking the next right step.
The knots in Sophie’s little purse make for a beautiful design. Similarly, years down the road, when you look back on what you’re currently experiencing as a knot… you will see that it is part of a grand design which, when handled properly, will reveal the Lord’s faithful provision… and THAT, is beautiful!
God bless you as you untangle knots while serving in Short-Term Missions.